My parents and I frequently clash about politics and last week it ended with me walking out, angry and upset that they couldn’t see my point of view. They are so rigid in their thinking and can’t see that they need to move with the times and be more accepting. This is affecting our relationship and it means I don’t call them very often or visit just to avoid another argument.
The client is dealing with a conflict, generating strong negative emotions that are blocking her ability to find a way to move forward. The negative emotions are a symptom of her helplessness and consequent state of resignation to a feeling of powerlessness.
By taking the position of Resignation as her fate, the client is actively not dealing with the conflict. She assumes a position of powerlessness, passivity or avoidance in the face of a challenge. This may be a form of survival, but it is also a way of deferring responsibility or taking responsible action. Resignation is a form of an emotional roadblock that limits chances of moving on. Left long term, the unresolved issued can become entrenched and the cause of a constant state of frustration.
Acceptance is recognising that we are both powerful and powerless. We are individually powerful in our ability to make change in our lives and use our influence on the lives of others. On the other hand we are powerless if we permit our emotions to be the primary driver in our life.
So how does the coach introduce the concept of Acceptance to a client who clings to a perspective of Resignation at the futility and frustration at her situation?
COACH Sounds like you are really stuck. What matters most to you in this situation with your parents?
Through powerful questioning, the coach can guide the client to shift their thinking from feeling burdened by what he believes he cannot change, to a state of Acceptance.
The source of resignation in a client may have numerous origins, and it is the role of the coach to initially draw out the issue, clarify the key needs of the client,, then move to a process of resolution. Sometimes the source of the issue will lie beyond the scope of coaching. The coach will apply her judgement in situations where it appears much deeper work may be required.
Being Resigned could mean the client does not believe she has the agency or the ability to respond. She feels defeated and with no desire to either find the skills or utilise them for the purpose of resolution. It may be easier to quietly let the situation continue rather than confront. Over time the accretion of the problem with rise and fall alongside all the other events in that person’s life. Sometimes it will be worse, aggravated by circumstances or people, sometimes it will diminish when it is less relevant to the person’s life.