Sinking Feeling

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Imagine you are in a conversation and, in this moment, you have taken a different stance to the other person. Immediately you sense a “different energy” in the room. Facial expressions are changing. The tone of voice, too. The other person moves towards latent aggressiveness or lashes out verbally (let’s not even get physical).

You notice these outside changes. But something happens inside you too. Long before the other person audibly reacts. There is this “sinking feeling”, right in your tummy. People have also described this as barbed-wire waves, heaviness, or a poisonous octopus. These descriptions may fit your own experience but probably you have your own words. However you depict it, I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about. I describe it here as the “sinking feeling”.

This sinking feeling is hard to hold. And in order not to experience it we might avoid taking a stance, making a decision that is based on our values or stick to our boundaries. There are a couple of things we need to know.

The other person lashes out or bestows their latent aggressiveness over you because you responded differently to what they expected or wanted.

Reactions have a purpose. So does lashing out or latent aggressiveness. In other words, how they react is the choice of the other person and has an explicit or implicit goal.

Know that the “sinking feeling” is here because you are under attack. Not because you have done something wrong.

Even if you are trying to never disappoint, always please and oblige, never develop or change you have no control over how the other person hears or sees you. And how they decide to react to it. Moreover, how you live your life, manage your work, build your business is henceforth dependent on others. By staying loyal to yourself you will encounter this sinking feeling. We might discover that self-development is not automatically giving us a ‘feel-good’ as many glamour-gurus want us to believe. Nonetheless, I’d rather walk my own path and sink from time to time than be walked by others whilst being sunk.

Note. Whilst the article was not written around abuse many of us experience it. Should you be in a relationship where your partner (male of female) abuses you please seek help. The National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

“My therapy is pragmatic, skilled and effective in delivering sustainable change. I believe therapy is only worthwhile when it makes a long-lasting change for the better.”
Dr Ute Liersch, BSc, MA
07494 911464


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