A Big Factor Keeping You Stuck | 9.11.2021

In this episode, Kristen talks about what keeps many people stuck, paralyzed, and unclear in their goals and ambitions.

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For counseling services near Indianapolis, IN, visit www.pathwaystohealingcounseling.com.

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Welcome to the close the chapter podcast. I am Kristen Boice, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice pathways to healing counseling, through conversations, education, strategies and shared stories, we will be closing the chapter on all the thoughts, feelings, people and circumstances that don't serve you anymore. And open the door to possibilities and the real you. You won't want to miss an episode, so be sure to subscribe

Well, welcome back to this week's close the chapter podcast. It is not by accident that you're here. I am so grateful that you have chosen to spend your time with me. And opening your mind up your heart up to growth, and shifting, and possibly seeing things differently. Opening up to inner peace and calm and clarity and contentment and compassion and connection. I don't take that lightly that you're spending your time listening to the podcast, and tuning in. And I just want to say thank you, thank you for doing this work and coming together for us to help make a difference and in other people's lives and change how we've been doing things changing habits and patterns, and family dynamics, relationships, and, more importantly, learning to love yourself, which is hard. And I just know that when you invest in yourself, you change your life. And this week's episode I'm going to be talking about are you living in fantasies? Or are you living in reality? And why are we even talking about this because I see this with every single client that comes through the door. It's a challenge. It's something that we don't even recognize that we're playing a movie out that we are living in hopes and dreams of somebody changing instead of the reality of how they're really showing up. Before we jump into the episode, be sure to jump on to Kristen D boice.com. forward slash free resources to get the latest and greatest newsletter which I try to fill it with helpful information and not give you junk. So I want to make it worth your while and worth your time. Be sure to sign up for that. And you'll get that every single Wednesday it comes out and you won't miss the newsletter. And if you subscribe rate and review the podcast, it helps get it out to more people. So that we can build a community of people doing deeper work. There's a lot that goes on when you embark on this journey. And loneliness can be a side effect, if you will.


Because you're craving other people doing this work alongside you. And the more you share this, then you create those relationships in your life. And a community of people that are also walking the same path. They're using some of the same language, we're talking about things that are deeper, and that really matter to you. So if you have an episode you like, feel free to share it. I am grateful for that. And I love hearing how when you do share it with couples, or a friend or co worker, that it's impacting them. So thank you for being a change agent in this world, we need more of you. We need so many more of you. And the fact that you're willing to step into discomfort says a lot about you. So let's jump into this week's episode because it's a topic that isn't talked about a lot. And it's something that keeps people stuck, paralyzed, resentful, and at the end of the day, fuzzy, they don't have clarity, they don't have the inner contentment. Maybe you fall into this category, maybe you're in a relationship that you hope somebody is going to change. You hope if they if you just say something the right way, if you just present it in the right fashion that they're going to get the memo. And they're going to do this deeper work. And while that may be the case, every now and again where you say just the right thing. The most important thing is that you're accepting the reality of who's in front of you. You're doing the work so you can communicate in a way that feels authentic and genuine to you. What doesn't work is if you're in a fantasy of who you hope this person would be, versus the reality of who they are. So it's a lot of if then statements. So I want you to grab a pen and paper per usual, I'm going to have you write out some of the fantasies, and then draw a line down the middle, and you're going to write out the reality. So fantasy on the left reality on the right, and this is to help you get clarity around what are you writing stories about? What are you writing a script about? What are you in a movie about? So for example, maybe you are in a friendship that you've been in a long time, you have a lot of history with this person. And you really wish it were different. You wish the friendship was different. And you're not communicating this to the friend, you're just hoping that they get the drift of your hints. I call them hints people drop hints. People do not respond to hints. They respond to direct and clear communication. This is something that people really struggle with, because they're afraid of rejection. They're afraid of abandonment. They're afraid of hurting someone, they're afraid of upsetting someone. They're afraid of upsetting the applecart creating conflict arguments. And here's the truth, here is the truth. All healthy relationships have conflict. That means we're actually facing emotions, we're processing them, or communicating what we like what we don't like, we're being clear and direct, there are going to be conflicts, if you have no conflicts whatsoever, or you don't feel conflicted inside, sometimes in a relationship, you're probably suppressing, repressing, avoiding moving away from numbing, and a fantasy. Because the healthy thing is, disagreements are healthy. So I grew up in a home where my parents would fight, and they would yell and scream. And it never got resolved, because they ended up in divorce. So an divorce, we're not going to label that as good or bad for in terms of my story, the fighting, they didn't know how to work through conflict, they didn't know how to self soothe, they didn't know how to communicate clearly indirectly. I've got other podcast episodes on that. And I'll be doing another episode on courageous communication. So keep your eye out on that. And what they didn't learn is how to be so self aware


