BREAK THE CYCLE, Lesson 1
- sfhelp.org

Parts-work Strategies, concluded (page 4 of 4)

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  POOR IMPULSE CONTROL

      Use this parts-work strategy if you feel you can't control some impulsive behaviors.

      An "impulsive behavior" occurs when you react physically and/or vocally to someone or something "without thinking" - e.g. swearing, screaming, name-calling, self-injury, teeth-clenching, slapping, punching, pushing, throwing or breaking things, etc. This is similar to compulsive behavior, like "uncontrollable" hand-washing, nail biting, knuckle-cracking, etc.

      Premise - "poor impulse control" is caused by one or several personality subselves who are activated by some trigger and instantly activate and take over the true Self. This is a reflexive reaction to the trigger, and cannot be controlled by "logic," "reasoning," or "willpower."

Strategy goals - identify the subselves who cause the problem impulses, and use patient inner dialogs to get them to trust your true Self. retrain them and stop their impulsive reactions

      Option - use the following outline as a checklist to keep you on track.

__  Vividly imagine how your life could be if you normalize your sexual attitudes and behaviors, Use your image to motivate you to persist with this parts-work strategy.

__  Read this whole strategy first, to get the big picture. Watch for your Procrastinator, Skeptic, and/or Saboteur trying to block or delay your using this strategy. Ask them to trust this process and observe as your Self carries out these steps.

__  Patiently work to free your true Self to guide you, and _ review the parts-work overview on p. 1. Is your Self guiding you now? If not - who is?

__  Adopt a long-range, patient point of view, rather than expecting quick changes. Helpful mottos: "A day at a time"  and "Progress, not perfection."

__  Ground yourself - search the Web for info on "impulse control" and compare what you find with what follows.

__  Raise your self-awareness: read this, and learn to practice this simple exercise.

__  Assess yourself for inherited psychological wounds. These wounds cause "inner pain" - a fluctuating mix of anxiety and fear, loneliness, emptiness, confusion, sadness, regret, guilt, shame, frustration, and despair

__  Draft your roster of personality subselves and group them as Inner Kids, Guardians, and Managers.

__  _ Define specifically what you want to change about your impulses. Then _ identify what subselves and/or people may resist your changing

__  Use these strategies for taming anger attacks and compulsions as models.

__  If you haven't met with your Nurturer (Good Parent) subself, before, establish contact with it now. Clarify what this Manager subself exists to do. If you don't have a Nurturer, watch for chances to reassign another Guardian subself to this vital inner-family role.

__  If your target impulse is yelling, swearing, name-calling, etc, suspect  overwhelmed, hurt, selfish, frustrated, and/or angry Inner Children are causing your reactive behavior. Try working patiently with each of them using these ideas.

__  If your target impulse is something else, call an inner council meeting. Ask all your subselves to help identify which one/s are causing the impulse. _ If you don't get a clear answer, _ look at your list of subselves and use your intuition to guesstimate which subselves are causing your behavior.

__  Befriend each likely subself and confirm whether it is causing the impulsive behavior or not. If one is, learn _ why ("What would happen of you stopped?"), and _ if s/he's living in the past. _ As appropriate, retrain each subself, bring it into the present, and work patiently to get it to trust your true Self and to stop the impulsive behavior.

__  If steps like these don't work over time, consider using EMDR therapy.

__  Review the goals of this strategy (above) and the steps comprising it. Use this strategy as a flexible framework, not a rigid "cookbook," Use your Creative subself to edit these steps and add others ones that occur to you.

__  Consider _ using a veteran parts-work (IFS) therapist to help with this strategy, and/or _ starting or  joining a group of people interested in benefiting from parts work

      Stay aware that the overarching goal of parts work is to harmonize your inner family and free your true Self to guide you in all situations.

This strategy was very helpful  somewhat helpful  not helpful    

  PROMISCUITY and  OVER-SEXUALIZING

      Use this parts-work strategy if you can't control your sexual urges, thoughts, or behaviors 

      Sexual impulses, fantasies, and responses are primal among young and adult humans. A normal challenge to child caregivers is to teach kids how to control their sexual impulses and behaviors.

