The bigger they come, the harder they fall

It’s interesting to me how, once we begin to develop awareness of ourselves and our bodies, we can learn so much from any given experience.

I woke up on Monday excited about “being an adult” and going to my (not so fun) job because it gave me something to do. I felt highly focused and productive, I was a bit more outgoing than usual, interactions with coworkers felt easy, and all in all I felt capable, in control, and “like nothing is wrong.” I put this in quotations because it’s a denial state I get in sometimes, when I super feel like I have my shit together. On the one hand, I was very present at work, my mind felt clear, and this felt wonderful. On the same hand, this “nothing wrong” sentiment is laced with denial and the perfectionist/OCD need to make everything right.

And then I had an hour and a half to spend before going to therapy. I went to a coffee shop and planned to do some reading. Instead, I felt drawn to looking things up online. This is a generally un-helpful tendency I’m developing awareness of– Googling and ruminating on all the ways I may be an awful person. I take an individual circumstance (in this case, acting impulsively and then regretting my action, which leads to a sense of lost integrity in myself, and the resulting shame)… and I get stuck on seeing the pattern in my life of all the times I have acted in this way, all the times I have lost my integrity due to impulsive tendencies and how this has created a pattern in my mind of me lying, manipulating, burning bridges, and the compounding shame, shame shame.

So I’m looking things up on my phone, literally Googling “Impulsive + loss of integrity,” and it dawns on me that Monday at work I was completely in Manager Mode (coming from Internal Family Systems).

The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

The stronger my manager, the deeper the shame and pain underneath.

The stronger the manager, the more I’m covering up in my self.

And what I am proud of is that I recognized this. I am proud that I realized I was actually feeling intense shame, sadness, frustration, and that my parts were feeling different things. I am proud that I came to this awareness and that, in so doing, my manager let go a little bit, so that the rest of me could be present in therapy.

Emotions are powerful. And the intensity of the shame that I was feeling last night, that I still feel a bit now, would have been devastating to deal with at work. Of course my manager took over during the day! It let me function. I am grateful to my manager. I am grateful, too, to the part that starts Googling things because she tries to get my head to recognize what my heart and gut need; I am grateful that the Googling part, which often leads to painful rumination, can also be informative and lead me to emotions that I must be present with. I am grateful that I recognized this and faced these painful emotions as best I could last night. I am grateful that I let myself be vulnerable first to myself and then in therapy. I am grateful that I am beginning to understand how all these parts work.

The stronger the manager, the more “I am on top of it today” I feel, the more intensity lies underneath. And this is okay. This is protective. This is necessary.

I am grateful.

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