by Tanya Monteiro on 04/06/2016

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In January I started a course with Brene Brown called Courage Works. Although I’m finding the on-line studying to be a challenge I am learning a TON from the research that has gone into her work and her own challenges.

One of these lessons has been the idea of Chandeliering. I’ve only ever considered Chandeliers those, usually large pieces, that hang from ceilings. But, it turns out, this is a common term in the medical world used to describe the kind of pain that someone cannot hide, even if they are trying their best to be stoic.

We call it Chandelier pain – like it hurts so much to the touch that people jump as high as the chandelier.

Chandeliering is especially common and dangerous in “power-over” situations or environments where, because of power differentials, people with a higher position or status are less likely to be held accountable for flipping out or overreacting…Most of us have been on the receiving end of one of these outbursts. Even if we have the insight to know that our boss, friend, colleague, or partner blew up at us because something tender was triggered and it’s not actually about us, it still shatters trust and respect. (Rising Strong pages 61-62)

I’ve done this and I’ve had this done to me.

Attempting to ignore emotional pain is Chandeliering.

I thought I’d pack the emotional hurt so far down it could not possibly pop up again and then BAM, something innocuous happens or a comment is made and the next thing I know I’m in a rage, my body is on fire and I want to cry or I am crying.


We can’t pack down hurt or shame, nor can we off-load it onto someone else. Well, we can try, but if we want to stay true to our own authenticity and integrity, these shame attacks ignite a world of living on egg shells and as a result it creates huge cracks in our sense of safety and self-worth.

Finding the right words to express how I feel has been a life long learning for me. I’m beginning to think that the biggest lesson I have received from this course so far is the ability to put words to my feelings and as a result set those feeling free.

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