Self-Care Tip #91 – Put the fight down and take 2 steps back. Be a friend to yourself.
He came in looking really good. Chris had seen me for many years and he hasn’t always looked this way. I said
You look great!
Chris shrugged and told me he had just had a long messy argument with his partner and somehow still felt alright. In the past, after they fought and the self-loathing set in, he might have hurt himself – like using alcohol or cutting on himself to
…just feel something different.
I was ready to move past the story as he sounded like he was ok with it. We talked past each other. Me asking about his sleep, and Chris telling me clips and phrases from the argument.
But amazingly I’m fine! If he wanted me out today, I’d be out of there, no problem. He just needs to say the word!
Chris was sitting back in his chair, relaxed until then. His hands came up and took control of his space, thrusting as he spoke.
Being a psychiatrist, my expertise kicked in and I realized I should turn back. Chris wasn’t ready to talk about sleep. You see what all those years of school can do. Not everyone knows how to pick up on such subtleties.
Chris, maybe you aren’t so happy you argued.
We talked more about his energy, appetite and motivation. Then we came back to his argument.
It’s none of his f—— business where I am during the day! I’m not his child. I’m his partner! I told him…!
And so on. Chris still looked better than when he was in the grip of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, or when he was catatonic. But he didn’t sit comfortably with himself. And I thought, Chris has fought so hard for himself, why can’t he handle what I want to say? And I did. And he did. Beautifully. He was a brave knight on a black steed holding his wounded sides. Life had been a battle for him, but he was making choices to fight less and live more.
“Ok. Yes. You’re right. I will next time. That makes sense.”
When you’re about to engage in something that in the end will make you loath yourself, choose not to. That’s friendly to you and your other. Say something like,
When I was gone you felt jealous?
Give over stage and anger and open windows and breath. Just choose not to hurt yourself. Winning or losing the argument, in the end, you hurt by your own choice.
Biologically and probably spiritually Chris wouldn’t have known what to do with that years ago. But he did now. I saw him relax again and put his hands away. I knew Chris had a love for Love and this clicked for him.
I can’t describe how happy I was/am. Being a part of his journey is a great honor.
Question: How have you escaped self-loathing and your mean self in the heat of the moment? Please tell me your story.
- Do Bullies Really Have Low Self-esteem? (psychologytoday.com)
- When You Don’t Like Yourself (psychologytoday.com)
- Safety in Connections With Others (friendtoyourself.com)