This was one of the funnier things that happened when I was preparing to launch my business. As I mentioned, I’d set up a friendly brunch with members of my headcast where all my business-launch-related monsters could come and express their concerns over a nice cup of tea and a bite to eat. This guy was the second monster to show up.
(A large gorilla enters, wearing a hat in the shape of an ice-cream with two Flakes sticking out of it like bunny ears.)
Gorilla: I like this brunch idea. I was going to come in screaming and thumping my chest, but this is just… disarming. Got any bananas?
Big Sister: Plenty. (passes some) What’s the problem?
Gorilla: I’m worried that Eve is too flakey.
(Mr. H absolutely chokes with laughter.)
Big Sister: (fighting giggles) Yeah?
Too Flakey: Yeah, I don’t doubt that she’s got the talent, or that she can get customers, but I really do doubt she can be responsible enough to keep them.
Big Sister: Do you agree that this is a divine calling for her? And that she’s got all this divine and spiritual support around her?
Too Flakey: Well, yeah, I can see that. I mean, they’re sitting right there. And I get that there’s a chance she can succeed, or they wouldn’t be calling her to do this. But there’s also a massive chance she’ll fail. She can barely cope with basic self-care or holding down a menial job! And she really wants this, so if it turns out she can’t do it she’ll be heartbroken!
Big Sister: So you’re trying to protect her from that by stopping her doing it at all?
Too Flakey: Oh. Now you mention it, that doesn’t really sound logical. (pause) I can at least delay her starting?
Big Sister: That’ll just mean she goes longer without money and make it harder for her.
Too Flakey: Crap, this is really happening, isn’t it? This is scary. I’m really scared for her.
Big Sister: Would you like ten reasons why now is not then?
Too Flakey: No, I get that now is not then. She’s got all this support, and new skills, and she’s a lot more mature. It’s just that she’s never succeeded at running her own business before, so there’s no hard evidence that she can. I’d just be a lot happier if I could be certain she was going to succeed. And I can’t be certain, can I?
Big Sister: No, not completely. And I know that’s hard. It might help to remember that she doesn’t want a life completely free from risk. This is a risk she wants to take. And you can make it more likely that she’ll succeed.
Too Flakey: Really? How?
Big Sister: You can reassure her that she’s not too flakey.
Too Flakey: Oh. Oh no, I’m one of those monsters? I’m causing the thing I’m trying to protect her from? I hadn’t realised. I thought I was helping.
(With total dramatic seriousness, he pulls the two flakes off his hat, crosses to my chair, kneels, and offers them to me like a warrior offering his weapons to a conqueror.)
Too Flakey: Here. Take them both. My new name is No Flake, because you – are no flake!
Me: (taking them) Really?
Too Flakey: Yeah! You’re just an HSP who needs downtime! And you’re learning to take that downtime before it takes you! And you’re a great person for this job because of the wounded healer archetype! And really, you’re the opposite of a flake because you care so much!
Me: (tearing up) Thank you!! (hugs him)
I know, right? Awwwwwwwwwww!
The thing about being ‘one of those monsters’ is significant. An awful lot of monsters turn out to be causing the problem they’re trying to protect you from. Or to put it another way, a lot of monsters are trying to protect you from the very problem they’re causing.
For instance, a monster who terrifies you out of getting close to anyone may well be trying to protect you from being unloved. And a monster who distracts you when you try to achieve anything may be trying to protect you from failure.
It makes sense in monster logic. They really want this wonderful thing for you – love, success, whatever – and they can’t bear to see you suffer the pain of not having it. So they decide it’s a great idea to protect you from that pain by stopping you ever trying to get it.
The upside with these monsters is that once they realise they’re doing this, they’re usually very keen to change their behaviour and help you get that wonderful thing.