Posted by: Daryl Wood | June 17, 2021

Stop Helping. I’m Trying to be a Victim!

So here it is. The truth as I know it is in my face and I have nowhere to hide. I have set myself up as a Victim and my friend, a Rescuer looking for a ‘project’, has heard my call. Now, here I am feeling super resentful for the ‘overhelping’ and attitude of ‘poor you’ that is directed at me from someone who just has a really kind heart. Well, maybe a really kind heart and a desperate need to be needed.

I recognize the behaviour because I also play the Rescuer, but this time, it is painfully obvious that I have been waving the Victim card like a drunken sailor on night watch for a ship in rough seas. How will I get myself out of this mess?

It starts innocently enough with a little whining and complaining. I ramp it up a bit with a shot of humour (which I have to say is often well received) and build on both past grievances and imagined future impossible obstacles that could be as unlikely as the Canada Geese choosing someone else’s lawn to defile. Sometimes I use my whimpering when I’m overtired and rather than explain myself in an adult, grown up, mature manner, I give a plaintive, animal in distress cry with a litany of sorrows (accompanied by the prerequisite sad face and quivering voice); none of which, by the way, are life threatening or dangerous. I get some much longed for sympathy which, I am the first to admit, is temporarily satisfying, but doesn’t last any longer than a diet.

That’s when the real ugliness starts. People (like my current Rescuer friend) hear all this angst and try to help. Good people just trying to do the right thing. Sometimes it feels nice to receive this extra attention when I feel lonely in my misery and sometimes it doesn’t as in when we come together in an unconscious and impulsive dance called The Drama Triangle and the ‘problem’ parachutes my Rescuers right into the realm of ‘let’s take care of this poor pathetic soul barely surviving.’

I hate that. I hate being seen or treated like I am somehow on the edge of collapse (even though I showed up crawling and scratching at the door of anyone willing to listen.) I hate being spoken to in that patronizing way that says ‘there, there, you just need to let other people help you’ or ‘go lie down, we’ll take care of everything and you can hand over control of your biggest problems (and you entire life) to us and we’ll tell you exactly what to do’.

I know I could use a little help. I just don’t want YOU to help me; at least not right now because you are onto my game. You know, on some level, that I’m reeling you in and because you are such a kind and thoughtful bystander to my wailing and flailing, you joined the dance without considering how it might damage you and me and our relationship. It’s not your fault. Unless you know you have an overactive Rescuer gene, you are just playing the cards you were dealt.


The irony of this sinkhole we are in is that I set it the whole thing up. I played right into the hearts and minds and annoying hands of those who need to feel needed. Now I am mad at them! Absolutely senseless because in the end, nobody wins. Nobody ever feels inner peace playing a Victim or a Rescuer. We do it because something ‘historical’ has been triggered in both of us and rather than Pause, take time to breathe and feel, we react. And once the cycle has started it takes enormous courage (and a mega dose of awareness) for one of us to stop the boulder from rolling down the hill, crashing into the village and destroying every living thing along the way.

This time, it’s me. I put the brakes on. I am gracious in my appreciation and clearly state that while I am not capable of everything I need to do, right now I can handle the immediate tasks. And I promise to ask for help in a direct, respectful way when I need it. And I am also ‘outing myself’ by owning my pattern of complaining without taking responsibility for how it impacts those with generous spirits.

As much as I typically think I am the ONLY one who does this stuff (my wise mentors and favourite authors tell me I’m not), I believe there are others out there in my world and the big wide world who are lured into the mesmerizing disco ball of Drama, turning our lives into random colours and shapes that are seductive. If that’s you, I’d love to hear your Victim/Rescuer escapades, no matter which side of the seesaw you are on.

Posted by: Daryl Wood | June 9, 2021

Hard Wired to Rescue

The Rescuer Role is ingrained in me. After decades of consciousness study, dedicated personal growth work, and most importantly, The Power of TED* work I teach and live, I still, sometimes, slide mercilessly headlong into my DDT Rescuer Role. How do I know when I’m there? It’s obvious!