and connected to how they feel, how old they felt, and what was getting tapped into from their childhood, what was getting tapped into what their trauma, what was getting tapped into, in terms of their shame story, they were disconnected from that. They were going through the motions. And they didn't have that awareness to be able to put those pieces together to say I feel sad and scared. Because when we fight, I'm afraid you're gonna leave. I'm giving you an example that I'm making up on the fly. When really underneath that my mom had severe abandonment issues. And that came from her father who traveled around the world, and was gone a lot. And so she felt that she was an only child and she felt that emotional abandonment and physical, sometimes physical abandonment, and that played out over and over and over again, and their marriage, because any time she would feel that emotional disconnection that would trigger her abandonment, which would trigger her fight, flight freeze or fine, it would trigger her fight. And then my father grew up in a home. His parents got divorced. Dad was in World War Two. He was suffering. He was a veteran suffered from PTSD. And at that time, there wasn't a lot of treatment. He went to the men and men injure clinic and they tried to do treatment for him. He ended up getting into some addictive behaviors, alcohol behaviors, and became pretty abusive. And so he grew up by achieving that was how he kind of kept the peace because his father was very smart, very intellectual, and into academics. And as long as my dad was doing well academically, that's how he learned to try to keep the police piece in please So get that keep the peace and please as what he learned to do by achieving, and so he disconnects with TV working. So he turned that into kind of workaholism and then escapism. And so those two getting together his escapism, and workaholism would trigger my mom's abandonment issues. And therefore, they would fight over wanting my mom wanting that connection, and my dad wanting it to just all go away. And can't we just all be at can everything just be peaceful.


And if we don't work through that, what happens is we we recreate that so then my mom went on to kind of project that onto us to help her not feel abandoned. And of course, that wasn't our job. And so she would pick relationships based on a fantasy that someone was going to come take care of her, nurture her offer her that security, that she was looking for the has to come from within, she was looking for that outside of herself in a relationship. So that unhealed abandonment wound she recreated by trying to find somebody that that would fulfill these unmet needs in her childhood and what we're working on is that icing on the cake, those relationships, of course, we're going to have needs and we're going to communicate those clearly directly. What we don't want to do is put our unmet needs on to our children, because first of all, that is not their job. So parents that are like they're never going to leave the house, I'm never going to leave them let them leave the house. I'm like, Okay, what abandonment stuff do you have going on? What attachment wounds are underneath, what of course you're gonna have grief and loss and you're going to have emotion about it. But what's underneath that, that is driving that need for them to not leave the house, the which is an inner child need. And so we have this fantasy. So again, fantasy on the left, and kind of if anything gets triggered by this, go ahead and write down the fantasy and then the reality so the the fantasy that our children are here to help us feel loved make us feel secure, give us approval, help us to feel enough, help us to feel less defective help us to feel wanted and that we matter that is not their job. So that's a fantasy that we were all sold that we're going to be this one big Leave It to Beaver family which isn't even healthy in and of itself. If we look at the leaves, Leave It to Beaver family that wasn't healthy. That was how it was during that timeframe. We look back and we go okay, that's not this ideal perfectionistic look is not healthy. Because we're not really we're performing we're pleasing or perfecting we're playing these roles, rather than being our our authentic self. So children that grow up with parents with inner which we all have inner child needs that don't get tended to is what happens is then the children end up feeling responsible for caretaking the parents so the fantasy that we're going to have children, and we're going to live one happy family and they're gonna love me and never talk back to me. And it's going to be kumbaya is a shame. It's a shame, it's a myth. The reality is they are their own sovereign being. They're here on this earth to be who they are. They have a right to their own feelings, thoughts and opinions that are different than yours and beliefs. They don't have to feel the same because they are not a representation of you. So that's a fantasy that my children will be here and take care of me. That's not necessarily the reality. Would that be nice? Yeah. But that's not really the reality and a lot of a lot of ways. They aren't meant to have to take care of us. That isn't what they're here for. They're here to create the mission that they came for. And that fantasy that children are here to eventually take care of us now that inside don't have to be alone. It's not their job that will create such an unhealthy dynamic of dependency. And so the reality on that is they will go off and have their own life. And that's healthy. If you've created a healthy system where they can be open, honest and process their emotions and tell you how they really felt without you getting really dysregulated. And if you did get dysregulated, which I have done multiple times and still do, I can acknowledge it, and I can own it. And I can self soothe through that and take responsibility and do my own therapy around those triggers.


