Your circumstances can make you feel really trapped sometimes. It’s oh so easy for the mind to make up stories about how horrible things are, how much of a victim we are, how trapped we are, and so on. The mind loves a good award-winning drama and this is one of the perfect places to create it.
However, is it really that or is your mind just having a good time? Let’s explore.
First and foremost is safety. If your physical safety is at risk, this is not for you. If you are being emotionally or mentally abused this is not for you. Please seek out the help you need or find safe shelter immediately if you are in any of these scenarios.
As is always the case in what I write, this is for those of us in more mundane scenarios that simply find ourselves unhappy and stuck. If that is you, read on.
Maybe you’re like me – you’ve had an “awakening” of sorts, you’ve done a crap ton of healing like I have and you’re just not the same person you were when you set up your current circumstances. You’re no longer that person and those circumstances no longer suit you.
But if you’re also like me you can’t just up and leave for a whole bunch of reasons – between marriage, kids, dogs, and finances – leaving isn’t one of the options. So, now what? Are you stuck? Is it really that bad?
Maybe leaving isn’t really what you want to do anyway. Maybe there are aspects to where you are currently that you want to keep. Maybe don’t want to end your marriage, abandon your children, run away and live in a cave. Maybe you just want to figure out how to make things okay where you are.
What if I told you that you can?
What if I also told you it doesn’t require you to argue with everything and everyone around you?
What if I told you that with some patience and time it was absolutely possible to learn to be okay in the life you’re in?
So, here’s the thing – changing your circumstances really just means changing how you think about, feel about, and respond to your circumstances. What we’re not doing is actively changing anything outside of ourselves – yet.
Shifting relationships with other people requires you to understand what you’re bringing to the relationship. No, I don’t mean that you do the laundry and they don’t know how to fold a towel. It’s not that kind of “bringing”. What I’m talking about here is how your reactions or responses to what the other person does affects what happens next.
If the other person never does “x” and you want them to, demanding they do it probably won’t get you very far. Those arguments in the past probably haven’t worked very well. The strategies you create from pain just create more pain and they don’t work.
What’s the fix?
If you don’t want to do the other person’s laundry then stop. Tell them you’re no longer doing their laundry. Show them how to use the machine if you need to and be done.
Your point of control here is in your choice to do it or not. By continuing to do it, you’re just making yourself mad. You want to make the choice to stop and for whatever reason, whatever you’ve told yourself in your head, you haven’t made the choice yet.
I’m here to tell you it’s time to make the choice.
You’re questioning whether there is an argument coming or not. I said no fighting right?
If you don’t defend yourself. If you don’t argue back. If you just stand your ground and stay in your decision not to do the other person’s laundry no matter what they throw at you, you don’t have to fight.
The fight happens because you defend yourself and argue back. If you just flatly state what’s happening, let them blow steam off, and walk away you’re done. The problem only happens because you defend yourself and argue back. Just stop doing that.
Next time they need laundry done, they may come at you, but your job is to stay in your choice, offer to show them how to use the machines, but other than that it’s not yours. They are officially on their own. I promise this will stop quickly. The person will need clean clothes and they won’t have a choice. They will do their own laundry and be fine.
But that’s the part you don’t want right? I said no fighting and what you want is for the other person to be completely happy with every single choice you make. You don’t want a harsh word, uncomfortable feelings, anger, anything. You want it to be in your comfort zone.
I’m going to break this to you as gently as I can.
Balance is not in your comfort zone. If it were, you would already have it. Balance comes from making the choices that you want to make for yourself, being okay with them, and then standing your ground to make sure they happen without defending yourself or arguing back.
Defending yourself and arguing back are you offering your own pain. Your ability to manage yourself in the experience by not throwing your own pain around is how you change this without all the drama that normally gets created.
Yes, the other person may still be upset, but if you’re not offering any of your own pain and you’re just being honest about what you want and why (without the blame), it changes the outcomes of these types of discussions. They don’t have to end up in a heated blow out where somebody is sleeping on the couch for a week.
I put three words in brackets that are critical to this working the way you want it to. You cannot blame the other person for your choice. You’re not making them do their own laundry because they never fold anything. You’re not making them do their own laundry because they have ridiculous expectations or they have too many clothes. The reason for your choice has to have absolutely nothing to do with them.
Why do you want them to do their own laundry? What’s the real reason without the blame?
Because I… am overwhelmed.
Because I… need a break.
Because I…have a lot going on.
Because I…fill in the blank with your own reason.
No blame, no guilt, no victimization, and no anger. The reason you’re making that choice is because you’re looking for balance in your life. Balance to you looks like everybody doing their own laundry.
Cool. I did that. It works phenomenally well and isn’t that hard to do.
This is how all choices work. You decide what you want. You don’t defend that choice and you don’t argue back. You offer none of your own pain. The reason for the choice is because you need or want something for yourself not from them. Your choice has nothing to do with the other person. It’s not about them. It is all you and you’re going to take responsibility for it every single time.
What’s that? But you are in pain?
Okay, heal that first.
Don’t go into this type of conversation with pain intact. Deal with the story you’re telling in your own head that’s causing you pain.
Always make these choices from a healed state.
Because that way the story isn’t messing with your perception. You’re seeing it clearly. You know what you want and why. There is no pain involved and you’re able to take responsibility for the choice without any of the stories you’re currently telling.
