In my work, I do a lot of teaching and rarely do I ever receive negative feedback. These past few weeks have been the exception.
Nobody likes to get negative feedback. But my response, over the past few weeks, has been disproportionately dramatic — anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, shame. Always a clue that I’ve hit upon unresolved trauma.
(Or, as they say, another fucking growth opportunity.)
So, as difficult and painful as it has been, these past weeks has been a period of rapid personal growth. So rapid, in fact, that I’m actually experiencing vertigo.
Here is a summary of what I am learning:
- Negativity of any kind directed towards me reminds me of a deep, deep wound that I have only recently uncovered that has to do with things that happened to me before I was consciously aware.
- I learned about these wounds through dream work. Dreams go there. Any kind of trauma that is currently impacting your spiritual growth will be revealed to you in your dreams whether you consciously remember these wounds or not.
- Negativity directed towards me scratches at a core belief that I have been unconsciously carrying all these years that I am so unworthy that I could fall in a well and no one would bother to fish me out. My inner dialogue: “That guy in the parking lot just gave me a dirty look! The woman at the checkout counter thinks I’m annoying! Michael didn’t post my testimonial because he hated it!” My brain reverts to the belief that I am a no good, piece of shit.
- I have spent a lifetime trying to avoid experiencing any kind of negativity directed at me. Any kind of criticism, rejection, blame, you name it, it all triggers this wound. I’ve worked hard to avoid these things via people pleasing, chasing after awards and recognition, obsessing over the approval of my parents in particular, and abandoning myself for any kind of positive attention from others.
- Because I deep part of me held onto the idea that I didn’t deserve respect, there was a part of me who, for years, didn’t treat myself with respect. This explains why I struggled with addiction, impulsive behaviors and why at times my emotions have been difficult to control, especially around people I can trust (basically my husband, bless his heart).
- When negativity is directed at me, various parts of my personality become activated. I have a very busy team of hard working crisis response actors.
Here they are:
- The Runner. She’s the one who quits anything at the first sign of conflict. She is the one who stays quiet, who’d rather just avoid other humans altogether.
- The Fighter. She’s the one who points the finger, blames other people and finds fault instead of taking an honest look in the mirror because that would be too shameful.
- The Pleaser. She’s the one who perseverates when she believes she is in trouble, tries to win people over, scans the room for any signs disapproval of any kind.
- The Obsessor. She’s the one with the exhausting job of obsessing over all the ways she might be in danger of further rejection, thinking up endless strategies around what she might do to avoid these, haven’t yet happened, future scenarios.
- The Addict. And then there’s this other part of me who just wants to disappear. She’s the one who wants to get high, eat, or shop her way into oblivion. Anything to escape the pain of all the anxiety and fear that rejection brings about in my body.
All of these hard-working parts have one goal: to protect the terrified child inside of me who still believes she is in danger because she has no one and is unloveable.
I’m not telling you this for CARE icons.
I’m telling you this to make a point.
Someone sent me negative feedback and someone else was rude to me in one of my classes and instead of quitting my job or obsessing over how to get everyone to like me again while getting high and eating everything in sight then falling into fits of rage over how horrible people are, I’m using this trigger to evolve.
Every setback, no matter how difficult, heart breaking or painful, carries with it an opportunity for personal evolution.
I am NOT my crisis response team. I am the one who observes the crisis response team with curiosity and compassion.
Here’s how I do it:
- I notice when I’m triggered and *try* not to respond until my nervous system has had a chance to chill.
- I try not to identify with any one of my crisis response team members and, instead, I try to hit the pause button and get curious about the trigger.
- I ask God, the Angels, my Guides to help me see what I am supposed to learn from the situation and I set a strong intention to do so.
- I do a lot of journaling about what is coming up and what I’m noticing.
- I give myself a ton of compassion and forgiveness, especially when I screw up and run, fight, fawn, numb, obsess, or spend too much on shoes.
- I let myself feel the anxiety and, even though it hurts, I remind myself that it won’t last forever.
- I keep journaling my observations until, eventually, the anxiety moves and I feel like writing a blog post. LOL.
- I rest. Healing is exhausting, mentally, physically and emotionally.
- I celebrate the healing. I thank my spirit helpers. I honor the people who helped me learn these lessons even if they were the initial source of stress.
It’s early but already I feel so much less fearful of rejection because I know I’m not a piece of shit. I know I am worthy of love. I know that if I fell into a well, there’d be a lot of people looking for me. I feel a deeper understanding of the role that other people can play in my evolution. I feel lighter. More grateful. Less fearful.
So here’s the point:
My Crisis Response Team is loud. But hiding isn’t where the healing is. The healing comes from being in life, letting other people be other people. Getting curious when other people being other people triggers you.
So if you made it this far, thank you. Would you share one thing your crisis response team does to protect you in the comments below?
Looking for support on your healing journey? I have a few opportunities available for personal coaching or coach mentoring. Click here to apply. If you’d like to get on a waiting list to do dream work with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org