Avoiding Our Mirrors

mirror

This week I have started working with two new shadow pieces that have popped up; blame and denial. As I work with all these shadow pieces that are surfacing (entitlement, self-righteousness, blame, denial, judgement, manipulation) I am fully aware that they are all connected to something bigger: victim mentality. Victim mentality seems to be the big one, at least right now, and all of these shadows I am getting to know and learning to have compassion for I think are bringing me closer to my real work which is around my own victim mentality.

So, what I am learning about blame and denial so far. What I have found as I work with my shadows is that when they first pop up it is easier for me to get to know them by projecting outwards first. After this projection I am able to clearly see where I exist in all of it and how I use these shadows in my own life. I did this as I was getting know entitlement, I did this as I was getting to know self-righteousness and manipulation. It is hard to bring these shadows home and embrace them. If I speak in generalizations first I think maybe it is easier for me to see them objectively and then I can invite them in and make it personal.

When I first started working with denial I thought about everything I have learned in terms of triggers. Often we become triggered by some outside stimulus and want to blame the stimulus for triggering us rather than take any accountability for our own feelings and the work we should be doing around these triggers. This is denial, right? This is also blame.

Our triggers are our mirrors. Denial is refusing to acknowledge the mirror exists. Blame is acknowledging the mirror but refusing to see ourselves in it.

I know this to be true because I manipulation, and entitlement, and self-righteousness were some of my big triggers and I can see where I personally followed this pattern of denial, and blame, and victimhood throughout my life when it came to these shadows.

This is all I have so far with denial and blame but I am sure as I continue to work with these two shadows more will surface that will bring these two shadows home.

 

 

 

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Little Glimmers

I had something close to a break through with a client today. This is a client I am working with for the second time. They were in our program lat year and returned recently after AWOLing from another program. I was sad to discover this client had regressed considerably since the last time I worked with them. Then after observing the client in ways I had not had the opportunity to previously I started to wonder are they regressing or did I never know the full story?

I worked with this client for only a few days last stay, this time I have had them for weeks so I am definitely uncovering more.

Session started on an intense note today. I had to assertively set boundaries with the client on multiple planes before we even started session then the topic was not an easy one to navigate which led to a lot of gentle confrontation with the client.  Ultimately by the end of session we had turned a major corner and I was able to build the beginning of a bridge with this client on an issue they have been struggling with and taking next to no accountability for up to this point. It was a little glimmer of what is possible with motivation and empowerment.

I am grateful that my supervisor trusts me with complicated cases. I am grateful that I have been challenged and made uncomfortable so often during this internship that it has given me the opportunity to step into my own place of empowerment. I am also thankful that I have been working with a population who are mandated to receive counseling services based on how our program is funded. This is not the ideal situation for clinicians, typically you want clients who want to do the work, when client’s are mandated they are  not always willing participants. This internship has presented so many awesome obstacles for me to work through and overcome.

It may have been an uphill journey but you better believe my social work muscles are strong as hell thanks to the path I chose to walk!

“Lists of How NOT to Treat Me” – A Self-Care Project – Part One

list

A perk of my current placement – no early mornings. Well, I still wake up at 7 every morning but I am not expected at internship until late morning/early afternoon so I have hours to myself in the morning and it is everything!

Sometimes I wake up and watch the news and have a dark cherry greek yogurt smoothie. Sometimes I hit snooze and cuddle with my family longer. Sometimes I wake up make green tea and do yoga to crystal bowls in the living room. Sometimes I take a little time to check in with friends. And sometimes I write.

This morning was a decaf coffee, cold veggie pizza left-overs, watching the news, checking in with my soul friend and writing kind of morning.

While on social media this morning I found a list (this post is all about lists) of local coffee shops that are well rated. I sent the list to my soul friend and suggested that we have girlfriend dates at some of them – this started a bigger conversation.

One of the reasons I love this particular soul friend is because she is a creative soul like me. She is a poet (my favorite, I call her the poetry queen), she paints with me (she is one of the first people I ever painted with because it has always felt so vulnerable to me), and she gets the deep emotional stuff. We have conversations that most people would never go near because as a society we like to numb not feel.

While talking I invited her to this art show going on next week because *Breaking News*: I am thinking about submitting a piece at this show next year. That is a whole other post though.

This in turn led us to talk about her art as well (poetry) and open mic nights. She is interested in going to more and I am certainly interested in supporting her in that. She was sharing with me a new inspiration she had about poetry in list form. She was at an open mic recently and one of the poets apparently read something like this and my friend was inspired. She shared with me her latest piece, a list poem, which was amazing, and then she said something I was so inspired by I nearly jumped out of bed. (Yes, I was totally eating cold veggie pizza and drinking decaf in bed while chatting with her – don’t judge me).

Our conversation went like this:

Soul Friend: I wonder what it would be like if people wrote lists of “how not to treat me” as a self-care project.. It could be from a parenting, romantic, friendship, or work life perspective.

Jillian: Yes!!!!! Sorry friend, I am stealing this as my next blog post! I will give you credit!

SF: Please do it! Even better if you or someone else is able to write something from it. I really like it for emotions that can be strong and scary to delve into like fear, hurt, grieving, anger – all things that take over but need to be addressed.

J: Right, it gives a bit of detachment like you said.

SF: Like a grocery list or to-do list for emotional preservation. I knew you would get it!

J: I more than get it, I love it! I am inspired!

Here is the thing, a list like this is not be rushed. I was struck by her stunning emotional brilliance a half hour ago, I certainly do not have my list formed yet. So this post is just setting the stage for the greatness that will come next. I hope everyone reading will take sometime through out the day, or week, or any length of time needed to consider this proposal…

What would your list look like? Who would you give it to? How would you hold others accountable for respecting your list? How would you hold yourself accountable? These are all the things I will be mindful of as I go deep and think/feel about my list(s). Remember you do not have to create just one list for everyone in your life, you occupy many roles, you may have multiple lists for your different identities.

With that I wish you all joy and abundance and I look forward to writing more on this as it forms for me.