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When your behaviour gets mirrored back to you

I want to share an experience I went through recently.  Its not easy to write about something so personal for all to read but healing comes when we are brave enough to show our true selves.

Its just before Christmas and my husband and brother were texting back and forth about what to get their parents as a gift.  My husband would then turn to me and ask me for advice.  This back and forth went on for a bit and we decided on something.

But a few minutes later I wasn’t sure it was the best gift idea and told my husband, he agrees and texts his brother that we changed our minds. As he reads his texts, he says oh its too late my brother went right out on his bike and bought it already.  And then he started furiously typing.  “Tell your brother its ok, I’m sure it will be fine” I say because I don’t want his brother to feel bad or be angry because he went out of his way to go buy it so quickly for us and now we changed our minds inconveniencing him.

I looked up and my husband hasn’t responded and he’s reading his phone.  “Is everything alright?”  I ask, but my husband mumbles something.

This was when my brain told me that someone was upset.  This was when I started to worry but I wasn’t totally aware I was.

“can i see the texts?”  I ask my husband thinking I can figure out if someone is confused/upset/feels bad and I can put their mind at ease…  and my husband yells “I don’t want you reading my BLEEP texts between me and my brother.  God”

It was like a slap in the face.  It was such a slap because I wasn’t expecting it.  We were just having a conversation over a present and I had been involved it it.

My husband looks up, sees my face and I can see him realize what he said and my reaction to it.  I’m really hurt and I leave the room.

I go upstairs.  I’m hurt.  Really hurt. I start to cry.  I ask myself what just happened and I start a post mortem on the event.  I lie down.  And I go within….

I realize that I wanted to control the conversation about the present at this point because in my childhood this type of scenario would end with a blowup. Anger, yelling, hurt feelings.  I let those feelings of despair of wanting everyone to get along come up.  How afraid I used to feel when my parents fought.  I saw myself get in-between it, involved in it, only making it worse.  BECAUSE I WAS AFRAID.  I talk to that part of myself, I tell her it wasn’t her fault.  She did her best.  She developed a “let me fix this” mentality because she was trying to help and feel safe.  I sit with those feelings because they are the real ones.

I notice more, I have memories of Junior high when the wrong comment or action in my group of girlfriends would be like gasoline. Starting feuds. Anger, fighting, exclusion.

We don’t like you any more, we don’t want to be your friend anymore.

I sit with those feelings.  I talk to her.  You are safe, I will always be your friend.  You did your best.  Maybe you said something wrong but you didn’t deserve the behaviour directed at you after.  I let the loneliness and pain come up.  It needs to.

Now I watch as my brain starts to tell me to go yell at my husband.  Let him know how bad he hurt you. Don’t go to banff for Christmas with his family.  Why should you.

I meet this voice.– Yes this is how I used to react when I was very hurt and feeling very unsafe.  I tell myself, we don’t need to do any of that. It will only further divide, not bring healing. I only want healing.

And I watch my mind start desperately try to push my husband away, not talk to him.  To sulk, to nurse this wound.

Ahhh that is another behaviour I have.  I push people out of my life who hurt me.  I am so desperately trying to protect my heart from being hurt.  My default reaction is to literally stop interacting with them.  Protect myself.  I can’t trust them.

And then wave after wave of memories of who I pushed out of my life, over and over.  Friends, family. And I  hear my mind scream.  “its our only choice”  and I can see how my pattern of trying to fix all discomfort between people in hopes that it doesn’t erupt into the anger and fighting of my childhood, or the we don’t want to be your friend of my early years.  I can clearly see it as a protection pattern, but one that is causing as much pain as the original circumstance.

Trying to control and fix and placate and if that doesn’t work, pull/push away.  This is the trauma pattern.  I can see it now.  I give it back to source for healing.

I realize that as a child when I was so vulnerable I had this coping skill and it protected me.  It helped me.  Heck it might have saved me.

But now it’s a snake skin I have outgrown. It’s too small, uncomfortable.  I want to grow past it.  I know I can create safety for myself DESPITE the actions of others.  I am safe.  I tell my hurting part this.  I tell her she is safe to hurt because Ive got her and she is safe.

Its 24 hour later and my husband sits by my side and tells me how very sorry he is that he snapped like that.  How much he loves me.  He tells me that he knows (in hindsight) that I had begun to worry.  He asks forgiveness.  And of course it is there because he acted as my mirror, showing me deeply where my trauma pattern was still active and no longer serving me.

And for that I am grateful.


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