This past week, I prepared all the things necessary for my husband’s hospital visit. His hair was trimmed and overnight clothes packed. His extra medical supplies organized and a list of medication for the staff. Two pharmacies were called to schedule prescription deliveries. Confirmation done with the surgeon’s office about logistics. Instructions reviewed and last minute updates with support people. Most of these things he could have done on his own or alongside me but in my “I’m good at this; I know best how to do it; I’m efficient; etc.”Rescuer mindset, I ‘took over’ and did them all by myself. All the while, he was doing things he wanted to do and I was making sure his needs were met.

And then there was me. In typical Rescuer fashion I put off taking care of myself. I was super focused on my husband’s comfort and wellbeing with no plan for where I’d sleep while he spent the night in hospital, what I would do while I was waiting for the okay to leave, how/when/what I would feed myself or how I would take care of my basic needs in the time before, during and after his minor surgery. I put off doing things for myself, didn’t ask for what I needed and didn’t take advantage of time I had available to look after me. Why? Because, as so often happens at these times, I didn’t make myself a priority.

And it isn’t even so much that we Rescuers don’t make ourselves a priority but that we just don’t even put ourselves on the list! I don’t need all the attention but surely I can give myself the time and respect to at least make sure I am nourished, rested and safe. I wouldn’t want anything less for anyone else.

So why am I so inclined to ignore my own needs? Without dissecting this historical pattern it comes down to my overactive sense of responsibility to others and not believing on the most primal level that I am equal to the care I heap on my beloved husband. And of course he gave me a lot of praise for how well I took care of him which is something we Rescuers like whether we admit it or not. There is nothing at all wrong with what I did for him. In fact, it made both of our lives much easier to be well prepared. But what it also did was rob him of the opportunity to be engaged in the planning and the chance to see himself as capable. It created a lot of anxiety for me wondering how to manage especially given that COVID restrictions made navigating much harder.

So I look at this and see the pattern of putting off self-care which is something Rescuers do. There is a bit of a martyr syndrome here and sitting alone in the hospital lounge, eating out of a vending machine, I felt a hint of resentment that no one was taking care of me. In the many text exchanges with family and friends I gave only details of my husband’s situation and mostly withheld any hint that I was having a hard time coping. And all of this played directly into the hands of the Victim. Now I have something to complain about – being overtired from not planning my rest and feeling bloated from eating food I don’t normally eat.

This internal drama could have been avoided with a simple step into the TED* framework. Being in a Creator mindset would have allowed me to assess my needs alongside those of my husbands. We could have worked together to divide up the tasks or tackle them as a team. It would have taken very minimal planning to book a hotel room and pack my healthy foods. Defaulting into the Rescuer role is a well worn path. Recognizing it’s negative impact keeps me alert to where I might serve myself and others better in the future.

With the benefit of looking back I realize that even in the moment, I knew I was being a Rescuer and could have stopped the cycle at any time. I often do and when I don’t, the best way for me to learn and grow is to follow my friend’s advice and be ‘gentle not judgemental’.

Can you see yourself in this example? Or maybe you have your own story of how being a Rescuer diminishes your power to take care of yourself. I’d love to hear from you.

Ms. Daryl Wood, CPCC is a fearless champion of No-Drama Living and Inner Resilience.

Posted by: Daryl Wood | June 9, 2021

Empathy For Joy

Does that title even make sense? We all know the importance of empathy when someone is struggling. That’s a given if you want to build good relationships with deeper connection. But what about when someone shares exciting news or a huge success they have achieved? When you climb into the celebratory ring with them and really engage with their emotions aren’t you being empathetic?

