12- 7 – 2016
….in the Mind – More on Trust and Anxiety, ….It is a very delicate process to let go a tight sense of ‘being in control’ – as if when we relinquish it, we are going to be ‘in danger’. Something takes over in the brain and we stop being able to ‘work with’ what is happening – cooperation and collaboration are sabotaged until we regain peacefulness and a ‘sense’ of safety. When we are in the ‘primal safe space’, we are happy to work with people and the situation. There is a paradox here, for as we grow a sense that our environment is safe and benign and we can trust it, in a non-rational primal way, we will be able to exert more rational control over our responses. Since it is primal, we have little rational control over appropriate interaction and basically don’t even understand what is going on when we find ourselves in ‘reactive mode’, often sparked by small disagreements or dishonest people or unfairness or our own hidden bias or our own double standards etc. Therefore an attempt to punish or teach through negative behavioral consequences imposed on the person, which is an attempt to offer a rational and fair consequence, doesn’t work very effectively for someone in this predicament.
Schools and homes need to set up a system that is realistic in regard to the person understanding that the way they handle things does in fact matter as it shapes peoples responses to them, how people read them and is therefore important in affecting the way people interact with them. Their future relationships can be negatively affected. So, as they develop and become more aligned with the people in their lives, they understand that life if full of shades of grey for sometimes they’ll have greater control sometimes less, sometimes they’ll try to work with people and at others they’ll need to shift into self centred survival mode. Yet, as they are more ‘successful’ and comfortable over time, they’ll more often be able to delay gratification of being in control and therefore allow other’s ideas to be considered without their person feeling threatened. With practise and personal growth over time, this will become more easy.
It’s hard to explain fully what I mean, but I believe a benign environment is high trust and if we feel we are genuinely cared for, we will move organically in the direction of cooperation, collaboration and ease. Again, since it is primal, our rational knowledge that we are cared for, has little effect when our ‘reactive mode’ kicks in. We may even feel remorse or embarrassment after our reactive mode has taken over and we’ve had an episode, which would then be, a rational response to our ‘out of control’ self, who has just been dominated by an episode of primal defending of personal territory.
What if someone wants communication, and wants to connect? What is it that tempers a highly sensitive person with a tendency to be anxious? … being highly sensitive to emotional disharmony and dissonance, results in withdrawal. Withdrawal is one way to express frustration instead of responding with what we often really want to do, being there for the anxiety and fears of someone who we love, our mother, our spouse, our daughter, our son. A key dynamic is that younger people mostly can’t do that for their parents and often other family members. This is because the ‘instinct’ to protect our parent or sibling from their vulnerability and their challenges and insecurities is more about ‘fighting’ than it is about listening and being there. Anyway, how? A younger person is likely to have a subconscious feeling of, ‘Who am I to do that, and isn’t that what parents are supposed to do?’ It is very disempowering and can alienate family members by the awkwardness and difficulty that children have, ‘to be a parent to a parent’ and look after their anxiety. We feel it is the older parent that is supposed to look after their children.
Getting it right
How to respond and get it right – hooooo boy!! The mix of parent energy blended in the right order, changing according to circumstances, not getting stuck, humble and dignified, a little like Goldilocks’ Porridge which is always, ‘just right’. What does that really mean? Try this, be warm and chilled, genuine and authentic, determined and resilient, gentle and strong, playful and friendly, intelligent and caring with empathy and wisdom, stand with fierce peacefulness. All just with the right timing, and dosages, and hahahahahahaaaa – I hear ya – sighing, “Who can be perfect like that?” Of course we can’t, so what to do? There is a kind of dance with just the right spirit of sincerity and commitment, while not taking oneself too seriously. Laughing a lot about one’s imperfection, but struggling for improvement. Grapple! When we are strong enough to be vulnerable about our imperfection, by just getting on with things and trusting that, yeah, things are as good as can be, as the river runs and meanders through changing landscape. All I really have, is to get on with it, keep a wise eye open, don’t measure and judge, care, but be light and allow space instead of filling it with anxiety. This slowly builds trust – to be chilled, cool, clear and strong while also being at the same time flexible and accommodating, without being a pushover. Assertive and tactful and real. Read conversations. Read the way of the other. Read their body language. Read the tragectory of your life and adjust, get fit, align, attune, Dance. When you know it time for creativity to let go into receptivity and when to surge back into creativity, then there is the flow that responds and channels anxiety into trust.