He recently visited his older sister after a long hiatus and saw a repeat of some troubling behavior on her part. Growing up she had been a strong influence in his life, and a buffer from his emotionally troubled mother. On this visit he noticed that she was still drinking bottle of chardonnay each day. The drinking didn’t seem to affect her career, but it opened her up to grandiose self-promotion, which disgusted Bill.
In our coaching session I worked with Bill to see how his reaction to his sister’s grandiosity and narcissism had prejudiced his perspective on legitimate self-promotion as an artist. He experienced heaviness in the pit of his stomach when speaking about her. He had the same heaviness whenever he and I spoke about promoting his art.
I thank Bill for giving me permission to use his story. It illustrates how our saboteurs can be linked to our relationships with close relatives. In dysfunctional family systems we take on roles to protect us. In Bill’s case he took on the role of diplomatic peace-keeper between his mother and his sister, while both of them were engulfed by their own saboteurs. The sick feeling he developed about his sister was carried over to his own self-image and therefore negatively affected his promotion of himself in his art.
Who are the family members whose behavior has made your life difficult? Where in your body do you feel the blocks to moving forward? How are those feelings similar to your memories of family dynamics? What steps might you take to adopt a new point of view about yourself and move forward with your life, leaving behind self-defeating memories? Maybe a life coach can help.
Contact the Man’s Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org .