She said to me, “I don’t want to get pulled back into feeling vulnerable with my parents. That’s why I left home so early, because I just didn’t feel supported.”
This statement answered a question I had been sitting with for weeks about my client, let’s call her Katie.
We would talk about her tendency to try to figure things out all on her own, and how it was hard for her to ask for help and support. This was having her feel pretty alone and isolated in her life. Feeling like she cared more than others. Or that no one could really be there for her the way she was for them.
These thoughts were having her shut down in all kinds of relationships.
When I asked more questions about where this conditioning came from, we discovered that much of it stemmed from how she felt with her Mom when she was little. She often felt like her Mom just couldn’t be there for her.
Katie would try to open up and get her Mom’s approval or opinion about a situation she was struggling with, but often Katie wouldn’t get a straight answer from her Mom.
Then she would make a decision or choice for herself, given her Mom was not helpful, and then her Mom would express her disapproval of that decision. Her Mom would even go days without talking to Katie because she disapproved of the choice that Katie made.
For example, Katie asked her Mom if she could skip school one day because everyone was doing it and she didn’t want to hide it from her parents. So she called her Mom and asked if it was okay. Her Mom said, “It’s up to you” and didn’t really give a definitive answer. Katie chose to skip school. Afterwards, her Mom disapproved and was upset with Katie for making that choice.
These moments left Katie totally bewildered and unsupported by her Mom. Not to mention hurt, because she tried to be vulnerable.
You can start to see why Katie wouldn’t ask for a lot of help or support. It can feel like, “What’s the point, I’m not going to get it anyhow.”
After we uncovered this connection for Katie, it helped her to see why it’s been so hard to ask for help in her life today.
I asked her to have a conversation with her Mom to ask why she ignored Katie when she didn’t approve.
We crafted a script that allowed her to stay curious and to let her Mom know how Katie translated those moments.
Believe it or not, our parents don’t know how we translated or took in their reactions (or we haven’t been able to express it in a way they can hear).
But here’s the thing, Katie after several sessions with me still hadn’t talked to her Mom. So I knew something was up. Some belief or fear was keeping her from doing it.
I asked her what that was.
That’s when she said, “I don’t want to get pulled back into feeling vulnerable with my parents. That’s why I left home so early, because I just didn’t feel supported.”
A light bulb went off for me.
I said to Katie, “First of all, I want you to see that you’re a different person and as much as you can feel like that vulnerable little girl with your parents, you aren’t. Just start to take that in.
Next, the way you start to release this pattern is through talking with them, in this case your Mom. When you get vulnerable again, and open up to ask and receive the support that you need, that little girl gets to have a different experience, a new perspective. That’s when this pattern starts to dissolve.
Resisting the conversation, and even feeling like your parents “win” if you open up to them, is simply the ego talking and it’s keeping you from breaking through this pattern. Also through uncovering this you can see why you feel the way you do today, so it’s also important to have compassion for yourself.”
Katie said, “I had no idea that I was resisting talking to them so much, and that this was the reason why!”
I’m sharing Katie’s story with you because it may help you start to recognize your own patterns, and even what we unconsciously tell ourselves to stay in those patterns.
But when we open up to seeing where these patterns come from (our parents, those who raised us, and families) and how they are impacting us today, we can start to shift and breakthrough and have way more fulfillment in our lives right now.
Tell me, do you struggle with asking for help or support? Do you see where that comes from for you?