Things got a bit sticky with a client this past week.
As is customary, I turn my phone’s ringer off during session.
He had texted me at the 25 minute mark. I hadn’t seen it.
He called and I happened to think of him at that moment and picked up.
He wanted to continue with our time together, though my mind was on a different tract.
I agreed to an “abbreviated session” and informed him that he’d be charged for the full time.
I listened to his disappointment, feelings of abandonment and anger at me and with himself. I stated my understanding.
I helped his activated parts give space and allow him to drop into Self presence.
We agreed to meet the following week.
I was relieved that we were still connected.
But something continued to work on me. Continued to work in me. Some discomfort. Some unrest.
That night, I turned my attention inwardly. I saw how my protectors, “Logic” and “Gotta Do” took over my response to his tardiness.
“Logic” had stated that the client had been given appointment reminders that day and the day before. It nudged my memory that when the client previously hadn’t shown, I had given him a one-time courtesy call and had reminded him of my policy that he’d be charged full-fee with any successive no-shows.
With that foundation established, “Gotta Do” had told me to take advantage of the time and get some work done.
So when he called, “Logic” and “Gotta Do” were in full gear and were focused elsewhere.
I awoke the next morning to an image of a new part, my “Businessman Cowboy,” clad in a black suit and black cowboy hat and black boots. He informed me of his presence the day before with his perspective, “You gotta a business to run, you gotta earn a living, your time is valuable, you have a lot to do, seize the time.”
And then I saw how all three protected me from the young part, “Disregarded,” who felt unimportant and not valued in terms of her time, the work my client and I had done together and our connection.
And so I called the client and asked if it was ok for us to talk, that I wanted to take responsibility for my part(s).
He agreed. And so I told him about how three parts became reactive in response to protecting me from the young one who felt Disregarded. I apologized for having my phone off and being unresponsive. I apologized for my lack of clarity regarding my tardiness policy and for confusing him because of my own confusion. He appreciated my honesty and sharing.
He admitted that his reactivity with me spoke of a long time issue with others. We committed to a regularly scheduled appointment time. We acknowledged that if he doesn’t show within 20 minutes, I may be unavailable. We committed to working on his reactive parts.
And so, my system now feels clear. I was able to speak for my parts. We were able to regard our interaction as a learning opportunity. I committed to working with my protectors and the Disregarded one on my own. Trust has been reestablished. Out of crisis came opportunity, to not only repair the rupture, but to also deepen our process and connection as we move forward.