It’s the situation that makes you crazy. It might be uncomfortable for you to think about even in the best of times. For me, it’s whenever I think someone might disapprove of me or disagree with me. What? How can that be? Because my old wound is rejection. When someone disapproves of me or something I say or do, it feels like an invalidation of the totality of me. Some primitive part of me goes right back to being that under-loved child.

Since I started my jewelry business, the hardest thing for me to deal with is when a customer is unhappy with what they have received from me. The majority of the time people are overjoyed with their purchase and I am so thankful for that. But you can’t make everyone happy. Sometimes it’s a simple matter – they just didn’t like it for whatever reason and they return it and I give them a refund. Off my plate, super easy.

But then there are the times when someone is a little nuts, unreasonable, and to get their point across they feel the need to completely disparage the item they’re unhappy with. Or they are violating my terms of service and I suspect that they intended all along to do that and try to get away with something. These are the times that in the past I have really struggled with. OK, that’s too soft a euphemism. I have had meltdowns because of these incidents. It is a huge trigger for me. I feel suffocated by the chaos of feelings that come, overwhelmed, and sunk. I think it must be the high emotions and chaotic energy that I sense coming from the other side, along with the perceived “rejection” and the feeling that I am being railroaded – that I have no control over the situation. I think there is some kind of primitive neural link to something in my past that’s like a light switch.

The almost primitive emotions of fight or flight and self-condemnation that have come over me in the past have been destructive to me and don’t result in good relations with my family. My solution usually is to end the dispute with the customer as soon as possible even if it means that I give them a refund without receiving the item back. I want to do this just to get past the emotions as quickly as possible. But I do myself a disservice in “caving” like this. It reinforces the bad belief that I am insignificant and don’t deserve to have someone (in this case myself) stand up for me.

I woke up this morning to the perfect storm scenario. A custom order customer has filed a dispute against me and wants me to send a refund without my having received the expensive item back first. Paypal takes the money out of your account first thing and has a tendency to side with the buyer. So there’s a good chance I will be out almost a thousand dollars. The injustice of this normally sends me spinning into rejection wound trigger-land. I refuse to allow this to wreck me. I am leaving for vacation tomorrow and I want to enjoy it and I want to enjoy today and I want to enjoy right now.

Before I sat down to write this blog post, I calmed myself by taking deep steady breaths. I became my own observer, noticing the emotions. I took authority over the emotions, recognizing their presence, but then telling them that they were not going to be needed in this situation. I put the event in its proper perspective. I reminded myself that this is not a personal rejection of me or my work. It’s just another person with their own perspective on what happened. And most important, I remind myself of who I am, a daughter of God: always loved, always wanted, never discarded.

So as I am sitting here calmly, I wonder what your challenge is? What situation can send you off the rails? How do you deal with it? Are you breathing or holding your breath? Try breathing deeply and relaxing through each exhale. It can make a big difference.

What makes you crazy? Feel free to leave a comment.


Written by Tina Gasperson

1 Comment

Jim Grey

This is powerful stuff, Tina. Learning to breathe through the emotions and remember your identity is such an anchor. It lets us be like the blade of grass – bent, but never broken, by the wind.

My biggest trigger used to be fear of abandonment, for reasons I’ve never figured out, but now it’s fear of loss. I lost so much when I went through my highly traumatic divorce that when I think I might lose something — face, money, possessions, possibilities — I can become extremely anxious and, thus, useless. I’ve had to learn tools for processing the anxiety, understanding my automatic reaction, and looking for the rational response.

The story about the thousand-dollar loss with that customer is just the kind of thing that could ruin a vacation for me, too, if I let it.


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