The Real Reason We Get Hooked By Difficult People

Look around the space you’re in. You are seeing the thoughts you hold in your mind, “pieces” of You, projected out from your mind into a million trillion conflicting forms, all seemingly real and ALL organized for one sole ego purpose — to keep you mesmerized by the picture and believing that this world is real.

In choosing to listen to the voice of the ego, we opted to use the power of God to make ourselves forget that we ARE God’s one Son. This is what A Course in Miracles refers to as the “great amnesia” (T-19.IV.D.3). This amnesia plays out on a large scale as we look at the purpose of the world itself, which is to “hide from truth,” (T-18.III.1) but we can also see this amnesia playing out in our every waking moment as well, if we are willing to look.

Recently, I was at a holiday gathering and heard a relative tell an inappropriate and crass joke about binge drinking despite the fact that a close family member of this same person died from complications due to alcoholism. “That’s not funny,” I thought to myself in silent judgment. My anger arose as I thought about how denial of substance abuse has been an entrenched family pattern that has traveled in my family for generations. In trying to quell my increasing anger and irritation, I thought, “They live in total denial. They are simply refusing to wake up.” I felt justified in this thought, and rested in my righteousness. “They are refusing to wake up.” I was innocent, they were guilty.

Let’s call this crass body, “Uncle Morty” (humorously dubbed so by my friend and fellow author Alan Cohen, and my apologies to anyone reading named Morty!). We all have an “Uncle Morty.” The relative, the politician, the colleague who knows exactly what to do to press our buttons and elicit judgment, condemnation, and even horror within us. “They don’t get it. They are in their ego. Their rhetoric is offensive. They are still asleep.” Sound familiar?

Not surprisingly, even after days passed, I still felt unsettled and angry about this experience with my proverbial “Uncle Morty.” That is, until I had a conversation with my mom, also a dedicated student of the Course. “Uncle Morty is a reflection of the part of your own mind that does not want to wake up,” she said. That stopped me in my tracks. There was the “great amnesia” showing up yet again. This situation offered me bait to stay asleep to my Self, and I had taken it. But my mom’s words immediately created the space I needed for a miracle to enter my mind.

“However much you wish he be condemned, God is in him.” (T-26.IX.1)

Whoever may play the role of “Uncle Morty” in your life, that person is there to either help YOU stay fixated on the dream of righteous judgment (according to the ego’s purpose) or they are there to help YOU wake up (if you allow Holy Spirit to re-purpose the relationship). When they press your buttons, they are playing out their part perfectly, presenting you with an opportunity to again choose your answer to this question:

“How long, O Son of God, will you maintain the game of sin? Shall we not put away these sharp-edged children’s toys? How soon will you be ready to come home? Perhaps today? There is no sin. Creation is unchanged. Would you still hold return to Heaven back? How long, O holy Son of God, how long?” (Workbook Part II, 4. What is Sin?)

This isn’t about Uncle Morty’s awakening, it’s about YOUR willingness to waken. Are you willing to question EVERY belief that you hold, which is what we’re asked to do as Course students?

“To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make. For a decision is a conclusion based on everything that you believe.” (T-24, Introduction)

When we are triggered by “Uncle Morty,” we have a grand opportunity to look WITH the Holy Spirit at the beliefs we hold in our own minds, thus moving us into action as miracle workers.

I often ask myself this question when I get hooked, “What is this situation showing me that I believe?” Here are some of my uncovered beliefs that the “Uncle Morty’s” in my life have given me the chance to look at when I’ve felt rattled (and I encourage you to make your own list as well):

  • I believe that this world should be just
  • I believe that the picture “out there” in the world should look differently
  • I believe that I’m Corinne and a body
  • I believe that “they” are a body
  • I believe that there is “good” and “bad” in the world
  • I believe the separation really happened

Once these beliefs are brought out to the light, I feel each one, own that it is in my mind, and then individually give those beliefs to Holy Spirit, asking for the miracle instead. I encourage you to do the same with your own list.

In uncovering our beliefs and bringing them to Spirit, we are literally demonstrating our willingness to be shown the truth, instead of our deciding how it needs to look on the level of form. In looking at these beliefs, I am willing to not stay in the “great amnesia” but instead open myself to an experiential certainty of knowing that “this world is not [my] home” (T-25.VI.6). In questioning these beliefs, I am also withdrawing the ego’s modus operandi to project blame outside of myself, and instead acknowledge that I am the dreamer of this dream.

“The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself.” (T-27.VIII.10)

So will you let “Uncle Morty” be your savior? Will you let “Uncle Morty,” as a reflection of the beliefs you cherish in your mind, be your call to action in choosing to withhold nothing from Spirit?

“Let me behold my savior in this one You have appointed as the one for me to ask to lead me to the holy light in which he stands, that I may join with him.” (ACIM Workbook Lesson 78)

The real reason we get hooked by difficult people is because there is part of our own mind that does not want to awaken. Getting hooked by the “other” is how we give the ego a banquet and literally feed it through our own judgment, strengthening our belief that there is in fact, an “other.” Owning this unwillingness to heal has been key for me in healing debilitating anxiety and in experiencing abundant miracles.

“The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you: Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant, and there let Him release you. He needs only your willingness to share His perspective to give it to you completely. And your willingness need not be complete because His is perfect. It is His task to atone for your unwillingness by His perfect faith, and it is His faith you share with Him there. Out of your recognition of your unwillingness for your release, His perfect willingness is given you. Call upon Him, for Heaven is at His call. And let Him call on Heaven for you.” (T-16.VI.12)

Instead of seeing “Uncle Morty” as an obstacle to peace, would you be willing to see him as a vehicle to peace? A vehicle that drives you to choose again, choosing more deeply for love than ever before? But remember, choosing for love means choosing to turn to the Holy Spirit, because it’s Spirit’s job to “choose love” FOR us. We don’t know how to choose love, but we can allow Spirit in our own mind to make that choice for us. The vehicle to peace is therefore propelled forward by willingness to turn to Spirit within, to withhold nothing and question everything in the mind, even our own unwillingness to wake up.

The next time you are triggered by an “Uncle Morty” practice these action steps:

  • Be wholly honest with yourself about how you feel.
  • Engage in the exercise above, “What is this situation showing me that I believe?”
  • As you think of the “other” who triggered you, say to yourself, “This is me not wanting to wake up.” Allow your compassion to increase.
  • Find your willingness and offer it to Holy Spirit within, asking for the miracle instead.
  • Trust that the answer IS THERE, the instant you’re ready to receive it.

My “Uncle Morty’s” have given me a desire to wake up that is stronger than ever. For that, I am deeply grateful. I stand with you in your desire to awaken as well.

The Real Reason We Get Hooked By Difficult People was last modified: February 20th, 2017 by Corinne Zupko

All quotes are from the Foundation for Inner Peace edition of A Course in Miracles.

“A Course in Miracles”conflict defense Holy Spirit Willingness

Originally published at on February 21, 2017.