I filled out a JYN on a friend of mine. She had sent me a text telling me what she thought I should do. I didn’t want her advice. I didn’t NEED her advice. I felt she didn’t respect me. “Who the hell does she think she is?!? I don’t need your help, thankyouverymuch.” I threw the phone down and tried to forget about her, but I couldn’t. My thoughts just ran and ran.
Me: She said something like “it might better for you to do IFC and then make the decision about the group. I think that will help you a lot.”
Karen: So is it when you’re reading the text?
Me: Yes. I don’t know if it’s important that you understand that IFC is like a self-improvement program and the group is a group of women that have attended this program that get together monthly. And they wanted me to make a commitment to them and I said I would think about it. So her text to me, was saying “maybe if you do IFC that will help you make the decision. I think that will help you a lot.” So I was on the couch reading her text. And this was about maybe a month ago.
(I start reading my JYN.)
1. I strongly resent Cindy because she treats me like I’m her student.
Identifying the Feeling and Statement
Karen: So just hang ten a mini. So you’re sitting on the couch and you’re reading the text. “It might be better if you …” What’s the emotion you’re feeling in that moment when you read the text?
Me: It’s strong… I think it’s resentment. A strong resentment.
Karen: So if you were to look at the top of the JYN Worksheet, there’s angry, sad, and disappointed. If you were to sit in one of those emotions…
Me: Angry. I’m angry.
Karen: Yep. So I’m angry with Cindy because…
Me: She treats me like I’m her student.
Karen: Is that really why you’re angry with her in that moment? If you tap into that anger and really feel the anger, is there a statement there in that moment?
Me: Yeah it’s like she’s talking down to me. I don’t read her text as helpful. It’s like…
Karen: She’s treating me like a child?
Me: Yes, yes. Like she knows something I don’t know.
Karen: So just sit and get in touch with the anger. See yourself back there on the couch. She’s sent you the text and you’re reading the text “It might be better if you…” Just really feel into the anger. Feel how angry you are reading this message from her. How dare she send me this message?!?
Me: Yes, yes! It’s like “who the hell do you think you are?!?”
Karen: Yea, right. And so, what’s the belief? She’s treating me like a child. Stop treating me like a damn child! Or what is it?
Me: (laughing) Yes. She’s like not respecting me. She’s not respecting the amount of work I’ve done on myself. She’s not respecting how much I know about myself, about how to take care of myself, what I need, and what I don’t need. It’s like I keep thinking “who the hell do you think you are talking to me like this?!?”.
Karen: Yea, yea. So she’s not respecting how much I know.
Karen: That really lands, yea?
Me: Yes, absolutely. She has no respect. For the wealth of knowledge that is inside me about myself and about what I need. Yea. And it feels like she’s putting herself above me. You know, like “oh you poor little thing, let me help you here” (uncomfortable laughter)
Karen: Yes, yes. Alright, so you’re there. You’re right there in that moment, yea?
Me: Yea, absolutely.
Karen: She’s not respecting how much I know, is it true?
Karen: Can you absolutely know, in that moment, that it’s true, that she’s not respect how much I know?
Me: (long pause) No, I can’t absolutely know that.
Karen: How do you react and what happens in that moment when you’re believing the thought “she’s not respecting how much I know”?
Me: Mm. I feel like this heat rise in me and it’s like a whoosh of heat and intense energy vibrating in my arms. I want to lash out at her. I hold myself back from texting anything back. I throw the phone into the kitchen (laughing) and walk away from it.
And then obsessive thoughts just whirl in my head about her. Thoughts about what I could say back that would hurt her. Like I want to get back at her. I’m having a hard time focusing on the TV program my husband and I are watching because of all my thoughts about her. They seem relentless. They just won’t … I couldn’t let them go. (sigh)
Karen: And in that moment, how were you treating Cindy when you’re believing the thought “she’s not respecting how much I know”?
Me: Oh, I lowered, and lowered, and lowered her. It’s like I completely lost any trace of respect for her and made her bad and wrong. And that’s what was running through my head… was all the proof of how she’s bad and wrong. Gosh, the desire to get even is really, really strong. To somehow get a dig in.
Karen: So how are you treating yourself in that moment when you’re believing the thought “she’s not respecting how much I know”?
Me: I feel a little disconnected from myself. Like I left myself in the background… way back there and she’s center stage.
Karen: So in that moment when you’re on the couch, reading the text, what are you not able to do, when you’re believing this thought “she’s not respecting how much I know”?
Me: Could you ask that question again please? (Sometimes I get so lost in my thoughts that I can’t hear anything. She repeats the question.)
