What is resistance doing in my life?
I’ve noticed over the last 20 years that we humans resist the very things that are good for us and head right back where we started. I found out last night that a dear friend had slipped back into her addiction to alcohol and drugs after almost a year of being free from the obsession. I’ve been thinking about what that is about.
Naturally, I can’t know what is going on inside someone else, what demons that person is battling, but it makes me do some deep thinking about all the addiction we have in our today world. I have some opinions and beliefs about it that I’d like to share with you.
Somewhere in our past—early childhood, another life?—we encountered trauma. We did the very best we could to cope with what happened to us with a child’s immature brain. It seemed like life or death to us and may actually have been that serious depending on the circumstances. The problem is that we came up with strategies that we still are using to fight off what we believe is more of the same kind of treatment that we received.
There’s an instantaneous trigger response that happens to us like the fight, flight, freeze response. Perhaps we developed a coping strategy that worked but more often than not we were kidding us into believing that we would be safe if we did this strategy. Like using drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping… to make us safe.
It just doesn’t work. In fact, we become more vulnerable, attract more trauma to us with this strategy.
What do you do? What is the strategy that you developed early on that you hardly even notice that you are using as a defense? And once you see what you are doing, what is the real affect on others. Do they draw closer and become more supportive? Probably no.
And we do this over and over again while not understanding that we are bringing to us the very negative situations that we are trying to avoid.
For example, consider being a boss to someone who is constantly late for work and shows us under the influence or hung over. Consider being a friend to someone who is drunk instead of showing up for an outing or shows up under the influence and becomes belligerent/morose/seductive…
Why do we continue to do it? My opinion is that we have long ago forgotten what we were actually using the substance about—it’s not because of these surface events but because of that past trauma.
Then to enable us to tolerate what was happening to us, we began to like the negative feeling. We secretly liked the drama, the feeling of aliveness when we were victimized, the revved up feeling when we were beaten down or beating someone else down (better know as enduring or inflicting pain).
If we can really face what we are doing, that place that is below our conscious awareness, we can become more willing to consider that we could replace that negative feeling with something positive.
Here I’m reminded of that Aesop fable about the sun and the wind arguing about who was stronger. The had a contest-who could make the man take off his coat would be the winner. The wind blew and blew and the man wrapped his coat tighter around himself. The sun shone and warmed the man who soon took off his coat.
The moral that I’m thinking about is that we are asking that we give up the blustery pleasure of the negative for the gentle power of the positive. They don’t feel the same but are equally powerful.
Let me hear from you about your thoughts on this subject.