My Life As A Screech Owl: Living in Reactivity
By: Karen
March 26, 2013

Have you ever been in a relationship that made you feel like a screech owl? Wait, some people believe no one can ‘make’ us feel anything; we cause ourselves to have particular feelings. Honestly, in my world the returns are still out on that one. 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. My question should be, have you ever been in a relationship in which you behaved like a screech owl? Well, I have. I can remember very clearly how it developed, my life as a screech owl, that is. Interactions at the beginning of the relationship were typical of many…gentle, caring, and considerate. Emotions ran high and 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 when 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. This was because I knew 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.

Reactivity can be fairly easily 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 most of all. Working with clients to understand the source of their 10 lb. reactions is an important component of my passion because I know the difference 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 is that the call is commonly referred to as a ‘trill’. Wouldn’t we all like to change our screech into a trill.

I continue to thank God every day for allowing me to live my passion.