By Andrea Scott, TED* Practitioner (learn more about Andrea at: Infinite Possibilities Coaching)
We are trained from an early age to deny our feelings. You may have heard similar phrases when you were young, “Stop crying. It will make you sick” or “Big boys don’t cry.” As we get older, it is no surprise that feeling our emotions is a painful experience.
Karla McLarn uses an example of a baby crying in her book, The Language of Emotions. Instead of letting the baby know it is okay to cry, Mr. Bunny becomes the Rescuer to the parent’s unease. McLarn writes:
“We get Mr. Bunny and make him do a dance. ‘Look at Mr. Bunny! Mr. Bunny hops on his head! Mr. Bunny’s funny!’ When the baby finally begins to laugh, we feel much better. Whatever was bothering the baby, well, that’s forgotten now, thank goodness! We have peace and that’s what matters, right? What if we could say to the baby, ‘You feel really sad. Things are hard right now.’ Usually the baby will stop crying much faster if we just let her feel, if we just support her in the way that she feels at the moment.”
If we are not experienced at feeling a full range of emotions, we look for a Rescuer to numb the pain. Most of us turn to some form of coping habit to avoid looking at what may be the root of the issue. What is your Rescuer?
Is it Starbucks coffee? Shopping? Playing a video game, pouring a drink, or plopping down in front of the TV? What triggers your numbing behavior?
What is your Mr. Bunny?
In the Victim Orientation, we call this reacting rather than choosing our response to the circumstances. The Persecutor is the anxiety, or the uncomfortable emotions. Your Mr. Bunny temporarily rescues you, but the emotions are pushed down even further only to explode when we are overwhelmed. Mr. Bunny helps us survive and offers a sense of relief.
However, Mr. Bunny does not resolve the issue – it just takes us out of commission for a while – and the inability to fully feel a range of emotions may still be unavailable to you. It is as if we are pacifying an upset baby, rather than allowing ourselves to learn and grow.
As a Creator, it is important to tell the truth about our current reality – including the emotions we feel. Rather than reaching for our Mr. Bunny, seek support from someone who is willing and able to act as a Coach and help you process the feelings instead.