I don’t feel like I’m able to see her clearly. Like I’m… she’s almost reduced to a caricature of somebody. I’m not able to enjoy my time with my husband or the show we’re watching. I’m not able to feel contentment or peace.
Karen: Who would you be in that same moment, without the thought “she’s not respecting how much I know”?
Me: Well, prior to reading the text, I was comfortable and relaxed and enjoying the evening time. Didn’t have any problems. Everything felt pretty good.
Karen: So you’re in that zone and you notice the text come in, you pick up the phone and you read “it may be better if you…” So who are you there without the thought “she’s not respecting how much I know”?
Me: It’s just a text from a friend. Encouraging me to go to a program that she thinks would be helpful to me.
Karen: Turn the thought around “she’s not respecting how much I know”
Me: I’m definitely not respecting how much she knows. (pause) God there’s a lot of resistance here. I’m not respecting how much she knows… Well, she had attended the first program, so she definitely knows more about that than me.
Karen: In that moment, when you’re sitting and reading her text, how is this true?
Me: I have no idea why she’s texting this to me, so I’m not respecting that she’s texting this to me. I’m looking for examples of how I’m not respecting how much she knows, right?
Me: Well, I actually have no idea how much she’s been through, how much work she’s done on herself, I have no idea really other than a smidgen of information here and there. Yea, the whole reason I felt she wasn’t respecting how much I know, was because I don’t respect her. If Katie had sent me the same exact text, it would have been a completely different experience! (laughing) Yea, I’m not respecting her at all. Even prior to the text. That’s why I felt so dissed because I DON’T respect her. Huh.
Karen: Nice to notice. Another turnaround? “She’s not respecting how much I know.”
Me: She IS respecting how much I know.
Karen: How’s that true in this moment?
Me: (pause) Gosh, I can’t see it Karen.
Karen: Okay, I got an example if you’d like to hear it.
Me: Yes, please.
Karen: She is respecting how much I know by using an acronym in the text. She’s used IFC. If I didn’t know what IFC was, as an example, she is respecting that I know and understand what IFC is.
Me: Oh. That’s true.
Karen: She’s respecting that I know and understand what IFC is. She’s used it and with the expectation that I’ll know what she’s talking about.
Me: Right. Yes. Yea. And it wasn’t a command, it was a suggestion. She’s respecting how much I know, because she’s not telling me I have to do something. She’s just throwing it out as an idea. Possibly respecting that I’ll know whether that’s a good thing for me to do or not.
Me: I’m not respecting how much I know.
Karen: How’s that true in that moment?
Me: When I disconnected from myself, it’s like I lost everything I knew. It’s almost like my self respect was cut off because I was totally in her business.
(Repeating back to myself) “I’m not respecting how much I know.” It’s like I was total ego in that moment. And lost what I know is true. That if I have a strong reaction, it’s about me, not her. I totally lost that knowledge, in that moment. Everything that I respect and know about myself, was gone.
Karen: That I have the ability to make that decision myself. I’m comfortable making the decision myself about what’s right for me.
Me: Yea, yea. It’s like I knew that but there was this defiance in it now. Oh, I remember thinking, “I DELIBERATELY won’t go now because she suggested it.” (laughing) Oh my goodness. Even though I was planning on going! Wow. Yea. It’s like all the sanity went out the window.
Working Another Statement
Karen: So in that moment, “she’s treating you like a child”, is it true?
Karen: How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
Me: (laughing) I act like a child. I mean, it’s just like a little temper tantrum in my head. Like throwing the phone down and walking away. I’m taking my ball and going home! It was just… wow. Oh my god.
Karen: So what are you not able to see in that moment when you’re believing this thought that “she’s treating me like a child”?
Me: In a way, I’m treating myself like a child. I’m treating the whole situation like a child. In that moment, it was blind. I wasn’t able to see. Blind to her, blind to myself, to my reactions. I couldn’t see anything in that moment. I’m just imaging what a different reaction it is when I just read the text like any other text.
Karen: So who would you be there reading it without the thought “she’s treating me like a child”?
Me: I’m just hearing a suggestion and… I actually think it’s a good idea. Cause I remember thinking, before her text, if I go to one of their programs, it might give me a common language with this group. So we’re speaking the same language. And I’ll have a better understanding about what they mean when they say the word “commitment.”
Karen: And in that moment, when you’re sitting reading Cindy’s text, how would you be thinking of Cindy without the thought “she’s treating me like a child”?
Me: I can actually… this is amazing, but I can imagine myself saying “Great idea! Good minds think alike.” Something like that. It has a totally different feel to it. It feels like a level playing field.