      "Sexual dysfunction" can broadly refer to people who are unable to control their sexual thoughts and behaviors - i.e. sexual abuse and addiction, promiscuity, compulsive physical masturbation and mental excitement via pornography, prostitution, sexual identity confusion, and over-emphasizing sexuality in social interactions

      Sexual functioning is a complex mental + emotional + physiological + spiritual + environmental subject. This parts-work strategy is confined to  relieving two specific kinds of "sexual problems" - promiscuity and "over-sexualizing" relationships. 

      Here, promiscuity means compulsively seeking sexual excitement and interaction with one or more partners in a way that significantly interferes with wholistically-healthy relationships and life. It may or may not include physical intercourse. "Over-sexualizing" means compulsive, inappropriate  use of sexual language, innuendos, metaphors, humor, symbols, and gestures. 

      This parts-work strategy assumes that typical non-biological sexual problems are caused by a traumatic early childhood (e.g. some form of sexual abuse + a dysfunctional family) + unawareness + a disabled true Self)

Strategy goals - permanently end promiscuous and over-sexualized behavior via increased self-awareness and patient parts work

      Option - use the following outline as a checklist to keep you on track.

__  Vividly imagine how your life could be if you normalize your sexual attitudes and behaviors, Use your image to motivate you to persist with this parts-work strategy.

__  Read this whole strategy first, to get the big picture. Watch for your Procrastinator, Skeptic, and/or Saboteur trying to block or delay your using this strategy. Ask them to trust this process and observe as your Self carries out these steps.

__  Patiently work to free your true Self to guide you, and _ review the parts-work overview on p. 1. Is your Self guiding you now? If not - who is?

__  Adopt a long-range, patient point of view, rather than expecting quick changes. Helpful mottos: "A day at a time"  and "Progress, not perfection."

__  Ground yourself - search the Web for info on "promiscuity" and "sexual obsession." Compare what you find with what follows.

__  Raise your self-awareness: read this, and learn to practice this simple exercise.

__  Assess yourself for inherited psychological wounds. These wounds cause "inner pain" - a fluctuating mix of anxiety and fear, loneliness, emptiness, confusion, sadness, regret, guilt, shame, frustration, and despair

__  Consider that your preoccupation with sex is a compulsion whose reliable payoffs are (a) an unconscious distraction from your inner pain, and (b) various emotional, social, and physical satisfactions. _ Apply this strategy on reducing compulsions and obsessions

__  Evaluate whether using chemicals like alcohol initiates or amplifies your sexual compulsion. To minimize the chance you're in denial, seek the opinion of someone who know1s you well and whom you trust to tell you the If appropriate, patiently implement this strategy on attaining sobriety from an addiction.

__  Meditate and identify the specific effects of your sexual compulsion on _ your self-esteem and _ your key relationships. Do they increase or decrease your inner pain in the long run?

__  Draft your roster of personality subselves and group them as Inner Kids, Guardians, and Managers.

__  _ Define specifically what you want to change about your sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Then _ identify what subselves and/or people may resist your changing

__  If you haven't met with your Nurturer (Good Parent) subself, before, establish contact with it now. Clarify what this Manager subself exists to do. If you don't have a Nurturer, watch for chances to reassign another Guardian subself to this vital inner-family role.

__  Review your roster to see if you have a Lusty or Sexual One who gives you sexual urges and fantasies.. If you haven't listed it, add it now. Often this normal subself is an Inner Teen.

Befriend this part. Learn _ how old s/he is (developmentally), _ what year s/he thinks it is, and _ whether s/he trusts your Self to make decisions.

_  Introduce your Sexual One to your Nurturer, and if appropriate, invite him or her to come live in the present with you (all).

__ See if you have a Flirt / Whore / Stud Guardian subself. If so, _ befriend it, _ learn what s/he's trying to do, _ whom s/he's protecting, and _ whether s/he trusts your Self to lead your inner family.

__  Check to see if your Perfectionist,   Inner Critic, People Pleaser, and/or your Shamed Child feels you have to be overly sexual "to be a real (wo)man."

__  If you often use sexual language, metaphors, and/or humor, seek to identify _ what subself causes that (e.g. a Rebel or Raunchy One), and _ why. Help this part understand that such behavior is offensive to many people, and ask it to change.

