“I know this is hard for you to hear. It’s hard for me to say. But it’s time for me to make this decision. I want out…”
“I’m just not in love with you anymore…”
“There’s someone else…”
“I’m sorry to tell you this, but he’s gone. He died this morning…”
Words like this coming from someone close to you are devastating. One moment, you’re life is predictable, and the next you are reeling through time and space without direction or an end in sight. Last week we talked about the Relationship Shock Wave that comes out of no where and turns your world upside down.
A Relationship Shock Wave like secret financial debt, secret affairs, secret sexual abuse, or unexpected death can put you in a child-ego state of powerlessness. You may feel as powerless, small and confused as a child. But the truth of the matter, is that you are an Adult. You are strong, and smart and capable. This Relationship Shock Wave may put you into your child-ego state of helplessness, but you don’t have to stay there. Here is a helpful comparison.
Child Ego State
Compulsive and reactive – “Have to” language
Your fate is controlled by others
You’re only as important as the bigger people say
You know insufficiency, lack, and emotional poverty
You don’t know enough to affect real change
You don’t have enough to change my circumstances
You’re not big enough for people to listen to me or take me seriously.
You may have a “flooding” experience when a Relationship Shock Wave occurs. The shock reminds your body and unconscious of something you’ve been through before like a trauma, abuse, abandonment, upheaval. The body feelings and trauma feelings come back in a wave and overwhelm you. The Relationship Shock puts you in a younger, powerless ego state and you feel helpless. This is normal to feel this way at first, but don’t let the flooding stage debilitate you.
The truth of the matter is you are not that little person any more. You are a big person now, with big person power. You have choices today that you didn’t have back then. You have experience and capabilities and resources that you didn’t have back then. You are stronger now.
Let the Truth of the matter pull you back to reality- the reality of your adult ego.
Adult Ego State
You accept Personal Choice and Responsibility
You use “Want to” language instead of “have to” language
You destiny is up to you
You’re as important as YOU say you are
You believe in abundance, sufficiency, and emotional health
You know enough of what you need to know, and you will know what you need to know, when you need to know it
You have enough of what you need for now, and you’ll have enough when you need it next
You’re big (smart, pretty, resourceful, skilled) enough for the task that’s required of you right now.
Everyone gets stuck in feelings from the past, and there is nothing like a Relationship Shock Wave to trigger flooding. However, resilient people, like yourself, work hard to enter back into their strong adult ego state. You’ve done hard things before, and you can do hard things again.
The Truth of the Matter is that this time around, you know you’re not alone.
How do resilient people move through Relationship Shock? They master specific skills that help them recover.
When you experience a Relationship Shock, you may feel scared to death., petrified, frozen in fear, trapped, damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
These are words that describe how you might feel when bad things happen: like finding out your husband cheated, or wants a divorce, or finding drugs in your teenager’s room, the sudden death of the grandma who raised you, or getting a call from your dad you haven’t heard from in 17 years. Shocking news can sucker punch you, leaving you with no breath, no worldly idea what happened, and no direction to go next.
This Frozen Feeling is shock and bewilderment. It can render you powerless to make necessary choices and take necessary action. But you can be resilient when hard times hit. Resilient people are able to take any problem and turn it into an opportunity to grow, to live, and to give. Here are some steps to Moving Through a Relationship Shock Wave.
Get moving– Get out of bed, out of your chair, and move. When you’re mind can’t think straight because of the mental tailspin you’re in, then move your body. Walk, run, move. Movement releases the pent up fight or flight energy your body produces to survive. You have survived, you are a survivor, now it’s time to release the endorphins and stress hormones and move. Get the heart rate up, pound the pavement, let the body convince the mind that its strong and capable.
Concentrate on what you do know, not on what you don’t– there are many things about your shocking circumstance you don’t know. Don’t let your questions rule the day. Questions come from a powerless place. Statements come from a place of power. State to yourself the Truth of the Matter and let your mind settle on it. The more mental energy you give the questions, the crazier you will feel.
Conquer denial with grieving what’s gone. You lost something. Something died. Maybe it was your trust, your innocence, your safety, your security or your relationship. You had it, but now it’s gone. Grieve it. Take account, line by line of what you’ve lost and grieve it all the way through. To pretend that you never lost it, or deny that it’s gone, or that it’s no big deal, sinks you further into denial. Your grief goes underground where it has the power to fuel addictions, depression and panic. Grieve what you lost, and let it go.
Accept Reality – Your reality after your Relationship Shock Wave can never be the same as your reality before the Relationship Shock Wave. Your reality is different now. You’re different now. Don’t paint the past like it was perfect, because you and I both know, it wasn’t. Set your mind to accept the new reality because it is IN REALITY that you will find your power. Accept the situation AS IT IS, not as you want it to be, or how it was, but AS IT IS.
Find Gratitude for WHAT IS- Because you are still here, be grateful. Because you have survived the Relationship shock, five thanks. Record, honor and accept what has been lost. The loss is significant. But so is what is left behind. When you grieve the loss, and accept reality fully, you will find gratitude for WHAT IS.
Choose Love over Fear- Fear is a leach you don’t even feel until it has drained you half dry. When you become aware of being anxious over all you can’t control, choose LOVE instead. Choose to be loving toward yourself. Choose to receive Love from God. Choose to reach out to loving people. Quiet your mind with Love.
Your situation is temporary, and the pain you feel will not last forever. Resilient people move through the stages of grief and trauma one step at a time, knowing each step makes them stronger, not weaker.
How about you? What have you done to recover from grief, trauma, divorce or loss? What has helped you be resilient in the face of difficulty and tragedy?
My “Relationship Savvy” blog gives you tips, advice, and flippin’ fantastic feel-goods to help with your most difficult relationship challenges.