Stage 3 | Refusing the Call

Following a Call to Adventure, you may find the events that have just occurred difficult to comprehend. Refusing the Call may seem like the only way to go.

A SEPARATION from all or some key aspects of your old life has commenced.  Sadness and fear have set in.  For Calls to Adventure that are Intentional or Serendipitous, heroes are motivated and keen to move forward. Any problems arising are viewed as simply part of making the necessary changes.  

For Unwanted Calls to Adventure however it’s often a completely different feeling. Usually there  is no motivation.  An unwanted call is onerous.  It creates havoc.  We struggle to understand what has happened.  At the Refusal stage, for those of us with an unwanted Call, we are preoccuppied with one thought, ‘This can’t be happening!’.  Denial kicks in.  

refusing the call
No… I can’t do this…

Denial – Refusing the Call

Denial sounds like a bad thing but for most of us it’s a necessary part of processing change. Denial is our brains needing more time to wrap our understanding around the events that have just occurred. Somehow the reality of the events following the Call to Advent are difficult to comprehend. They do not yet seem fully real. Yet in time, most of us will grapple with this new foreign situation we find ourselves in. We will come to understand it more fully and what may be required to begin to resolve the problems that now face us. Read more here.

Sometimes however, some of us will get stuck at Refusing the call. It’s as far as our journey will go. We will refuse to believe reality. We will refuse to think about engaging in change. We will tell ourselves we can’t do it, it’s not our fault and we shouldn’t have to change!

Some of us may even try to turn the clock backwards.  The relationship we thought was forever can’t be over! The job we thought was secure or the health that we took for granted, can’t be gone forever! We just need to keep trying, keep persevering. We just need to keep denying reality!

It’s only natural to feel daunted by the events of the Unwanted Call, but it is courting disaster to get stuck and continue refusing the call.

A dazed hero may go to great lengths to reverse the events of the Call.  
Heroes will have to learn the hard way.  
There is no going back.

Blaming others – Refusing the Call

One of the most common ways of Refusing the Call is blame. We want to blame others for the chaos in our lives.  We want to blame others for what they did to us. We want to blame someone or something for the injustice, the unfairness, the trauma they have caused. And sometimes this may be true. Others may have wronged us.  They may be responsible for upending our lives. Events may have knocked us down.  Yet in the end, however, none of this matters.  

Reluctant heroes have yet to realise that it does not matter what has happened to you, no matter how unjust, unfair or traumatic.  This new situation you find yourself in is your problem to resolve.

Read more about the psychology of blame here.

Worksheet: Stage 3 Refusing the Call

  1. Have there been times in your life when you thought ‘This can’t be happening!’  Did you fall into denial?
  2. Who do you blame for the current state of affairs?  Is blaming someone else making the situation better or worse? What part did you play in the lead up to these events?
  3. What coping strategies did you use?  Blame? Distraction?  Carried on as before?  Numbed your feelings with alcohol, drugs?
  4. What were you really frightened of?  That you did behave badly?  That you might share some of the responsibility?  That you might be rejected? Or that you simply can’t see yourself doing what is required?

Want to see more? Stage 4