Clearly, it has never been more necessary for me to insist that you read the prior posts in this series. Here they are:

1 – Are you Hookable?
2 – 7 Positive Steps to Take If You Get Hooked
3 – 9 Surefire Ways to Become Un-Hookable (Part 1)
4 – 9 Surefire Ways to Become Un-Hookable (Part 2)

You had to know that this was the inevitable closer to this series. You had to know I’d turn it around and ask you to look at your own habits and roles in this game of hooking.

Yes, of course we all get hooked. We’ve all occasionally seen ourselves as victims of horrible people who do horrible things to hook us. But how many of us are willing to fess up to our own tendency to do the hooking? How many of us are brave enough to say, “I have been the hook-ER as well as the hook-EE.”? My guess is not many.

Here’s why: The part of living consciously that’s often the most challenging is the part where we have to look at our own uglies.

I’ll admit it. Healing my victim stuff was way easier than working on my perpetrator stuff. “Poor me” is much more fun than “Run! I’m an angry judgmental manipulative freak!” Of course, you can’t have one without the other. And if you get hooked, then most likely you’ve done some of your own hooking.

Truthfully, the uglies aren’t really all that ugly. They’re just unconsciousness. All that’s underneath them is this tiny scared part of you that has been trained to believe in really lame disempowering ideas.

Victim – Perpetrator – Rescuer

You’ve probably heard of the Drama Triangle. It consists of Victim, Perpetrator, and Rescuer. When your world-view is created from this model, you see everyone and every situation from one of these places. For instance, if you have “rescued” someone from their “victim” state, then maybe you expect them to thank you or behave in a certain way because, after all, you “rescued” them.

Let’s say they don’t. Let’s say they “betray” you instead. Then you become the victim. And they become the perpetrator. And the triangle shifts. Of course, all of it is in your own thoughts.

Most of us grew up with some sort of world-view like this. Stepping out of it is imperative.

Why we hook

This model creates disempowerment. It says, “I am not powerful. I am not responsible.” When you live from that space, you need rescuers. When you live from that space, you need to hook into other energies because your entire belief system is set up so that you can’t create the life you want. You have to learn how to “get” things for survival.

When we don’t believe in our own power to have something, or say no to something, or when we don’t believe we deserve something, we have to create a way to “get” it, or manipulate situations for it, or create a sad story to get out of something, or say no to something.

And that’s where the hooking comes in.

How we hook

How do you hook people? How do you try to gain leverage by getting an emotional reaction, rather than asking for what you want? There are so many ways we can hook others, especially in our intimate relationships. Only you can know and become aware of your own masterful hooking techniques. (If you’re brave, share some in the comments. This can really help other people who can’t spot their own stuff yet. Be funny about it. It’s pretty laughable!)

Here are a few examples:

Ultimatums, especially subtle ones – Instead of sitting down with an employee and discussing issues maturely, you say, “You know, there are lots of people out there calling me for this job.”

Accusations, especially subtle ones
– Instead of listening to thoughts and concerns of citizens who were opposed to the war, members of the Republican party accused these citizens of being unpatriotic.

Sob stories – Instead of calling your friends and saying, “I’m not going to make it to the party tonight. I need a night to myself,” you call and whine about how awful your life is and round up lots of sympathy so you feel justified in making a decision to take care of yourself.

Veiled anger – Your spouse hasn’t helped you clean up the kitchen in a while. You get angry. Instead of talking it out, you stand in his office doorway and say, “Are you ever going to help me clean the kitchen again?”

Using high voltage language or exaggeration – A funny example of this was in an episode of Friends. A car backfired, but Ross had thought it was a gunshot in the moment. Even when he found out it was only a car backfiring, he told everyone he had a near death experience. The following scene with he and Rachel is hysterical.

The hooking process is a feeding of sorts. You’re trying to feed off of another’s emotional response to get more energy for your cause or drama or need. Emotional energy is highly powerful. Advertisers know this. Marketers know this. News directors know this. Emotional energy fuels sales, ratings, and stock market shifts.