Karen: Turn the thought around, “she’s treating me like a child”
Me: I’m treating her like a child. Well, mainly in my mind. I knew better than to text something when I’m in that state. But in my head, I’m totally treating her like a child, I’m going to take my ball and go home, I’m going to say something mean to you now, it’s just very, very school yard.
Karen: Yea, kids in the playground.
Me: “I’m treating her like a child” I wasn’t respecting what she knows. I was looking down my nose at her, like she was the child. And how dare this child speak to me this way (laughing) Oh god.
Karen: Another turnaround, “she’s treating like a child”
Me: I’m treating myself like a child. Well, I’m very reactionary without much calm thought. There wasn’t much calm thought present which is a very adult thing to do. It was an impulsive reaction. You know, this question in The Work, “how do you treat yourself”, I always feel a little unsure about what exactly that means.
Karen: Ah, okay. So if I’m describing my behavior right, and say “I’m throwing a tantrum. I throw the phone around” that’s my behavior. That’s how I’m behaving, reacting in that moment. Right? That’s the action piece of it, it’s what I’m actually doing. But when you talk about treating yourself, it’s like “I’m treating myself like I’m better than her, I’m smarter than her, I’m superior to her, I know more than her”…
Me: So it’s kind of like the thoughts that are running through your head, in regards to how you’re viewing yourself, and thinking of yourself…
Karen: Exactly. How you’re viewing yourself. How you’re thinking about yourself in that moment. It’s not the action piece of it, how you react. But it’s how you see yourself in that moment. So you’re right, it’s how you view yourself. Yea.
Me: Okay. Yea, I absolutely saw myself as superior to her, for sure. That’s very childish. It’s like I’m going to put her in her place, because she needs to learn how to treat people, and it’s very… Everything I’m saying to you sounds very childish. An emotionally immature way of viewing both myself and her. It’s not thought out, or contemplated, it’s just how I imagine a child, or even a young teenager would behave and think.
Karen: It’s the difference between being rational and irrational.
Me: Yes, it’s all just emotions. Me, me, me, and I’ll get her.
Karen: Yea. So what’s the last turnaround? What’s the opposite “she’s treating me like a child”?
Me: She’s treating me like an adult. Well, she is treating me like an adult because she’s not dictating to me. She’s just making a suggestion and then leaving it up to me to decide what to do. That’s treating someone like an adult. She was not treating me like she knew better, because if she was treating me that way, she would have gone on and on about it. Into more and more explanation of why I should do this. She said it once, and left it be.
Again, going back to some of her verbiage, she didn’t use child-like words, they were all very adult words. I’m actually looking at what she wrote, because I wrote it down verbatim. (reading it) She’s just telling me what she thinks. Huh. It’s what I did with it.
Me: Yea, in my mind, I keep going back to, this would have been a totally different experience if I respected her from the beginning. I would have read it completely differently, experienced it completely differently if I respected her in the first place. I guess that’s a different worksheet.
Karen: Well, she’s not respecting me, is it true?
Me: She didn’t do anything that was disrespectful. It was prior to this text, I didn’t have a lot of respect for her, before I got the text.
Karen: So you want to work another worksheet on another statement, is that where you want to go with it?
Me: Yea. Because right now she’s like a big player in my life, and I have a lot of disrespect for her. When I think of her, it’s not warm fuzzies. But that’s a separate sheet.
Karen: Separate piece. Yea, cool.
Working Another Statement
Karen: So what if you take this worksheet you’ve written now, “she treats me like I’m her student” and turn that around to yourself.
Me: I treat myself like a student?
Karen: How’s that true in this moment?
Me: In the moment I’m reading the text?
Me: I treat myself like a student, because that’s the position I put myself in. She didn’t do that. She was an adult saying “hey, what about taking this program.” That’s just someone sharing their opinion. But I put myself in this student position and was defiant about being put there. Thinking that she was the one that put me there. But I put me there. I treated myself like a student.
Actually, you know it would have been better if I HAD treated myself like a student (laughing) You know what I mean…
Karen: Yea, yea…
Me: When you’re a student, you’re open and curious. And wanting to learn. Not thinking that you already know everything. And I love that position. I love to grow and learn. I love that openness to “oh, I don’t know about that, let’s look at that” I like that.
Working Another Statement
Karen: So what’s the next statement on your worksheet?
Me: So let’s see, number 2, (reading from worksheet) I want Cindy to know she’s… (uncomfortable laughter) … I’m embarrassed to read it. “I want Cindy to know she’s the one that’s lost.” Oh man.
