top of page

Stress Energy Alignment-Part 2

Updated: Jan 20

Part 2 of a 3-Part Series

Though I may not know you – yet! – I’m going to confidently predict that you’re facing some level of stress in your life right now. Like death and taxes, stress is unavoidable.

What’s unique to each of us is what triggers our stress and then how we individually react to it. What stresses out one person may not stress you out and vice-versa.

By understanding our individual stress triggers, as well as what gives – and depletes – our energy, we gain not only powerful insights, but also the power to overcome things that keep us “stuck.” Being stuck in stress and low energy is frustrating, exhausting, and unproductive. In this post, we’ll look at two forms of unhealthy stress – Resignation and Resistance – and how they keep us stuck. I know because I’ve experienced both. More than once. And I have a feeling I’m not alone…

The Stress & Energy Spectrum

In the first post of this three-part series, I introduced the Stress & Energy Spectrum.

Here’s how it works…

We all have the day-to-day stresses of responsibilities, obligations, and commitments that we manage the best we can. Things like: work, bills, family routine, appointments, kids’ activities, maintaining the car, house, etc.

Then “life happens.” Things like:

  1. Returning from vacation to find your sump pump quit working the day before, during a huge rainstorm (true story)

  2. Your computer crashes and you lose not only what you were working on, but everything else

  3. Your car/dishwasher/washing machine/dryer/furnace/etc. quits working… and it’s not going to be a quick fix

  4. Your dog runs away

  5. A broken bone, getting the flu/pneumonia

Any/all of the above could increase our stress levels temporarily. We continue to use the tools we have to try and manage this new stress on top of the day-to-day stress. This may result in decreased energy levels.

Now add to the list above the “gut punches” life tosses our way. Things like:

  1. A miscarriage

  2. Death of a loved one

  3. A chronic or terminal illness (and being a caregiver)

  4. Job loss or job change that wasn’t your choice

  5. Betrayal in, or the end of, a relationship

These “gut punchers” tend to bring with them a “fog” that makes it hard to see much beyond the pain of your current situation. You feel heavy, you lose energy. You struggle to complete even the routine tasks. It’s normal.

Time, and the right tools, helps lift the fog and get you back moving in the right direction. The right tools help you manage your stress, increase your energy, and keep you within the Range of Acceptability (which we’ll talk more about in Part 3 of this series.)

It’s when you don’t have the tools or perspective you need that you may find yourself in the unhealthy ends of the spectrum.

This post focuses on the unhealthy ends of the spectrum – Resignation and Resistance – and how these impact our stress and energy levels.

Let’s start with Resignation.


Many people, when they hear the word “victim,” think of those affected by abuse or crime. People can also be victims of their thoughts and beliefs. This is called victim consciousness.

“Victim consciousness” is choosing to believe the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that are working against us and not serving us well. These thoughts, beliefs, and emotions may be stopping us from taking action needed to move us forward.

Each of has a little victim consciousness in us.

Thoughts like:

  1. Things like this always happen to me

  2. I can’t do anything right

  3. Nothing’s ever going to change/get better

  4. I can’t

  5. It’s all my fault

  6. I’m all alone

  7. I am powerless

  8. I have no control

Mine tends to look like:

  1. Of course I’m late for work – the traffic was horrible! (I’m powerless)

  2. If only I was a better parent (I can’t do anything right)

  3. The car/furnace/dishwasher/lawn mover all need fixed (Why do these things always happen to me??)

  4. The sweet treat is calling my name… I’d better respond (I have minimal control; I’d better just give in)

These are examples of how my victim consciousness tends to show itself when I’m stressed. I can still maintain healthy stress and energy levels by taking right action to move forward.

Resignation takes it to the next level. It’s when our victim consciousness has taken over and we either don’t recognize it, or we are choosing to stay stuck. In Resignation, we consistently accept our victim-consciousness beliefs and emotions as truth. We experience learned helplessness.

If you read my “About the Author” post, you get a feel for when I crossed over into Resignation, which led to destructive patterns and burnout. Yuck. What I have since come to realize is that it was a self-imposed prison for which I already held the key. I just needed to take action to walk out when I was ready.

One of the tools in now have in my toolkit is that I consciously recognize when I am having victim-conscious thoughts. I also understand that these thoughts or beliefs are working against me. I know I have the power to make the right choice, or I can still choose what’s unhealthy. If I do choose what’s unhealthy, I also know there will be consequences so I want to be willing to accept those, too.


Next we’ll look at the Resistance side of the Stress & Energy Spectrum.

Just like each of us has a level of victim-consciousness in us, we also have a natural tendency to resist change, especially when it happens TO us. Unexpected change increases our stress, which could cause us to resist more.

Resistance has a more aggressive vibe, taking forms such as someone who:

  1. Knows the right thing to do, but doesn’t do it

  2. Responds to developmental feedback with defensiveness (“How dare you suggest that be true about me”) or dismissiveness (“That’s not going to happen”) versus curiosity and a mindset of growth

  3. Focuses on “winning” (their point) vs. finding common ground (and sees this behavior as necessary for their “survival”)

  4. Blames others for why they can’t succeed

  5. Is unable to see perspectives other than theirs, and also actively recruits others to their side (“You see why I’m right, right?)

  6. Acts on stories or sound bytes (“Here’s what I heard”) instead of facts (“Here’s what I really know”)

Each of us could react with resistance to stress, and we can still maintain an acceptable range of stress and energy.

You’ll know you’ve crossed over into the unhealthy Resistance level when:

  1. You become a human bulldozer – pushing others’ ideas, arguments, etc. out of the way in an aggressive way with the intent to dominate or “win”

  2. Anger is your dominant “go to” feeling, being triggered more frequently and escalating faster than before

  3. You actively instigate conversations about why others are wrong/bad/disrespectful/keeping you from succeeding, etc. and your anger increases the more conversations you have

  4. Fewer and fewer people want to work with/be around you, which increases your anger

  5. You feel alone while trying to “survive” day to day, having to do everything yourself

For those stuck in Resistance, they can feel like they have high energy. However, this category is a low-energy category because the energy is toxic energy. High energy comes from a person being more fully aligned to their purpose, so it’s a different kind of energy. If you’ve ever been stuck in this category, you know how draining it can be.

One of the tools in now have in my toolkit is that I consciously recognize when I feel my anger surfacing. It’s typically triggered when I feel disrespected, not heard, or if I wasn’t able to influence someone. (Everyone has different triggers, those are mine.) Since I can’t control others’ responses to me, I focus on what I can control, which is my response. I also choose not to give others the power to determine my happiness.

Part 3 – The Range of Acceptability

This post was mainly about the two unhealthy levels of the energy spectrum: Resignation and Resistance. They are tough places to get stuck, but there is always a way out.

Watch for the final post in this series, where we’ll explore the Range of Acceptability. This is where you are still triggered by life events that come your way, but are able to maintain healthy stress energy levels.

Additional Resources

Several resources went into both this blog and my personal journey so I’m motivated to share them with you now!

Related to Resistance:

Related to Resignation:

Spoiler alert: information, though important, isn’t enough.

It takes accountability and encouragement to apply information to your day-to-day life, which can be messy (and imperfect). But it’s worth it.

Schedule a free, 30-minute consultation to determine the right amount of support for you.


bottom of page