BrenĂ© Brown’s definition of empathy includes “a way to connect to the emotion another person is experiencing; it doesn’t require that we have experienced the same situation they are going through.” So when my friend tells me about the big money she will make for a two hour presentation, I am thrilled for her. It is beyond anything I have experienced but I can join her joyous delight of her good fortune. I can be empathetic by connecting with the emotion she is feeling.

Just as I might open my heart to someone’s suffering and imagine the pain they are going through, so too can I open my heart to someone who has hit a peak moment in their life and imagine the thrill of their news.

Something tells me that this form of empathy is a valuable tool in relationships. What do you think?

Posted by: Daryl Wood | May 31, 2021

Feeling Good About Me

There is something fundamentally wrong with NOT feeling good about myself. I certainly wasn’t born this way. Let’s face it, none of us were! But somehow as I grew and developed physically and emotionally, I picked up on something that said I didn’t measure up. Where did I even get the idea that judging myself was a ‘thing’? I’ll leave that to the deep thinkers in psychology. However it started, I know that a pattern of self-diminishment began at a very young age and can be traced like a winding river through the hills and valleys of my life.

Periodically I was exposed to the idea that Feeling Good About Me was okay and in fact, a very useful idea. It really took root in 1997 when I attended the Hoffman Quadrinity Process and laid bare the range of ways I viewed myself from the negatives to the positives. This was the beginning of a dedicated journey to find the gift within myself and lovingly accept all of me.

The challenge of course is that when I have failed miserably or lost my centre I am more likely to start judging myself harshly and seeing only the flaws. This is the time when more than ever I need to pull out my ‘Atta Girl’ file. Yes, it’s a real thing and yes, it’s called Atta Girl. Over the years I’ve been blessed with kind notes from friends, clients and retreat women. When I have a hard time feeling good about me I can remind myself that others saw in me what, in this moment at least, I can’t see. There is no shame in looking outside for words that resonate. I have been known to chastise myself for needing acknowledgements from others when, in fact, these are just tools that help me when I’m struggling. I would never withhold a bandaid from a scratched knee so why withhold loving words from a wounded soul.

How might your life be different if you took some time today to see yourself as the precious person that you are – with all your perfections and imperfections?

Ms. Daryl Wood, CPCC is a fearless champion of No-Drama Living and Inner Resilience.

Posted by: Daryl Wood | May 13, 2021

The Urge to Bolt

I fought hard to belong to the group. I didn’t think I was a fit and gradually I learned what it took to belong. There was rich learning, heartfelt connections and boundless opportunities. Without a doubt, I belonged. And that mattered because belonging has always haunted me as if I needed it to survive.

So why then, on a sunny spring morning did I leave? The consequences were swift. Only a couple of people asked about my wellbeing. The rest went silent leaving me to wonder if I had ever really belonged. It made me wonder even more why I had walked away from a collective of like minded, inspiring people who had demonstrated great care and concern for me.

Buried in my journals was the memorable quote I had written from Pema Chodron “Never underestimate the urge to bolt”. And it did feel on some levels that what I was doing was bolting. For the next ten years, every time I left a group, individual or situation that no longer felt right to me, I wagged my inner finger and accused myself of bolting. Sometimes, I was right. Sometimes my inner judge was using my decision to diminish my self-esteem.

To underestimate that urge to bolt would be to avoid welcoming the lesson the discomfort is offering. It circumvents the possibility that this might actually be what I need most at this time in my life. And it challenges me to speak my truth, ask for what I want/need and be fully transparent with others. It can be the great catalyst for changing some self-limiting or self-destructive behaviour that gets in the way of real connection. That can feel like really hard work (see my previous blog on Choose Your Hard).

And sometimes, it is clear that this is no longer where I am meant to be to continue to live with integrity. Ten years ago I knew I couldn’t handle the volume of communications and expectations and have space for other things in my life. The commitment it required to show up and be engaged was too much given the challenges I was facing at the time. Since then, I have sometimes bolted when I knew something was a bad fit and I’d joined for all the wrong reasons (trying to Rescue, fear of missing out, letting my ego override my sensibilities, etc.)

