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Focusing Tip #732 – “I am in despair about my despair.”

What if you have a part in despair and another part in despair about the despair? Read on…

Daphna writes:

Lately, this is happening: I am keeping company with a part that has an emotion and then there is another part that comes in and feels the same emotion about the first part. For example, I am with a part that is in despair. She is a young me, at the age of around 6 years old. Then I notice a part that feels despair about her despair.

I’m getting a sense that this interaction/dynamic of despair between those two creates again another despair… like a loop. It is like walking somewhere and finding yourself at the very same spot.

Dear Daphna:

So you are aware of two parts. The first has a feeling (despair) and the second has a feeling (despair) about the first part.

The second part seemingly has the same emotion as the first part.

But actually, they are rather different.

We don’t know for sure what the first part is feeling despair about. She is a “young you,” about 6 years old, so probably her despair is connected to something happening or missing in her life at that time.

This is what life felt like at that age… and this “younger you” is showing you how that was and is for her. Your role is to really get that. To hear it.

But what the second part is in despair about is something quite different. It’s very likely in despair about whether the first part will ever change.

This is a very interesting type of part called a “protector.” It thinks its job is to patrol the feelings of other parts, and try to manage or fix them. This kind of part often experiences despair, or frustration, or even anger, as its efforts to fix other parts meet with failure.

One despairing part can reverberate with another, each one feeling more and more despair in a kind of emotional feedback loop.


Unless YOU step in. You, Self-in-Presence. You, not feeling despair, stepping between them and saying to each one, “I hear you, I get how despairing you feel, because you so much wanted ________ and it isn’t happening.”

And then you add: “I’m here, I’m listening, do tell me more.”

When parts are alone with each other, they just magnify their “partsiness”. But when you are there as Self-in-Presence, finally something really new can happen. And that’s beautiful.

Other Helpful Tips

Focusing Tip #620: How to cultivate Self-in-Presence when you don’t feel like it (Opens in a new browser tab)

Focusing Tip #716 – Can our parts work things out with each other? (Opens in a new browser tab)


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