When personal attacks get personal!

Has anyone ever said something about you that has lead you to question yourself?

And then you start to doubt your own values and their words become your truth?

I started going down this path when recently, someone decided to launch an attack on me for something I had said to their child.  My instant reaction was horror as in my heart, I knew I would never deliberately do or say something to hurt a child - but the head then kicked in......It questioned if what I said was actually wrong and whether I really was this terrible person the email was suggesting.

What ensued was then a few days of heart ache as head and heart battled it out.  In my heart, I knew my intentions were to help that child but I, like many other people, didn't like the idea that there was someone out there who was judging me very badly - and in my heart, unfairly, but the head was not so sure!

So time to step back into therapist role and open my own tool box.  The thing that jumped out was the thing I say often to clients- you can't control what other people think. 

In this situation I play a game with clients suggesting that something that is blue is actually green and I see their confusion as everything inside them is saying, she is wrong, it is blue!  The point being, we all have our views of things and sometimes those views are just totally incompatible and there is no end to the debate as both are adamant in their perspectives.

There are two things that fall out of this:
1.  Accept that there are going to be times when you can't agree
2.  The only thing you can control is....you!

And it is this second point that came to my rescue.  With a lot of self reflection I knew that the intention in my communication with this child was positive and I had their best interests at heart.  The words I used were interpreted differently by their parents - their green to my blue.  I did my utmost to explain my intentions, the rationale behind the words I used, the outcome I perceived had been achieved - but they still saw green regardless of me doing all I could to show them it really was blue!  And in that there is no happy ending.  So where do I go from there?

The answer is to my heart.  The only thing you can control is your intention, your motivation, your thoughts, your feelings.  Everyone else is in charge of their equivalents and whilst you can do your best to influence, the ultimate choice is theirs.  In my scenario, these parents chose anger - and my choice is to respect their choice of anger but not share in it, or allow it to mask my positive intentions.  And the acid test - if it happened again, would I do things differently?

No - because my intention was positive !

I have told a lot of clients this story recently and many of them can relate to similar situations but allowed themselves to be persuaded that their blue was in fact green.  And sometimes, that may be the right course.  Had I reflected and seen that perhaps despite my intention being positive, the strategy was rubbish, I would have apologised and acknowledged that my blue really should be green - and in that there is learning and growth.  But in my heart of hearts, I am now comfortable that blue is blue and if other people choose to see green, I dont have to agree with them  - that is their choice, a reflection of their values and not a reflection of me!

I have seen them since - yep, it was a little 'chilly' but the confidence comes from knowing that my intentions were sound and with that confidence, I can accept that there are many colours in the rainbow and we all see different shades - and that is OK!! And with that, I am just that little bit stronger to face the next time someone sees green when I see blue - as I am certain it will happen!!

So this has left me wondering - have you faced a similar situation?  Did you decide to see green rather than blue even if everything inside you was convinced it was blue?  Please share your stories with me too ....

Published by Caroline Cavanagh, Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of Anxiety Alchemy. on |


RE: When personal attacks get personal!

I hope you’re ok Caroline! You’re fantastic at what you do, never let anyone make you question that!
Commented by: Lauren on Monday 26th November 2018 07:16:28 PM

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