Monthly Archives: June 2022

Dragon shit

The dragon’s mother is pain.

It’s pain — a hurtful event or situation — that incubates and drops the dragon egg.

The pain may be acute (a single experience, like an assault) or chronic (like living in a dysfunctional family).

The egg’s shell is a misreading of what caused the pain.

It’s this fundamental misreading (usually along the lines of This is my fault) that hatches the baby dragon.

The baby dragon itself is a mistaken conclusion, a lie we believe.

And that lie grows into an adult dragon big enough (though often invisible) to dominate your emotional life.

It does this by chewing on you (this is your fault, this is your fault) and littering your life with dragon shit.

The most common forms of dragon shit are guilt, shame, embarrassment, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy.

So when you’re feeling shitty, look around for your dragon.


The difference between dragons and problems


The difference between

a dragon

and a problem

is as follows:


We are able to see

problems as problems

— things external,

things outside us,

things out in the world

that somehow hurt us.


But when we take



for a problem —

convince ourselves

This is my fault

then it becomes

a dragon.


Thus every dragon

is hatched from

a misunderstanding

of what’s hurting us.


And then, instead of

applying attention

and energy

and courage

to solving

the problem,

we invite the dragon

to chew on us.


And it does.


Often for a lifetime.


And the


distracts us

from ever


the problem.








I have a theory I’d like to share with you.

It’s about dragons.

Everyone has one.

Your dragon is the central problem of your life.

It creates most of the pain, fear and confusion you carry.

It also defines you, creates your identity.

You spend most of your time, energy and courage fighting this dragon.

Often without realizing it.

Often mistaking the dragon for some flaw in yourself.

But it’s not you.

It’s your dragon.

Everyone has one.


There is no shame in this.

In fact, recognizing your dragon is an important step toward awareness and healing.

Also a form of self-validation.

Instead of thinking of yourself as weak or inadequate or broken, you tell yourself,

This is difficult because this is my dragon.

Everyone has a dragon.

As a therapist, I know this to be true.

Dragons are what bring people into therapy.

Though they usually don’t recognize this at the time.

The first session with a new client usually introduces me to their dragon.

Sometimes it’s how they were parented.

Sometimes it’s the dysfunctional environment they survived as a child.

Sometimes it’s the aftereffects of some trauma or abuse.

Sometimes it’s an addiction.

Sometimes a chronic illness.

Sometimes a devastating relationship failure.

What all dragons have in common is that, initially, we can’t see them as dragons.

We can experience them only as flaws in our self.

There must be something wrong with me, we think, for me to feel this bad.


You feel bad because you’re being chewed on by a dragon.

And the proper response is not guilt or shame or self-blame.

That only makes you weaker.

The proper response is to pick up a sword and fight back.

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