Since Family Issues can get triggered this time of year (or any time and with anyone!), I decided to share this deep process I undertook around a text message!
“I’m SO ABSOLUTELY grateful for each one of you. XOXOXOXOXOOXxxxooooxx.
And the fact that I am grateful means my commitment to you is the same as my commitment to me (sometimes almost more–I’m still working on that!)
It also means sometimes sharing vulnerably about the ‘edge of my own evolution’ is the best and most personal gratitude present I can give you. (Besides the session discount I offered a few days ago).
This little/big gift is to share this JYN I did a while back when I noticed I was having abandonment fear about reading a text.
I had confronted someone (not a family member) about not keeping an agreement with me and opened a discussion of what changes we could make moving forward. Sometimes when I am powerful and assertive, I still get scared that people will be mad that I asked for what I want in an unapologetic way (old programming).
I instantly went to beating myself up after our interaction:
I shouldn’t have been so hard on her. I shouldn’t have let her see my frustration. I shouldn’t have pointed the finger at what she is not doing. I shouldn’t have made her feel bad. I should have made her feel good.
So did the Wheel of Self-Love on it, got completely free of regret and self-doubt, texted an amends for part I was unhappy with, and moved on. Slept like a baby, compared to my former “regret hell” way of life.
But the next morning, I got a text from this person. Adrenalin flooded my body as if I were in a life-or-death situation.
After reading the first lines that showed up on my screen, my mind told me it was going to be an announcement that this person was backing out of our agreement altogether.
I felt scared and abandoned. For a brief moment, I was desperate to know things were OK.
I surmised it was in part because of something I said, but more because of her own harsh assessment of herself.
But I didn’t know that.
All I knew was that it scared me on a level that I rarely feel any more.
I cared about that ‘kicked in the stomach’ feeling that left me and my happiness ‘over there’ in the hands of another.
That feeling is now a red flag. It felt bigger than the situation at hand, a sign to me that a child was in the drivers’ seat.
I was determined to NOT open the text when I felt this emotional charge.
Whether it was good news or bad, I didn’t want the barometer of my safety and OKness to be outside myself again, like the old days.
So I stopped everything I was doing and….
I harvested those thoughts in one of my deepest ever JYNs. As you will see, if you go deeply and just ‘let it talk,’ the old programming is very repetitive, has very limited vocabulary, and in this case was very reflexive (back and forth between blame and shame), and I just let it keep coming in the needs section until she (my littlest self) felt done.
Mostly it showed those of use who are parents or even spouses, work colleagues, or friends should not minimize the impact of our own self-hatred attitudes on our children or others. It became clear that my wonderful mom’s periodic disgust of herself, which ‘took her away from me and from what she wanted’ impacted me as much as if she had been blaming or punishing me. It was like there was no separation; I felt responsible either way, and my only job was to “get her back” at all costs by being who she wanted me to be…regretting my actions, learning to not trust what made sense to me, and hating myself for anything I might have done to drive her into blame or shame. From a child’s viewpoint, we decide we are responsible.
That is how I ran my relationships with men too. And I worked with someone recently who still feels responsible for her 85 year-old fathers reactions and feelings as she moved into midlife. It’s not unusual at all, in fact. This programming STAYS until we de-bunk it. That is what we are doing with this work.
So why, you may say, would i still have this reaction? All i can say is I used to live my life in this reactive place and am almost completely free of it now, and when I go into it, i usually move out of it quickly. If I don’t, that’s when i know I’ve stumbled on a place where the old programming is still driving the bus, and I take it seriously, and inquire into it.
What triggers me may still look like the enemy in the moment and i can still feel hopeless, clueless, scared or angry. And yet I know it’s not a bad thing. I know I’ve stumbled on a gold mine just waiting to be unearthed, which is what i did in this worksheet.
How has this reactive, entangled way of life been you? Where did you think that’s just ‘the way things are,’ and didn’t realize that real freedom can be had when you go in and let the litte one see through the faulty logic. Where have you let your safety and worth in the world depend on others’ perceptions and/or treatment of you, and you put the littlest parts of yourself in harm’s way in order to overcome fear of your own self-loathing or another’s anger? I have one client who has only been with me for less than 2 months and is COMPLETELY turning around his reaction to his wife’s explosive anger. He is beginning to know its not his fault, and to stand up for himself and his children.