Emotional energy also fuels unconscious people. They haven’t learned how to tap into a deeper source. They haven’t learned how to find joy and inspiration on their own, so they try to “get” it from others, and there are many out there who will gladly give it to them.

Remember, we attract people who resonate with us at our current level. Raise your current level and attract different people. It’s as simple as that. Begin with your own behavior.

11 Ways to Quit Being a Hooker

1 Re-read and Practice each of the 9 Steps in 9 Surefire Ways to Become Un-hookable

It’s really all the same energy. Those practices will help in both behaviors.

2Always, always, always watch your motivations

Start asking yourself, “What’s motivating me now?” Do this often. If you find that fear is your motivator (fear of losing something, fear of missing something, fear of not being liked) step back and shift that. Don’t act from that space. Take some time to re-evaluate your actions.

3Create a container for your feelings

Let someone know when you’re tempted to hook.

For a while, I had to let friends know if I was about to engage in unhealthy behavior. Say, for instance, I hadn’t been invited to a party. Say I was tempted to hook into a friend who had been invited. Instead of hooking, I would shift into the truth. I would say something like, “Okay, I don’t want your sympathy. I just feel rejected. Can you allow me to talk without feeling sorry for me?” Claim your feelings without blaming or being manipulative.

You can also say, “I’m feeling really ugly right now. I don’t want to be in this place. But I need to make a container to let it out. Can you listen to me?” This works best if the person is not the same one about whom you’re feeling the emotions. Try to do this with an objective friend. Don’t collude.

4Say No

I was having a conversation with someone who has advanced breast cancer. She said, “The best part about cancer is that I can say no to people. All I have to do is say the word “cancer,” and I get out of obligations.” She was being sort of funny. But she meant it. I encouraged her to know that someday she could be completely healthy and not have to have cancer to say no. That is a form of hooking. It is the ultimate in disempowerment. “I have to be sick in order to say no.”

Repeat this constantly: “If it’s not an ABSOLUTE YES, it’s a NO.” That goes for purchases. That goes for events. That goes for nights out with friends. That goes for lunch dates. Everything. And you have permission to say no WITHOUT giving a sob story, or getting someone to feel sorry for you, or being sick.

5Get your fuel from a healthy source

Start getting your energy from deeper and more healthy sources. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy foods. Meditate. Pray. Do deep breathing. Exercise. Stop trying to get energy from emotional feeding sessions and anxiety.

6
Ask for what you want. Don’t whine for it.

This is freedom. Start to ask for what you want. You can begin sentences with, “What would it take to be able to?” Or “Would it be possible for me to?” Or, “Is there any way I could?” There’s language for this. Work on it. Begin to believe that you can have what you want. Ask for it.

7
Change your belief system

Get out of the Drama Triangle. See yourself as deserving. See yourself as getting to have a great happy easy effortless life doing exactly what you want to be doing. This is a process. Begin with affirmations.

Allow serendipity. Have faith. Ernest Holmes wrote about seeing the universe as this amazing energy that is there to say yes to your every want and need. I love that image. I love the idea of living each day knowing that you are surrounded by nothing but Love and Yes.

8Admit to your emotions and hurts without trying to enlist people

Much of what I write about in this blog is for those of us with deep emotions. If Steve Pavlina is “Personal Development for Smart People.” Then I am “Personal Development for Artistic People.”

I believe our emotions are fantastic guidance for us. I also believe that we can use our emotions as hooks. There are ways of expressing emotions without hooking, without enlisting people in our drama. Begin doing this.

Then, learn how to have your emotions without hooking yourself into them.

9
Get Bored

Sit on your couch and do nothing for 10 minutes a day. Don’t read. Don’t listen to music. Don’t watch TV. Don’t meditate.

This is the profound spiritual practice called “just sitting there.” Part of our addiction to drama and emotions and hooking is because we are so accustomed to filling every last space that we don’t know what to do with ourselves when there’s no drama. Getting bored gives you some practice.