      Options - ask another Guardian part to monitor this "Raunchy" One and remind it to stop "talking dirty." If appropriate, use this parts-work strategy to help your subselves to gain empathy

__  As needed, _ retrain any of these subselves, _ bring them to live in the present, and _ learn what they need in order to trust your Self to make decisions about sexual and other behavior.

__  Perhaps with professional help, identify which young subselves are causing your inner pain. They usually include your Sad, Scared, Lonely, Abandoned, Needy, Overwhelmed, Guilty, Hopeless, and Shamed Kids.

__  Work with each Child patiently, and bring her or him to live permanently in the present under the loving care of your Nurturer and perhaps a Guardian Angel.

__  Call an internal council meeting, and tell everyone of the changes you're making - specially that your Kids are now well cared for in the present.

__  Review the specific changes you want to make in your sexual thoughts and behaviors. Then negotiate with your Sexual One and your Flirt / Whore / Stud Guardian to get them to agree to the changes and stop taking you (your Self) over.

__ Trust your intuition: be open to choosing different or additional Kids and Guardians than those above to achieve the changes you want..

__  Meditate on whether any living or dead family member/s, hero/ines, friends, or other key people are encouraging or openly or indirectly rewarding you for promiscuous and/or overly sexual behavior. If so, form and assert boundaries to limit or end this.

__  If you're committed to an intimate partner now, assess _ how satisfied you each are with your shared sensuality and sexuality. and _ whether that's influencing how you behave with other people. _ For perspective, read this article.

__  Explore whether any of the several types of 12-step support groups might be useful: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA); Sexaholics Anonymous (SA), or Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA). Option: _ Use the Web to locate therapists and programs specializing in sexual matters. Here's a sample. Few or none of these resources will include parts work in their programs or services.

__  Review the goals of this strategy (above) and the steps comprising it. Use this strategy as a flexible framework, not a rigid "cookbook," Use your Creative subself to edit these steps and add others ones that occur to you.

__  Consider _ using a veteran parts-work (IFS) therapist to help with this strategy, and/or _ starting or  joining a group of people interested in benefiting from parts work

      Stay aware that the overarching goal of parts work is to harmonize your inner family and free your true Self to guide you in all situations.

This strategy was very helpful  somewhat helpful  not helpful    

 

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

      Use this parts-work strategy if you believe you have - or have been diagnosed with - PTSD. Use this strategy whether you're getting professional help for it or not.

      A "trauma" is any event or process that significantly degrades your wholistic health and ability to function well, temporarily or permanently. Traumatic events can happen suddenly (like a car crash) or silently over some years (like parental neglect).

      The Mayo Clinic Web site states "PTSD symptoms may start within three months of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships.

      PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions "

      Most kids and adults experience common symptoms after a major shock - like anxieties, sleep disorders, avoidances, extra-sensitivity, irritability, and selective memory problems. If such symptoms persist or get worse over time, clinicians suspect PTSD. 

      Clinical professionals who use the (outdated) "medical model" of "mental health problems" view PTSD as a "disease." After 36 years' experience as a psychotherapist including 23 years' working with a wide range of non-military adult trauma survivors, I disagree. PTSD symptoms are caused by psychological injuries, not germs or organ malfunction

      I propose that many or most PTSD symptoms stem from a disabled true Self  and up to five other psychological injuries acquired in early childhood from significant parental neglect, abandonment, and abuse - i.e. trauma. These injuries manifest as one or more of these: excessive shame; guilt; fears; trust problems: reality distortions; and difficulty feeling, bonding, and empathizing. 

      Implication: if I'm right...

  • many or most diagnoses of "PTSD" are superficial or wrong,

  • many clinical "treatments" will be slow or ineffective, and..

  • the number of kids and adults carrying significant trauma wounds is far wider than generally accepted because birth-family dysfunction and early trauma is our global norm.

      My experience as a therapist suggests that skilled parts work (internal family systems therapy) can effectively reduce the psychological wounds that cause typical PTSD symptoms and many other nonorganic psychological "disorders."