They do not save marriages. So the myth that will have more children, and that will make it better. I have seen that so many times with couples in therapy, and they think they want one of the partners wants more children, and they want more children in this very Unhealthy, Toxic marriage. And they think that'll make it better. Play that movie out, I want you to write that sentence out. This is a one if you take nothing out else. Out of this episode, I want you to take out this phrase play the movie out. My clients have heard this so many times. When they're stuck in a decision, they don't know what to do. I say play the movie out. And so people that think I'm going to have more children, and it will make it better play the movie out. If you're married to somebody that isn't, has an addiction issue is abusive is acting out in some way. You've tried to do the therapy, they're not willing to do the work play the movie out, which is better for your children. Somebody that where you're not going to be the parent that you need to be for your children. That's not going to be of service to your children. And this is a hard one. So people that have more children, and an unhealthy relationship ends up being a disaster. Not because they had the children, because the fantasy they had with the children, they had a fantasy, which is expectations are resentments waiting to happen. Thank you and Lamont when we have a fantasy that the children are going to help things make me feel loved make me feel better make the marriage better keep us together, we're going to have more joy and happiness. No children have all these unmet needs that have to be tended to and if you don't do your own unmet needs work, you will unconsciously pass that along. If you're in an unhealthy marriage, you are disconnecting from the work that is calling you. The children mirror back or dysfunction. You say that, again, the children mirror back to us our dysfunction. If we're paying attention, they mirror back to me where my core work lies. So the fantasy that children are going to heal us. If I allow my child to teach me then healing it can take place in such a profound, massive way. Because they are helping me open up and do this deeper work. They are reflecting back to me what I need to be working on. Same in a relationship. So the fantasy of the Disney movie or someone's going to come you're going to be soulmates. And you're going to be this just fairy tale is is a shame. So if you're single and you think you're going to meet somebody, and then you're not going to have shame, and you're not going to have fear, and you're not going to have loneliness, and you're going to feel lovable, you're going to feel wanted, you're going to feel needed, you're gonna feel important, you're going to feel like you matter. It's a fantasy. That's called codependency and inner child work. If that's the movie, you have plane, this is the time to take a look at this before you meet somebody. Because that is projecting a fantasy, not reality. That's old school when we think I'm going to get married and live happily ever after. It's a farce. We've all come into relationships with our own history, our own dysfunctional families. There's no such thing as a perfect family. It just doesn't exist not to blame our families that that is the reality. We all were humans with issues.


And if we don't learn to process emotions connect to our emotions connect to our bodies. We don't learn how to connect to other people. We don't if we don't love ourselves, we have a hard time truly loving somebody else without creating codependency. So the fantasy of that I'm going to meet somebody and then I'm going to feel lovable. I'm going to feel whole I'm going to feel enough is not true because there's, this happens all the time. I have friends who thought I'll get married, and they struggled, they felt like nobody wanted them. Nobody desired them. And they had the fantasy, I'm gonna meet somebody, and then I won't feel so, so much shame, I won't feel so unlovable, I won't feel so defective. Well, guess what, they get married. And it's still there. Because there's a deeper dive to look at in terms of working through trauma and triggers and inner child work. The relationship is just icing on the cake. And the relationship also, mirrors back to us areas of growth, if you have that growth mindset, it will mirror back to you those areas that you need to tend to. So we have in this column of fantasy, we have this fairytale marriages or relationships, we have these, this children that are going to make us feel loved, and that we matter and important. And enough for the reality is none of those are true. We also have this where we have the idea of somebody that we're in relationship with, whether it's a romantic partner, a family member, a friend, a co worker, a neighbor, it doesn't matter who but we have this idea of who we think they're capable of being who on their best day, we're like, that is awesome. They're so great. But on their worst day, which we all have bad days, believe me a consistency there a pattern of somebody that we don't want to accept, and we minimize, and we rationalize, because when they're having a good day, they're really good. When they're having a bad day, they're really bad. But the pattern of the of the behavior is overlooked and rationalized because they're afraid to be alone. They're afraid they can't do better. They're afraid of rejection, they're afraid of abandonment, which is deeper dive into their inner child stuff. If you work through that stuff. I promise you, you'll get to the other side and have more clarity, that won't block how you're seeing this person. So I come into therapy, I see a lot of people and fantasies, and they're not in the reality. And I use this language, I'll say, Well, the reality is today, this is how they're functioning. Today they're drinking five to eight drinks a day. Yeah, there are functioning at work. Yes, there keep a job down. Yes, they are able to keep it together somewhat. But at night, you've lost them. They're not helpful with the children. You're feeling alone. And they check out. Play that movie out. Do they want to get help? Well, no. How is that going to work for you long term. And then we deconstruct how they got in the relationship, no, not to go into shame. It's to go into exploration. When you know more about yourself, you can live in reality rather than the fantasy. When you know more about your patterns and your triggers and your unmet needs. You can live in the reality, have more clarity, have more of what you want. Then if you don't if you live in the fantasy, that fantasy keeps us stuck. Because it's not real. It's not realistic. It's not really actually what's happening. And when we have a lot of trauma, it's hard for us to accept reality sometimes, or we rationalize it. One of our defense mechanisms might be minimization, rationalization dismissing denial, because it wasn't as bad as maybe when you grew up, or it wasn't as bad as your last relationship, or it wasn't as bad as your friends relationship.


