"It took me 45 years to see what happened when my father put me down. Last month, when I visited him, he made a joke of my being an attorney: 'Here comes the shyster lawyer!' I suddenly felt confused, helpless, and angry as though I were 5 years old again. I hung my head and went numb. It was a horrible feeling that I've had hundreds of times growing up. And I still have it when Dad does that! ..."
The beginning of breaking free of a shame-bound emotion or age regression is by becoming aware of it first, as Peter did. When it occurs, you recognize it. And when you recognize it, take several slow, deep breaths. This may help relieve confusion, numbness, and dysfunction. Then pull your self right back into your True Self.
As you function in your True Self, you get up, observe reality, walk around, and even "leave" the person who is mistreating you. Peter did it this way by saying,
"I'm setting limits with my father now when he does that. I'm saying to him, 'I don't like it when you joke about my career like that, and I won't visit you anymore if you keep doing that.' "
Even if Peter doesn't really "leave," he gains comfort by grasping his car key, a symbol of his ability to get away this time.