The link to my Women For One article (would love love if you feel moved to scroll to the bottom and comment) right HERE.
I had a hissy fit with my teenage daughter.
She might be my Number One Replay Guru.
What I mean by “Replay” Guru is someone who didn’t just bug me one time, or a troubling relationship from the past, or a relationship that involved an “incident” so to speak, or with a friend or partner or family member there was a “thing”.
No….a Replay Guru is a person who when you regularly interact with them, it’s basically a Replay of the same exact dynamic replayed in a slightly different setting or on a different day. But almost the same conversation.
Over and Over. And Over.
Rewind….Click the “Play” button on the remote….watch the way she said THAT, then I said THIS, then she tensely said THAT, then I tensely said THIS, then she said what I said–only it was WRONG, then I said don’t put words in my mouth, then she said THAT, then I huffed and left the room.
OK, it’s funny NOW to me. Sort of.
A day later and after I texted her at school “I know I wasn’t listening to you, and I’m sorry and I love you, always” and she texted back “K”.
I’m amazed by how my sense of self (small “s” intentional), my ego, my demand for personal respect and/or agreement rises up like a creature from the Black Lagoon.
But it isn’t really a solid thing, the “ego”. It’s more like an energy, a defended little ball of energy that wants to curl up and never get hurt again by harsh words. It sends out defensive fire, as they say in war talk.
How did the little conversation begin, you ask?
Oh, we were arguing over a TELEVISION SHOW and how one of the characters SHOULD have acted, if they were a nice agreeable sort of person.
(No, you can’t see the replay, there will be 17 minutes of silence in that particular section of my life video).
Often when we have these fiery quick repeating replay conversations with people close to us in our lives (I actually did this for a few minutes) we’ll be very upset with ourselves, and the other person, and bounce back and forth between the two trying to figure out who is at fault.
The mind loves knowing who is to blame, in a threatening situation.
The far more interesting, and sometimes far more difficult, activity is to wonder what was frightening, just in the split second before the need to defend arose. You can’t have defense without feeling threatened, after all.
So I take a look.
I review the situation which is recorded in my own mind, from my perspective.
I find the moment where the most troubling feelings appeared inside me.
It was when I spoke out loud, after the final scene in this TV show where the main character heroine (who happens to be the age of my daughter) looked sad and dejected after asking a young man if he wanted to get a cup of coffee sometime, because she’s trying to “date” in her new freshman year at college.
The young man said to her “no, not really” and walked out of the room.
“He could have been nicer about it” I said, and explained how people can say “no” but do it super cool and smooth and kindly so that the other person hearing the “no” isn’t hurt.
My daughter said she much prefers direct, blunt, without explanation. “Who cares about saying it nice?!”
No! People should be polite, kind, gentle, and good listeners! They shouldn’t be rude, they should say no clearly with love, they shouldn’t leave someone disappointed.
This wasn’t necessary going through my mind consciously, but as I look closely now at this touchy moment, this is what I have to say if I give that intense voice some words.
That’s what finding the situation is all about, and staying very close to it so you can slow it way down and see what troubled you.
And it’s the first and most important step in going deep in The Work.
As I reflect upon the situation, I see if I were in the shoes of this TV character (the young woman) I’d feel horrible for a second, and then try to get over it, and probably avoid that guy if I ever saw him around campus.
How did my daughter get so confident?
Why do I get so disturbed by rejection….whether I am the one saying “no” or the other person?
Ack…..is this the Abandonment-Is-Terrible thing again? That ever-endless Top Hits Parade “I am abandoned” or “I could be abandoned” or “Do anything not to be abandoned” or “Abandoning Ship is the only way out of a difficult relationship”.
I realize as I sit with this situation that I was sure our main character in the TV show would be hurt, feel rejected, feel rejectable, feel unworthy, and contract into herself.
My daughter did not see it the same way.
And in fact, my daughter doesn’t treat me with kid gloves, doesn’t hold back, expresses herself quite simply and clearly, and assumes I can handle what she has to say.
By looking at this situation very closely, and not fast-forwarding into the future…..I can feel an old wound in my side, in my heart.
A belief that says “people can hurt me” or “Rejection can happen any moment, and it’s bad” or “hearing or saying ‘No’ means someone did something wrong”…..
…..all of which boil down to “I need to be liked, she needs to be liked, they need to be liked, he needs to be liked, everyone needs to be liked.”
I’ve got my underlying belief laid out in front of me, ready for inquiry.
I wanted my daughter to agree with me, and like me, and share the belief I’ve had since I was a little kid…..that being liked is fundamental for survival, and abandonment must be avoided, that NOT being liked is actually happening in that moment, and it’s dangerous.
Is it true?
“Who started the war? I did. She just told the truth. And I start to punish her for being more enlightened than I am. If there is a war in my life, I started it. There’s no exception. If the war ends in my life, I end it. I end it, or it doesn’t end. No exception.” ~ Byron Katie in Who Would You Be Without Your Story
Much love, Grace
P.S. Eating Peace Webinar on Control: The Harder Way Is Easier (no cost) Monday 5-6:30 pm Pacific Time. Click HERE to get all the information in your Inbox with the link to join on Monday.