This week, I am sharing another quote from my Survival Songbook. The song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles was one of my personal anthems for a while. In it, she says:
“Let your words be anything but empty. Why don’t you tell him the truth?”
The question I pose to you (and myself) is, “Why is it so hard to say what you mean? Especially when asking for what you need to feel safe?”
Asking for what you need came up recently during a group coaching session. One of my clients expressed frustration over her inability to confront people who weren’t social distancing, thereby putting her and her family at risk.
She felt like she needed to say something to express her needs, but couldn’t do it. Afterward, she was angry with herself over her inability “to be brave.”
What I heard her describe, however, was not about “bravery” but about her learned response to trauma. Her behavior in the moment of possible confrontation, coupled with later regret over inaction, made me think it was a “fawn” response.
The “fawn” response is relatively new on the scene. It’s a learned response to trauma where you try to manage the potential threat by being pleasing.
Women are way more likely to exhibit the “fawn” response because being pleasing is how we have been indoctrinated to survive.
While this may not seem like it relates to recovering from betrayal trauma, how we show in one area of our lives is how we show up everywhere.
So, what do you do about it? Great question!
First, shower yourself with grace! Women have been indoctrinated for centuries with the idea that we must be “nice” and “pleasing.” We are taught to rely on those qualities to stay safe.
Second, learn tools and techniques to help you maintain a regulated and resilient nervous system. Now, more than ever, when we are experiencing the collective trauma of a global pandemic. A regulated nervous system will help you navigate this “new normal” we are all living in.
You can take action to help regulate your nervous system in simple, but profound ways. Take lots of walks. Practice meditation and grounding exercises, even if just for a few minutes each day. Practice yoga, breathe deeply, write in your journal, sing in the car, spend time outside.
I’ve gathered some of my favorite tools in my free Surviving His Sex Addiction & Betrayal Guidebook at www.sexaddictionguidebook.com. There are loads of daily practices and tips for creating safety and self-regulation every day.
Lastly, have compassion for yourself. I know that you are BRAVE and doing the very best that you can.
You will get through this – I promise.
Until next time,