Today – in one of the those great, romantic God-moments I heard this:
“My people pleasing and approval seeking is strongly connected to childhood experiences of “absorbing” the emotional state of those around me. There was a LOT of conflict in my house and I can remember soaking it up and then working hard not to contribute to it. I felt it was my responsibility to SHARE THE EMOTIONS of those around me. Not to abandon them, not to invalidate them, not to OFFEND my family and thereby lose intimacy with them.”
These days, many of our AC3 leaders are afraid to give up their religious goodies. They’re anxious and fearful. Some express their insecurities with hostility, rancor and aggression. At “worst”, I adopt those same feelings. At “best” I feel like I have to BALANCE them, compensate for them, but I feel that I can’t confront it directly for the reasons stated above. This economy works in ALL aspects of my world, not just work:
It comes in big ways and little ways. Just this morning, a not infrequent kind of moment occurred. I didn’t even get my coat off, I had literally only said “Hello” to Brenda and she somewhat abruptly said with a slightly anxious tone while walking past me, “The dog has some sores or something on her back that she keeps chewing…”
Implications FROM Brenda:
1) Our pet is un-well. This is sad.
2) This will require a vet visit, drugs, etc.: More money. This is anxious.
3) Here’s ANOTHER thing not going right. This is angry.
4) I already have a lot to deal with. This is resentment.
5) I don’t want to have to deal with ANOTHER thing right now. This is frustration.
My impulse to PICK-UP from Brenda’s implications:
1) My fault! This is somehow MY FAULT!
2) I better meet her where she is emotionally so as not to incur her frustration too.
3) I had better DO something right now to calm her fears: Gotta “fix it”
4) My manhood is under scrutiny RIGHT NOW and it’s not looking good.
5) Oh. Our pet MIGHT be un-well, and that would be sad.
It happens on a much larger scale. I encounter emotional junk in people, other leaders ALL DAY, and I feel the urge to join them rather than leading them through it.
I must stop changing to match, or “compliment” the emotional state of those around me in an effort to protect myself.