Strategy goals - _ reduce specific PTSD symptoms by identifying the personality subselves causing them, working with these subselves to change and free your wise true Self to guide you in all situations; and _ learn key topics

      This outline has two parts: (1) a basic parts-work strategy for all PTSD symptoms, and (2) an example of the strategy applied to the symptom of "flashbacks."

  Basic PTSD Parts-work Strategy

__  Read this whole strategy first, to get the big picture. Watch for your Procrastinator, Skeptic, and/or Saboteur trying to block or delay your using this strategy. Ask them to trust the process, relax, and observe as your Self carries out these steps.

__  _ Patiently work to free your true Self to guide you, and _ review the parts-work overview on p. 1. Is your Self guiding you now? If not - who is?

__  Adopt a long-range, patient point of view, rather than expecting quick changes. Mottos: "A day at a time"  and "Progress, not perfection."

__  Say your definition of "trauma" out loud. Then meditate and identify one or more traumas you've experienced, and group them as minor to major, Include any major losses and early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse that occurred over some years. Note that "PTSD" symptoms may come from one catastrophic event or a series of lower-impact events.

__  Accept that "treating PTSD" is really healing a group of related problems, each of which has it's own symptoms and parts-work strategy. Expect any materials and treatment programs you use to heal PTSD to ignore parts-work as an effective therapy, This is so because it's relatively unknown to mental-health professionals.

__  Ground yourself: _search the Web for info on "PTSD" and compare what you find with this strategy. Then _ study the first three parts of online lesson 1 at http://sfhelp.org/gwc/guide1.htm

__  Test your knowledge. Take this free quiz on personalities and psychological wounds.

__  Increase your awareness: scan the Selfleadership.org non-profit Web site for parts-work (IFS) resources.

__  Assess yourself for inherited psychological wounds, Then _ study this overview of healing your wounds.

__  List the specific psychological and physical symptoms that you feel come from "PTSD." There are over 20 symptoms commonly associated with this condition, and each person has a unique mix of several of them.

__  See if any of your symptoms are included in this index of parts-work strategies. If any are included, patiently invest some weeks in implementing the parts-work strategy summarized here, and see what you learn,

      If you have PTSD symptoms that aren't included in this strategy index, here's an example of what to do with each such symptom:

  Parts-work Strategy for the PTSD Symptom of Flashbacks

      A "flashback" is a vivid re-living of a traumatic event which feels just like original trauma did. Flashbacks can create major panic, disorientation, nausea, physical stress or pain, and overwhelm. PTSD sufferers may experience repeated flashbacks which continue to retraumatize them and prolong other symptoms. Flashbacks can occur during the day or at night, as "nightmares."

      Here's a way to use parts work to stop recurring nightmares and flashbacks, Option - use the following outline as a checklist to keep you on track.

 __  Learn more: search the Web on "flashbacks" and scan several results. Here's a sample from Wikipedia.

__  List your personality subselves, and group them as Inner Children, Guardians, and Managers.

__  Objectively define the trauma that you feel is causing your flashbacks and other symptoms - e.g. "My cousin raped me," "I nearly drowned when ____," "I saw my Father kill my Mother," or "I thought the storm / flood / fire / earthquake / crash was going to kill us all," etc

__  When your parts feel safe enough, write a detailed description of the flashback, including sights, sounds, smells, and thoughts, and feelings. Write it in the first person, present tense: "I feel / see / smell / fear / expect / realize / need / etc.

      Alternatively, audio or video record a detailed description of the trauma. Be compassionately alert for subselves who want to block or distract you from this initial healing step.

__  If you haven't met with your Nurturer (Good Parent) subself, before, establish contact with it now. Clarify what this Manager subself exists to do. If you don't have a Nurturer, watch for chances to reassign another Guardian subself to this vital inner-family role.

__  Learn what - specifically - frightens your Scared Child. Gently ask what s/he remembers about the trauma. If s/he doesn't remember "anything," suspect that a Blocker or Represser  Guardian is protecting her or him..

