Being that my niche as a life coach is focused on heartbreak, healing, and transformation, I have a lot of clients who come to me with trust issues, due to painful events that transpired in their past.
I was inspired by a very dedicated client this past week, who was ashamed that she felt triggered when the new guy she is seeing, was spending a long time chatting with a platonic girlfriend while they were all out.
So far, he has given her NO reason to think he’d pull the same kind of hurtful moves previous boyfriends have played out with her, but still, her trigger was real and the frustration that the trigger even happened, left her feeling ashamed and scared that she’d “ruin the relationship because she’s got “trust stuff.”
CAN ANYONE ELSE RELATE?
Oooooh I SO CAN.
Even when my intellectual brain KNOWS “this guy is way different,” my emotional child brain will still look for other ways the relationship could go south.
So Sarah wanted an ACTION PLAN for what to do the next time this happens.
This is what we all want.
In the same way an overweight person wants to just be told what to eat and how many calories she needs to burn instead of GOING TO THE ROOT of her over-eating issues (which is why most people will gain the weight back), we want to know WHAT TO SAY or HOW TO ACT as a way to prevent “ruining” the relationship.
But we gotta go to the BRAIN FIRST.
What are the thoughts you’re thinking while watching your lovely guy talk to a girl he introduced to you as a friend?
Sarah’s thought was, “I knew it— another guy who’s going to f#%$ me over like all the others.”
It didn’t help that alcohol and it being that time of the month were contributing factors to the panicky feeling in her body.
(Men who are reading, DON’T JUDGE! Hormones combined with alcohol and old wounds are a NASTY CONCOCTION!)
So I suggested that next time she’s triggered, pay attention to the visceral reaction in her body while recognizing the nasty, self-sabotaging THOUGHT she is thinking. Instead of behaving in a passive aggressive way, DON’T SAY A THING TO HIM. BREATHE. Text a friend or TURN to your friend who’s with you and explain what’s happening.
And of course, remember that when it’s that time of the month, it might be a good idea to come up with a drinking plan so that you can keep yourself in check. (I’ve learned this one the hard way more than once!)
She ended up having an honest, vulnerable conversation with her man which actually brought them closer. She talked about past experiences that have shaped where she is and where her reaction came from, and that she IS ACTIVELY WORKING on this.
(I can for sure vouch that she CERTAINLY IS!)
Lucky for her, he was AWESOME and totally met her where she was at.
But I often like to play out the worst case scenario with my clients because of the MEANING we all tend to make when people we care about, don’t react the way we’d like them to…
WHAT IF HE WASN’T AWESOME?
What if he didn’t understand, and thought that her feelings and reaction weren’t valid?
She appreciated that he totally understood, but admitted that she’s scared she’d “do it again” and “RUIN” the relationship.
Here’s the deal. I’ve been working with Sarah for a year and a half, and this girl SHOWS UP in spades— she totally admits every dark thought that isn’t serving her and is chomping at the bit to be her best self ALL THE TIME.
I told her this was a BIG INDULGENT STORY to believe— that she could “ruin” the relationship because she’s got “trust stuff.”
First of all, WE GET TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE TRUST STUFF, and keep going over ALL THE EVIDENCE to support how JUSTIFIED WE ARE IN OUR VICTIM STORIES.
I asked Sarah, “How about we decide RIGHT NOW that you don’t have trust stuff anymore? What would it look like to let go of that self-sabotaging story you keep telling yourself?”
She paused… and there was a quiet “yeah…”
And I LOVED that she reached out the next day to share her confusion.
(This is my favorite part about what I offer my clients— on-call support in between sessions so they can STAY ON TRACK with there growth, knowing I’m in their corner ALL THE TIME! Well... at least during office hours. DUH)
She said “How is it ok to admit to him why I reacted the way I did, but also NOT allow myself to admit that I’ve got “trust stuff?”
OOOOOH. SUCH a good question!!!
And I think this is the big difference between coaching and therapy.
In life coaching, I encourage my clients to STOP looking for evidence from their past to support why they’re not where they want to be.
It allows them to stay in victim land and CONTINUE TO PLAY OUT the stories that don’t serve them because our brains are WIRED to look for evidence to support what we believe.
(BUT, therapy is CRUCIAL to heal old childhood wounds, trauma, mental illness, addiction, etc. I NEVER claim to be able to help people with these particular issues, and I have an EXCELLENT therapist who changed my life who’s in LA, and I refer people to her all the time!)
This is why I’ve BEEN EXTRA EXHAUSTED the last few months because I WHOLEHEARTEDLY COMMITTED MY BRAIN TO DISSOLVING ALL LIMITING MONEY BELIEFS I HAD AROUND BEING A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR.
