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Few people remember who they were as infants and really only became aware of ‘the Self’ some years later.
Do you remember, as you navigated through your pre-teen years, how you may have felt complete confusion by various social expectations for different situations and people? How you were expected to behave at home versus amongst adults in public, how you ‘showed up’ with your circle of friends and how you ‘showed up’ when meeting new social peers?
All these thoughts and feelings were quite normal in day-to-day happenings, but what happens to ‘the Self’ when there are occurrences outside of the norm – like grieving for a lost family member or the trauma of starting a new school in a new country with a new language?
And, in time, what happens when none of these emotions or feelings are addressed?
Rebecca’s Story (Part I)
In 1970 Rebecca, aged 11, moved from Western Europe to the Southern Hemisphere with her family. The school structure was different. A strict uniform policy was in place. The words people used, although English, sounded foreign and when she spoke the kids said she ‘sounded funny’.
It wasn’t long before Rebecca sunk into self-pity, loneliness and hopelessness. However, Rebecca wasn’t without fortitude. Unfortunately, her step up out of this deep dark place was to a place of aggressive action.
One day while sitting in sewing class with a large embroidery needle in her hand, the next person to confront her with ‘Hey, that’s my chair’ was swiftly jabbed in the outer thigh. Rebecca had turned her self-pity and low self-esteem into anger. Then, when Rebecca was faced with the threat of punishment for her violent act, she was defiant and protective of herself.
After experiencing a few more incidences like these Rebecca started resenting those around her who seemed to be settled and happy with their lives.
Her anger and defiance turned to hate. She projected this emotion onto everyone around her. Her bitterness grew as she got older – no year was better than the last. She hated life and everyone in it.
Today, no longer a child, Rebecca remains bitter and hateful. She has blamed everyone else for her sad life and feels as if her life is pointless. She wants something different to happen in her life but doesn’t know how to change it.
The Coaching Approach (Cracking the Hard Shell)
As a child, what would have best served Rebecca while she was experiencing life so negatively?
1. Acknowledging the fact that she had moved so far away and had said goodbye to everything she had ever known and loved would have helped her comprehend the situation better at such a young age.
It’s no wonder that she lashed out and wanted to cause others pain, because she was in so much pain herself!
2. Finding out how Rebecca really wanted to feel and what she wanted her life to look like, and talking through ways she could make that happen, would have made her feel supported, included, hopeful and less angry.
3. Increasing her awareness and working on raising her energy levels so that she could start to experience life differently.
What would best serve Rebecca as an adult to deal with her anger?
1. Acknowledging the root cause of her anger.
2. Acknowledging that she was allowed to feel this way then, but it is now time for change.
3. Finding out how Rebecca wants to feel now, who she wants to be and what she wants her life to look like.
4. Increasing awareness around her triggers and setting a new path for her new life.
If you have had similar life experiences to Rebecca or you resonate with how Rebecca feels, where would you like to begin your coaching journey?