POSITIVE Responses to Painful Events (Part 4)

Sfloral 4 


what’s the best way to handle this?

PREVIOUS: Positive Reactions – Thinking

REVIEW: Events, Emotions, Realistic Thinking

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First: THINK, take a minute to breath, grab a hold of your kid if it’s getting too worked up.  Being healthy does not mean we won’t want to react in an old way.  It does mean that we have a better alternative that is stronger than the pull of our damage.

Second: Check in to see what emotions are being stirred.  Your actions will be based on how well you understand yourself at that moment.
Third: Check your mental files for a ‘pre-recorded’ word or phrase you’ve practiced for such an occasion. You can draw from the list on  (see “Effective Responses”) . They really work.
• Talking or being silent are both a kind of action – active or passive.  What matters is which ego state it’s coming from.

EXP: Gina was sitting in a 12-Step meeting, listening to the thin, angry blond in all black leather go on & on for 5 minutes about how she HATED EVERYBODY! Gina’s immediate reaction (from her IC) was to go over to the woman & sooth her, be a friend, commiserate… but this time her inner Good Parent took over & said to the kid: “NO WAY! Didn’t you hear her?? She said everybody – that includes you. You’re not exempt just because you care, & you aren’t going to change her to make yourself feel safe!”

a. Saying Nothing – there are times when the only thing that makes any sense is to be quiet. We can give someone a quizzical or angry look or just a smile. A genuine laugh may be called for when something ridiculous or outrageous has been said, & no other response is possible! BUT NOT from anger or derision. Rather, with humor & a sense of irony.

Some resilenceasons to not do or say anything:
• it’s not a safe time or place
• it’s not worth the effort
• others are around & you would do yourself some harm
• you know the person or situation can not be corrected or improved
• you need time to process what just happened
➼ LETTING GO of being heard, of being right, of getting what you want , of fairness… is sometimes the ONLY possibility & takes a level of emotional maturity to accept

EXP: Sandra’s sponsee asked if she’s be at Friday nite’s meeting & she said yes.  That day she developed a cold & decided to stay in bed.  Sat morning the sponsee called very angry: ”Why didn’t you show up last nite? You said you’d be there & I brought you flowers for your B/day! You’re so unreliable, I can’t believe you stood me up….”

Sandra told her she was sick, but the woman didn’t believe her. A week later, when they saw each other, the sponsee started up again, berating her.  Sandra just stood there & listened. She decided that, knowing this woman, nothing she could say would make a difference.  So after a few minutes she said: “OK, bye” & left.  That was the end of their association.

✶ Sandra was aware that by not making the effort to convince her sponsee of her innocence, the other woman believed Sandra was agreeing with her & admitting fault! This is something Sandra has to ‘swallow’ & help her IC live with. But she’d learned from painful experience that justifying herself to anyone with a closed mind only made a fool of herself! It’s painful to be accused wrongly – at any time, but here she’d never be believed anyway, so why try doing the impossible?

NEXT: Positive Responses – Part 5 (more actions)