In this section we will be featuring a number of personal examples, which clients, associates and colleagues have constructed as part of their own journey into the labyrinth of subpersonalities. The reason we decided to feature these was to offer what we believe to be helpful illustrations of how this task can be undertaken.
The examples include individual conversations with particular subpersonalities, usually the primary ones, encouraging those subpersonalities to become virtue facing. There are also examples where, in the creation of a peace treaty, all the main subpersonalities are addressed, as part of the rallying cry to create a community of the self that is harmonious, content and fixated on well-being.
We hope you find these examples inspiring and beneficial. Please do not treat them as something you need to follow; what we hope is they will trigger your own creative intelligence to come up with something that’s right for you.
This is the first part of a conversation where the individual is making his way towards a peace treaty, and is trying to persuade the controller to form an alliance… Part 2 to follow…
It seems so strange that we are only just now talking when you have been such a huge part of my life for so long. It’s only recently that I have realised how intimately we are connected and how hard and tirelessly you have been working to keep me safe. I think it’s time I got to know you properly, I can sense you are exhausted, and I want to make your life easier for you if I can.
Firstly, what I would love to know is who are you?
I am the part of you that never rests. I love and care for you so much and I will die trying to keep you safe.
Why do you believe I am constantly in danger?
The fact that you asked me that question shows me how much you need me. You don’t get it, do you? There is danger everywhere. This world is hostile and unpredictable and you are soft and unprepared. You are not made for this world and your naivete and innocence leave you open to so much pain and hurt. You are so sensitive and trusting. You do not have what it takes to survive, and you need me to protect you.
How do you do that?
I keep you still, I keep you quiet and small. The smaller you are, the less you are noticed. The less you do, the less you fail. I set off that feeling of fear that you are experiencing right now so that you don’t make mistakes.
I make you think, once, twice, three times before you act.
I keep your anger at bay as I know just how destructive anger can be.
I stop you making a fool of yourself because I know how vulnerable you are.
I help you to anticipate the danger that is everywhere and this stops you from putting yourself in harm’s way.
I lower your expectations of yourself and everybody else so that you can never be hurt, betrayed or disappointed again.
I have been by your side for most of your life, watching over you as you experienced sadness, hurt, pain and fear, and I have done everything I can to make sure you don’t go through any of this more than once.
I have been the responsible adult in your life, stepping in to give you direction and protection when I realised that you were not going to get this from anybody else.
I help you to manipulate the world, to watch and learn, and to realise who you need to be in any given moment to keep people close and obligated. I help you to change shape and form so that you can fit in and feel safe.
I am always trying to prevent you from making mistakes because I know how bad you feel when you get things wrong.
I do all of this in the best way I know how, by making your world smaller and smaller, by limiting the amount of unpredictable situations you put yourself in, by helping you fade into the background so you don’t attract any attention, and this all works. You are still alive, and this is down to me.
Because even when all this is failing, and I can sense that control is in danger of being lost, I shut you down. I shut you down to a place where I know nothing and nobody can reach you and hurt you in the ways you have been hurt before.
Honestly, I feel overwhelmed by all you have said – in a good way but also in an uncomfortable way.
In a good way, because I am absolutely awestruck by the sheer power of your love for me and the efforts you go to, to keep me safe. I just never knew, and I am so grateful for you. I have no doubt that what you do for me comes from a place of the deepest love and the very best intention.
In an uncomfortable way, because your determination feels ruthless and absolute and that scares me. There is a rigidity in how you see the world and how you operate, that actually makes me feel powerless and suffocated.
What I would really like to know is, what is it that you want for me and from me? What are your hopes, your dreams? When will you be content that your job is done?
The one and only thing I want is to keep you safe, and that relates to every aspect of your life, physical, mental and emotional. I want to keep you alive and out of pain. I want to protect you from the world, from sadness, betrayal, hurt embarrassment, humiliation, failure, despair, criticism, evil, anything that could make you feel bad.
And my job will never be done. I will keep you alive for as long as I possibly can, and whilst you are alive I will protect you from all pain with every ounce of strength that I have. Yes, I am ruthless, and for that I make no apology. I fill in the gaps for you, and in your lack of ruthlessness, I will always be needed.
So are you saying that if I were to be more ruthless, to harden up and become more self-serving, that you would be able to take a step back?
In theory, yes, that would make sense. But in reality, I just cannot see this, and I do not believe that however much you change, you will ever do a better job than I do in keeping you safe. As far as I am concerned, you need me, always have, and always will.
This rallying cry is the final segment of a peace treaty, where the individual is mapping out a future for her community of the self. Having worked on creating a peace treaty over 2-3 months, she then ended up with both a mission statement, which she reads, as well as an audio recording, which she listens to in order to integrate those disparate parts into a beautiful whole.
A Call to Action…
So, Dearest Catherine, with your mix of authentic self and acquired self, (made up of the controller, inner critic, rescuer, child, procrastinator, saboteur)… let’s have a party to celebrate the incredible contribution that you’ve all made to getting me to this point. I couldn’t have made it without you all and I now realise that even though you lost your way, you’ve never knowingly harmed me.
