Living In Reactivity
By: Karen
January 16, 2020

reactivityHave you ever been in a relationship living in reactivity, feeling like a screech owl? Some people believe no one can ‘make’ us feel anything. They believe it is all up to us. However, it takes work to understand what triggers our emotional reactions. Before we do that work it sure feels like others can control them. Perhaps this will be the subject of a future blog entitled, Who is responsible for my feelings?

Back to the subject at hand, life as a screech owl. So…have you ever been in a relationship in which you behaved like a screech owl? Well, I have. I can remember very clearly how my life as a screech owl developed. Interactions at the beginning of the relationship were typical of many…gentle, caring, and considerate. Emotions ran high and were positive…crazy happiness, crazy connection. We had great times and looked forward to being together. I felt secure and loved.

Then it happened, my abandonment kicked in and the screech owl filled my head. When there was an occasional cancellation of plans or my other chose time with someone instead of me, my reactions escalated to a level well above what the situation warranted. Each time I experienced one of these reactions a strange vision filled my head. It was my body with the head of a screech owl in the place of my own.

I rarely raised my voice and never succumbed to name calling. However, even the most apparently passive response replaced my head with the owl’s. Now I know what was going on in my mind, a storm of abandonment. The screeching was going on inside me. As a counter dependent I was often able to hide the depth of my fear, but I was living in reactivity just as certain as any codependent.

Unhealthy reactivity is best described as reacting at a level eight to a level two situation. I think of it as a 1 lb. event with a 10 lb. reaction. It involves the surrender of personal power to others as behavior can consist of a steady stream of reactions to things they do. Giving up your power is one of the most painful abandonments, self-abandonment.

Do you see yourself or your partner in any of this? For the record, it is always easier to identify in partner than self. If you do see it, please know it does not have to remain that way. My understanding of my own reactivity came from deep processing in therapy. Yes, therapists need therapy, sometimes we need it most of all. Working with clients to understand the source of their 10 lb. reactions is an important component of my passion. I know the difference made in my life as a result of understanding the storm within. It can make a difference in your life also.

And about the screech owl, interesting that the call is commonly referred to as a ‘trill’. Wouldn’t we all like to change our screech into a trill.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. Hope they make a difference to you!

I am filled with gratitude every day as I am allowed to live my passion by helping people through the work I do.