I am the one who reminds you to not even try because you'll mess up.
I am the one who tells you that when you mess up, you will get yelled at and humiliated.
I am the one who reminds you of the time you were trusted with the stack of coffee cups and you let two of them fall and break.
I am the one who reminds you that they were wrong to trust you.
I am the one who reminds you that no matter how good your intentions, you will screw things up and everyone will be angry.
I am the one who tries to protect you.
I am that voice in your head that says, "are you sure you want to try that?"
I am the one who tries to keep you safe by telling you not to try new things.
I am the one who loves you and wants you to avoid danger or pain.
I am the one who tries to keep you from jumping into scary things.
I am the one who would rather protect you than to have to comfort you if you are rejected.
Last week, I attended a tele-class lead by Kathry Kirby.
Kathryn talked about the Saboteur and how certain events from childhood can trigger it.
I was overcome with emotion when I thought about this. I have a vivid memory of my dad putting some cups a vendor had given him into a paper bag for me to carry to my mom. I assured him I could take care of it. Just as I got to the door and let go with one hand to reach for the handle, the top cups toppled out and broke on the cement. When my dad found out, he said, "I knew I shouldn't have trusted you to carry them."
I was, of course, crushed.
I often find myself avoiding making cards for things like this. I have a tendency to resist the real work of soulcollage, preferring instead to make positive cards.
But this touched me so profoundly and made so many things click that I decided to sit with the feeling. I thought of all the times in my life when similar things had happened. Like when I was turning pages for a pianist and I got lost and missed a page turn. She stopped right in the middle of the juried performance, turned to me and said angrily, "I'll turn the pages myself."
There are other similar stories and I realize that I tell myself those stories now everytime I am required to try something new. I often stop myself from doing things because I am terrified that I will do it wrong and mess things up and, ultimately, be spoken to angrily.
In the past couple of years, I haven't let it stop me. I just push through. But the fear is always there and now, for the first time, I truly understand why.
The top card represents this fear, the saboteur who reminds me of how angry people can become with me. It was painful to dredge up these memories but ultimately healing. Now I am able to separate those feelings and see them for what they are. They're memories. They're not rational reasons for deciding what actions to take.
The second card is my inner critic and I see it as a much gentler card. She (and it does feel feminine, while the saboteur feels masculine) is like a protective female who doesn't want to pick up the pieces when I've made a mistake. She gently runs after me to keep me from messing up.
I have learned to love this part of my soul. When I look at the child in the saboteur card, I know that this inner critic is like a protective mother trying to keep me from being yelled at by the saboteur shadow. I appreciate this inner protective mother. I can assure her that I will be ok, even if I fail at a current activity.
It's been a long week of introspection and I am grateful for the clarity that has been given.
I am most grateful that now when I feel that fear, I can also acknowledge it, just observe it and say, "oh, I see, you're afraid you'll get yelled at or that you'll really screw up." This is new. It makes it objective rather than just feeling those scary feelings and thinking, "oh I'd better not even try that because if I fail, then this and that might happen."
It's a sweet sense of freedom.