Karen: Turn it around.
Me: I want to know I’m the one that’s lost. For sure. In that moment, oh my god, it’s so clear to me that I was lost. I lost connection with myself, with what I know, I lost my sense of openness. I was totally lost. I was like I was in a play, but couldn’t see the play. I was playing a role. And now I’m seeing my role and going “man, you were really into that role!”
Karen: High five! (more laughter)
Me: Let’s see… (reading more of the sheet) “I want Cindy to stop giving me advice.” “I want me to stop giving me advice” Hm.
Karen: How’s that true in that moment?
Me: In general, I don’t find advice very useful. Advice, for me, there’s like a ‘should’ in it.
“I want me to stop giving me advice” Some of the advice I was giving myself about what I can do to get back at her…I totally do NOT want that advice.
Karen: What about the turnaround to Cindy with this statement.
Me: “I want me to stop giving Cindy advice.” Oh my goodness. I didn’t do it out loud, but in my head… Whooya! I had SO MUCH advice for her. About all kinds of things she should and shouldn’t do. It’s like I had a big basket full. (laughing) Holy cow. Oh boy.
“I want me to stop giving Cindy advice” Because I just want to stay in my own business. You know… I’m all I can handle right now. I just can’t continue to manage her life.
(reading on) “I want Cindy to stop making assumptions about me.”
Karen: “I want me to stop making assumptions about me”?
Me: Oh yes, I made lots of assumptions about me in that moment. I made a HUGE assumption that I am way above her, on the whole self-awareness, evolutionary scale of things. It’s a huge assumption.
Karen: And the turnaround to Cindy?
Me: “I want me to stop making assumptions about her” Oh my goodness. Like the assumption that she had this attitude behind her text, or that she knows more, these were all assumptions about her. That she was approaching me with this attitude. She meant to say it this way and that. All these assumptions about her.
Her intentions. Her motivations. Holy cow. What a waste of energy. Assumptions. Yea. I not only want to stop making assumptions about her in this specific situation, I’d like to start noticing when I’m making assumptions about her in the future too. Along with the basket of advice, it’s my go-to with her. It’s like I think I know all about her. When in fact, I know very little.
Okay. (reading on) “Cindy shouldn’t assume she has anything to teach me.”
“I shouldn’t assume I have anything to teach her.” I can really see now, in relation to her, that I put myself way up high on this perch or pedestal in comparison to her. And because I did that, everything is seen from that position. All my advice to her. All my assumptions about her. The things I think I can teach her. It’s very… this is very humbling.
Karen: So turn that around to yourself.
Me: “I shouldn’t assume I have anything to teach me.” Hmmm. (very long pause) Well, the only example I can see where that’s true is, I feel great amount of… I put a lot of pressure on myself to learn, understand myself, to be clear, be centered, to be calm, to be at peace with myself. There’s a lot of pressure there to do that. And this whole idea that there’s something I need to learn, or understand, or know… I can see if I can just leave me be…
Me: There might be a little more peace and calm and clarity without all that pressure. I can feel the peace in that right now. It feels really good. I think I’d like to end with this feeling. It feels so good. Is that okay?
Karen: Of course.
- When I’m triggered, I lose my mind. I’m not rational. And in the moment I’m triggered, I don’t realize I’m triggered! I don’t realize it until later. All the thoughts that run through my head seem perfectly legitimate and real to me. In that moment, I don’t even realize I’m upset.
- When I’m upset, my knee-jerk reaction is to blame them and want to hurt them back.
- When I don’t have respect for someone, everything they say or do is filtered through that. It’s like I can’t take their words literally. I always read some motive into it because what they say or do has to fit into my story about them.
- When I think someone isn’t respecting ME, in that instant, I don’t respect THEM. My mind whirls with all the proof of how they’re bad and wrong.
- The reason I was so upset was because I was out of my own business and into hers. ALL my thoughts were about her, her, her. What she is, what she should and shouldn’t have said or done. That’s she’s behaving this way because blah, blah, blah. All her business. Not mine and I can feel that. It always feels like crap. The second I’m back in my own business, it feels so much better.
- I was amazed at how little I actually know about her. My stories about her seemed so real at the time. I thought I had her all figured out.
- All my thoughts about her being disrespectful, giving me advice, making assumptions about me , talking down to me, thinking she’s better than me… The turnarounds are actually truer. I wasn’t respectful. I had tons of advice and assumptions about her. I was looking down on her and thought I was better than her. Being able to see that clearly, made me like her so much more. And I like me more as a result.