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Focusing Tip #708 – One part feels like me, and the other part is furious at it

What if you need to make a hard choice and a part of you is angry at the way you approach it? Read on…

Nancy writes:

Your Tip last week on warring parts brought up another question for me. How do I dis-identify from warring parts when one part feels more like me?

Recently I had a chance to try out for a job in a way that (because of lockdown) was quite scary and onerous. I will have to work hard to prepare, doing things I’m not sure I’m good at, and there’s a big chance of being exposed and rejected. One part of me says no, I’m not doing that. Another part of me is furious that I would hesitate at all given this opportunity, and is angry at me for not being good at the thing I am supposed to do. The fight really gets going when Part 1 feels self-pity that I’m being “put upon” by these requirements, and Part 2 is calling me an ingrate!

I am identified with the first part, feeling doomed from the start and not wanting to do it. But now that I’m writing this, I’m realizing I’m also identified with the critic…

Dear Nancy:

My heart is with you in this tough situation. I’m reminded of something Gene Gendlin once said to me about decisions: “When a decision is hard to make, that’s a sign that neither choice is right.”

There is not a clear way forward in your situation. And really, in an ideal world, you should not have to expose yourself and fear humiliation just in order to try out for a job! There is something simply wrong about the whole thing. No wonder your parts are at war!

Hard times increase these impossible choices. People are having to choose between putting loved ones at risk vs. having a job at all. And so on.

So first of all I invite you to be gentle with yourself.

Just as with people, panicky parts start blasting with anger and harsh language. It’s a sign of how scared they are and how helpless they feel.

Start by stepping in between them (they shouldn’t have to talk to each other) and saying to each one, “I really hear how scared you are.”

It helps to separate “making the decision” from “listening to the parts.” You will make the decision later, using your best wisdom and weighing all factors.

Using the language of “I am sensing something in me ____ AND I am sensing something in me ________,” you can cultivate your ability to be bigger than both.

Remember, the more angry and critical a part of you appears, the more panicked it really is underneath! And we can have compassion for that.



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