I usually talk about brain weasels in the context of romantic relationships, but they can pop up in any relationship.
Like between my mom and I.
Glad I put that clarification at the top, aren’t you?
Seriously, though, my mom did a great job squishing a brain weasel last week, and I wanted to share the story (with permission). It’s particularly important because my mother is the self-appointed “worrier” of the family.
I visited my parents last week – it’s a long enough drive that it pretty much requires an overnight, and it’s not a regular thing. As I was leaving, my mom gave me a bag with birthday and Christmas presents in it “so I could open them on the day”.
And then she spent the next day and a half worrying that by giving me those gifts she’d inadvertently told me that I was not welcome back until after Christmas.
That thought never crossed my mind. I took it as it was intended. I don’t visit that often, Christmas is close, better to take advantage of me being there so that no shipping need occur to make sure I got what she wanted to give me before Christmas. If I visited again before then, no big deal, if not, it was handled.
But her brain weasel kept bothering her. And bothering her. And bothering her.
So she did the right thing. She called me, and said what her worry was, and what she’d intended. And I could quickly and honestly say that her weasel was just a weasel, to go ahead and smash it. And then to say that I was really happy and proud of her for smushing that weasel!
I’m really happy she gave me permission to share her story with all of you, for three reasons.
First, I’m happy and proud of her. She’s been a lifelong “worrier” to the point of it hurting her health, and seeing her make improvements like this fill me with a deep happiness.
Second, as a reminder that brain weasels are not limited to romantic relationships – but can be just as destructive, no matter where they pop up.
And finally, because it took her a while to get to smushing that weasel.
You should know that I stressed out about it most of the day before I called. And that I started to text but decided actually speaking with you would be better. Still a work in progress.– My mom
If you just read about brain weasels, or just talk to people who have practice in dealing with them, it can seem like it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy – but it isn’t. Not at all. It’s a skill that takes practice, yes, but even with practice squishing brain weasels can be hard.
So in your practice of smashing brain weasels, be patient with yourself. You’re making progress. You’re getting better. You can do the thing.
And the voice whispering otherwise… why, that’s a voice leading you to another brain weasel to hunt.