I have written previously about those harsh decisions that we have all made about ourselves at a very early age, (see this post), and have fiercely defended ever since, usually without realizing what was driving us. There is rapidly increasing understanding among business leaders that lack of self-awareness or failure to take responsibility for the dysfunctional behavior that arises from having that core personal decision “triggered” in the present is at best non-productive and more likely can be a fatal leadership flaw. A number of disciplines are saying that when you were at a very formative, early awareness state something happened that caused you to make a very negative declaration that forms your “shame” or “original wound.” Unfortunately, you were the judge, jury, and jailer at that trial and you issued a life sentence. With that decision in place, you had no choice but to develop a strategy to survive childhood and to make sure nobody ever found out about that deep seated negative belief.
Your strategy worked in certain ways because after all, you are still here. Unfortunately, a strategy that was put together by a 3 or so year old frequently plays out poorly when a 30, 40, 50 or 60 year old invokes it, often at very inappropriate moments, and in response to a perceived threat. The “survival” part of the brain can’t tell the difference between a physical threat and a threat in language so “fight, flight, or freeze” behavior is all that is going to be available after the threat response is triggered.
It’s time to get yourself a new trial and a new, less biased defense attorney that will present a whole lot of evidence from your recent decades as a successful human being. This more current, adult perspective will make it clear to the new jury, (your adult self), that you are a valuable contributor to society, an excellent leader, and a caring, committed person and family member. The new evidence will be overwhelming and, after intense study and review, the jury will have no choice but to acquit you of being stupid, unlovable, unworthy or whatever the exact and very specific nature of your very personal conviction was.
In your jailer capacity, set yourself free. If you must, you can be your own parole officer to report incidences when “reversion” takes place. Those will become less frequent and less harsh as you own your conviction, forgive the first judge, jury, and jailer, and take on the persona that is you as a fully functioning adult.
It may take awhile for others to trust your new mode since you trained them to expect and respond to your periodic 3 year old behavior. Let them know you are practicing being a new you. They will appreciate and respect your practice and your leadership effectiveness will skyrocket.