By Alecia Rice
Q: I’m in a women’s spiritual group where I feel constantly projected upon by another woman who acts like a victim. Her negative energy causes me to want to stay silent in the group so as not to rouse her, and it’s making me feel resentful. How might I deal with this situation? — Silent Sophia
A: Dear Silent Sophia,
Sharing space with sister–friends in a sacred circle can be an expansive and liberating experience. It should also be a safe space to practice using our voice in uncomfortable ways for personal growth. Self–excavation is usually encouraged in such circles, so you have found the perfect place to dig into this issue to expand yourself.
The Universe provides opportunities such as this to consciously raise our awareness. I encourage a practice of self–examination because no one but ourselves is responsible for how we feel; our pain is an inside job. What irritates us in another is often also active in us. It’s important to figure out what our contributions are in sticky situations, to attempt to shift them internally first. We may find that it’s more about us than we realize; yet at other times, we may need to lay it at the feet of the other. Misinterpretations may also be projected on us. Yet when interactions turn wonky, we can pause to better articulate what we actually mean. Doing so can smoothe the path to reroute it into a more positive direction.
It can be difficult to know whether what we say could be better conveyed, or whether the recipient is hearing it through a twisted lens. The sisters in the circle know us and can share perspectives that assist both sides in processing. They can provide gentle feedback when the delivery seems to have some energy in it, as well as confirm when something is mistakenly taken wrong. That’s the beauty of the circle. It’s the place to receive validation and neutral feedback, as well as to improve our ways of saying, viewing, or doing things. It’s also where we can grow our intuition in a safe space by addressing those “hunches” that we question in ourselves that sometimes seek validation from outside ourselves.
Resentment can ground us in a sense of victimization. When we’re feeling disempowered and are afraid to speak our truth, it’s important to check in to see what might lie beneath that. Many women are insecure about speaking their truth and are even more afraid of “confrontation.” In my experience in similar situations, I’ve found that I’ve felt victimized because I couldn’t get over feeling forced to say uncomfortable things to stand up for myself.
For example, I’ve hired painters who I’ve given specific instructions to paint two coats. On multiple occasions when I’d look over their work, they had only painted one. I was then resentful that I was uncomfortably forced to instruct them once again. I felt victimized. Why couldn’t they just follow through with my request instead of forcing me to be the “bad guy?”
Going within, I realized that I was most aggravated because I had to bring my voice to the table in ways that made me feel insecure and uncomfortable. These guys pushed me many times to voice my needs for two coats of paint, which offered me the awkward opportunity to stretch myself and stand in my power. Doing so empowered me and made it easier for me to speak my needs in future situations. I’ve been grateful for those opportunities ever since.
When neither of you is in a triggered state, you might try pulling her aside with one of the other women for a chat. It’s important to open your heart using “I” phrases instead of “you” to explain how you feel in these situations. You can then stand in open curiosity to confirm if she feels this same erratic energy between the two of you. The third person in the space can help neutrally facilitate the conversation and hopefully bring you both towards an understanding, enabling you to move forward more smoothly.
You can’t necessarily change the way this woman reacts to you, but you now have a few options that may help ease the situation by checking your own inner victim, requesting assistance from other sisters in the group and exercising your voice in a difficult situation. It’s important to remember that we’re all villains in another’s story. When we heal the behavior in ourselves that we don’t like in another, we stand with a lesson learned that may not trigger us much in the future.
Alecia Rice integrates higher concepts with wisdom to bring forth balance, perspective and clarity. She’s a personal advisor, speaker and gatherer of women. For perspective on life issues, you’re invited to text questions and comments to 681–321–1109. Discussions continue at Ask Alecia on Facebook.