Are you willing to put the littlest parts of you first and not leave your emotional well-being in the hands of whatever life might bring? I knew I didn’t want the tone of my day to be decided on whether she was pulling out on me or not. I wanted to be able to read that text without fear… having found within myself that unshakable inner safety and advocacy that means I won’t turn on myself, even if she does. That I WILL be OK, no matter what the outcome.
In this case, I didn’t actually do The Work on it. I felt myself lighten as I stayed with myself in a ‘no matter what’ way. I had to attend to work, then later opened and read the text without fear. She was thanking me for having confronted her and taking up on my suggestion to double down on something. And yet, even though it was OK, there was not that sense of ‘big relief.’ (I’m OK and worthy because she is still here). I had gotten to a place where I would be grateful for either outcome and not make myself unforgivable, even if she was hurt or angry.
Here is my Judge-Your-Neigbor worksheet:
“1. I am fearful about her because she is pulling out. I will regret what I said. If she leaves it will be really bad. I will never forgive myself. I will be lost and sad and hurt and it will hurt what we are trying to do and everything will fall apart.
- I want her to stay. I want her to forgive me. I want her to not react to what I said. I want her to not over-interpret my words.
- She should stay and try harder and work this out. She should be more involved, not less. She should not leave me.
(I pretty much had a hazy vision of our dining room in my head from here on out and it was no longer about this here-and-now person; the depth of feeling was about my mom.):
- I need her to forgive me. I need her to see that I was just frustrated. I need her to keep giving this a chance. I need her to not leave. I need her to not blame herself. I need her to not be mad at herself and pull out. I need her to not be mad at me and pull out. I need her to see me as OK and good. I need her to prove to me that I loved her well enough. I need her to see that I was just trying to support myself and her. I need her to know I’m not a bad girl (person); I need her to know she is not a bad person. I need her to not be mad at herself. I need her to know that I need her. I need her to not be mad at me. I need her to not be mad at herself. I need her to forgive me. I need her to forgive herself. To let me try again. To let me have another chance. To give herself another chance. I need her to know it isn’t her fault; she was doing the best she could. And it wasn’t my fault. I was doing the best I could. I need her to let it be OK to state my perception and ask for what I need. I need her to stay no matter what. I need her to work it out with me. To stay with me; to let me stay with her. To know that she is good. To know I am good. To know that I can help. To know what I’m not mad. To see that she needs me. To see that I have so much to give. To not give up on herself. To not give up on me. To not give up on our work together.
- She is mad at me. She is hurt. She is hard on herself. She is going to do what everyone does. She is going to pull out. (OLD BELIEFS THAT POURED OUT: When I ask for what I want or show even a little frustration, people pull out on me. They retaliate. It’s just matter of time. I will eventually drive them away. It’s not ok to ask for what I want. I have to keep agreeing to what works for them so they won’t be mad. So they won’t pull away from me. I can’t be mad. I can’t be frustrated. I can’t say what I really think. If I do, people will leave. I have to be nice. I have to make it up to them. I have to convince them to stay. I have to convince them that we will work it out. It’s my job to get them to come back.)
- I don’t ever want someone to retaliate or turn it on themselves and pull away from me again.”
I felt better and lighter as I let all these need statements pour out of me on #4. I didn’t even do TW, but went back to something I needed to attend to in the ‘grown-up’ world. Then, when I came back a few hours later, I was fine to read the text and knew I would be OK with either outcome.
This is what I want for you guys. To be THE ONE that stays with you no matter what, and takes care of the fearful projections rather than putting this littlest part of yourself out on the front lines to do things that scare her.
Its OK to make choices to “stretch, risk, or die” once we have worked through these things, but when you feel truly little or fear you will be left bleeding on the floor, then take care of YOU first.
Those of you who are in these programs have the tools now.
Just make it a way of life.
Paying it forward by sharing aspect of hitting the edge of my own evolution is my gift of gratitude for you and for all that you teach me.
I love you.
(And, by the way, she not only didn’t pull out but was grateful for my confrontation.)
Just click here to grab time to chat with me about evolving yourself in these amazingly efficient and dependable and freeing ways. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more about the new shorter mastermind group (Symmetry of Happiness Masterclass and Self-Connection Cocoon) or the new Symmetry of Self-Love Aligned Action Adventure!