Ode to the Petty Tyrant

Posted by A.C. Ping
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"Sweet are the uses of adversity
which like the toad ugly and venomous
wears yet a precious jewel in his head."
Act 2, Scene 1, 'As You Like It' William Shakespeare

Your goal is power over others. Your need arises from a deep seated lack of self worth and self love. Your method is manipulation. Your currency is fear and guilt.

You are the boss who subtly takes credit for another's work, not by claiming it outright but by simply failing to correct an incorrect assumption.

You are the ex husband who uses money as a way to manipulate and control your ex wife, the one who you supposedly loved and probably still do. You are the ex wife who uses the children to get back at your ex husband by making them doubt their own father.

You will never attack me directly, or choose to fight in public for your public face and ever so often trotted out story is the one of the victim. "Oh poor me" you wail to all who will listen "You'll never guess what so and so has done now..."

You lead me to the brink of despair. How can these people believe such lies? Surely the truth must come out?

You temp me to buy into anger but I know this is exactly what you want. An outburst of mine, a wrongful deed, a harsh word, would all be met with a scream of pain from the roof tops as you called people to your cause.

You are the petty tyrant. Your game is not a nice one and you cause me many hours of anguish as I deal with the question of why I have called you into my life.

But I see now that you have a purpose. I see now the gift that you have come to bring me. In taunting and harassing me in such an unfair and underhanded way you have shown me my edges. You have pushed my buttons and shown me the weak spots in my character. You have made me ask myself questions that I didn't even know I should ask. You have made me clarify what it is I believe in and most importantly what I am willing to do about it.

But you have also shown me the darkness. Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back flashes into my mind as I think of what you do. Darth Vader is tormenting Luke as they battle with light sabres on some futuristic floating space station "Feel your anger Luke" he says.

To heal your darkness first you have to feel it. You're never going to feel it sitting in peace and comfort on your own. In Carlos Castaneda's books about the Yaqui Indian Sorcerer Don Juan, he talks about Petty Tyrants and how import it is for the warrior to find a good one. The more impossible, the more unreasonable the better. And preferably one who has some sort of grip of power over you - yes a parent of the child you love, the co-owner of a business or asset, your boss at work.

Petty Tyrants are one of our greatest teachers on the path to enlightenment. By needling us and tormenting us in the most unsavoury way they tempt us to react in anger but in reacting we give away our power and buy into their game.

Power is the ability to seize the moment of opportunity and choose how you wish to act. Choose to act from a space of love not fear.


"The sage battles his own ego; the fool battles everyone else's."
Pir Vilayat, Sufi Master

The gift that you know you need to give a petty tyrant - the one that they crave the most but will never ask for - the one that you will be most unwilling to give, even though you know you should - is love. Pure and simple - love.

Their pain arises from a lack of love. Their story is one of being bad. Their salvation is of showing you that you are worse. By tormenting you and provoking you until you crack they show themselves that they are better than you. But it's not really what they want - who is the worst is not an empowering question to ask - nor does it fulfil their need in any meaningful or long lasting way. Soon their lack of love and intense self criticism will raise its ugly head again and they will seek another round of the game.

Are you willing to keep playing?

Or is it time to say "STOP!"

Re-activeness will hold you in it - even though their tactics are unfair and their lies hurt most deeply. Seeking to expose them and take them on will never work because to beat them you must lower yourself to their level of deceit and dishonour. Lies do not cancel out lies, rumour does not negate rumour, hate does not deny hate, anger will not quell anger.

Love really is divine power. But love must be consciously chosen. Power must be held with an open heart. Freedom must be granted. Action needs to be taken.

In the maelstrom of emotional chaos that arises when confronted with a petty tyrant it is easy to react with anger. "Why me? This is so unfair! These lies are untrue! This person is deceitful!"

The challenge that the petty tyrant places before you is a great one. In the midst of the chaos can you find the courage to hold an open heart, to choose what it is you want and to act in alignment with that wish and from a place of love?

Do you have enough trust and faith to let go of the fear that the truth will not prevail?

If you can rise to that challenge then you can give thanks for the gift that the petty tyrant has brought to you.


"But strange that I was not told
That the brain can hold
In a tiny ivory cell
God's heaven or hell."
Oscar Wilde

In peace and love always.

Read "Ode to the Petty Tyrant - Part Two"

New book 'The Art of Remembering Who You Really Are'now available on Amazon


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