Focusing Tip #776 – “Even when I listen to them, my parts don’t change”

Focusing Tip #776 – “Even when I listen to them, my parts don’t change”
November 24, 2021 Ann Weiser Cornell
“My parts... are still with me, yelling and screaming, or just repeating their obsolete message.

Focusing Tip #776 – “Even when I listen to them, my parts don’t change”

Do you wish that your obsolete parts would travel to another planet and leave you alone? Read on…


Preston writes:

There are parts of me that cause me misery. I know that listening to their positive intentions for me is important. When I listen, they explain that they are just trying to help me. But it is clear that these parts and their messages belong to a bygone phase of my growth/existence. And yet they are still with me, yelling and screaming, or just repeating their obsolete message.

My question is this: What can I do to encourage/instruct these obsolete, non-growthful parts to go on to new existences somewhere else in the universe, outside my psyche?

Dear Preston:

Such an interesting question! I notice that it rests on an assumption that your parts could have an existence separate from you. That’s not an assumption that I share.

Your “parts” are aspects of you. Getting rid of them, however nicely, would mean losing some of your own hard-won skills, talents, and abilities. Sure, I know, right now those parts aren’t helpful, and they aren’t evolving. But the answer is not to exile them. Exiled parts simply continue to operate from exile!

Perhaps the answer to what you are looking for is found in the meaning of the word “listen.” You have been listening to the parts explain that they are trying to help you. OK. But don’t stop there!

There is further listening, deeper listening, what Barbara McGavin and I call Deep Empathy. Deep Empathy is listening for what a part deeply dreads and longs for… and it enables a part to get past its repetitive strategies. Really!

If a part is yelling and screaming, it’s pretty obvious that something is upsetting it. Let’s hear what that is.

For example, let’s take a part screaming that you’re not working hard enough. If you simply listen, it says, “You’re lazy! You’re a failure! You have to work harder!”

Not very transformational!

Now let’s try Deep Empathy. Pause, settle into your body, and say Hello to that part.

“Hello, I’d like to get to know you better.” And then sense for what it is worried will happen if you don’t work harder. If there’s no immediate answer, that’s good. You, and it, are both sensing into the question.

It might say, “I’m worried that if you don’t work harder, you’ll fall behind.”

OK, that’s a step. Let it know you hear it. Take that in.

Now ask: “I wonder what you are not wanting to happen to me if I fall behind.”

This is called the Not-Wanting/Wanting Process, and it goes down, like a staircase. It enables parts to feel you really understand them. And to feel that you are there. You are there. So they don’t have to be so upset.

They can calm down and become whatever they always wanted to become. And so can you.

 


 

Additional Resources:

What do you do when the different parts of you are talking to each other and getting nowhere? (Opens in a new browser tab)

Our foundational Inner Relationship Focusing program: Your Path to Lasting Change

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