__  Patiently implement this parts-work strategy to reduce major fears. (calm and nurture your Scared Child.

__  Patiently work with each other Inner Child who may have been impacted by the trauma - e.g. your Overwhelmed, Lost, Abandoned, Hurt, Sad, Angry, Guilty, and Shamed young subselves. Seek to learn gently if  and how the trauma affected each one. As you do, stay alert to learn which Guardian subselves may be protecting each Child from trauma-related (or other) pain.

      Option - stay alert for potential benefits of redoing some aspect of the trauma with any subself - specially your Inner Kids.

__  Befriend your Historian / Memory-keeper subself. Ask if s/he is giving you the flashbacks and/or nightmares. If so, ask why, and what triggers that? Explain that doing so greatly upsets your Inner Kids, and that you need her or him to stop the flashbacks and stop disabling your Self. If the Historian isn't causing your flashbacks, ask if s/he knows which subself is doing so.

      Option - call an inner-council meeting, and ask who is causing your flashbacks and nightmares. If a part is named, befriend it and learn why it's doing that. Ask what this subself feels would happen if s/he stopped re-traumatizing your inner family and disabling your Self.

__  Consider _ using a veteran parts-work (IFS) therapist to help tailor and implement this strategy. In shopping for one, ask "What experience have you had in reducing or ending flashbacks?" Option - _ consider starting or  joining a group of people interested in benefiting from parts work

Note - some people are able to end flashbacks with EMDR therapy and/or clinical hypnosis. Learn more on the Web. It's unlikely that either process will end psychological wounds and false-self domination.

+ + +

      This is a sample parts-work strategy for reducing or ending one of many symptoms of "PTSD" - recurring flashbacks. Use a similar strategy to reduce each other symptom you have. Using parts work to free your true Self to guide you should reduce all symptoms over time. Opinion - most nonorganic psychological problems are symptoms of [wounds + unawareness} inherited from GWC ancestors.

This strategy was very helpful  somewhat helpful  not helpful    

USUALLY PUTTING OTHERS' NEEDS FIRST

      Use this parts-work strategy if  you habitually seek others' approval by putting their needs ahead of yours.

      Many survivors of early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse develop the unconscious habit of "being nice" and deferring to other people to avoid conflict, dislike, and rejection. This results in self-distrust, frustration, and superficial or abusive relationships. Habitually putting other able-adults' needs first is self neglect and self-abandonment, which unconsciously replicates your childhood.

      This self-neglect reflex is usually caused by People-pleaser and Worrier Guardian subselves who distrust your true Self's ability to protect your Abandoned, Scared, Lonely, and Shamed Inner Children.  Awareness, parts work, and education can change this stressor to ranking your needs and opinions as highly as anyone else's except in emergencies

Strategy goals:  get your Guardian subselves to trust your Self to protect your Inner Kids, and to stop taking your Self over, Then learn to assert your needs and opinions with anyone without anxiety and guilt.

      Restated: the goal here is convert compulsive self-abandonment to self-care over time. The overall goal is to free your true Self to guide you.

      Option - use the following outline as a checklist to keep you on track.

__  Think of someone you admire for being self-confident and assertive in all situations. Then vividly imagine how your life will be when you gain the same calm confidence and ability, Periodically refer to this image to power your work on this parts-work strategy.

__  Read this whole strategy first, to get the big picture. Watch for your Procrastinator, Skeptic, and/or Saboteur trying to block or delay your using these steps. Ask each of them to trust this process, relax, and observe as your Self carries out these steps.

__  Adopt a long-range, patient point of view, rather than expecting quick changes. Mottos: "A day at a time"  and "Progress, not perfection."

__  Assess yourself for inherited psychological wounds, Then _ study this overview of healing your wounds.

__  Complete your roster of personality subselves and group them as Inner Kids, Guardians, and Managers.

__  Review the parts-work overview on p. 1. Is your Self guiding you now? If not - who is?

__  Implement this parts-work strategy for converting excessive shame  into non-egotistical self-love and self-respect. The focus of this strategy is befriending and nurturing your Shamed Inner Child/ren and retraining their several Guardians so they stop taking your Self over.

__  Implement this strategy for converting excessive fears of conflict, rejection, and abandonment into steady self confidence. Tailor the strategy to nurturing and protecting your Abandoned and Scared Inner Children and gaining the trust of their Guardian subselves. Introduce these Kids to your other subselves, and reassure them they will never be abandoned and alone again!

