Certain relationships can take you down a rabbit hole that can be difficult to climb out of.
"The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well."
- Alice Adventures In Wonderland
When it comes to some relationships it's not unusual to find yourself being enticed toward the rabbit hole another person is already hanging out in only to find yourself falling into it and in the emotional clutches of that person.
My client, Monica, recently discovered what it felt like to fall into the rabbit hole with her mother and what happened later when she removed herself from the rabbit hole.
Her mother was complaining that Monica's adult son had not RSVP'd to her Easter dinner invitation and how much this annoyed her (Monica does not live in the same state as her mother and son). We spoke soon after this conversation took place and Monica, while still in her mother's rabbit hole, shared how embarrassed she was by her son. She questioned her ability of being a good mother and how she raised him. She went into shame because she felt her parents now saw her as a failure as a mother and she viewed her son as a deadbeat in the moment.
After hearing all the ways she beat herself up for her son's lack of RSVP and her mother's frustration, it was time to pull her out of the rabbit hole and expose her to a new perspective.
It doesn't matter whose rabbit hole you end up in, once you're there, that person is in control of your emotions. So it's up to you to be aware of what's going on before you go down there, yet again.
In Monica's situation, this one scenario does not define Monica's 26 years of motherhood to her two children. And, her parents have never expressed that she is a bad parent, she created that doozy of a story all by herself.
The fact is, Monica is no more responsible for her son's radio silence to his grandmother than she is for making excuses about it to her mother or trying to appeal to her mother's hurt feelings.
As I said to Monica, this is something that needs to be addressed between grandmother and grandson. If Grandma is unhappy about this then she needs to call her grandson directly, not complain to her daughter about it.
The more we talked the stronger Monica felt and before she knew it, she was standing back on solid ground no longer in the rabbit hole. She understood that she is not responsible for the behavior of any of the adult people in her life.
Fast forward to after Easter. Monica and her mother are talking and once again grandma brings up the fact that her grandson never RSVP'd. This time Monica was ready and simply told her mother, "This is between you and your grandson and if you have a problem with his lack of response then you need to tell him yourself so it doesn't happen again. This is not my responsibility, especially 1,000 miles away. He's been raised to do the right thing and when he doesn't, then I have no control over his choices, especially when the situation doesn't involve me."
What did mom say to that?
Whatever is a standard answer when a truth has been spoken that the receiver doesn't want to deal with.
Then her mother changed the subject.
That's what can happen when you stop and stand in your truth. People are who they are and when you change the rules of the game and they aren't willing to go along with the new rules, then they'll avoid the game altogether.
That's okay. They can continue to hang out in that familiar and comfortable rabbit hole as long as they need to and you get to be on the outside looking in while standing tall, being strong and living your drama free life.
And on a final note, be careful of your own personal rabbit hole. When you notice yourself going down there with your stories it's times to wake up and get out ASAP. Otherwise, you end up bringing people down there with you. And the more people supporting you in your rabbit hole the longer you end up staying there.
Linda Salazar, founder of Your Heart Is In Your Hands, is a Relationship Coach, author, speaker and media personality working with smart, proactive, spiritually open women who are ready for remarkable relationships.
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