So, I want to share with you an example of Inner growth… and processing and releasing trauma. It’s a very personal example that reflects my process of becoming aware of my childhood trauma of being neglected and disrespected and how it showed up with my life partner decades later.
And this might be something you can very well relate to either in your current relationship, one you’ve had in the past or maybe anticipating for the future.
Since my partner is a very private person, I’m not going to refer to him by name because I want to respect his privacy.
But there’s a piece in our dynamic that I want to tell you about because I think it’s an important example of processing your troubling emotions… such as in this instance, self-doubt and shame.
So, first we gotta go back to my childhood – I grew up in a very volatile, unpredictable, and often unsafe childhood. I had a mother who would ignore me. And she would ignore questions that I would ask her. And I knew full well that she knew I was speaking to her.
Or she would brush me off with just a “I don’t want to talk right now.” That was childhood trauma in which the message was, over-and-over again, “I don’t matter.”
And that was then… but let’s bring that around to my partner and the situation that triggered those same feelings of being ignored and disrespected.
Now my partner’s concentration is laser focused. He has an admirable sense of concentration when he is reading or reviewing something.
And so, what would happen is that I would ask him a question and he would be involved in reading or concentrating on something, and he wouldn’t answer me.
And all I could think of was that he’s ignoring me… and of course that felt rotten and triggered me… feeling like I was being ignored. And then I would start a fight with him, I’d say something snotty, blame him and stomp out.
But to be clear, he wasn’t ignoring me, and I realized that once I could connect the dots with this situation and understanding that the feelings were flowing from that old trauma wound.
First, I recognized in the emotions work that I do, that when this occurred between him and me – that not getting an answer from him led to a feeling of being disrespected.
I was able to see the pattern that harkened back to my childhood.
And I talked to him about it.
And it became very clear that he wasn’t ignoring me deliberately or disrespecting me. It was simply him being him and having this deep sense of concentration where he didn’t hear me – that was what was throwing me off.
So, we worked it through. And this is what we came up with: When I would ask him a question, if he heard me, he would say: “I’m thinking.”
And by saying that, I would know that he heard me, and he was formulating an answer.
Now on the other hand, if he was in deep concentration and didn’t hear me – of course, there wouldn’t be any answer… because he’s just in the throes of deep concentration on something else, right?
So, I would know that I needed to ask the question again and no longer attach any sort of shameful meaning to it.
To be clear, my partner is a great listener and puts that same concentrated focus on me when we’re talking. I feel really heard.
But earlier in our relationship before I worked it out and then took it up with him, that was a run-away dynamic that weighed heavy on our relationship.
And I just want to digress here for a moment and say that this is the sort of tricky stuff that we need to work through when we are grappling with troubling emotions that are anchored in trauma.
And now here we are in adulthood and smack dab in front of it!
So it was a big deal for me in our relationship that could have continued to get out of hand if I didn’t have the tools to feel into what was going on with me.
This is a reminder for you too as you work through things. It’s a learned process to do the Inner work that reflects what we need to do in our outer work, if you will.
And being able to address these things with others who are in your environment – whether it’s your intimate relationship, your family or friends, or your workplace.
I would really like to hear from you on this. And find out if this is a sticky wicket for you or a version of this… and what your experience has been. How did you resolve it… or is it still festering? Drop down into the comments section and let me know, OK?
I’m Becca Williams and I want you lead your most magnificent life and I want to help you do that.