10Watch your choice of language

Hookers know the power of a well-placed word. “Are you ever going to help clean the kitchen?” is different from “Can you help me clean the kitchen?” Words like “always” and “never” feed the drama. “Everybody thinks so” isn’t true. Watch these subtle but powerful communication techniques.

11Respond rather than react

This is a biggie. Remember that how you handle the situation IS the situation. You always have a choice of reacting, flying off the handle, manipulating someone, or stepping back, taking a breath, remembering your center, and choosing a response.

—-

When I started this series, I had no idea how deep it would take me. I also had no idea how much information I would be providing. I know that this can seem like a lot. But believe me, I wouldn’t be writing about it if I hadn’t worked at it deeply. This work has changed me radically. I am so grateful to be who I am today, even in my slip-ups and mistakes. I know this stuff works. Just take your time. And don’t forget to set your intent.

16 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Pat K.

    Pema Chodron (A Buddhist Nun) speaks about getting hooked. Buddhists call it your Shenpa. Take a look at some of her books (or a listen.) I have 4 of her books on CD and she is wonderful to listen to. She is the perfect person to explain in easy to understand Westernized terms, the philosophies of the East.

  • Laine

    I’ve just recently discovered your blog and I just want to say thank you! I know this “hooker/hookee/unhook” series is a couple of years old, but, man! They all hit me right between the eyes! I think it was Gary Zukav who said (a long time ago) that if we really drill down, we’ll find that we’re motivated by one of two things: either by fear or by love. Being motivated by fear is the one that causes me to be a hooker every single time. Thanks for the chance to do some much needed soul searching, and for some concrete ideas on how to unhook.

  • christine

    Hi Lisa! I’m glad you found me! Oh boy, I really encourage you to stick with the green tea thing. (Really, try Genmaicha…it’s very very good.) Hmmm, I don’t know why you’d have problems listening at this point. (did you try all three of the songs posted?) The other option is to go to the “CD’s and Lyrics” page on my site…there’s Real Player samples of all the songs.

    Thanks for writing in…

  • Lisa Mischke

    Hi,
    Found your blog by searching “quitting caffeine.” and have been reading for
    over an hour. It’s been really helpful! Thank you! I’m struggling with Green
    Tea and all its attendant caffeinated thrills.

    I tried to listen to a tune
    but I don’t think it was working (and yes I have Flash). Hmmm.

    Lisa
    Singer, teacher, conductor.
    Eugene, OR

  • christine

    kathy, Okay…but don’t forget all of the great things about you as well. I, too, had to come to the grim realization that my biting sense of humor could so easily be used to harm. It was a painful thing to look at! Just be kind to you! Thanks for writing all that…

    David, Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll put it in my amazon shopping cart!

    Delmar… not really political anymore when it comes right down to it. politics doesn’t reach people. kindness and spirit do! (but yea…i get a little annoyed by the right.)

    Barb… Friends is my guilty pleasure! Allow me that occasional dive into mainstream culture. Thanks for the note. Sounds like you’re taking good care of yourself. Great!

  • barb

    good post. I have some thinking to do. I need to think about my (self defined) sense of humor. I can see some hooks there. BUT Christine “Friends”.?? Next thing you’ll tell us is something from “The Class” oops, I think that is my sense of humor…..
    I hope a comment on a previous post is Okay. wanted to share my adventure. I took today off as a mental health day. I made no plans but needed to be out of the house while my friend cleaned it (my splurge, I rather shop for clothes). there is a little park a mile or so from my house and every time I drove past, I’d say, I need to go there. today I did. and what a neat place. Some of you know that I am addicted to bird watching to the point of stopping in mid-sentence to listen to a bobwhite. I saw an early migrant, black and white warbler. Not only is autumn on the way but I have a new place to discover. My adventure will take several days as ther are a lot of trails and a lot of birds. any way, low keyed but just what I needed and need.. (the 5 in me will take over and I will try to be the expert) take care all barb b

  • Delmar

    Confession is good for the soul. Tipping our political party hand, are we?

