Focusing Tip #812 – “I’m still engaging in self-sabotage”
What if understanding that your parts are protecting you hasn’t helped you change? Read on…
A Reader writes:
I have been doing IFS for about 2 months and I feel like I have a very good understanding of my parts and how they are working to protect me from trauma I have experienced, particularly around food, weight and appearance. However I still have not experienced a shift.
I am still engaging in self sabotage and still feel horrible about myself and hopeless. I keep thinking ‘when will the penny drop?’ and when will I be able to act according to my deepest self and not be controlled by these parts that sabotage me?
Your story is a very good example of the fact that simply understanding your parts is usually not enough to bring change.
Yes, it is great to understand that your parts are trying to protect you from trauma! That lets you be compassionate to them, and not critical. But that alone (I agree) usually doesn’t bring a shift in behavior, and in how life itself feels.
The essence of change is in inner relationship. When you cultivate your experience of Self-in-Presence, you are on the way to a new relationship with your feelings and your parts. In this new relationship, it is you who take action, not your parts.
It starts with this simple language: “I am sensing something in me _____.”
Try saying: “I am sensing something in me is engaging in self-sabotage and something in me feels horrible and hopeless about that.” The purpose of a sentence like that is to allow you to feel separate from those two parts of you.
My friend “Joanne” did this with a part of her that was hijacking her into eating late at night. She found she needed to say, “I am sensing something in me really wants to eat—and I am saying a gentle hello to that.” As she was present compassionately with that part of her, it started to soften and trust her to be able to handle the feelings she couldn’t handle before—and the desperate behavior lessened and stopped.
I have an on-demand video course called The Urge to Indulge that might be supportive to anyone struggling with these issues.