It sounds like the start of a bad joke, and in some ways, right now it feels like it is. We got the news on Thursday while I was on a call that two of my kids will be home-educated over the next two weeks.
Instantly my body went into fight/flight mode. I didn't notice it, I didn't even feel anything - hence why I say Trauma - one of my mentors said: "Anything, where we suppress or ignore our emotions, is trauma."
(Please, don't misinterpret that, I believe there are degrees of trauma and my getting an email that I have to navigate two children at home pales in comparison to many of the traumas other are experiencing or have experienced).
We all have unconscious patterns playing out. What do a Jigsaw Puzzle, Full Calendar, and Australia Post Deliveries have in common? They are all part of my unconscious trauma response.
My default protection patterns include control, a busy badge of honour, and loads of distractions.
Not two seconds after I read the email I volunteered to do the back end work on making a coaching course ICF compliant. Meaning anywhere between 10 and 15 key points to review, translate, interpret, apply to the coaching at hand with examples, and slide decks. Read a lot of work.
Last lockdown I launched 2 group mentoring programs within a week of hearing the news. This morning my mind is in overdrive contemplating a course called "Build an Inner Team of Champions through fiction fantasy - and become a published author in 90 days" - I'm resisting my usual put it out there and see, and will take it to a mentor for feedback on timing first.
So that's my calendar full. Full to overflowing. I think I stack on so much so I can justify to myself why nothing is being done well. If I am doing so much you cant expect much of me. And then when I pull it off, as I generally do, I get to play a Hero complex and superficially boost my significance.
Another default, completely unconsious pattern is to buy stuff. Most often books, but the air filter that haunts me in my office, and so much of the other clutter in my house also fits this description. In the past few days I have managed to pretty well curb this one, though I did buy 4 mini courses, and stacks of books over the past 3 weeks, which was probably in relation to the lockdown and self isolation, so maybe I've filled that bucket. I did also buy 60 hours of video content on archetypes yesterday. So, yeah, okay, maybe I didn't curb it and am in a little denial about how this one has also taken me hostage.
And the puzzles. Last year in lockdown I did many. I did the Harry potter while in isolation. And I've done two more in the past 3 days.
I also get obsessed with learning things. Last year it was the Rubik's cube, and I sent them to my clients. This year it's archetypes, cards, readings, books. I sent them to my clients. One of whom said it was a way better gift than the Rubik's cube.
Knowing all this doesn't stop me from falling into the trap. I could see myself saying "I'll do that" in response to the accreditation work. But I couldn't stop. I can see myself pushing Tori away as I immerse in puzzles and courses. But I cant stop.
What I can do is ride the wave, add more self-soothing practices, and repair the relationship as we go. Spending as much time with her as I can manage and making sure she knows it's got NOTHING to do with her, and that this is my own stuff. And if she needs me, to ask, and I will drop everything. We are open. She can call me out. She can ask for her needs. I feel that is a gift I can give her. I'm not a perfect Mum, I'm a human mum with many flaws, fears, and I fuck it up often, but I am transparent and I am willing to apologise.
When we own our flight/fight responses, when we are accepting of how ridiculously human we are, we get to create a life we love.
We all have unconscious patterns playing out. These are some of mine. (There are many more - binge-watching Netflix, hunting out sugar and fat and dairy, yelling at people irrationally about wanting to sleep in their own bed, meltdowns over losing a pillowcase and so much more...)
The gift of self-acceptance means I see these patterns, yes I work towards reducing them, and replacing them, but I am also kind and loving when I do find myself in the middle of them.
Of course, after years of study of personal patterns, I have a wealth of tools at my fingertips to fall back to when I find myself mid pattern.
My first step was to step out and pause. To create space to choose one of the least obnoxious patterns and leverage it. In my case, I headed to the puzzles. They take up time and space, and they do have me push away my daughter while I get consumed, but of the options, it seemed best in the moment.
Second I start to look for models and archetypes to help me see alternative perspectives. I have a self-sabotage profile I use (both with myself and my clients) and I headed there - it reminded me of my patterns, and it showed in the results how heightened my fight/flight response is, if anyone had of asked I'd have said I was fine, but this highlighted how intense my patterns were playing out.
Third, I reached out to friends. I made a few calls, talked things through, shared my pillowcase meltdown on Facebook to remind myself I am not alone.
If you are looking for a supportive community there is no better place to start than the DailyFROG group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/DailyFROG/
P.S. Any coaches who feel they need to share an evangelical feel to heal type response, to you I say Heal Thyself, and please look for the log in your own eye - the rescuer, the evangelist, the hero are all patterns of trauma response... If you think you have yourself together and aren't having unconscious patterns play out - I'd suggest you go back and read this again and again as you are the one who needs to read this most.