__  See if you've included a ''People pleaser,'' / "Nice Guy," / "Nice Gal" or similar in your roster of Guardian subselves. If not, add him or her to your list. S/He is the one who tries so hard to get others to like you.

__  See if you have a Worrier, Skeptic/Pessimist, and a Catastrophizer among your Guardians. Each of these well-meaning subselves will try to persuade you to not become respectful assertive. ("Too dangerous!" / "It won't work!" / "You can't do it!" / "People will get mad!" etc.)

__  Draft a Personal Bill of Rights like this example. It's the foundation of effective assertion skill. As you do this, be alert for subselves that try to block or distract your Self,

__  Commit to improving your communication skills - specially assertion, empathic listening, and problem solving. Practice these with various people and subselves, and notice the benefits.

__  Review and experiment with these options for increasing self confidence and self love over time.  

__  Call an inner council meeting of your subselves and _ teach them your rights as a unique, worthy, dignified person. Declare that your rights are just as important as any other person's, regardless of their age, gender, title, color, genes, or belief. _ Then teach them the communication skills you're learning.

__  One at a time, befriend your People pleaser, Catastrophizer, Worrier, and Skeptic. Learn which Inner Kids each of these Guardians is protecting, and work with each young one as needed to bring it to the present and join your other subselves.

      Reassure each of these Guardians that the Child(ren) s/he is protecting is now safe and cared for in the present. That means s/he (the Guardian) can consider retraining for a valuable new inner-family role of your choice.

      Invite each of these four Guardians to now act as a valued advisor to your Self, and stop taking it over (blending). If s/he balks, see this.

__  Be alert for any subself who believes outdated rules like "It's not safe to speak up." or "I'm not supposed to (assert myself)." Invite any such part to adopt new rules like "I have the right to declare my needs and opinions," and "I'm learning how to safely assert myself with anyone."

__  Review the goals of this strategy (above) and the steps comprising it. Use this strategy as a flexible framework, not a rigid "cookbook." Use your Creative subself to edit these steps and add others that occur to you.

__  Consider _ using a veteran parts-work (IFS) therapist to help with this strategy, and/or _ starting or  joining a group of people interested in benefiting from parts work.

      Stay aware that the overarching goal of parts work is to harmonize your inner family and free your true Self to guide you in all situations.

REALITY DISTORTION

      Use this parts-work strategy if you catastrophize, deny, idealize, project, minimize, exaggerate, or otherwise distort reality (e.g. with illusions, delusions, hallucinations, paranoias, mis-remembering, neuroses, and psychoses) "too much." Reality distortion is one of six psychological wounds frequently inherited from wounded, unaware ancestors.

      Personality subselves can cause us to perceive things that don't exist ("I know you were flirting!"), and to not perceive things that really do exist ("I was not traumatized as a young child!"). Some such distortions are psychological (non-organic), and others are influenced by genetic and/or neurochemical malfunctions.

      The mental dynamic called reframing demonstrates the human ability to interpret perceptions of "reality" in opposite ways  This amazing perceptual flexibility has left humans arguing "What is reality?" for millennia.

      Significant reality distortion promotes self-doubts, confusion, anxiety, and interpersonal conflicts. It is often caused by caused by protective personality subself called "the Magician" to shield Inner Kids from stress.

Strategy goals - discover which subselves cause reality distortions and why, and get them to stop disabling your clear-seeing true Self.

      There are many forms of reality distortion, each with unique symptoms. The strategy below illustrates how parts work can be used with any form of this psychological wound.

__  Note this paradox: many people unconsciously using denial to avoid inner pain deny they're doing so "I'm not denying anything!" So the first step here is to accept that you are denying something.

      You may feel you don't need this strategy until events force you to admit you've been distorting reality in some way - i.e. you may have to hit true bottom before recognizing major denials.

__  Read this overview of the psychological wound of reality distortion. Then _ identify what types of distortion you want to reduce or end.

Sample Parts-work Strategy: Reduce Denial

      Option - use the following outline as a checklist to keep you on track.