Watching the beliefs dissolve and my success take off has been the most incredible journey, but also the MOST anxiety-ridden and exhausting because my brain AUTOMATICALLY wants to say, “people will never want to pay this much for lil ole you” or “$ is a struggle because you’re an artist. It’s just the way it is.”
I CAN’T CONTROL THE AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS but I CAN CONTROL WHETHER OR NOT I INDULGE THEM AND PLAY THEM OUT.
I also get to control how I look for evidence to support how SUCCESSFUL I am versus how much I’ve struggled.
And it got to a point that I decided it was a HARD NO on NOT believing I wasn’t the 6 figure life coach I’m NOW SO close to becoming!
So I invited Sarah to claim a HARD NO on indulging her “i got trust stuff” story.
What I encouraged her to do is if this comes up again with her current awesome dude, make it about what’s transpiring between the TWO OF YOU IN THE MOMENT.
Her douchey exes don’t get to play a part in right now.
Yes, she gets to explain that she’s working on herself in her dating life, and I think opening up about past relationships and childhood experiences with your partner is a beautiful way to connect and grow closer, but CONTINUING to justify your CURRENT behavior in your present because of your past, isn’t going to serve EITHER OF YOU.
And if she DOES find herself triggered again with him, she also gets to DECIDE THERE’S NO WAY SHE COULD RUIN THE RELATIONSHIP.
HE gets to decide if he wants all in or not.
At the end of the day, we’ve all got “stuff.”
Another client said, “Yeah, but I shouldn’t have behaved that way so early in the relationship.”
Who cares WHEN he sees all your cards??
I’m surrounded by lots of healthy relationships in my life. I’d say MOST of my girlfriends and clients who are in relationships have demonstrated weaknesses, insecurities, and lashed out on their partners WHO DON’T RUN BECAUSE OF IT.
I was in a relationship with someone who was super anal-retentive, played hot and cold on his feelings for me, was neurotic about so many things that didn’t just pertain to us, and I STAYED, because there were so many amazing qualities about him and us, and I wanted to fight for the good.
I wasn’t perfect. I revealed my vulnerable side. My fiery Irish side. And I didn’t hold back on expressing that his disappearing acts during the week after really intense lovey-dovey weekends, weren’t cool with me.
He ended up breaking up with me abruptly after expressing the most over the top feelings for me just days before.
Never once did I think I “ruined” the relationship.
I showed up as ALL of me— flaws and all, and in the healing process I DECIDED TO focus on how patient I was with all the things he was neurotic about. I focused on how FUN I was. How generous I was. How flexible I was with his schedule. How I didn’t just agree with him for the sake of agreeing which he claimed he found incredibly sexy.
(Ew, I hope my dad isn’t reading this one.)
I did say to Sarah that if she went out and blatantly cheated on him, I might support the idea that she “ruined” the relationship… but again, that’s just my THOUGHT about it.
Because I’m sure you’ve heard of situations where in certain relationships an affair actually SAVES the couple because it invites them to WAKE UP and do the work they’d BOTH been avoiding that got them to where they ended up.
This doesn’t mean I condone CONSCIOUSLY hurting a partner or giving yourself a free pass to ACT OUT because you believe your person should just accept you for all of you.
I’m saying that you just keep showing up as your best yourself, take responsibility when you’re NOT your best self, and cultivate the most amount of SELF-COMPASSION for ALL the times you fall on your face.
Because you will.
I’m still looking for my person. I 100% accept that we will fight and that there will be things about him I don’t like and things about me he won’t like.
I actually think it would be weird if everything was seamless and we both just thought the other shat gold all the time. (yes I just said “shat”)
And SUPER BORING.
What makes me feel better is when I BRING THE FOCUS BACK TO HOW MUCH I LOVE ME.
I love what I have to offer as a romantic partner. I get excited thinking about how the next relationship will be, considering I’m probably in the best place I’ve been in in years.
And at the end of the day, no matter what, I’ve ALWAYS GOT ME. The only person I will CONSTANTLY be with until the day I die.
She’s fun. She’s a spaz. She’s huge-hearted. And frankly, a little too fiery at times.
But MY guy is going to love me for all of it. He’ll challenge my weaknesses the way I’ll lovingly challenge his.
And if at the end of the day, he decides he doesn’t want me anymore, that would TOTALLY suck, but self-blame and shame will NOT be an option in Mary Claire Byrne’s Book of Healing.
Ok. We’ll workshop the title but I’m hoping you get the gist.
Taking on ONE MORE CLIENT before doors close October and November.
In December, my rates will GO UP.
So take advantage of this FREE CONSULTATION I’m offering to find out how life coaching can transform your life the way it has magically changed MINE.
Happy Claire Your Mind Sunday:)