BlogUntangling® Musings

Untangling Musings: How to tell if you need more Self-in-Presence

By in Blog, Untangling® Musings

How to tell if you need to cultivate Self-in-Presence — right now!

In the midst of life it can be hard to tell if you’re lost your Self-in-Presence and have gotten “Parts-y” instead. Once you recognize that a Part has taken over, there are some things you can do to cultivate more Self-in-Presence (see below). But recognizing that isn’t always easy.

That’s why we were delighted when our student, Lauren Taub Cohen, shared in a recent workshop how she recognizes when she’s acting and speaking from a Part instead of from Self-in-Presence. When the quality of the energy she’s embodying feels compulsive, urgent, and/or triggered, she recognizes she’s become Parts-y. She calls this “C.U.T.” to help her remember.


C.U.T. = Compulsive, Urgent, Triggered

C: When your energy feels compulsive, there’s a desperate quality of “I’ve got to.” It’s a bit like being obsessed, a dog with a bone, unwilling or unable to set it down, whatever it is.

U: When your energy feels urgent, there’s an anxious, driven quality, like something is pushing you from behind. The thought is: “Right now! I have to do it right now!”

T: When your energy feels triggered, it can feel like you’re simultaneously stuck and scrambling, panicky and helpless. It can feel as if you’re tumbling into becoming a younger you, where fighting, fleeing, freezing or fawning takes over. Your heart may be thumping out of your chest, heat rushing to your face, your hands cold, a haze of dizziness descending. We’re sure you know what it feels like to you when things get stirred up.


How to cultivate more Self-in-Presence when you recognize you need it

As soon as you recognize a Part has taken over — Pause.

Just pause.

Take a breath — take two. Feel how your body is being supported. Be gentle with yourself. There’s nothing shameful about getting Parts-y. (Everybody gets Parts-y.)

If you’re in the middle of an interaction, see if you can take a break. (The bathroom can be your best friend in these moments.) Even five minutes can give you the time to acknowledge what’s happening and re-establish Self-in-Presence.

One of the most effective ways we know of for unmerging from a Part is through using this language: “I am sensing something in me that’s feeling ____________.”

If you have a bit more time you can go on to begin to have a relationship with this Part of you by acknowledging this is how it’s feeling right now. You might say “Hello” to it. If you’re feeling something uncomfortable in your body, you might let a gentle hand go there.

Take a few minutes (or more) to listen to what’s got this Part of you rattled enough to try to take you over or hijack you. If you can sense it’s worried about something, you might invite it to let you know a little more about what’s worrying it. Or it might be upset or angry about something and feel it has no way to express that except blurting it out. Or it might feel so terrified that it’s trying to shut you down.

Whatever it is feeling, you can be empathically curious about how it needs you to be with it and what it is that it needs to have known. Of course, when (or if) it lets you know something about what’s distressing it, you let it know you hear it.


Self-in-Presence is never very far away

Once you recognize that you’ve become Parts-y, you’ve already made a big step back to Self-in-Presence. Even acknowledging that being Self-in-Presence is hard right now is a very Self-in-Presence thing to do!



If you have any questions about Untangling, please feel free to reach out!

Just click here to send us an email with your Untangling thoughts and questions. We would love to hear from you!


Ann and Barbara

Ann and Barbara


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