At this moment in our story, Catherine, let us gracefully and joyously, with deep gratitude, act as a more authentic whole… but not without thanking all those in the party for keeping faith, and juggling all the misinformation and misinterpretations… laughing and crying together in the richness of such confusion… and knowing that at this point in time, this moment, there is only one loving choice and that’s to enter the moment, be in this moment, in order to create a better moment…
I/we, team Catherine, now choose from a more resourceful array of strategies… choosing to be part of a collaborative team of the authentic self, which always had the potential to be virtue facing… and always will…
For the rest of my life, I choose to love and to believe in my virtue facing authentic self
… I choose to be clear thinking, optimistic, solution focused
… choose to be accepting, patient, forgiving
… I choose to be willing to learn, find the jewel of experience, to be compassionate
… I choose to be perceptive, wise, appreciative
… I choose to be resourceful, creative, empowering
… I choose to act with humility, courage and curiosity
… I choose to find a respectful balance between self reliance and being part of the community
… I choose to care for my well-being through Attention, Affection Affirmation
… I choose to be a good, empathetic listener (to self & to others)
… I choose to recognise the brilliance of silence & the 3 gatekeepers, Truth, Kindness, Benevolence
… choose to practice the art of breathing and tuning into higher vibrations
Dearest subpersonalities, my expression of gratitude comes with a deep profound wish and sense of respect that with faith, humility, stamina, courage, gratitude, joy & laughter, my wise authentic self, will venture calmly and confidently to create the order and collaboration to thrive and remain centred.
Every moment is an adventure into the unknown and I choose love & my authentic self vision.
Here’s a lovely example of someone’s journey through the maze of their subpersonalities, which led to them creating a peace treaty. The peace treaty is the whole point of this journey of self-examination. This person then recorded this powerful conversation she set up between the different characters, which she listens to regularly, and has helped to develop a bond within her inner community.
I have gathered you all here today because without you I would never have made it in fact – ALL of you are the reason that I have got this far in my life and I will be forever grateful for that. However, in getting me here there are now some things that have become entrenched to the way that I am, the way that I act and the way that I behave that really NOW are impediments to me going forward.
Although you have been just what has been needed to keep my busy life on track and for that I am grateful, it is no longer necessary to be so fixed, controlling and unaccommodating with others. If you could learn to be more flexible and patient, understanding things from others’ perspective, compassionate and accepting of their ways, you could release your happier true self.
Dear Inner Critic,
You are hard on yourself because you are concerned about what others think about you, fear failure and you can see problems where others don’t. Thanks for trying to push me make the most of my talents and find success in life but it’s time to be kinder to myself and to have the courage to face the fear of failure, content with my best efforts and find solutions rather than seeing problems.
You also need to work with the Inner Critic and be more optimistic about solving problems and not give up through fear of failure. Please be compassionate to yourself and others – I know that you have intervened in an attempt to avoid catastrophe but it’s time for a more positive and optimistic outlook to release the best in me.
I know that you think that you are supporting me in my quest for others to think highly of me and to judge me favourably – thank you – we have done well through life’s challenges but this is not always helpful and can be destructive at times. Please learn to accept that your best is good enough, let go of the obsession with perfection and learn to be obsessed with a healthier way of living and thinking based on confidence, wisdom and optimism.
I understand that you want to get things done and try to make things happen that you really believe are central to your survival but the reality is that you are becoming exhausted. You need to learn to take control, plan your time and structure it so that life is more manageable and you are more measured. Please learn to be kinder to yourself and learn self respect – say no when over -stretched and put in place boundaries. You don’t need to overtrade to be validated or valued by others – have more confidence that you are already enough without driving yourself relentlessly.
You are great fun and at times keep me sane with your perspective on life and playful sense of humour. However, your childlike ways and innocence are not helpful in every situation and should not be used to mask a lack of confidence. On such occasions you need to learn to be self -assured and courageous – find the strength and resources to maintain composure and project in an appropriate, confident and measured way.
I understand that you want to help me fit in which is a good thing and it helps others to feel comfortable too but the inconsistency has become confusing and at times the real me is lost. You must learn to have the courage of your convictions and be more self assured. Be brave enough to be yourself and comfortable in your own skin – you know that it is the honest thing to do and you are ultimately a person of integrity.
Dear People Pleaser,
In many ways you are like the chameleon and you have been working together to ensure that I fit in. In doing so you have not always been kind or shown self-respect and at times this has been frustrating and resulted in me begrudging others. You need to have more confidence in yourself and structure your life and make plans to ensure that your own needs are met and not compromised by the needs of others. Only then will you start to behave with consistency, honestly and be happy and true to your self.
Thank you all for coming together as part of this community of self and recognising the need to work together to create a greater authentic self – we now agree to move forwards;
With Flexibility and patience, contentment and courage, being positive and solution -focussed, kinder to the self and compassionate with others.
Stop being obsessed with perfection and learn to have more faith in the self and be more confident and optimistic, recognise your true value and develop boundaries dictated by self respect.
Being more structured, measured and planning time carefully resulting in more composure. Have the courage to be your true self at all times and in all situations and behave kindly and consistently with others without compromising your values and beliefs.