“The child showing me scary scenes wanted me to hold her hand.”

Many of you were interested in my conversation last week with Vicky, who wrote: “When I’m Focusing, a part of me shows me horrifying scenes that have never happened to me.” I suggested that the message might be that what did happen felt like the horrifying scenes, even though they didn’t literally happen. There was another part of her that didn’t want to watch the scenes. I suggested she be with both.

Vicky wrote me again, and I found the next steps of her process very interesting:

Dear Ann,
This week I made the mistake of seeing the movie “Take Shelter” which has lots of unspecified dread in it. The images are of violent storms with tornados. It’s almost like the child who wants to show me scary images manifested this movie since I had promised the other child I wouldn’t invite any of those horrifying images in! I put it all aside until I had a Focusing session with a companion.

The child showing me the scary scenes wanted someone to run with her, and I saw a woman doing that but there was no place to hide or be safe. Then the child and woman and the characters from the movie turned and faced the storm. They were certainly going to die. They all held hands (which wasn’t in the movie) and were aware of their love for each other. They felt calm, vulnerable, brave and united by their love as they waited for death. It had a “heart broken open” feel to it — shaky and tender. Very different from the terror after other scary scenes. The child who doesn’t want to see frightening images watched this scene while holding hands with me. She was scared but OK because it didn’t end in terror.  I’m so grateful for my Focusing partners! I would not have explored this alone. — Vicky

Dear Vicky,
Wow, so interesting! It’s starting to sound like it’s not just about “What it felt like” but more about something wanting to know she will be safe if extreme things happen. — Ann

Dear Ann,
That does feel right! Extreme things did happen in my childhood, and she was not safe. She doesn’t want to be exposed to any of these scary things she shows me and certainly wants to know she would be safe if any of them happened. At least safe inside myself no matter what happened outside. Not only am I grateful for my companions, I so appreciate YOU and Focusing for giving me ways to be with the terrified inner children — and all the other parts — who have a huge effect on my life.  Thank you soooo much, Ann!

Dear Vicky,
It makes so much sense that something in you — it sounds like actually both inner kids in you — want to know that you can be safe even if scary things happen. I love the creativity of your process, to show you what needed to happen and let it play out. Almost like a dream that had a different ending this time. Thanks so much for sharing too.

How Focusing moves forward in steps

This dialogue with Vicky and her process is a great illustration of something important: the way Focusing moves forward in steps.

You can get an understanding and a realization that feels really right and true. It brings relief, and a basis for going forward. And then the next week, another realization feels more right. Now, this new realization brings relief and a sense of moving forward. Does that mean the earlier one was wrong?

No, because the earlier realization was the step that needed to happen at that time. Focusing moves forward in steps, each one feeling right and preparing us for what comes next. Without the earlier one, we couldn’t have gotten the later one.

So the moral is: be with what comes for you now, notice and welcome the feelings of relief and opening…and keep on being open to what is going to come next.

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One Comment

  1. after countless out patient therapy sessions; focusing on drama and practicing exclusion ; witin five mins of focusing with a teacher (karen caddy Hood ) she had me balling like a baby .Ive found home and Ive found me
    thank you Michael

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