Have you ever looked in a person’s eyes and knew immediately that something was wrong? Saying what you sense can be risky because you never know how the other person will take the information. And what happens if you are so convinced that your intuition is correct that you take it a step further and share your concerns and the individual flicks it off like a piece of lint?
It’s easy for me to rely on my own intuition to help guide my life, because that is what I do in my work. But getting a person who is not a trusted friend or a client to listen is often a lot harder. And there’s the other issue of me being morally committed to not violate another person’s privacy and giving them information without being asked.
My internal struggle with knowing when to say something led to me write this blog post today. It involved a carpenter who was working on a big project in our building. The difficulty of the job was due, in part, because “Bill” had to interact with one female in our cooperative who has a DNA for control. He was a friendly guy and, unfortunately, made the mistake of giving his cell phone number to the female bully. She ended up calling him all hours of the day and night. When faced with this behavior, he did not establish boundaries and tell her to stop or simply decide to keep his cell phone turned off when he went home. Bill’s reactions to her mirrored those of others in our cooperative who would do anything rather than go up against the female bully. I faced the same dilemma myself, after serving for 3 years on the Board, and made the decision to resign when we got into a shouting match over the phone, and I decided to listen when my intuition it told me, “she is not worth it.”
One particular day I looked “Bill” in the eye and saw what I sensed as a feeling of hopelessness. The feeling hit me so hard I took the time to ask him if everything was okay and if he was getting enough rest. Bill pushed off my comment and gave me a fake smile to back up that “everything was okay.” When I got to work, the feeling I had about Bill kept nagging me, and I decided to call his boss and suggest that perhaps his worker needed some time off. I mentioned the strong personality he was dealing with and my sense of what was present in Bill’s eyes.
The owner on the company is a good man, but he had also fallen into the same stressed out camp of allowing the female bully to bully him. I guess it is easy to understand why my suggestion fell on deaf ears.
A week or so later, Bill, the carpenter quit. It turned out he was a recovering alcoholic and had relapsed. All this happened well over a year ago, but it all came flooding back when the owner of the construction company sent me a text recently, telling me that Bill had died of alcoholism.
As you can imagine, the owner of the company is in pain over all this. And even though he is not a client, I gave him the following spiritual treatment suggestions to help him though this period:
1. Each day, say the Serenity Prayer as many times as possible.
2. While driving, when feelings of anxiety and guilt come up, say the Lord’s Prayer out loud at least ten times.
3. Remember funny stories about Bill and pray for his family and children.
4. Reach out to the family on a consistent basis and do random acts of kindness on a regular basis.
The news of Bill’s death affected me deeply too, I had to follow my own treatment advice above, because there is still a nagging feeling inside that I could have done more to help.
In hindsight, I realize how easy it was for me to recognize the warning signs in Bill’s eyes because alcoholism has played a role in two critical male relationships in my life. First, my Dad was an alcoholic during my teenage years. This was over 30 years ago, and people did not talk about alcoholism like they do today. My mother’s way of handling it was to tell us that nothing was wrong. This experience so affected me that I only realized the full impact it had on my life when I had to come to grips with the fact that my first marriage was to an alcoholic.
My dad eventually stopped drinking and became the kind of father who supported us all and did everything he could to help others. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my first husband. We divorced, and he has never been able to beat this dreadful disease.
This morning, the old hurts came flooding back over this young man I knew only briefly who died. And I would be remiss if I did not mention that I do have resentment in my heart over the female bully in my building who I believe played a part in pushing him over the edge. The owner of the company and I agreed that we would not share the news of Bill’s death with her. I have watched her long enough to realize that she has no capacity for guilt, so telling her would not change anything. And, of course, she was most likely not the only factor in causing Bill’s relapse. As a recovering alcoholic, there is no telling the other issues he was facing.
As part of the human experience, we owe it to each other to attempt to discuss our intuitive concerns with people we care about. Yes, it is risky and not everyone will admit to you that they are in trouble. But saying nothing will hurt much worse if something occurs and you find yourself living with regret because you didn’t take the chance to express what you sensed.
Intuitive Life Strategist Sheree Franklin helps people to find the courage to release their life challenges in order to live in alignment with their true self. She is the author of Intuition: The Hidden Asset Everyone Should Learn to Use. To learn more about Franklin’s book go to www.amzn.to/1UxlWLG.
Sheree Franklin is a practitioner at Holistic Health Practice at One East Superior, in Chicago. You can email your questions at [email protected] Her practice includes one-to-one coaching as well as speaking to organizations. For more information go to www.shereefranklin.com or call 312-664-8376.