I had someone say, well, at least they're not burning me with a cigarette. Like that's a rationalization. And that's a survival. That was a way you survived childhood. And we want to thank it for service. It's been super helpful for you, and helping you get through hard things and surviving really tough, tough situations. And you are brave and you are courageous and you are smart to come up with some of these survival strategies. Now they're maladaptive because they're no longer serving you in the reality of what's in front of you in your life. And when you accept reality, you actually are on the path to healing. You're on the path to be able to do something Think about it, make a clear decision process the fears and blocks grieve. Grief and Loss are a big part of this work because you're grieving over this movie that you thought it was, you're grieving over the family that you thought it was, you're grieving over who you thought this person was, rather than the reality of who they are right now. It's a lot of grief and the fear of being alone or the fear of what this will look like, is scary. And that's why having support having therapy having a 12 step having, you know, coda, which is Codependents Anonymous, having some support system, to keep you grounded in the reality of things and help you process it emotionally offer you empathy, offer you compassion, without enablement of the movie, without enablement of the fantasy. Those are those are your people, the truth tellers of the world with I'd say compassionately, direct, where they're telling truths, we need more of those. They're not being mean, they're not being nasty. They're saying it with an I feel statement in there, I feel sad and scared, because you're living in a movie of what you hope this relationship would be. And the reality is, these are the truths. The person's a drunk, they're not available or hate saying this, but the truth sometimes wake us up. So once you to ask yourself, Am I living in reality, or am I living in a movie of what I hope it will be? Or a fantasy of what like this going to be the relationship that really helps you feel loved and helps you feel important and fills this hole of abandonment, because if you are using this to fill a hole of abandonment, you will always be afraid the person is going to leave you. And if you're always afraid, the person is going to leave you that's an invitation for you to go, oh, there's abandonment wounds from early on, that need to be tended to that need to be looked at. And that's where EMDR there's other episodes on EMDR eye movement, desensitization reprocessing or brainspotting. There's other modalities as well can be very helpful in healing, abandonment. If you're so afraid of rejection, and you're afraid to speak truth with love and grace, there will not be a successful relationship because you're you're coming with guardedness, you're coming with this image or shield or saying what you think you should say it's not reality. And I know this is hard to hear, like what I'm saying can bring up a lot of emotions and a lot of grief, write it out, write it out and spend some time writing out all of your fantasies that you have. And we have them since we were little I mean, we watch Disney movies, we watched fantasy movies, we read books about romance and happy life. And if I just would lose the you know, 50 pounds, then I would be desired, then I would be somebody then I would be wanted, then I would be important. If I just would earn a certain amount of money, then I would be deemed successful. That's all external things. If I just had the new house, or the latest and greatest updates in my house, and I look like I was on