__  Read this whole strategy first, to get the big picture. Watch for your Procrastinator, Skeptic, and/or Saboteur trying to block or delay your using this strategy. Ask them to trust this process, relax, and observe as your Self carries out these steps.

__  Patiently work to free your true Self to guide you, and _ review the parts-work overview on p. 1. Is your Self guiding you now? If not - who is?

__  Adopt a long-range, patient point of view, rather than expecting quick changes. Mottos: "A day at a time"  and "Progress, not perfection."

__  For perspective, search the Web on "psychological denial" and scan several of the resources you find. Here's a sample.

__  Assess yourself for inherited psychological wounds, Then _ study this overview of healing your wounds.

__  Complete your roster of subselves and group them as Inner Kids, Guardians, and Managers.

__  If you haven't met with your Nurturer (Good Parent) subself, before, establish contact with it now. Clarify what this Manager subself exists to do. If you don't have a Nurturer, watch for chances to reassign another Guardian subself to this vital inner-family role.

__  See if you've included a Guardian subself in your roster who's called "the Magician," "Witch," "Illusionist," "Wizard," or similar. If not, add it now. The role of this common personality part is to protect one or more Inner Kids from major pain like fear, sadness, horror, frustration, loneliness, emptiness, guilt, overwhelm, shame, and/or despair. Your subself does this by distorting reality.

__  Befriend your Magician and ask _ what year s/he thinks is it is, _ what s/he's trying to do, and _ why (who is s/he protecting?). If your Magician is living in the past, _ invite her or him to come live permanently in the present.

__  Patiently work with each Inner Child that the Magician could be protecting - specially your Abandoned, Hurt, Sad, Lost, Needy, Overwhelmed, Guilty, and Shamed Kids. Bring them safely into the present under the care of your tireless Nurturer and perhaps a Guardian Angel (Manager subself). m

__  When your Kids are all safe, work to convince your Magician that s/he no longer needs to distort reality by denying. Persuade him or her to trust your Self and stop taking you over.

__  Recall that there are several ways to distort reality: idealizing, exaggerating, catastrophizing, projecting, minimizing, hallucinating, neuroses, psychoses, and paranoia. Each of these is probably caused by a protective Guardian subself like the Magician. If you have one or more of these distractions from inner pain, adapt the strategy above to reduce or end it. 

__  Review the goals of this strategy (above) and the steps comprising it. Use this strategy as a flexible framework, not a rigid "cookbook." Use your Creative subself to edit these steps and add others ones that occur to you.

__  Consider _ using a veteran parts-work (IFS) therapist to help with this strategy, and/or _ starting or  joining a group of people interested in benefiting from parts work

      Stay aware that the overarching goal of parts work is to harmonize your inner family and free your true Self to guide you in all situations.

This strategy was very helpful  somewhat helpful  not helpful    

UNRELIABILITY

      Use this parts-work strategy if you have trouble "keeping your word" - i.e. you make promises to yourself and/or others that you don't keep.

      Many Grown Wounded Children (GWCs) have this stressful trait. It promotes distrust, scorn, irritation, frustration, blame, conflict, guilt, shame, and self doubt.

      Unreliability usually comes from several different personality subselves who distrust and disable your true Self: your People Pleaser (who hates saying "No"); your Peacemaker, who hates conflict; your Saboteur; your Procrastinator; perhaps an  "Irresponsible One" (I don't want to grow up!") or a "Hippy" ("I just want to live free!"); Lazy, Selfish, and/or Rebellious Inner Kids; and your Magician and/or Victim, who justify being unreliable ("I just can't help it!").

      You probably have some, not all, of these subselves contributing to your problem. Stay aware that each Guardian subself is trying to help you in it's own (often misguided) way.

      A second component of this "unreliability problem" is unawareness: not knowing how to identify and assert your personal rights, needs, limits, and boundaries. A possible third component is some important (wounded) people in your life who demand that you put their needs and values before your own, and cannot tolerate you saying "No."

      Option - use the following outline as a checklist to keep you on track.

Strategy goals -

  • Identify which subselves are causing your unreliability, befriend and retrain them, and persuade each of them to trust your Self and stop disabling him or her; and...

  • Learn to be (a) respectfully assertive with others, and (b) protective of your integrity (your "word").

