Updated: Nov 13, 2020
We all get curveballs.
This week has been tough.
Old wounds and programming have flared up for me. Old coping skills have begged to resurface.
This last week, my partner was badly injured in an accident. He is faced with many new challenges to keep up with lives’ demands. Some of my professional team is also experiencing some personal challenges, which have created the need for extra resiliency and adaptiveness.
I have gotten to observe my own reactions and some old coping skills that have resurfaced.
In the past, everyone else’s crisis became my burden.
Partners became ill and I shouldered the added emotional and physical burdens.
Coworkers had personal crises and I always picked up the slack.
Friends had stays at the hospital and I always coordinated meeting their needs.
When others’ lives fell apart, I was a well trained crisis interventionist. I kept all the balls rolling. I over functioned. I mindlessly overstepped my life into theirs. I was the master of accommodating and responsibility. I could juggle a massive load of responsibilities.
But it always had a cost.
I became exhausted. I was never meant to manage more lives than my own. I became resentful. Spending so much time in crisis management stole valuable time from my own dreams, relationships, and health. I became lonely. Being the “strong and responsible one” was isolating and heavy.
All along, I thought I was being loving and yet, I got to discover the shadow side to all this helping.
Deep down, I believed others around me were fragile. I believed they couldn’t figure it out. I believed they would fail without my assistance.
I did not hold others to the same standard of belief I held of myself. If I was sick, injured, in financial crisis, between jobs, in the middle of a break up, grieving a death, or any other crisis, I always managed to figure things out. I survived. I pressed on. I was better for it and developed resiliency.
But I did not offer others the same dignity.
My disbelief in others’ resiliency boiled down to nothing more than arrogance.
So today, I am tempted with the same pattern of the past. And sometimes, I take the bait. I question others’ ability to weather their storms. I baby those who don’t need babying. I treat people as fragile, when they are resilient and capable. I unintentionally douse others’ fire by robbing them of the challenges fueling it.
But I can also choose a different path. I can confront my old ways.