I had the opportunity to work with my son tonight, on some challenges he is having getting bullied at school. Let me describe him- he has died black and blue hair, a septum piercing (between the nostils) and gauges in his ears. He can also be very annoying by saying things that are off-the-wall and at times pretty darn vulgar. Additionally, he is very sensitive and gets his feelings hurt easily but shows anger instead of pain. He’s 15 and has the teenager attitude big time. Luckily, he is a great kid, not into drugs or sex. He has a nice girlfriend with a great family.
He was in trouble tonight for being annoying and not respecting other family member’s boundaries. We had to talk to him about it and he took it rather bad. This is an ongoing issue, as it has been for as long as I can remember. Even though we point it out, he refused to see it. Or simply can’t see it. It almost seems hopeless. I want so bad for others to accept him but his behavior keeps getting in the way.
I watched him crying, telling me how bad he is treated at school. Even by the teachers! He says he will say hi to kids that aren’t nice and they say mean things back to him. That he hopes if he is nice, they will be nice back. He says that everyone thinks he is high even though he isn’t and they think he’s dumb because of the way he looks and the things he says.
Looking at it from the outside, it is easy to say,”Try to blend in better. Don’t say dumb things. Don’t pay attention to the mean kids.” But the truth is, he doesn’t even realize he is doing those things and thinks he is just being himself. He doesn’t know how to be any different.
This is where it gets interesting.
This is where his self-sabotage comes in. He is attached to being rejected.
What he really wants is to be included, to belong, to be accepted, to be liked. We all want that. But what his subconscious wants is to be rejected. Over and over. That is what is comfortable. That is what he learned. Usually from a parent or close family member. In this case, his father (my ex-husband).
When looking back over my son’s life, he always chose to be friends with the kids that wouldn’t accept him. They were the popular kids or the bullies. They would treat him bad and he would try harder to make them like him by giving them things and letting them take advantage of him. He would get hurt over and over. I never understood why he would do this to himself.
I pointed this rejection attachment out to him tonight and he got it. He finally recognized what he is doing to himself each day. It’s as if he is waking up and saying to himself, “What can I do today to get myself rejected and feel like crap?”
I gave him the example that when he says hi to the kid that is mean to him, he knows the kid will be mean to him. His subconscious is counting on the rejection. So he goes through with it and gets that hit of rejection he needs. Of course it’s not what he really wants. He wants the kid to be nice. But it won’t happen and he knows it.
The solution to him ending his rejection attachment is called the AHA Solution. This is a program my husband and I developed. It is a system for ending self-sabotage to achieve the results you would really like in your life. The first step is to become AWARE. So in my son’s case, it is to notice when he is about to say something that will end in rejection. Then the next step is HALT – to stop what he is about to say or do. Then the third step is to ACT. To choose something different to do that will get you the result you truly want.
When my son asked what he was supposed to do differently at the ACT stage. I said that he needs to do the opposite. So it would be, in the situation with the bully, to turn and go the other way. Or in a situation where he is about to say something obnoxious to get attention, ask the person a question about them instead, like, “How’s you day been?”
It made a lot of sense to him and he started practicing it right away. He is now playing video games and getting along with his brother. I am so proud of him for choosing to see his attachment and making the choice to be happy.
To be able to choose to be accepted instead of to automatically be rejected is huge. When we aren’t actively aware of our self-sabotage we are living on autopilot, out of control of our own life and we don’t even know it. You are your own victim.
To learn more about the AHA Solution and self-sabotage, click here.