Archie woke me up again last night. He wanted to go out to the toilet. I tried to ignore it for a long time because I didn't want to get up. Eventually I relented and let him out.
It was my fault, I had given him chicken the night before, accidentally switching his dinner with my other dog, Jack's.
Just like in my last blog, this situation definitely presses my buttons. I feel resentful that I can’t get my own space, that it’s 'always me that has to get up and deal with the needs of others'. I don't feel loving towards my dogs at those times. Although I wouldn’t be without them, I have to admit they can be a chore. Part of me is horrified that I can think such a thing. Even more horrifying is admitting to it in public.
Another part of me knows that in order to develop and grow I have to listen to all the parts that are me, not just the ones that are ‘politically correct’ or otherwise acceptable. If I censor the uncomfortable parts, I can’t heal them. I could keep them to myself, but I have a need to be authentic.
Triggers revealing fear
I am triggered by the dogs' behaviour. It's not their fault. They trigger me because I let my guard down around them. I'm not scared of showing them my true feelings.
With other people, like family, friends or work colleagues, I don’t let these feelings surface, not even to myself. My learnt social behaviour is to be nice, to be supportive, to at least be civil. Rules like 'My family need me to help them', 'The very least I can do in this life is to help others'. These are examples of programmes that I carry around in my head!
Underneath that is a fear. The truth is, if they don’t need me to help them, I am lost. I will have to find another purpose, like putting my energy into things that are more difficult. I will have to write that book, develop that therapy concept. Make money out of my own ideas. All the things I put off because I have 'responsibilities'.
The problem is not the problem
A coaching friend of mine once said ‘the problem is not the problem’. She was talking about the common mistake we can make when we are trying to solve something. We think we know what the problem is but it's actually masking something else. In this example my nagging thought is 'I'm not trying hard enough', that's why I'm failing. In my really bad days 'well it's because its a silly idea any way, who do I think I am?'
When I try to get behind these voices I notice a couple of themes. The first is ‘life is tough, if you want something you have to work really hard and you might not get it’. Another is ‘your ideas are really no good, you should stick to helping others’. So just give up and go through life without challenge, no expectations, attending to other peoples’ needs, helping them make something of their life, not expecting anything in return.
I'm describing ways of being that have developed from a young age. At some point it would have made perfect sense. Although now it turns out there is a down-side. I am getting this insight from my relationship with my dogs. I discover I am bogged down with resentment, a feeling of a life that hasn’t been lived to the full, of futility and ‘what’s the point’. I believe it's that frustration that I am projecting onto the dogs in my vulnerable moments when my sleep is broken by their simple demands. That is the 'stuff' that I need to listen to and understand. My dogs know! and act accordingly!
Do you have any uncomfortable thoughts towards your dogs that you are hiding from yourself?!