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__  Vividly imagine how your life could be if you become more responsible, Refer to your image periodically to keep your motivation to progress on this parts-work strategy.

__  Accept that _ you are a normal Grown Wounded Child (GWC), who _ "breaks promises" to yourself and/or other people (including kids) "too often." Acknowledge that you are wounded, not "bad," "irresponsible," "self-centered," "thoughtless," "uncaring," "immature," or other self-critical labels. 

__  Read this whole strategy first, to get the big picture. Watch for your Procrastinator, Skeptic, and/or Saboteur trying to block or delay your using this strategy. Work with them to trust this process and observe as your Self carries out these steps.

__  Patiently work to free your true Self to guide you, and _ review the parts-work overview on p. 1. Is your Self guiding you now? If not - who is?

__  Adopt a long-range, patient point of view, rather than expecting quick changes. Helpful mottos: "A day at a time"  and "Progress, not perfection."

__  List your current top five life priorities. Is "honor my integrity" among them? If you're unclear on what integrity means, read this and come back here.

__  Meditate on these ideas about respect, Do you respect yourself (your Self) often enough? Breaking promises usually lowers self respect (increases shame).

__  List your personality subselves, and group them as Inner Children, Guardians, and Managers.

__  Use your roster to make an intuitive guess about which subselves are causing your "promise-breaking" behavior - e.g. those above.

__  List the responsibilities _ to yourself and _ to other people that you're having trouble fulfilling. Responsibilities to yourself ("self discipline") can include balancing things like healthy eating, sleeping, exercising, healing psychological wounds. truth-telling, focusing, learning, spiritual growth, parenting, and socializing.

__  If you have trouble procrastinating ("putting things off"), work at this strategy,

__  See if you have a People-pleaser, Peacemaker, Hippy/Gypsy ("I just want to be free!), and/or an Irresponsible One.  If so, _ befriend each one, and learn _ her/his specialty (role), and _ which Inner Kid/s s/he's protecting.

__  One at a time, work patiently with each Inner Child that may promote irresponsibility - e.g. your Abandoned, Scared, Playful, Bored, Selfish, Loner, and Independent Kids

__  As you do this, work with your Pleaser and Peacemaker to accept that the Inner Kids they're protecting are safe and well cared for, That means they can relax and trust your Self, Wise One, and Nurturer to manage displeasing other people. _ Option - teach your subselves that it's OK to invite other able people solve their own problems ("help by not helping"), so you don't have to feel responsible for them as well as yourself.

__  Teach your Irresponsible One to see the value of meeting commitments (protect your self respect and your Guilty and Shamed Inner kids). _ Option - ask your Adult (Manager subself) to monitor and coach the Irresponsible One toward changing.

__  Call an inner council meeting, and teach all your subselves _ your rights as a dignified individual, and how to _ identify your primary needs, and _ assert  your needs, opinions, and boundaries effectively.

      In other words, teach your inner team how to say "No" firmly, instead of agreeing to a commitment or responsibility they don't want or can't fulfill. Also teach everyone how to problem-solve among themselves and with other people. This will minimize internal and social conflicts about accepting and fulfilling responsibilities. Invest time in studying Lesson 2.

__  Be alert for a chance to reassign a subself to a new "Promise Keeper" role. S/He would be responsible for reminding your Self, Achiever, and Adult subselves of promises and responsibilities and for monitoring their status (done > not done).

__  If you have a Hippy/Gypsy subself, consult with your Future Self and Wise One to evaluate the long-term pros and cons of avoiding most adult responsibilities. Also discuss the long-term value of identifying and pursuing your life's purpose. Work patiently to convince this subself to let your (responsible) true Self lead your inner family.  

__  Review the goals of this strategy (above) and the steps comprising it. Use this strategy as a flexible framework, not a rigid "cookbook." Use your Creative subself to edit these steps and add others ones that occur to you.

__  Consider _ using a veteran parts-work (IFS) therapist to help with this strategy, and/or _ starting or  joining a group of people interested in benefiting from parts work

      Stay aware that the overarching goal of parts work is to harmonize your inner family and free your true Self to guide you in all situations.

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