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Doc@DrIrene.com

Choosing The 4 Horsemen - Or Not!

Choosing the Four Horsemen - Or Not!

by Les

January 18. 2000

Recently I heard a presentation about the four horsemen a.k.a the four qualities/traits of our own self annihilation. I think they are very germane to each of us who come to this site, though the relevance may be tempered by where we are on the road of: disengaging from our codependency with the abused or abuser; our own self awareness; and our own goals and beliefs.

One: entitlement. This rider is part of our 'rights' system. We are entitled to a free lunch, good behavior, a loving partner etc. Who says? We are NO more entitled to a good partner than we are a bad partner. We get what we get and we can and often do choose to move away from what we get. We can also influence what we get, but we have neither good nor bad entitlements. To believe or live as if we do simply sets us up for unrealistic expectations with slippery slopes.

Two: Resentment. This leads to revenge and a lack of forgiveness. Simply put, you can tug on the rope of non forgiveness forever but it accomplishes a pair of outcomes. You waste a lot of energy holding on that would be better spent in living and exploring life elsewhere. You also are stuck there forever unless you release it. Imagine in your mind a weathered ol' guy with long gray hair, in his beard and on his head, still doing a mantra, 'she done me wrong' long after his mate had passed away. I think that image tells us how absurd, in the extreme, we look when though fully justified with our righteous anger, we see anger as a state instead of a verb of transition.

Three: Identity. Now this is one that is a tough one to imagine, a self with a false identity. But how real is the face presented to the world? How honest is that face that withholds anger or feigns enjoyment while seething inside that my partner did not cook what I liked or I did not bring her flowers on her first day of a new job? By staying stuck, with the false face driven by the false identity (nice person, never makes waves) am I not equally as out of place as the face of a clown in the boardroom of a large corporation? False identity needs to go and the inside person to grow if the mask of the clown, and all those it fools and sets up for false interaction, is to be corrected.

Four: fixation and obsession. Oh but how I rob myself and others by keeping focused on the small stuff like the guy who gave a finger when I slowed for the amber light instead of sharing stories with a son on our way to his school. How my vision is impaired when I allow myself to see so little, even perhaps as I bathe in righteous indignation. Righteous fool is the result.

So these four horsemen of our own self destruction pillage our lives - when we let them. Maybe it is time, as the automobile replaced the horse, to let my life and my walk in it, replace the horsemen of the apocalypse and thereby avert a self constructed state of doom. Me thinks it is.

Les

And, me thinks I fully agree with Les' viewpoint, although I arrive at the same place from a different perspective: cognitive psychology. (Who said, "All roads lead to Rome?") 

Translation: Each of the 4 horsemen represents a set of underlying, irrational cognitive beliefs - beliefs which create self-defeating and painful emotional reactions.  Call them "subconscious" beliefs, if you will; they are often just out of awareness.  Yet, each set of beliefs are statements that, without question, are accepted as truths!  Only when we examine their premise, as the parables above do, can we see that they create no-win situations. In accepting their premise, with or without our awareness, we set ourselves up to experience unpleasant emotional reactions! Yuk!

Apply each of the analogies to your own life. Be honest. Are you adding to your misery by buying into a set of irrational, implicit expectations? Once you learn to spot your stuff, you can exercise choice over whether or not you want to participate in self-defeating habits. 

 Thanks Les.  Dr. Irene