I had a little run-in with my 7-year-old-ish part, Ramona yesterday. She is very concerned about what is fair and in keeping with the rules. She is too immature to manage her own problems when she feels disenfranchised and she’s inclined to go to the teacher when she just can’t get it out of her mind or assert herself with the one being unjust.
I’m a grown up, I’ve been to school, practiced my “I” messages in couples therapy but actually being assertive–as in standing up for myself–still trips me up. Melody Beattie’s work describes such controlling impulses and avoidance as codependency–along with a bunch of other impulses and behaviors. My internal Ramona steams and clenches her fists, but ultimately can only hang with her stomach churning in anticipation and all-out expectation that standing up for herself means full-blown confrontation. The avoidance dance begins.
Ramona also stares at her feet and pushes the dust around the floor to avoid eye contact when she knows she is in the wrong. Saying “sorry” is an even worse proposition, particularly when the one she wronged was the instigator of some trouble in the first place.
Sadly, it is so much more uncomfortable, unsatisfying and immature to allow Ramona’s insecurities to hold court. She is defiant and noisy with little ability to modulate her ornery side. I tried a little encouragement. I could be my own adult role model and remind myself to breath. I made my apology to the person Ramona picked a fight with. Harmless. Painless and inconsequential but for the melodramatic, completely avoidable build-up. Perhaps as a more mature adult, this process will eventually happen with less drama, a little mindfulness and enough self-love to understand with certainty that I am good and worthy of standing up for myself.