Ever wonder why and how you manage to continually find yourself with the hook in your mouth? Ever ask yourself, “Why is it so insanely hard for me to get away from this person/situation? Why do I feel I have to react to every freaking thing this person says or does?” This person being anyone – a parent, a friend, a lover, a spouse, an adult child … it’s because you took the bait. Knowingly or unknowingly, you fell for it. Over and over and over. Not only do you get hooked, you swim right up to it.
These bait throwers come in every shape and size, and they can be found anywhere and everywhere. They’re particularly skilled with their preciseness. They know what bait to use and where to throw it. As a matter of fact, I believe some folks are so good at it, that it becomes second nature to them and they’re able to do it unconsciously.
We’ve taken their bait and two specific things support this problem. The first thing is that the person offering the bait knows what gets our attention and knows how to use it against us. The second and most unfortunate thing (it is reversible – don’t sweat it) has happened inside us. We’ve become codependent. I can’t say when or how or why, but we did. Don’t know what codependency is? Look it up
Some folks are so adept at casting this bait, some of us go after it without any forethought We’re absolutely clueless that we’re swimming up to disaster. And we do it over and over and over. I’ve swum right up to and taken the bait only to struggle like a lunatic to get it out of my mouth. The internal battle I go through is grossly monumental and uncomfortable. But once I get free, I turn right back around and get myself hooked again. It’s exceptionally ridiculous.
This bait lies in wait by way of words and behavior that draw us in (gets our attention) and seemingly requires a reaction from us (engagement) to assuage drama that has arisen out of what should have been – nothing. It’s a mind-boggling, extraordinarily frustrating exchange/experience between us and the bait thrower.
What’s the answer? How do we avoid getting caught in the first place? Or if we have been caught, how do we unhook ourselves from the mental/psychological/emotional turmoil that we find ourselves in – and swim away – forever? Because going back to it repeatedly is the definition of insanity. Right? Sort of like the alcoholic who continually reaches for alcohol…
We avoid the hook (just like the alcoholic learns to avoid the drink) in the first place. You know – the bait that dangles out there in the form of a question (or a drink) that – for whatever reason we just HAVE to answer. Or the bait that comes in the form of behavior from someone that we just have to acknowledge.
No. We don’t. We can choose to just ignore it. Not reacting takes practice. But – so what. It’s worth learning how to do.
For some of us, not reacting feels like we’re denying ourselves a tall glass of water on a hot day. It’s near agony for us – but it’s still the right thing to do. It’s the healthy thing to do. It’s awareness in action. It might even be considered growing. We grow when we learn – right?
By learning how we’re getting baited, we can also learn how to avoid it. It’s not easy, but it is possible. It’s not a whole lot different from the alcoholic who – in all honesty – will stay sober so long as he or she does one thing – don’t drink.
If we don’t feed the fire – it can’t grow. If we don’t take the bait, we won’t get hooked.