I’ve been operating most of my adult life with my dukes up. It’s gotten to the point where today I’m not sure how to put them down, of not having to dodge a punch.
If things are ease-y, then what will happen? Where will the lightning strike when I’m coasting on “Things Are Going Well?” Can I handle the inevitable blows that will inevitably come and possibly come as soon as tomorrow if I’m not constantly on alert? If I am not strung out, will I be able to handle not being numb? Will people and situations hurt me? Will I be in trouble? Will my health fade? Will it all be taken away? Will I be invisible and will I be abandoned?
Will I have to feel it all without the anesthetic that being on the defensive provides?
What I have learned is that living in this mode resulted in the actual pain I was trying to avoid. It required me to live as a victim, which meant I got involved in relationships, jobs, and situations that caused me harm and in which I caused harm, all as a defensive and ill-fitting coping mechanism for this thing called life. And instead of doing work on myself, I’ve spent a whole lot of paralyzed energy being “good” in order to merely avoid a confrontation with Life.
I see this in other people every year in January. Most resolutions become shiny disguises for the gritty reality that our dukes are up. This year I’ll find “balance.” This year I’ll get “fit.” Bull crappy. This is not fighting, this is dodging. We’re not really trying to make change, we’re trying to control and defend ourselves against all the things that feel incongruous in our lives.
Are you a fighter or a victim dodging punches?
When you claim to be a fighter, you have to claim the real work behind it. You can’t sit around and wonder where your willpower is and “why me” sorts of deals, which is what I see all the time from clients. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO. It may not make sense. It certainly won’t feel awesome. But, you know exactly what you have to do, don’t you?
We stay in victim-dukes-up mode in order to protect ourselves from having to that work.
How do you know the difference between Defensive Victim Mode and Fighter Mode, you ask? Great question. Here’s a break down:
Defensive Victim Mode:
- You talk a lot
- You complain
- You try to control
- You blame others
- You feel overwhelmed
- You shut down
- You’re a reactor
- You feel entitled
- You opt for grandiose, lofty dreams
- You don’t talk, you do
- You don’t complain, you accept
- You step outside power struggles
- You know you’re the only one you can change
- You use the sensation of overwhelm to push you into better self-care
- You show up
- You’re an actor rather than a reactor
- You laugh at entitlement
- You opt for practical, accessible dreams
Dukes down. Fighter up.