some Home Show, then I would feel like man people desire to be like me, then I would feel important, then I would feel like I mattered. If I just found my soulmate, then I would feel secure. It's all a sham. It's not an if then if you work on your inner child work, if you do this deeper dive into your traumas and your pain. Then you can learn to love yourself and feel secure and attached and safe enough in your own body. And that's why I love internal family systems work and doing this inner child work with a therapist. I think a great book to get started in this is homecoming, the book homecoming by Dr. John Bradshaw because the old paradigm of marriage and having children and the fantasy of what that means it's not true. What the reality is if you pick someone with a growth mindset, they want to grow they're willing to look at their inner child stuff. They're willing to have hard work Conversations. They're willing to support you and encourage you, and hold space for your emotions and acknowledge your feelings and offer empathy. That's what creates emotional connection. And I'm telling you, that's what everybody wants. And that's where good intimacy comes from. That's the birthplace. If you're looking for approval, it's the if then if I would, you know, have, if I get the job that I want, then I'll feel like my parents approve, then I'll have their approval, then they'll say, I'm proud of me. That's all external. I want to say I loved Mr. Rogers, if you ever watched Mr. Rogers, he would say I love you just the way you are. It's okay to have your feelings. Let him out. And he had a song about what to do with when you feel angry inside. There's so much richness that can come from doing this inner child work. And maybe you need a channel, your Mr. Rogers, if you didn't like Mr. Rogers, maybe it's somebody else. Maybe that you need to hear truths about what healthy parents would say to you. That I'm sorry, wasn't there for you emotionally during a really hard time. Sweetheart, I'm sorry, that I wasn't physically and emotionally there for you while you were trying to navigate so much your own sadness and transition. This is what you needed to hear if you had a move. Or maybe you had a loss of a parent or grandparent or a friend, maybe you had a divorce that nobody really asked, how are you? Maybe you had an injury, or a parent had an injury or an illness, that no one tended to your emotions. And I want you to know that your feelings are on all that matter. There was nothing wrong with you. You had appropriate feelings. You didn't know what to do with them. So you shoved him down. You people pleased you placated, you pretended you came up with this image of who you think you should be, you hustled. Maybe you shut down, maybe you withdrew, maybe you drank, maybe unarmed, maybe you look for had this love, addiction, sex addiction, to try to heal what you didn't get. And I'm not blaming anybody. I want you to know that you need to know that you're important. And doing this work helps you really connect to that truth. Not just like, intellectually, it really helps you connect emotionally. If you want a good podcast on just kind of Mr. Rogers in general, a friend of mine told me about finding Fred. And I'm on episode three. And it's about the prolific kind of nature of what Fred Rogers did, Mr. Rogers did, and how he was trying to teach children how to process their feelings, that it was okay to have their feelings named their feelings, noticing their what was going on in the inside and teaching parents about it, because the parents were really the ones that needed to know to, he talked about death and violence and grief and loss, and sadness and anger, and division.


He was really kind of a prolific, quiet, nurturing force. And he ki used kind of fantasy in a way to play with the puppets. And he used that to try to connect with little kids on what is true. What is the reality? The reality is it's we all have feelings. The reality is we all are going to have these feelings come up based on different life circumstances and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with you. I love you just the way you are. He was trying to counterbalance this using Play, to teach and get into the reality that we all have stuff. And when we can unattach or detach from the outcomes, and we can live in the moment in the present moment and connect to how we feel. We can work through and accept realities. Is it going to be hard? Yes. Is it scary at times? Yes. Breathe through the discomfort. So I'm going to give you I gave you several takeaways but a couple of one is use the breath to do this work. Deep breath in, deep breath out, over and over and over. Get a support system, a therapist 12 Step A friend, I kind of highlighted that before. Read books, listen to podcasts that keep you on the path towards healing. And sometimes you feel like you take 10 steps, forward, and 20 steps back. That's normal. That's what this work looks like. Be compassionate with yourself. Listen to this podcast, you can binge listen to it, you can skip episodes that don't resonate. The whole point of this podcast is to support you while you're doing this work. This hard work this deep work this transformational work, that you have the voice of truth in here to help you through the pain. We're not going to bypass your pain anymore, we're not going to abandon your pain anymore. We're going to nurture attend to it, we're just not going to put the pain on somebody else for them to manage. We got to take radical ownership of it. And you matter, you're enough. And I'm grateful that you were born. And I'm so grateful that you've chosen to spend this time with me and walk alongside each other on this journey. If there's other subjects you want to hear about, please let me know you can tag me on Instagram at Kristen D Boice. or Facebook. You can join the close the chapter podcast just on Facebook, you can join the fate of the Facebook group, close the chapter. It's free with other people also on this journey. So you're you're connecting with other people. So join us there and I will see you next time. Keep going. Thank you so much for listening to the close the chapter podcast. My hope is that you took home some actionable steps, along with motivation, inspiration and hope for making sustainable change in your life. If you enjoyed this episode, click the subscribe button to be sure to get the updated episodes every week and share with a friend or family member. For more information about how to get connected visit Kristin k r i s t e n d Boice Bo IC e.com Thanks and have a great day.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai