The Dragon, the Mouse & Brene Brown
Today we are talking about those relationships that require us to be small, unwell or broken in order to feel accepted by them or to be emotionally safe with them. You know the ones I am talking about…the ones where we feel small and even make ourselves small…
We often don’t recognize we are in these relationships for a long time, especially when we have not yet wrapped our head around the belief that we are healthy and deserving of safety, love and respect no matter what the situation, because it just fits with our world belief that people would treat us this way.
Yet without any conscious awareness, we will
I don’t know about you, but when I see it all laid out that way, it sounds pretty miserable, not something I would sign up for! Yet we have ALL had these relationships. Some of us may still be in relationships like this now; with our friends, partners, parents, siblings, co-workers or bosses. For some of us, that might be the only kind of relationship we know how to have! The question is, WHY?
It seems to be like this…we are a dragon
In this situation, we often become anxious about interacting with people, it becomes threatening because every interaction requires resources from us, to put on this show. We also become anxious when with people because we are always worried they will figure it out, that they will see we aren’t really a mouse and they will reject us.
Then we may tell ourselves we are actually a loner, that we don’t even really like people, or we drink or use drugs to get rid of that anxiety when around people or when alone to avoid all those feelings that come up when we are with ourselves. Some of us become promiscuous as a way of avoiding real intimacy and connection or we become prickly and hostile towards others so they leave us alone, or we just isolate ourselves and avoid all together…you have probably picked up on the fact that none of these are healthy, and this is definitely not an exhaustive list.
So what do we do about this?
All change starts with AWARENESS and DISLIKING it. There are many ways we can go from there; we can consciously start standing up for ourselves, mentally rehearsing being our strong and healthy self (dragon) to our relationships, even practicing doing that with strangers on the street or at the grocery store or coffee shop. The approach that will have the best results will be to focus on the belief that we DESERVE to listen to our strong and healthy self, that we deserve to be healthy, safe, respected and loved, no matter what the situation.
You can expect this will likely bring some strong feelings with it, feelings of anger towards others, for how they have treated you and feelings of shame and regret for having allowed them to do so, along with a healthy dose of sadness. It is common to want to distract ourselves from these feelings by beating ourselves up, but it is actually impossible to connect and pass feelings when we are judging or evaluating ourselves. So when you catch yourself doing that, go back to focusing on having compassion for yourself and return to the feeling.
Watch this 5 min video about who to share our Shame stories with…