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Bad Thought: I wish I hadn’t had that terrible fight with my sister-in-law.


A client I’ll call Joanne had an unpleasant spat with her sister-in-law, Irene, on Christmas Eve. Irene had been assigned to bring French rolls for the family dinner, but had instead shown up with rye rolls. Joanne had quizzed Irene on her motives, and Irene had burst into tears, and (in Joanne’s view) played the victim all evening.

Joanne felt her objection was perfectly reasonable: Irene had been told that French rolls were the right complement to the main course, and Irene had defied requests for particular contributions to meals in the past. Joanne did, however, like Irene for the most part. She was good to Joanne’s brother, and genuinely cared for family. Why then had Joanne gotten so huffy about the unwanted dinner rolls? She’d already endured several nights of poor sleep when she came to me, and she kept saying, I wish I hadn’t had that terrible fight with my sister-in-law!

Joanne was keen to use hypnosis to better understand her reaction to Irene. In a trance state, Joanne was able to quiet the part of her mind that continually both replayed the events of Christmas Eve and argued the fine points of Irene’s offense.

Joanne had the insights that her response to Irene may have had some roots in sibling rivalry and that Irene may have wanted to experience echoes of her own family life (she recalled Irene talking with her mother once about the rye rolls they’d regularly bought at the local deli). While Irene’s decision to substitute rye was irritating and her deciding to then play the victim exasperating, Joanne couldn’t deny that she herself had overreacted and that she too may have been acting out childhood dynamics.

As it turned out, Joanne noted that she’d gained self-understanding as a result of the tension with Irene, as well as that the dust up seemed to bring the two closer once they’d made up.

These days, when Joanne experiences conflict or tensions with others, she tries not to bemoan the situation overmuch, and instead tells herself, This skirmish may lead to insights and an improved relationship.

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/store

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#conflict #siblingrivalry #childhood #relationships #family

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