Friend Flop

I’m in CCP and met with a friend yesterday to coach her. We had planned an appointment time specifically for this. This was her first time being coached. I told her at the beginning that I would be responding to her as a coach, which is different from me as her friend since I’d be remaining neutral.

She really wanted to explore how to manage her time better. We started in a model that showed one of the current thoughts that keeps popping up and preventing her from getting a specific thing done.

At the end of our 45mins, she insisted that all of what we coached on (story vs. fact, thoughts are optional, need to start where she is and explore current thoughts vs. jumping right away into “fixing” it, etc.) “doesn’t apply to me.” She then proceeded to say “this isn’t what I expected from today and now I’m left feeling distraught. When I asked why she was feeling that way, she said “because you kept talking about all this [painful] stuff which I had already dealt with this morning through my journaling”. She also said “I know you’re learning…” and then proceeded to tell me all of the areas that she felt I could (should) do things differently. One of these areas is “empathy 101- when I’m telling you about difficult stuff, you should be right here with me. I know you’re supposed to remain neutral, but you should be saying “I’m sorry, that’s so hard” or “that must be difficult” or something like it. I taught this stuff for three years, so I know what I’m talking about.”

Fact, she didn’t teach coaching, how to be a coach, nor is she a coach. She held a job as a “patient” for medical students so they could learn bedside manner or whatever else. She offered some trainings on things related to that while at that job. I assume now that one of those topics was “empathy.”

I was so caught off guard that I left coach brain and jumped into feeling hurt as her friend. I was really sad this happened, but I did genuinely allow myself to feel the feeling after the call- and I was proud of myself for that. I sat with it for a while. Then I wrote about it and chose some thoughts to use in response to the mind chatter.

Today, however, I find I feel more angry and resentful. And I was hoping this would just fade as I continue to move forward. But I’m angry at her presuming she knows best. I’m angry because she was condescending and showed no regard for my feelings. I resent that she assumed I would even want her feedback. And I don’t like that she didn’t ask if that was something I wanted. Because I didn’t. I keep thinking she was lashing out for having to explore things she believes are difficult to think about. So she placed all the blame on me.

I actually think I did well staying out of the pool, following the criteria and showing up as coach. So I was disappointed because I felt blindsided by this. And maybe even a little betrayed.

And then annoyed at myself for not staying in my coach mindset. I was just so surprised by the sudden turn of events I didn’t keep my bearings.

I’m working to not believe the thoughts my brain is offering and just saying to them, “Hey, I notice my brain keeps offering this or that thought. Thanks brain. This is what I think…”

But this process is feeling difficult today. Like a more constant stream and still somewhat new to me. Is that normal? I’ve really been working on focusing on self coaching, but want to make sure I’m navigating this well.

Yesterday, I kept telling myself that I like myself as I am. And that I am enough as I am. I followed the criteria and held space as a coach. I did what I was supposed to do.

Today… I’m angry. Because this feels like a pattern with her. She doesn’t gently navigate my feelings any more or consider how her words or tone may make me feel. And that sucks.

But at the same time, I know these are just thoughts. And it’s like a catch 22 of sorts in my brain. I’m going back and forth. Back and forth. Sigh.