I hope that you managed to go through the "Christmas preparations period" safe and sound and I hope you enjoyed yourselves with love and joy surrounding you.
Recently I attended a training for Chair Work* based on Robert Elliot's approach. By having the chance to do some practice on chair work, it became obvious to me that usually one of the voices inside us is the critical one, the one that has all the "should" for us and the other one is the needy one. The one that needs love, that needs to have fun, that needs attention, that needs strength.
Once these voices start a dialogue through chair work, it comes as no surprise that the critical voice is always trying to protect the self from a perceived threat.
So, if the perceived threat it to get fat, the voice may be like: "You should not eat this chocolate you are already fat enough".
If the perceived threat it to fail to an exam, the critical voice may sound like: "Your father and your tutors will be very disappointed if you fail".
If the perceived threat is to be criticized by others, the critical voice could sound like: "Oh there you go again, making a fool of yourself! Well done! You should have known better than that".
So it comes as no surprise that two things are happening when this voice goes on and on:
1. May the purpose is to be protective, but it does not sound supportive at all.
2. If the needy part is the vulnerable/weak part, by all these judgments of the critical part, it is reasonable, that it would be more vulnerable, therefore more needy or even ignorant.
Your inner critical voice takes away all your confidence which you end up seeking it from your external environment, no matter what, because this is your prioritized need. And this is a vicious circle.
Yes, it does sound like a civil war, this fight inside.
Two parts of the self with different energies, but with exactly the same need. To be heard.In other words, to be acknowledged for their good intentions so that they can find space for negotiations and cause less distress. By listening to them as well, you may find something very very peculiar, you may find that your critical voice reminds you so much a voice from your environment..Oh yes, the voice of your mother -for example- fully internalized inside you, giving you a hard time for trying to be you.
Once the external voices are internalized, it does not matter if the person is around you anymore or not, because their voice habituates inside you now. It has a space and is there at every single decision you want to make! You may try then to disowned the voice as it is not a genuine one, but until then you can always pay attention to it.
Therefore, I would hugely encourage you to find time for yourselves in situations like these where the inner fight is stressing you out, to invite both voices for a dance, let them be...let them create their dancing dialogue and then once you have fully heard their arguments, you can possibly be more clear as for "where to go next".
I hope you all find this dance helpful either it ends up to be a tango or salsa or even rock and roll!
I wish you to experience 2014 as a rewarding and full of learning year, with lots of love for you and support for your personal growth.
*The two chair work, which I am talking here about very briefly is the work between two parts-voices of the self in conflict, using two actual chairs in the therapy room, asking the client to talk on behalf of each part's perspective.