It has been A LONG time since I have had a full on, unprovoked attack of the Mongers. Yesterday was such an attack. Just a normal Saturday, relaxing, cleaning, doing my regular routine. We had made plans with new friends for the evening, and I was nervous as I usually get around a new social situation.
I decided to spend some time outside reading and as I sat there enjoying my book my Mongers just started jabbering. “You are too much, you are too intense, you are too deep, you are too much of an introvert” On and on they went hitting all of my ‘sensitive’ topics. All my favorite deep wounds that I have held onto for years and years. Tears stung my eyes and the feeling of hopelessness and unworthiness hit from all sides
In the midst of an all-out attack, it is challenging (if not impossible) not to believe the Mongers. It is odd because it is almost shocking how easy it is to fall into the trance of agreement. “Yes, you are right, I am too much, I am too sensitive.” I wouldn’t use the word comfortable because the attack feels anything but comfortable but it does feel familiar and borders on comforting.
Honestly, as I sat there all my practices to date on Self-Compassion fell flat. Putting my hands over my heart, telling myself to be kind, etc. I tried those to no avail because the pull of agreement was too much. For every “it’s ok, don’t be so hard on yourself” I could muster I had an equally strong “You are too sensitive, and here you go again.” I was wrestling for worthiness. My Wise voice (aka Self Compassion) vs. my Mongers (inner critic
And then my Inner critic said to me, “Soon your husband will figure all this out and leave you.” and at that moment, I just gave up. I allowed the inner critic to win.
So I allowed it. I gave up the allowed the thoughts to play there; I allowed the tears to come. I allowed those old wounds to be opened. Not out of any deep wisdom but out of pure exhaustion and frustration. To be honest, I simply gave up. I gave up with a subtle distinction. I allowed myself the feelings. I allowed myself the pain. I didn’t pick it up and run with it. I didn’t look for more proof of how sensitive I was. I just allowed myself the sadness around those thoughts.
And after 30 minutes or so something in me said, “Are these thoughts valid or are you just re-playing them our of familiarity.” “Are you going to allow them to attack your marriage?” And I realized I had a choice. I could be taken down by the thoughts, or I could allow them to play there unattached.
I started thinking ok you should DO something you should share this with someone because you are just getting hammered here, and it is totally irrational. Maybe if I shared it with my husband I could start to unhook this stuff. (Side note it is a common conversation for my husband and me to talk about this stuff so going to him was a normal/easy response) But then my Monger said, You can’t share this with your husband you will just be tipping him off to how crazy you are.” And a part of me went, “Right I can’t share this with him” And a few moments later something shifted….and I thought “WHAT!?!?! You can’t NOT share this….if you allow secret keeping because you are in shame you are in real trouble”
Those Mongers are wily!!
So with major trepidation, I went to my husband and said through tears, “I am begin hammered, and my Mongers are telling me how I over clarify, I am too intense, and I am too counselory.” He smiled and said to me, “Those are the three reasons I love you the most.” and gave me a big hug. And my wise voice said, “Yes, those are some of your favorite traits too, and it took you a long time to embrace them. So thanks for the trip down memory lane but these messages are old and outdated.”
That’s when things shifted. It was a win for the wise voice. And as I went through the evening and my Mongers continued their assault, and I lovingly told them, “these messages are old and outdated” and watched them as if I was observing a bad movie. Eventually, they passed, and I found my full footing again.
Here’s what I learned:
- Wrestling with Mongers doesn’t work.
- They bring up old wounds and old triggers.
- Secret keeping makes it worse.
- Just because you think it doesn’t make it valid.
- The only way through is love and unattached observation. (WAY easier said than done)