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Protective Patterns — We all got ‘em. Now what?

Young boy

My go-to Protective Pattern is Attacking. So what happens when I buy a new house (during a pandemic) and stress triggers pop everywhere for me?  On a good day, I do a lot of Noticing Myself and choosing Centering Skills. 

On the last day of our big move, my youngest desperately wanted to help move boxes like his big brother. (I know–what a lucky problem to have!) Unfortunately, the box he so desperately wanted to help with was over-packed with my favorite, fragile, frequently-used kitchen items. All of my go-to’s. I should have carefully packed them and used several boxes, but it was the end of the move and I was over it. So that extra-heavy, not-at-all protected box was sitting there, calling to my youngest son. 

At that moment, tired, hungry, and sore, I looked at my son and wanted to snap. I felt it coming and then I paused. I noticed that my Attacker was chomping at the bits to be unleashed. Instead, I was able to choose to use the Centering Skill Letting Go. Nothing in that box was something that couldn’t be replaced, and I realized I was being Hypervigilant by trying to control everything. 

By Centering myself at the moment I was able to stop and see what mattered most. My son’s need to contribute to our family like his brother. His need to feel accepted and a part of our new home. Those needs were far more important than any serving platter. 

It was a reminder that when life throws us stress triggers, we do have a choice in the moment. We can manage our emotional stress curve by choosing Centering Skills.

Oh, and nothing broke 🙂