What Triggers You?
There’s a lot of unrest in the world, especially in the United States. For the past four years, I’ve been angry, and it hit the boiling point at the beginning of 2020. I knew I was angry but didn’t realize I was being triggered by a shadow archetype that had been hiding deep within my subconscious—the Bully.
An archetype is an impersonal pattern of power or behavior with both shadow and light aspects, and we all have them. The shadow of the Bully is a coward who shrouds their deep-seated fears with verbal and physical aggression. To step out of the darkness, they must learn to confront those fears and become courageous.
I found myself in a challenging position—I knew I was angry, I knew my anger was fueling the fire, but I didn’t know how to stop it. Several weeks ago, after several unsuccessful pauses and reboots, the answer came to me during one of my morning meditations of lucid dreaming. There was a part of me that used anger as a survival skill.
Growing up, I was bullied by other schoolgirls but never recognized it as such. I was called names, girls wanted to beat me up, and one even stole a new sweater of mine and dared to wear it in front of me. I remember her saying, “What are you going to do about it?” I shrank with fear, not having the courage to stand up for myself.
An Interview With “The Angry One”
As a certified Clear Beliefs Coach, I continue to do my work and guide others with theirs, and I am fortunate to have the same partners from The Clear Beliefs Coach Training I took last year. Synchronicity doesn’t surprise me, and I always enjoy it when it happens. It was the very afternoon of that morning meditation when I had the client’s role in our group triad.
There’s a process I am trained in called Voice Dialogue, or Parts Work.
There was a part of me I wanted to bring out to speak with called Angry One. When my partner began to ask Angry One questions, the part realized it got angry at both Debbie, for being a coward and never getting angry, and at those who bullied her. It caused the part to be powerless, having no control over what happened, and hated it. All the anger was pushed down, and now it’s coming out.
When asked when it was created, Angry One said when Debbie was a six-year-old and fell down roller skating. A teenage neighbor boy called Debbie uncoordinated. She said, “No, I’m not,” and skated home crying. When she got home and asked her mother what uncoordinated meant, she really was humiliated.
As the interview progressed, and the various forms of bullying were related, Angry One suddenly realized that Debbie bullied herself for not making the basketball team. She was a great athlete, the fastest runner in the entire school, including boys and girls from the 1st through 8th grade. The fact that I got really pissed at her for her pathetic try made Debbie feel even more humiliated at not making the team. She hid this so deep; it wasn’t even uncovered when she wrote her book.
Angry One continued to rant; she never stood up for herself; she never grew a backbone. Angry One was angry at everyone and everything and didn’t want to be around anymore. The part felt it was only hurting Debbie and felt like a bully itself.
But the Coach related that it was Angry One who saw the bigger picture and was able to see things from a higher vantage point. It saw the truth beneath Debbie not making the basketball team; how she bullied and beat herself up.
In the end, Angry One broke the explosive anger part off, reuniting it with Debbie’s Higher Self, and kept the strength, the real strength, not the bully strength. The part was repurposed (or promoted) and renamed Healthy Anger, expressing love and support for Debbie.
Integrating Healthy Anger With The Bully’s Light Aspect
As a result of allowing the repurposed part, Healthy Anger, to come out and speak, I (Debbie) was able to understand I had suppressed the Bully. Consequently, the shadow aspect manifested as explosive anger. Once the connection was made, I could let go of the anger, face my fear of not being able to stand up for myself, and make the Bully my ally.
There’s a lot to uncover for me in this category, and these past few years have triggered other bullies in me. It wasn’t just the name-calling or the fact that someone wanted to beat me up, but it was also the abuse I had suffered: physical, emotional, sexual, and verbal. The Bully‘s gift is that of courage, and though I am seldom triggered in the same way I was just a few months ago, I have the awareness to back it down when I am.
I know it is just one of the processes I must go through on the journey of healing in my life. It is challenging at times, but I always remember the vantage point I have when I do the work. One thing I always say to everyone I meet is something I learned in AA 20 years ago, “It works if you work it. So, work it; you’re worth it.”
My hope for you is that you do the work as well. Because that is one thing I can guarantee; it does work, but only if you work it.
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