Have you ever thought to yourself, “I don’t want him to hate me”?
Well, the other day I left a party feeling totally self conscious and worried that I had pissed off not only my friends that had hosted the dinner party, but also a man that I met that night.
I didn’t know anyone at the table. Most of us didn’t know each other. The premise of the dinner was for all of us to get to know each other and share ideas and feedback on any personal challenges we were having at the moment in our work/life.
Each person went around, including me, telling our stories and what led us to where we are today. It got personal really fast, which for me is the most fun, exciting and nurturing environment to be in.
Given that I can see patterns that are playing out in our lives that stem and root in how we relate to our family, there were a lot of intuitive hits I was getting while people were going around the table expressing where they were at.
One man expressed how he was feeling torn in his work, because he had accomplished a lot and was feeling stuck around what was next for him. In the process of telling us that, he had revealed that his father and grandfather were also entrepreneurs.
I couldn’t help myself and asked if he felt as successful as his dad, because I could feel there was a connection between his dad and his work.
He responded saying, “No, and that’s a whole other story.”
After we were done with dinner, I apologized for digging into an area that may have felt awkward, and he said that it wasn’t awkward, but his relationship with his dad often feels exhausting.
Once again, I couldn’t help myself.
I said, “you know it doesn’t have to be that way…”
He said, “I’ve accepted him. Our relationship is better than it’s been in the past, I just know our relationship won’t ever feel good or healthy.”
Well, when someone says something like that I am absolutely up for the challenge because I know shifting the way we relate to our parents is crucial to how connected we feel to ourselves and how open we are to love and certain choices we make in our lives.
So, we both willingly engaged in a debate about this topic.
The conversation was so profound that other people at the dinner sat in to listen, observe, and take in what we were saying.
When the discussion was finished, I felt both of us had learned a lot about each other’s perspectives, and ended on a great note. I thanked him for the amazing banter.
After this exchange, I noticed the time, it was late I needed to get home.
So, I left the party, hailed a cab. And then it hit me.
I started to feel really really bad. I started questioning everything. I asked myself – did I push too hard? Did I challenge him too much? Does he hate me now? Was he just being nice at the end of our conversation?
Then I thought about how my friends that hosted might hate me now because of I started a debate with another friend of theirs.
I had a pit in my stomach.
I was totally triggered.
The rational part of me was saying, “why are you freaking out? It’s no big deal. You were saying everything out of love, and you were simply expressing your opinion. You were also being totally understanding and challenging him to stretch himself in one of the most important relationships in his life.”
I got home and woke up Hemal because I needed to talk it out.
He said, “I think you have to be okay with people not liking you”.
The words hit my ears as truth.
I said vulnerably, “I don’t want anyone to hate me”.
He said, “why are you feeling so triggered?”
He has learned to ask me lots of questions 🙂
As I was observing myself in this slew of thoughts and feelings, I asked myself, “how is this reaction I’m having connected to my past?”
I often ask myself this question.
I map every trigger I have back to the past to understand where it’s ACTUALLY coming from so that I don’t make up stories about myself, and most importantly so I can also release another layer at it’s core. (This is something I teach in Soul Level Love.)
I told him it was because I can still feel the pain associated with a certain memory I have from childhood.
I was about 10 years old, and we’d have a community dinner every Friday night. During those dinners me and my friends would play in the office of the community building, and one Friday night, the office door was locked. I could hear all of my friends inside, so I knocked on the door. They asked who was knocking. I said it was me, Kavita. They said I wasn’t allowed in.
I was perplexed, wondering what I did for them to say that.
Then I asked why. And they only replied “because”.
I kept asking them to let me in, and they said no.
I immediately ran to my mom and told her that they had locked me out.
She came over and made them open the office door and let me in.
I was happy again.
After my mom left, my friend said that if I wanted to be friends with them, I had to follow rules, and then started to list them out one by one .
I remember feeling so hurt, upset, and confused with why my friends were doing this to me. I even remember looking at one of my closest friends at the time and thinking to myself, “why isn’t she sticking up for me?”
In that moment I translated that interaction to mean that I was too much for my friends, that they didn’t like me, and that I needed to hold back or be less of who I am to retain friendships.
That feeling I was having that night at the dinner party, was the same feeling I had in that office when I was 10 years old. It subconsciously followed me into adulthood.
After telling Hemal all of this, and even crying because I could still feel the emotions around that story, he said, “I get that. But did you ever stop to think that maybe the people at the dinner admired you for expressing your opinion?”
Man, my husband is smart!
Truth was that thought never crossed my mind.
What I realized in that moment was that I needed to rewrite the story I was telling myself from a long time ago.
I brought up the visual of that childhood memory into my consciousness, and transported myself back to being that 10 year old girl. I gave myself a hug and said “you are allowed to feel what you are feeling, but also add another perspective to it”.
Then I asked my 10 year old self what I could believe in, in that moment, that would support me in knowing that I hadn’t done anything wrong?
It took me a second, and then it hit me. As I was looking into my best friends eyes I could feel her wanting to say something, but felt like she couldn’t because it was her sister leading the pack.
When I looked into her eyes it was clear she didn’t want me to have to go through what I was going through, and then suddenly I could feel my other friends in the room also not being so into it.
Then I felt that maybe my best friends sister didn’t like that I was taking her younger sister’s attention away from her, and so she felt like she needed to put me in my place so she would always be the older sister and the biggest influence.
In feeling that in my 10 year old body, it all made sense. It had nothing to do with me. I hadn’t done anything wrong. This was just a sister’s way to still know she was loved by her younger sister.
Then I came out of the visualization, came back to the present moment.
And something released. I could feel that pit in my stomach vanish.
Here’s the thing, I could be making up that whole story, but it doesn’t even matter, because even the first version was a story I made up. I would rather believe the story that has me feel FREE instead of the one that has me stuck feeling like there’s something wrong with me.
The reason I’m telling you this long story is because when a man pulls away, 9 times out of 10, our reaction to that has very little to do with the MAN.
That feeling of being left, abandoned, not liked in some way – is much deeper and until we handle the layers from our childhood from which it stems, it’s hard to feel like that confident, loving, got-it-together woman you expect yourself to be with men.
Now it’s your turn. If you’re currently feeling the sting of a man pulling away or man that has pulled away, follow these steps:
Step 1: Take a moment to reflect on why you were triggered by it.
Step 2: Can you map it to a childhood memory or wound?
Step 3: Bring the memory into your consciousness.
Step 4: Ask yourself at that age, how can you feel what you need to feel and see how this wasn’t your fault, mistake, or that there wasn’t anything wrong with you.
Step 5: How does it feel to see that situation differently?
Even if it’s not a man, use these steps even if you’re simply feeling the pressure of being liked by a group of friends, co-workers, or family. What past memory is it triggering and how can you see it differently?
Share the story of that memory and how it feels to rewrite in the comments below.