Do you ever get those situations when a word, a comment or a situation really gets to you, and you can’t figure out why it hit you so badly?
A friend or family member makes a comment and you react really badly, not in proportion to the comment. Of perhaps you are the one who says something and the other person reacts really badly. What seemed like an innocent remark sparks a barbed comment back, a rebuff or a strained atmosphere.
I recognise within myself at times as well as with clients. They tell me they can’t understand why that current situation has caused such an extreme response. They just can’t get it out of their heads. It keeps going round and round, and they can’t let it go. They reason with themselves that it wasn’t a really bad situation, that the comment made to them wasn’t THAT crushing, but nevertheless it felt that way.
Why does this happen, and what is really going on?
It can feel quite unsettling and leave us feeling confused, whether its us that have reacted in that way or we are on the receiving end. It can lead to all kinds of deeper emotions and negative feelings.
A sense of failure
Not measuring up to others and their own expectations.................
Negative Messages from the Past
What is generally happening at times like this is that its triggering past events that effected us much more deeply. It could have been because of bullying, an abusive childhood, failing exams, negative comments from teachers. These events trigger us often unconsciously, and we react to the that past event rather than the current one. It goes on to create a dialogue in our heads which reinforces the negative messages stored up from way back.
Jill had applied for promotion at work, and failed to get the position. She felt understandably disappointed as she had been encouraged by her manager to apply for the job, that she was more than capable. She learned that the successful applicant was not as qualified as her, and was an exterior applicant. Jill felt it unfair, as she had placed a great deal of reliance on successfully getting the job. She asked for feedback, and was dissatisfied with the response. Effectively she was told the successful candidate was better qualified. This upset her, and she made a complaint and requested a meeting with those involved. After which she still felt unhappy.
There are times when we are all unsuccessful in interviews, and from the feedback we receive we usually learn what we need to do next time to improve our chances of success in the future. Whether its further training, or improving interview skills.
But for Jill it went much deeper. It triggered her feelings of inadequacy, rejection and a sense of injustice that went back further in past events in her life.
Exploring this in more depth Jill realised why she had been so affected by the unsuccessful job application and that it went back much further to unresolved emotional wounds from her past.
As a result of identifying the root cause it helped her make sense and let go of the feelings that belonged to the past, where it rightfully belong. This allows her to move forward.
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