I don't know if anyone can - but I need some help.
The short version - I'm a 9 - I like everything to just be ok. My daughter is a 1 - and she's very hard on herself. She is very stressed over a competition this weekend that she feels she has to do well in, even though she is very new to the sport. She's going to be calling me in a little while - how do I help her? Seriously, what can I say to her as a 1 that will actually help? I can elaborate if needed, but this is the bare bones.
@VickiW good morning, 1w9 here :)
You don’t say how old she is, or how versed she is in the Enneagram, so here are some thoughts:
1- first & foremost, listen to her concerns without telling her they’re unnecessary, or overblown
2- ask her some questions that might lead her to reflect on the situation in a non-pressuring way. For example, questions about what she’s been doing to prepare (which could help her see how she’s taken appropriate “control” of what she can control)
@VickiW not too many such questions because she might freak out, but just enough to get her to recognize she’s been preparing appropriately.
3- after that, reassure her ... but not by saying something like “I’m sure you’ll do great!” (More pressure to succeed), but something like “it sounds like you’ve worked hard and done a lot to prepare to do your best”)
4- if she’s old enough/mature enough, perhaps engage her in a “what’s the worst that can happen” exercise. 2/
@VickiW that’s a matter of successively asking “and what would that mean?” for each of her answers. I did this once when I was stressed out about a work thing, and as a result of it I went through... I could lose my job, and not be able to pay my bills, and have to give up my apartment, and I’d live with my parents for a while. I arrived at that and realized I could “live with” that outcome, which helped my stress levels immensely.
@VickiW If she’s old/mature enough, you could also (AFTER listening to her concerns) engage her in thinking about realistic performance levels for someone new to the sport.
Final thought- if she’s familiar w the enneagram, perhaps engage her in examining how stress is connected to her 1-ness, what that might mean, and how she might ease up on herself (AFTER listening to her concerns).
Have I mentioned you should start by listening to her concerns? 😉
Hope something in all that is helpful. 😊
Man! I wish that I had had all y'all around for the last... 20 years... I've been struggling with all this kind of stuff and just figuring it out on my own. I eventually figured out that my husband always made my panic attacks worse by trying to talk me out of what I was panicking about, we eventually figured out that talking through the concerns and figuring out what's the worst thing that could happen helps a lot. Because I don't have to defend feeling concerned.
@brandice @VickiW I can COMPLETELY relate. 😊 When I’m panicking about something, I don’t need someone to tell me my panic is unnecessary (for a 1,that’s just one more way we’re “wrong” & “imperfect”), or tell me that everything is going to be fine (they can’t predict the future & in fact things could go very not-fine), nor to just “there, there” me in an attempt to soothe. I need them to sit beside me in my panic, acknowledge my fears, & help me (via questions) find my own way out of the panic.
@JeanetteJohnson @brandice Thank You! She's 18 and is competing in collegiate level ballroom dance. She has shown a lot of aptitude, so there are expectations on her that she will perform better than the average newcomer. She is not familiar with the enneagram at all, so I can't go there with her, but it very much has helped me reexamine how I try to help her.
@JeanetteJohnson @brandice I have written down some of the things you said to say on little notes for the next time I talk to her. When I talked to her this morning, she was better than I expected, so that relieved me. I'm fairly good at listening, but I'm also very good at the "it's all going to be fine" response.
She really is. I can not IMAGINE how much healthier I would have been in college if my mom had been trying to do this stuff instead of keeping telling me how "perfect" I supposedly was (which wasn't true, and made it clear that that was the expectation!) while intermittently giving barbed, passive-aggressive jabs about how not-perfect I was
@VickiW hi, 1w2 here! It may be helpful to understand some about 4s, since 1s go to 4 in stress. I can't speak for everyone else, but for me personally I'd ask her to tell you about why she chose this sport, how it makes her feel, what she's proud of herself for so far. 1s spend zero time being proud of themselves, lol, so it helps to set that stage.
@Wanderlust This is perfect actually. I'm very new to the enneagram and so yesterday when I was trying to get ideas how to talk to her, I was browsing through a book I bought but haven't read yet on the subject. I randomly stumbled across a sentence in the chapter on 4s that said they want to feel special and was hit by how true that is for her. Thank you for commenting on that aspect!
@VickiW you are such a good mom to be researching like this!
@VickiW In general, I wish I had known about the growth mindset earlier in life. Knowing how much hard work factors into success, versus natural ability, would have let me tap into my natural discipline instead of shaming myself for not having more natural inclination and ease. The book 'mindset' by Carol Dweck could help.
Don't hesitate to ask more questions!
@Wanderlust I requested the book from my library - I'm #30 on 3 copies!
I really like what you said about natural discipline vs natural inclination. That is something she will very much understand and appreciate. She has commented how she often shows a natural aptitude for things, gets lots of praise for it, then peters out when she reaches that limit. She's rarely had someone encourage her past that point. And part of her stress is feeling like she's reached that boundary now in ballroom.
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