Let’s go back to the original question – why are you making that choice?
When we feel trapped and we start to make choices it’s because we’re trying to free ourselves from that trapped feeling. Usually it just results in a lot of arguments and hurt feelings. Why? Because the pain of feeling trapped is messing with your perception making you think it’s all these things when it’s not about those things at all.
What’s it about?
Well, what’s the wound? What’s the trigger?
I had two major triggers: Lack of confidence and money or should I say lack of money.
Both of those messed with my perception in a huge way. They made me feel trapped every time I did something for somebody else because I didn’t allow myself to make my own choices. That meant even folding a t-shirt for somebody else was a problem.
Because I wasn’t financially independent I felt trapped because I couldn’t just leave like I wanted to. I didn’t have the means to do what I thought I wanted to do.
Why did I want to run away?
Because of the feeling of being trapped in my circumstances. My sense of powerlessness meant I didn’t feel like I had the ability to change anything and my lack of money made me feel completely trapped in circumstances I didn’t think I had any control over.
Those wounds severely messed with my perception and how I saw what was happening around me. It was only once I healed those things and started to see my life very differently that I was able to make changes without all the pain.
I found my sense of power and started to make choices that offered balance. I dropped some things and added others. I made sure that I balanced my decisions so that I didn’t create inequality in the other direction. I made it so that the people around me had no reason to complain.
I healed me from the inside first, then I started reacting differently to what was happening so that I could understand what my external world was triggering within me, and then finally I changed what I was doing in the world around me so that I felt more balanced and in control of my own life.
Long story short, it worked.
It took me most of the last 9 years to heal enough to be able to shift my circumstances in this way. I had a lot of internal healing to do first before I could make choices that made sense and weren’t based on old wounds and triggers.
Truth be told, there are still aspects of my life where I get triggered by these old wounds and start to feel trapped in my circumstances. I realized the other day that working was one of those things. Somewhere inside of me at some point in my life I had decided that it would be better to marry a sugar daddy, hire a maid, and never work a day in my life.
Well, I didn’t do that partially because I was busy conforming to all kinds of expectations from the outside world and I completely buried that under all kinds of stuff.
What it created was a sort of resentment that had built up. I wanted to make a few million quick so I could create the lifestyle I wanted and quit. I wanted to fix it fast and be done with it. That mentality came from feeling trapped in needing to work at all. It caused me to be really impatient with what I was creating in my work and made being self-employed very difficult and frustrating.
That wound was being triggered by not really making much money in the work that I was doing. I resented working and then I was mad because I was essentially working for free, and that exacerbated the whole thing.
What I did was release the resentment around working and just allowed myself to be okay with where I was. This wasn’t something I could change. I couldn’t really fix this so I had to figure out how to be okay with it. What I came to was if I’m going to work, then at least I’m going to do what I like and not worry about the rest. That’s exactly where I am now.
Not everything is just a matter of having a conversation, sometimes you do just have to get okay with where you are. The analogy I often use is the idea of sitting in a chair that isn’t particularly comfortable. What do you do with that? Grab a pillow or six and figure out a way to make it more comfortable. If you have to sit in it, then make it tolerable for yourself. Sometimes that just means understanding that you can’t change it right now and arguing with it or being mad at it doesn’t fix it. It doesn’t help you in that moment.
It’s not that you can’t have a goal to change it in the future, it’s just that you’re not there yet so you might as well figure out how to be okay for as long as it takes you to get there. Sometimes that’s the work.
Where is your point of control?
Sometimes your point of control is in making choices and telling people what those choices are. Sometimes your point of control is in allowing yourself to work toward a goal somewhere in the future. In the short term, you simply figure out how to stop arguing with it so that you don’t have to be upset every day of your life.
Your perspective matters.
When you clear the pain out of your perception, it allows you to see where you’re offering yourself your own pain. Your unwillingness to make a choice and let the people around you figure it out is you offering yourself your own pain. Your unwillingness to simply accept things as they are is also you offering yourself your own pain.
Nobody outside of you is doing anything to you. Nothing is happening. You’re either arguing with things you’re unwilling to fix or that you simply can’t fix. Both of those arguments are pointless. They aren’t helping you and they aren’t fixing anything. So why are you arguing with them? Change what you can and leave the rest.
As humans, we have a really hard time dropping problems we don’t think we have control over. It’s this constant need to defend ourselves from these unseen demons that might be lurking in the shadows. But I promise you, if you stop arguing with your circumstances and heal the wounds that are causing you to engage in those arguments in the first place, life will change for you rather quickly.
You’re not really trapped. There are things there that you don’t think you have control over that you do. There are things that you don’t have control over and you want control over. There are plenty of reasons why not and a boatload of fear of what if, but most of it is just old wounds that you haven’t healed within yourself yet. If you heal those old wounds all of this other stuff will simply go away.
You can learn to take control over the things you have control over. You can learn to be okay with the things you can’t change right now. You can learn how to stop projecting fear into the future. You can learn to stop asking what if so much.
You have immense right from where you are. All that pain you carry around doesn’t allow you to see it, but I promise you it’s there.
If you’d simply slow down and take the time to heal and start making some of those scary choices, you’d find that will shift before your eyes.
You just have to give yourself permission to get started.
Love to all.
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