10 responses to “What’s the opposite of holding space? Emotional colonization.”

  1. Vicki

    Such deep resonance. I look forward to exploring this further.

  2. Darin

    A thoughtful answer to a great question! Thank you!

  3. ac

    Beautiful brilliant article,I am guilty of many of the behaviors. Underneath them all there is an assumption that ” I am Right,Superior and Always know what is best for the other” . Perfect attitudes and held identities for colonization. Great article to see what identities are still lurking under the surface. The container is full no room for holding love/space.

  4. Veronique

    I’ve just found you and your blog as your Holding Space article virals around again :-). I have spent many years exploring the answer to your question “How do we free ourselves from emotional colonization?”

    I have internalized the capacity to be an emotional colonizer through the process of multigenerational learning and keep being humbled at how challenging it is to change the internal dialogue that has become so subtle.

    My latest insight has to do with the little bit of space that is emerging from the work I’ve done – the space that occurs after an incident that feels shaming / blaming / or that evokes self-doubt and other painful feelings. The space in which I now have an opportunity to choose. And the choice I am encountering has to do with choosing whether to be reactive with my feelings of hurt – anger, anxiety, fear, irritability, self-doubt etc – or to consider the option of “not going there.”

    The couple times I’ve managed to Not Go There have been beautiful. They have given me the space to be curious about the other person’s behaviors… their own reasons, patterns, fears and hurts.

    It’s feeling like a very helpful new place to start. Even as creating that space has taken much time and practice it is a gift to see something growing from the process.

    Thank you your stories. Your care. And for sharing your learnings.

  5. Robyn

    Thanks for writing this article. I have a question. As a child of abusive and emotionally neglectful parenting, the “tone police” was a favorite strategy of my parents in managing me, and of course, I catch myself doing it with my own children. However, I find if I don’t intervene in some way when the sibling screaming begins, a combustion of verbal assault results with no resolution. Are you suggesting that sending my kids to cool off for a period in their rooms before we talk to attempt a resolution is a form of being a “tone police”?

  6. Ahia


  7. Carmen

    Add a SHARE button! This is so important!

  8. Lorena

    I just found your blog as I’m subscribed to the abundant Mama newsletter.
    It is certainly brilliant. Thank you so much, it has been an eye opener!!!

  9. What is the Opposite of Holding Space — A Guest Post by Heather Plett - Gracefall

    […] Wikipedia describes colonization as “an ongoing process by which a central system of power dominates the surrounding land and its components (people).” Colonization involves overpowering, dominating, and taking away the autonomy and sovereignty of other people. Normally we think of colonization… (for more click here) […]

  10. When you're afraid you'll say the wrong thing - Heather Plett

    […] think I’m trying to fix them? What if they think I’m insensitive? What if I’m guilty of emotional colonization?” Some of these people admitted that they sometimes avoid showing up for people in grief or […]

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