A few weeks back, I had to confront a challenging situation in my personal life.
It was a family thing, and I could already see in advance exactly how it would pan out. I’d have to spend time in close proximity to one or two family members who I would quite cheerfully drive cross London, in rush hour, to avoid. And it would be an action replay of so many earlier events of the same type. I’d end up just hunkering down and waiting for it to be over. (And then I’d go off and lick my wounds, somewhere.)
Now, I’m not a visual person but, still, I had a vision of myself getting to the venue and shrinking into a corner with a look of dumb defiance on my face…
That was when it struck me: I was asking a girl to go into that difficult situation and do a woman’s job.
The person I was planning on taking into that event was the one who had grown up in it - and was still stuck in it.
To be absolutely blunt about it, I could see myself behaving exactly as I would have done, when I was in my teens, and even earlier.
In a word, I was facing a situation that required thoughtful management, and I was planning on sending “Mini-Me” in to do the job.
Not bright, huh?
But it is very, very common.
If I seriously believed that I was the only person in the Western world to revert to “Mini-Me” in difficult times, I might be more reluctant to admit it. But, since then, I’ve shared the “Mini-Me” idea with a lot of clients – and they all suffer with “Mini-Me-itis”, also.
I’m guessing that you do, too.
OK, I’m guessing that most of the time you are – or feel – affected by a bad case of “Mini-Me-it is”. It goes with the territory.
Your abusive partner, or ex-partner, is heavily invested in bringing out the small, needy, powerless child in you.
So, here is the way it works. A situation occurs that is frightening and/or anxiety provoking. “Mini-Me” shoots out onto centre stage to deal with it. Not that she can, of course. But all the negative self-talk that goes on in your head; all the:
“How can I…?”,
“I don’t know how to…”,
“I’m not able to…”,
“It’s too hard…”
is really just “Mini-Me” talking.
“Mini-Me” can’t handle the serious difficulties of the adult world because she is still 14, or 10, or 5. All she wants is a cuddle, and for someone to make the nasty stuff go away.
Maybe you are not convinced. Indulge me for a moment, and try this: focus on one difficulty you are having.
Visualize the person, or people, with whom you have it. Now see yourself standing next to them. Are you as big as they are, or are you significantly smaller?
If you are smaller, you have segued seamlessly into “Mini-Me”. (If you really are the same size, or bigger, I take my hat off to you. And I surmise that the situation does not feel truly threatening to you.)
You see, we grow up, but our fears and anxieties do not – until we do something about them. “Mini-Me” did her absolute best for you when you were younger and she was the only one who could run the show. She’s still doing her best.
Without realizing it, you’ve been delegating to her, for all these years.
It’s curious, when you come to think about it, because there have been areas in your life where the Adult You has dealt with problems very differently. Most likely when you had to fight for another person’s best interest, you have been unstoppable.
Because “Mini-Me” butted out of the picture, and left the Adult You to get on with it.
Isn’t it time that you had a firm, but loving, chat with “Mini-Me”, and told her that you really, really appreciate all her help, but now you will take over. And then start visualizing the situation with the Adult You at the centre. Be sure to make that Adult You at least as big as anyone else in the scene – and, preferably, much bigger.
You may be amazed how much better that feels.
From now on, when you are going into difficult situations, make sure you leave “Mini-Me” at home, curled up on the sofa with cookies and milk, or whatever she needs. That will leave you free to draw on all your adult resources for a change.
You will find that you are free to bring to bear the same skills, strengths and resources that you display in one area of your life in other areas also.
And if you struggle to make it work, make sure the Adult You gets the help she needs. Contact me, and let’s arrange a session to put YOU back in the driving seat inside your own head.