Embracing The Disappointment Of Others Is The Gateway To Radical Peace And Freedom

By Marshall Burtcher.

Receiving someone’s disappointment with you is one of the biggest, scariest elements of codependency.  

This often invokes stomach-churning anxiety, shame-filled nausea, and activates the fawning response of pleasing and amplified apology to try to regulate and stabilize the sense of impending discard.  

These kinds of signals tell the story of transactional love and how approval and disappointment have been levers of manipulation and control by others in their relationships.

This keeps the codependent stuck in their fawning, child-like self.  They’re unable to fully advocate for themselves, nor actualize what they really want in their personal lives.

They sense their actual worth is at risk, as well as their connection with that person.  

No wonder disappointing others can feel so paralyzing!

This is also why becoming resilient to other people’s disappointment creates profound well-being, happiness, and personal power in the healing codependent.

Building resiliency to this involves resourcing safety, relationship connection, and self-worth.  This allows your worth to become sovereign or independent of other people’s views, empowers your safety to be in your hands and not theirs, and build connection-centered friendships and relationships.  

This is big, big work.  

I start my students off with two practices to help them gain traction and results immediately.  This provides energy and inspiration to go deeper in the work.

The first practice is to become the Observer of your body’s reactions to the disappointment of another.

This step is essential to any healing work, as one’s emotions and body need a warm witness with which to heal with.  Practicing observing the sensations, feelings, and thoughts that arise in one’s awareness starts cultivating this experience of warmth and care for one’s pain and lived realities.

This practice is simple, yet, not necessarily easy to get at first.  Here’s how to do it:

Step One: When you notice a sensation, feeling, or thought grabbing you attention, Pause.  Allow it to take up a little more of your awareness

Step Two:  Acknowledge what the sensation is by labeling it. Maybe it is fear.  Maybe it is anxiety.  Maybe it is shame.

Notice where in the body or your awareness it is.  See if you can note any of its characteristics, like shape, color, texture, temperature.  This helps you connect with the somatic experience of it.

Step Three: Observe what the sensation does as you pay attention to it.  Does it buzz? Does it move around?  Does it get smaller, bigger, or stay the same?

This practice doesn’t have to last very long. I do it in 30-second intervals most of the time.

The second practice is to remove any significance, meaning, or importance you’ve given to their disappointment.

This is done with a What-Shift’s question:  “What shifts when you remove 10% of the significance you give their disappointment?”

Pause, acknowledge, and observe what shows up here.  Most often, there’s a tangible relief or lessening of the sensations and some clarity mentally.  

This shift is important, as it indicates how your worth and person-hood is actually sovereign from their approval.

This is the beginning of your freedom of being your sovereign, innately whole and worthy self.  

Practice these two tools and share below in the comments what you discover!

Go gently in your healing.

By Marshall Burtcher, Codependency Healing Expert. Marshall helps codependents, people-pleasers, and perfectionists stop fixing themselves and start loving themselves. Join Marshall for his next free live workshop, “The 8 Factors That Heal Codependency Permanently” by clicking here: https://workshop.freetheself.com

3 Responses

  1. chris c says:

    I love Marshall, always talking directly to me

  2. Joyce L Segers says:

    This article is spot on for me, I have worked with Marshall for over a year now, and this still trips me up, but so grateful for the practices when it does. I have learned to give myself grace and just embrace the small shifts on my healing journey. Thank you Marshall!

  3. Elisa says:

    This article brought to mind 2 past (very destructive) relationships & made sooo much sense! Thank you. I wonder if i can use this exercise for addressing these long past experiences?

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