Focusing Tip #784 – Feeling paralyzed by painful regrets

Focusing Tip #784 – Feeling paralyzed by painful regrets
February 9, 2022 Ann Weiser Cornell
“This thought paralyzes me and makes me depressed.”

Focusing Tip #784 – Feeling paralyzed by painful regrets

Do you ever have the thought that you should have done better? Read on…


Min writes:

I often have the thought, “I should have done it better and then this wouldn’t be happening to me.” It is a devastating thought to me.

It paralyzes me and makes me depressed. I tried Focusing with this but the pain is so strong that I can’t even say hello to it. Or if I do manage to say hello, I am at a loss for the next step.

Dear Min:

What you describe is one of the reasons that Barbara McGavin and I added awareness of parts to Inner Relationship Focusing. Focusing can get stuck if more than one part is present but we don’t realize it. Clearly, there is more than one part in your situation.

Something in you says, “I should have done it better and then this wouldn’t be happening to me.” Something in you reacts with pain and paralysis. Those are two different parts… and neither one is the whole you.

You can acknowledge both of those parts by saying, “I’m sensing something in me says I should have done it better, and I am sensing another something in me feels paralyzed and in pain when it hears that.”

When you separate the parts that way, it’s easier to be the space for both of them to be as they are. It’s easier for you to get to know each of them better.

The one that is in pain probably needs a lot of compassion and empathy. Let it know you sense how much it hurts. Invite it to let you know what kind of company it would like from you right now. It probably needs gentle contact and company more than anything else.

The one that says, “I should have done it better and then this wouldn’t be happening to me” is probably also in emotional pain of some kind. Maybe it feels it has fallen down on its job. You’ll be able to listen to how it feels, and let it know you hear it.

When you can be in relationship to these inner parts, rather than identifying with them as “you,” the pain won’t be too much to bear. And being present for the feelings that are there is exactly what needs to happen, for healing to occur.

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