I confess! I was listening to Dr. Laura the other day in the car. She mentioned how dogs often take emotional cues from their masters, just as kids may be afraid of something because their parents have "warned" them it will be scary. The idea of taking cues from our "masters" and subconsciously mirroring those feelings sort of stuck with me.
We just returned from a trip and getting back into the swing of things has been stressful. My husband has been irritable, short-tempered and no fun to be around as he has had to deal with making up for all the work that has stockpiled while he was away. Yesterday I was so weepy and I couldn't understand why I was so down until I stopped and put one and one together. I was personalizing so much of my husband's stress, just like the dog taking cues from his master.
I thought of teens who get pulled into behaviors they wouldn't have otherwise chosen or women that become destroyed by emotional abuse. They allow someone else to become their "master" and have undue control over what they feel.
I once saw a newscast about a woman who was kidnapped and raped for two days before she was released. The journalist questioning her asked if this would destroy her life but I remember her bravely shaking her head and saying, "This man stole two days of my life, why would I let him steal one more second." She vowed that she was going to put it behind her and live every day she had left to its fullest. For her, she was the master. That type of emotionally "self-mastery" is a powerful gift that we can each aspire to.