Sunday, August 9, 2020

The invitation of disappointment

In any close relationship, we will inevitably disappoint the other and let them down. This can be incredibly activating, especially if privileging another’s wellbeing over our own was the primary way we received mirroring, love, and attention.

In a field of narcissistic organization, we are not seen as a subject in our own right, but as an object in the perceptual field of another. Our sense of worth is derived by how well we can regulate and care for the emotional needs of that other. Especially at a young age, this is a very tenuous situation to be placed in.

Deep in our cell tissue, this early template has a way of leaking into our adult relationships. We will do anything to not disappoint, for to do so opens the doorway to unbearable shame, anxiety, and unfelt rage.

What is it like for you to disappoint someone? To let them down? To fail at living up to their expectations, no matter how hard you try?

What feeling state will you do just about anything to avoid? What are the core beliefs that arise in response to this feeling? What are the behaviors you engage to either repress or urgently seek to purge this feeling from your experience?

What do you imagine the consequences will be if you are not able to “make them happy,” or remove their anxiety, emptiness, and the pain of their unlived life?

Will you be abandoned if you disappoint them? The target of rage and attack? Will you be shamed? Unsafe? Loaded up with guilt? Should you just go ahead and try to make them feel better at all costs, even if detrimental to your own integrity?

To what degree have you come to organize your life around the unconscious belief that your role is to urgently heal, fix, and cure the other when they are upset, struggling, and suffering?

And for those who identify as healers of any kind, what does it mean about us if we are not healing, but disappointing?

It’s some very rich territory that we can explore, as archeologists of soul; a whole fountain of sacred data we can mine and fill with light. It is an act of mercy and compassion to take some time and explore this, for both ourselves and others.

My new book - A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times - is now available for pre-order at Amazon and will be published by Sounds True in November. Learn more about the book (including a full list of online retailers) and early editorial reviews and endorsements here

We've decided to leave our monthly online community, Befriending Yourself, open for enrollment during these uncertain and challenging times. For more information, please visit the course page here