At this stage of my healing, I believe that maintaining my inner peace and my level of positivity is essential for my well-being. Unfortunately, throughout our lives, whether it be at work, or in our personal lives, everyone, at some point, will encounter an emotional disruptor.
An emotional disruptor is someone who pushes our buttons and triggers our deep seated emotional wounds. This can be anyone from our partners to our parents, siblings, coworkers, friends or bosses. Their words and actions can knock us out of balance and send us on a hurt spiral. When we’re in that negative space we run the risk of attracting negative people and negative events into our lives. It throws us out of our bliss zone and can bring us back to that place where we feel like that wounded child from our past.
On a more basic level, it just doesn’t feel good and it makes us doubt ourselves and infringes on our confidence. Codependents tend to absorb criticism and shame, so it can be a big test for those of us recovering from the disorder. This is one of those elements that children of emotional abusers were not taught how to handle in a healthy way and the typical response to someone saying or doing something hurtful to us, is to internalize it and to feel its sting. When an emotional disrupter throws a barb at a Codependent it will almost always hit its mark.
Dealing With Emotional Disrupters
The key to recovery from this aspect of Codependency is to teach ourselves what we were not taught as children and that is the appropriate, logical, adult coping mechanisms required to tune out people bent on doing us harm. Here’s a few techniques:
Accurately Interpret the Situation: We have to learn how to keep our feet firmly in reality and be able to judge the scene honestly. Honestly, meaning we’re objective in our analysis, that we’re not accepting blame that isn’t ours, or to make sure that we take it when it is. We have to learn to strengthen the accuracy of our interpretation muscle and not jump to owning responsibility as we’ve been trained to do. We have to stop being so uncertain and practice the art of knowing. Knowing when we’re right, trusting our decisions and our instincts. This is the essence of confidence.
Look at the Source: If the one hurting us has a shady character, we shouldn’t be putting too much weight on their words or actions. Emotional manipulators throw shade at people they can’t control and who have the power to expose them. Their purpose is to hurt and we should never reward people whose aim is our demise, by giving it to them. As well, no one can pass blame onto you if you don’t accept it.
If someone you trust and respect gives you criticism I would take that much more to heart. People who want the best for you, generally will give you a dose of honesty to make you better, rather than to tear you apart. It’s important to learn the difference.
Be direct and ask for clarification: Sometimes we misinterpret what’s being said. Codependents seem to absorb the hurt first and ask questions later. I typically find that people usually won’t insult you to your face. Before you do anything, throw in a simple, “What do you mean by that?” That simple action can and often does diffuse the situation.
Fight Fire with Fire: In certain situations, like when one is dealing with a bully, the proper response can be, to give them a dose of their own medicine. You’ll find very quickly that cowards act out in an aggressive, irrational way and don’t like to be challenged. When you’re dealing with one of these and in the spirit of, “you teach people how to treat you,” give it right back to them. Cowards like an easy mark, so don’t be one and hand it right back to them.
I Don’t Care: This phrase has become my mantra in a vast majority of instances. It’s kind of like when a person throws a heap of dung at you and you pull out an umbrella. Their shit doesn’t touch you. When the hurtful words and actions of others have no affect on you, you’ve reached your Nirvana. The way to establish this is to repeat the phrase, ‘I DON’T CARE, ‘over and over again, in your mind, like an affirmation. Sometimes I’ll say it fast, then slow, I’ll sing it, say it with a British accent…. what usually follows is me not caring and I brush it away. The more you flex your I don’t care muscle the stronger it gets.
What Would My Mentor Do?: I often think about a person like Ashley Judd. I like Ashley Judd, not just because she’s a beautiful, talented actress, but because she unapologetically speaks her mind and stands up for her beliefs. A lot of people look at her like she is a real bitch and this is the stigma a lot of strong women receive. She’s so powerful in fact, that a Narcissist like Harvey Weinstein had to make sure he smeared and silenced her because he was very, very aware of her power. When I’m not sure of how to respond in a certain situation I’ll ask myself, “How would a strong powerful woman like Ashley Judd handle this?” And I’ll do what I think they would do and leave it at that.
Emotional manipulators do not fare well against strong willed people. They are most definitely not their target audience and they do their best to avoid them. The better one gets at tuning other people out the more inner peace you will have.
When Oprah Winfrey was ending the Oprah Winfrey Show after 25 years, her staff planned the last two shows as a huge tribute to the media mogul. We got to see a behind the scenes look at the operation and her interactions with staff and guests. One staff member started to get really emotional and Oprah said, “I can’t go there with you,” and she walked away. This didn’t mean that it didn’t touch her that she wouldn’t be in this place with these people again. It meant that she doesn’t allow herself to go to a hurtful, negative emotional place – not for any reason. She just doesn’t let it in. That’s how powerful it is.
She knows the importance of her inner emotional state. She knows that negative emotional thoughts and feelings attract negative emotional people and circumstances. So, she has learned how to block them out and how to listen and trust her own instincts.
Once you master this, your focus gets really clear and you’re able to block out all distractions. It also gives you control over your own stability, because nothing is able to throw you into a tailspin. This is one of those aspects of life that is essential for your success and your well-being. When your own voice becomes louder and clearer than those around you – you’re that much closer to mastering your life.
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