“I don’t do crisis” is one of the best boundaries I ever set

Ever heard someone cry “wolf” one too many times? That was my dear late mother for you. She had this uncanny habit of describing every little bump in the road as a “crisis”.
Spoiler alert: nine times out of ten, it wasn’t. From a computer that decided to take an unscheduled nap to an actual hospital visit, she doled out the “c” word like candy at a parade.
So one day, she calls me up and announces, “I have a crisis.” Now, here’s where it gets interesting. I replied, “I’m not interested.” Before you jump to conclusions, let me reassure you: her tone was as calm as a serene lake, making it clear this “crisis” was more of a routine hiccup. I wouldn’t dare minimize a genuine call for help, from anyone.
You could almost hear the gears in her brain grinding as she replied, “Well, that’s a surprising response.” And there it was: my chance to level with her about this “crisis” business.
I shared my thoughts on the importance of facing challenges head-on, finding solutions rather than wading neck-deep in an emotional mardi gras.
This is the point where some folks might assert that, “all feelings are valid” and it may feel like a crisis to them, and it’s wrong of me not to acknowledge that.
However, it’s important to clarify that while all feelings are valid in the sense that they are real, honest and should be acknowledged, it doesn’t mean that every subsequent action or reaction is justified or healthy.
In other words, a person’s feelings are always valid as their own subjective experience, but it’s how we respond or act upon those feelings that needs to be measured and judged appropriately. It’s crucial to distinguish between feeling an emotion and choosing an appropriate action or response.
Fast forward to now, and you’ll find me mentoring neurodivergent folks who often find themselves trapped in a similar pattern. Let me tell you, it’s like déjà vu when they reach out at all hours, tagging their situations as “urgent” or “a crisis”.
And here’s my go-to move: I assure them we can chat, but via text. Then I do what I do best – ask them pointed questions that help them cut through the fog and see they have more options than they thought.
Got a minute? Here are some of my power questions:
  • “What’s the story you’re telling yourself about what’s 
      happening right now?”
  • “What’s the solution you’re seeking?”
  • “What’s your next move for change?”
  • “What’s good about this?”
  • “What’s one thing you can do right now to connect with someone or a strategy to help?”
You may be surprised how often I hear them say, “I feel better just getting it out”. That’s the beauty of it – it’s not about the crisis, but about letting it out, putting thoughts into words and seeing them for what they are.
They’re a story about your relationship with yourself, with others, and with the world around you. Your beliefs about your own resilience and resourcefulness, your options around asking for help, etc.
By sharing your thoughts and experiences, you gain insight into the stories that shape your perceptions, emotions, and actions. It’s through this process you discover opportunities to rewrite and transform those stories, making room for growth, healing, and a deeper understanding of yourself and your connections with others.
As a parent of neurodivergent children, I’m doing my best to model this approach. Because kids learn from what we do more than what we say – right? How are you doing in this department, how can I help you be the role model you’re capable of being?
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not about avoiding the crises – it’s about dealing with them, finding solutions, growing, and moving forward. Remember, we’re the ones holding the reins of our lives, and we’ve got the power to steer it in a more empowered.
The bottom line: let’s bid goodbye to the crisis mentality, and say hello to a solution-focused mindset. It’s a game-changer, I promise.
So what do you say, ready to join me on this roller-coaster ride?
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