A quick chomp on an old onion skin

by Annie Kaszina on December 21, 2005

On a personal note, 2005 is ending with one of those unwanted gifts that may have to grow on you. 

I recently spent time in a specific environment that I had chosen, in preference to various others, in the hope that it would be safe and nurturing. 

As luck would have it, it was neither.  In fact, it was extraordinarily bruising.  Not only was there a dead ringer for my own dear ex – in terms of both physical appearance and behaviour – but there was, overall, an exceptionally high level of verbal abuse.  (The verbally abusive behaviours enumerated in my free quiz at www.joyfulcoaching.com were ably represented.)

What lessons did I take from it?  First, that I can now bounce back from an environment like that and see it for what it is. 

While I’ll never like it, I could be quite clear that it was about the people involved and their need to express themselves in that way, for their own reasons.  I may have been there, but still, it was not about me.

Second, there are very good reasons for getting away from an abusive relationship – whether that involves walking, running or dragging yourself fearfully.  This was not an exclusive, consuming relationship, simply an environment I found myself in; and I guess I was meant to be there. 

The lesson I take from this experience is that I don’t need to operate out of fear any more.  An old fear conditioned my choice.  Without realising, I had offloaded responsibility for my emotional well-being onto my environment.  The environment wasn’t playing ball and I used my own resources.  Successfully. 

Next time, I’ll throw away the old, fearful criteria and make more empowered choices.

A dear friend of mine who is a psychotherapist once said that emotional learning is like working through the layers of an onion.  That’s one manky, old onion skin that I’ve chomped on this year, before discarding it, to reveal a healthier layer beneath it. 

We are not our manky, old onion skins, but the healthy flesh that lies beneath.  In 2006 may you shed some old, sorry skins as painlessly and constructively as possible.

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