Focusing Tip #631 – “My parts don’t answer me.”

Focusing Tip #631 – “My parts don’t answer me.”
October 31, 2018 Ann Weiser Cornell
How do your parts let you know if they feel safe enough to have a conversation with you? Read on...

Focusing Tip #631 – “My parts don’t answer me…”

How do your parts let you know if they feel safe enough to have a conversation with you? Read on…

Rachel writes:

In Focusing, my parts will show themselves in detail. But every time I sense how they would like me to be with them, they just don’t answer. Could this possibly be because I’ve been trained to be so self-reliant my whole life? It is so very rare that I ever get that sigh of relief that I see my partners having.

Dear Rachel:

I don’t think it has to do with self-reliance. Even self-reliant people have relationships, right? And this is about relationship.

Imagine that you and I are going to spend some time together. We meet in a cafe, and you sit down… and then I sit down really far away from you, so the distance between us is really huge.

You’d want me to come closer, wouldn’t you? Not just so you could hear me, but there’s a discomfort in sitting so far apart. A feeling of strain.

Maybe you wouldn’t say anything. Maybe you would think, “It’s Ann’s choice where she sits.” But if I asked you, “How it is for you, where we are sitting?” – then you’d move closer or you’d invite me to do so. “Let’s sit closer.”

And we’d need to do that before we could have a comfortable conversation.

So I’m thinking, maybe the usual wording of the Focusing invitation doesn’t work for you. Let’s find some alternatives.

Usually we say to the part: “I am sensing how you want me to be with you.”

Or: “I am sensing what kind of contact or company you want from me right now.”

But we could also say: “I am sensing if you feel we have a comfortable distance for a conversation.”

Or: “I am sensing if you feel that the way I am with you allows you to feel safe enough to keep in contact with me.”

And remember… most parts felt in the body do not talk. So when people say, “It told me…” they are usually speaking metaphorically. They mean “it indicated to me.”

Think of a dog or a cat. A dog can “tell” you it wants to go for a walk… but not in words!


  1. MS 4 years ago

    v useful post – thanks both.
    helps me to think about asking more generally about conditions i need to create to have a conversation with some of my ‘parts’.

  2. Author
    Ann 4 years ago

    Hi Matthew – So glad you found it helpful! Thanks for commenting.

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