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Posted by Philip on 21 May 2017, 1:36 pm in , , , ,

Grappling with myself

Nearly two months after getting my new car, I'm still deeply uncomfortable about driving it. Partly this is because of the things that have gone wrong since I've had it — being unable to get out of it and, as recently as last Monday, not being able to get in.

However, I also feel nervous driving it. It's very different than my Mazda, which I've had for around 10 years. From memory I felt much more confident driving it when I first got it, but maybe I've just forgotten. 

I'm also driving the new car from my wheelchair, which is very different. The hand controls are very different and the way the Yeti handles is very different.

Not to mention I am generally a lot more anxious these days.

So I have two voices in my head with which I am grappling. One says, "Go easy on yourself. Give yourself time to get used to it. Drive short distances and you'll feel more and more comfortable over time. There's no rush. You still have the Mazda for longer trips."

The other voice isn't as gentle. It says, "For god's sake, toughen up! The more you drive it the quicker you'll get used to it."

If you're familiar with Transactional Analysis (TA), you'll recognise the voices as the ego states of nurturing and critical Parent.

According to Eric Berne, who developed the concept and paradigm of TA in the late 1950s, learning to strengthen the Adult state, which is directed towards an objective appraisal of reality, is a goal of TA.

So, what would my Adult, objective appraisal of this situation be?

  • It's a new car and a new way of driving that I'm not used to. I haven't had to get used to a new car for nearly ten years and, according to this Quora article, adapting to change may be a struggle for six months or more.
  • I've had bad experiences with the car, which have been a little traumatic (enter the adaptive Child).
  • I'm not a child, I'm an adult, so I can deal with this, but my adaptive Child state needs the attention and reassurance of the nurturing Parent.
  • I've had new cars before and I've gotten used to them — I'll get used to this one too.
  • It's only been two months, in fact not even that — if I take into account that just last Monday I couldn't get into it and needed the handcontrols repositioned, it's actually only been six days!
  • I was really looking to the freedom of the new car and never considered any difficulties. I'm disappointed (the adaptive Child strikes again).
  • I'm giving myself a hard time.
  • I have slight buyer's remorse.
  • Apart from the above, as a friend has so wisely just said to me, if there are aspects of the new car that simply won't work, I need to identify them soon so I can consider returning it within a reasonable timeframe.
  • It's ok to be kind to myself.

Uncertainty and change such as this is uncomfortable, particularly when the stakes are high — there's safety, money, being able to function in my work and other considerations. I'm not sure what to do right now except to keep grappling with the trust that things will work out ok.

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