Now, when that urge to bolt comes up … and it does … I use the Power of Pause from my beloved TED* work to ask myself the deeper questions. Usually my instincts are right and I know I’m ready for the next step.

I’m curious … what does ‘bolting’ look like in your life? Are you on the run, hiding from what you don’t want to face? Are you choosing a loving response to changes in your inner landscape? Are you answering a deeper call to action or simply avoiding a truth.

Ms. Daryl Wood, CPCC is a fearless champion of No-Drama Living and Inner Resilience.

Posted by: Daryl Wood | April 22, 2021

Choose Your Hard

My dear friend Joy was the first to say this to me and my good friend Wendy reinforced it. As a coach, I’ve always understood the concept that when you say Yes to something you are saying No to something else. But what happens when both choices feel hard. As in:

1. Waking up early to walk or do yoga can feel hard. Not feeling refreshed and physically energized feels hard.

2. Taking time for meditation or grounding can feel hard. Feeling scattered and anxious feels hard.

3. Telling someone how their words and actions hurt you can feel really hard. Allowing yourself to continuously feel devalued feels hard.

4. Letting go of anger or resentment feels very hard. Holding onto to self-destructive feelings feels hard.

Choose Your Hard. Whenever you are faced with what seems like an impossible circumstance look at your options, listen to your wise inner guidance and Choose Your Hard.
When you choose what aligns with your values you will be far more likely to be loving and accepting of yourself.

What’s the hard you are choosing today?

Posted by: Daryl Wood | February 24, 2021

The Stories I Tell Myself About Me

I’ve been in a long relationship with myself. I’ve watched in wonder at how resourceful, capable, confident and loving I can be towards myself. And I’ve learned that I have some stories that hold me hostage to some negative thinking that attacks my wellbeing and derails me from living with the passion and integrity that I value. They tell me I am a loser, impulsive, distracting and not good enough.

These are stories about how others are seeing me: my physical appearance, how much I talk, the choices I’ve made. Stories about where I failed to show up for my son, my siblings, my extended family. Stories about opportunities I missed and what I’m not doing enough of.

Most of us have stories like this that sometimes nudge out the reality of accomplishment and presence. And they are just stories. While there is usually some element of truth in all our stories, they are not ever the whole truth. It becomes a ‘habit’ to trot these stories out when they can do the most damage. In our most vulnerable states, we open up the evidence drawer and pull out the stories that confirm what we are believing in the moment; that somehow we are not measuring up.

What if the stories we told had a different ending? What if we hear the first rumblings of self-negating and we Pause. That’s Pause with a Capital P. Pause to breathe, Pause to slow down, Pause to give ourselves a moment or two to connect with our body and spirit. What if in that moment we acknowledged that there is more to the story than what we are hearing. As my friend’s mom said “You weren’t perfect but you mostly got it right.” I love that. We were not perfect and never should have expected that of ourselves. But sometimes our stories try to convince us otherwise.

Consider a story you have about yourself that is draining you of joy and peace. Take a good look at the facts and ask yourself what gifts of wisdom you can draw from it. Ask yourself if this is really the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Find within the story both empathy and acceptance of who you are including all the ways you are precious. This is how you start using the stories you tell yourself about yourself to build inner resilience. I’d love to hear how you turned a story into a gift.

Ms. Daryl Wood, CPCC is a fearless champion of No-Drama Living and Inner Resilience for Women in Leadership.

Posted by: Daryl Wood | August 7, 2012

Home Grown Triggers

Have you ever wished that you could avoid those people who trigger uncomfortable or even very negative emotions in you? I have a sticky note on my bulletin board (seem to be reading my board a lot these days) that says “I want to be with her the same as I’d be with anyone else who didn’t trigger a home grown issue.” What I mean of course is that I don’t want to ‘react’ when someone touches a nerve that has roots to my childhood.

