In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explain how learning to be unconditionally obedient skewed our perception of negative consequences and why it’s time to update our thinking so that we can stop scaring ourselves out of creating healthy boundaries and taking care of us.

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5 key topics in this episode

  • Unless we’re a child right now, we grew up in The Age of Obedience. This is where the parenting, communicating and interacting with children centred on obedience. It was about teaching us to unconditional compliance, which didn’t allow for nuance. It’s no wonder we struggle with or don’t know when to say no.
  • While we might fear saying no and having boundaries, what we’re often more afraid of are the consequences of these. But the trouble we feared getting into wasn’t the consequence of not doing that particular thing. It was the consequence of not obeying that particular person–which is very different.
  • I’ve come to recognise that as annoying as it can sometimes be when our daughters don’t do as asked or expected, I don’t want them to be unconditionally compliant. We’re teaching life skills, boundaries, not how to submit to us.
  • It’s no wonder some of us have a fear of learning or trying new things when we used to be screamed at or punished for not knowing something. Part of the parent or caregiver’s response was due to feeling as though us failing to answer correctly is disobedient or that we were embarrassing them and highlighting how they’re not a successful parent or how we weren’t going to become a Good Worker and Successful Adult. 
  • The pandemic with its lockdowns, social distancing, guidelines, rules, chopping and changing and carrying on has been very triggering for a lot of people. And because it pushes our buttons around obedience and compliance, especially anything we perceive as arbitrary or dodgy, some of us have maxed out on obedience and dug our heels in.

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