What are you shoving down and not wanting to look at? Do you feel like you are missing out on something and you just do not know what? Or are you so numbed out that you are just going through the motions?
Some people are so disappointed by real life that they are escaping into virtual experiences instead of having real experiences. Like getting addicted to a TV series and grieving the story and the characters when it ends.
Virginia Satir identified that we will blame, placate, computer or distract instead of levelling about what is really going on. By doing this we hurt our selves and those around us even more. We can become so good at these ego protecting coping stances that we don’t even realize we are doing them.
Heather McFall illustrates this beautifully. If there was a hole in the boat and it was starting to sink, here’s how it would go:
Blamer: “Who put the hole in that boat?”
Placater: “I’ll swim to shore so the boat won’t sink so fast.”
Computer: “The boat is sinking at 3 cubic feet per minute, so at this rate, it will sink in 19.3 minutes.”
Distracter: “Healthy Look, a bird!”
Notice that none of these responses actually solve the problem.
If you are caught by these coping stances, no wonder you are not reaching your goal. You are making yourself into a victim instead of doing what works. It’s like a magic trick.
So next time you:
Blamer: Couldn’t help yourself, the Tim Bits in the conference room were calling your name.
Placater: Are running around saving others and collapse in a heap at the end of the day.
Computer: Extensively research the best exercise equipment and end up using it as clothes drying rack.
Distractor: Claim your life is too busy to stop lighting sticks on fire and sticking them in your mouth.