Psychology, Spiritual Journey

Why is it so hard to leave? When it’s more authentic to leave than to stay

Again and again, I find myself in situations that feel off for some reason, or I simply know that it’s time to go. I stayed, I received, I gave, I learned, I enjoyed (maybe or maybe not).

The subtle buzzer went off. The interaction reached completion. It’s the same type of signal like hunger satiety. I’m full. I’ve had enough. Interaction satiety.

And yet, I struggle to act in response to that interaction satiety sometimes. It seems to happen more often when the interaction is unpleasant or triggering in some way. When I feel unsafe and triggered into acting compliant.

For example, say I met up with some new personalities, two of whom lock horns in an ego battle debating some topic. Violent communication abounds with “shoulds” and “musts” and “you’s.” Judgments and criticisms fire away, as the egos interrupt and run over one another to obtain power and dominance. Ugh, not amusing.

What’s worse is that the topic is something I’m very learned and knowledgeable about, but there’s absolutely no space to engage safely and compassionately. Top that with archetypal authoritarian male figures who keep showing up in my life, presumably to teach me something. Oh the sweet cyclical humor of the universe!

In this sort of situation, my tendency is to withdraw energetically and basically dissociate. My physical body stays put, and by all appearances exists in the space with the others. But my psyche – my mental, emotional, spiritual body – is long gone. She’s projected into the past, future, or some other plane altogether.

I got an Enneagram reading a couple weeks ago that majorly called out this tendency of mine. I am aware that dissociation is a coping mechanism I learned in childhood to survive conflict and hardship. It served its purpose. But now as an adult, I strive to embody my higher self as an empowered, sovereign, authentic being.

I learned in my reading the corrective action to take: when my subtle body leaves, take my physical body along with it. It’s so simple! This reinforces what I’ve learned in 12-Step recovery as well.

I recently had an opportunity to apply the corrective action in response to the situation described above. The interaction had expired. I dissociated for a while, called myself out on it, and managed to assert my need to leave compassionately. As it turned out, the energy of relief spread through the group, and everyone else wanted to leave as well.

These fears of disappointing others and disrupting the balance of peace are but illusions of my control over others. They simply aren’t true.

The bottom line is that I can leave when I want to leave. I can utter the words I think others won’t want to here or that may come across as rude. And it matters not that I have any kind of excuse or plans to offer as my rationale.

It’s not my responsibility to make sure everything is smooth, peaceful, and conflict-free (the motivations of an Enneagram type 9/The Peacemaker). I can’t even do that anyway! What a relief and burden released.

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