  • David Jackson

    Hi Christine,
    Great series! I just want to add a pointer to one of my favorite authors, Suzette Haden Elgin. Suzette is a linguist and has written The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense books. She also has an amazing science fiction trilogy, but I digress.

    The Gentle Art series is about verbal hooking paterns and how to unhook in conversation. Reading one of these will help you understand verbal abuse, how it is used, and how we participate. The original books are out of print and can be found at most used book stores.

    be well

  • Kathy

    uh oh. This is hitting me where it hurts. I’m an oldest. I think we’re bred to “hook.” My family called it teasing but in reading this post, I realize it was me trying to hook – to get emotional reactions from family members – to feed my ego that I could do that. Many of the hooks were to make people laugh but my sisters will tell you that some were designed to make them cry. I am not proud of this, and I have grown up now and am out of the “need to tease” my sisters phase, but I can read myself all over this post of yours. Gulp! I am also guilty of having had “the fear of missing something.” I need to do some more reflection on this and make sure I’m not still hooking with my language or motivations or still falling victim to the “fear of missing something.” Finding (and a week ago marrying!) my soul mate has really helped me say no to every invitation that comes along….but I used to be known for it – all a friend had to do was say “Kathy do you want to….” and I said yes… to everything and anything. I totally get that is a bad thing now but back then I’d have died rather than miss something fun. Thanks for the poignant, relevant thoughts on this topic. I can see I’ve got some work to do.

  • christine

    Hi Caren, Thanks for your honesty. I remember doing things exactly like that in an old relationship way back when. You’re right…it’s insidious and it feels awful. It’s great to wake up though! Thanks for such a great comment. (yes, these have been thought-provoking…for me as well!)

  • Caren

    In your original posts about avoiding being hooked, I was thinking about a time recently I was the hooker (!), so I’m glad to see this post. I’m thinking these have been some deep posts, hence the fewer-than-normal comments… this has to be taken in and thought about, and looked at. Anyway, this was a couple of years ago… I was in a “relationship” (and I use that word loosely) with someone who obviously did not care for me. I didn’t see that at the time, it was just that they were so *busy*, and were earning their doctorate, and we lived far apart, and they didn’t really know how to have an intimate relationship because they had been adopted… etc., etc. (Thank Goddess for “He’s Just Not That Into You!”) I had never been in a relationship like that before, up ’til then they had been relatively healthy… Anyway, there must have been a part of me that knew, ’cause I overheard some mean comments some of his students made about him… and passed them on to him. I could *feel* how wrong it was as I was doing it… and did it anyway. I wanted him to know he wasn’t perfect, that not *everyone* worshipped him. I wanted him to be in pain, too. Even though, at the time, I didn’t recognize I was even *in* pain! This stuff is insidious. Grateful for continued awareness…

    Oh, yeah – “The Language of Letting Go” for August 10th talks about being hooked… I had never really heard that phrase before, and here it is everywhere all at once. Not that there’s anything for me to look at.. lol

  • christine

    Hi Anne, You were lucky. I was ALL into drama in high school! What a great recognition you had. I’m glad this post helps, too!

    marykatherine, wow. I’ve read Pema Chodron, but I’ve never heard her use that expression. Very interesting. Thanks for thinking of me. That’s good company!

  • mary katherine

    Just wanted to let you know that you’re in good company. I caught the last few minutes of an interview with Pema Chodron on PBS last night as she mentioned being hookable. Two very cool women thinking about the same things…

  • anne

    Hi Christine,
    Fantastic series of posts. Lots to think about and practice. As a teenager, I could never get into the girly drama of my peers and of course, at the time, that made me feel very external to the whole world of teenage girls. As an adult, I realize that attempting to be external to someone’s drama is a pretty good goal! There’s so much of it these days – drama that is. We all have to work really hard to avoid getting sucked in. Thanks for helping us along that more conscious path.
    Anne