We don’t always see these coming and we don’t always realize where the emotions originated. Home grown stuff can show up at the most inconvenient times AND with people we least expect. If we don’t recognize what the trigger is we can find ourselves reacting impulsively or in a self-destructive way. Our response can often have a damaging effect on our relationship with a person who has no idea that we are feeling like a 5, 7, 10 or 12 year old.

It’s highly unlikely that we’ll get through the rest of our lives without someone triggering us. Especially if we are on a journey of personal growth. We are asking for these experiences to help us learn what has yet to be resolved. The best thing we can do is turn up the volume on our radar so that we recognize what our feelings are pointing to. Then … with grace and ease … we can show up as the confident, wise, adults that we are.

Posted by: Daryl Wood | July 26, 2012

Hurting People Hurt People

This morning I saw this note posted on my bulletin board from long ago. I don’t question why I saw it today, rather I acknowledge that the words are to remind me that many people are indeed hurting. And what they do with that hurt can have a deep and wide impact.

When I hear a sarcastic remark from spouse to spouse or child to parent, I wonder. What are they afraid of that they twist their words instead of saying directly what they mean? When I watch someone roll their eyes behind their friend’s back I wonder. What are they believing that makes them ridicule someone they claim to love? When I see someone dismiss what their child is saying I wonder. What are they not able to be with that is showing up for them in this relationship?

And that’s just the beginning. There are so many ways that people intentionally and unintentionally hurt each other. When underlying resentment or anger are not addressed, it’s easy to hurt someone you love. Putting off resolving your own feelings will guarantee that your relationship will never be ‘clean’. There will always be something getting in the way of a respectful connection. And there will always be the risk of hurting each other because of the hurt that you still carry inside.

When we gather for a Women’s Wisdom Retreat we pull out our ‘Shadows’ and uncover the truth about why our relationships sometimes feel tangled or messy. We boldly accept the shadow and light of ourselves in an effort to accept others and to see ourselves in others. This healing process can stop us immediately from hurting those we love. Including ourselves.

 

Posted by: Daryl Wood | July 24, 2012

What If I Never Get Over It?

It’s not surprising how many times a woman has come to a Retreat or landed on a coaching call asking me this question. When we find ourselves circling back around an old issue it can feel as though we’ll never be free of the entanglement of emotions.

In my experience, the stuff we wish we could erase will inevitably show up again in some new relationship, career or community. The opportunity for us is to accept it in and ask ourselves what else is there to be learned? What might we have missed the first time? What new layer must we uncover to serve us at this point in our lives?

There is always more to learn. It might be that we have slipped back into self-defeating patterns and the resurgence of an old issue is a stark reminder. An example is when one of my clients complained about feeling resentment towards her mother whom she had long ago forgiven. Why would this show up again when she believed she had sufficiently dealt with any ‘mother’ issues? When we looked at what she was feeling it was clear that she had been gradually telling herself something her mother had said when she was a wayward teenager – that being, ‘you’ll never amount to anything’. This dialogue had started when a significant business deal fell through and she was faced with having to choose between her passion for her small business or a ‘job’ in the corporate world. Her loss of confidence had triggered the old memories and her mother was just a convenient target (even though she had done her best to keep her feelings to herself).

Once we identified the source we took a good hard look at how she was contributing to the belief. It turns out that in spite of knowing better (and we ALL do this to some degree at some time) she was stockpiling evidence to support her belief that she was a failure. This brilliant woman saw the synchronicity of this happening during her coaching contract with me. The timing was perfect to expose the truth and get her back on track quickly. Works like a charm every time!

So, the short answer might be that we do permanently get over some things. AND the ones that we don’t, have powerful lessons. If you are curious and would love to explore more, visit www.darylwood.com to select the coaching package that fits you.

Older Posts »

Categories