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Author Topic: Exercises for self insight  (Read 9328 times)
Ziggiddy
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« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2015, 09:22:45 PM »

Kwamina that gave me the weirdest sensation in my chest/abdomen. As soon as I saw your phrasing I immediately had a picture spring up of my own high school - not like when I went there but with no one around in a late afternoon. So silent it was deafening. I felt a small leap of fear too. Definitely going to investigate that.

Excerpt
The colors are different, it isn't in full color yet also isn't black and white, it's somewhere in between. Like the colors are fading

Do you feel the faded colours have any significance? Do they evoke anything to you?

Also would you know or recall if these dreams were in a time frame of just before you woke up or perhaps in the deepest hours of the night?

Busybee

Oh my. I read your comment there with tears and laughter. I very much enjoyed that. Also some of your imagery evoked surprisingly strong feelings in me.

Whether or not you were left at a campground actually happened is not as important as the fact that your mind threw it to you in that format, that image. Whatever happened to terrify you and leave you feeling so alone your mind felt best that you could understand it if it was presented that way. And what an awful awful experience for you.

It recalled to my mind being the last one picked up from school on my first second and third days. 5 years old and even most of the teachers had gone. I felt so ... .forgotten. I wasn't scared like you were though. Mostly just bewildered. "They said they'd be here."  After the 3rd day I walked home and felt better about it as I was in control

Doh! Idea ok so that feels like a root of my independence. Not only did it give me a sense of control but also pride with how happy my mum was that I did it myself.

Excerpt
I visualized adult me opening the door to my room and reaching in, scooping up little me, comforting me.

Again you have taken me aback here. As I have mentioned earlier I also have the squalling baby memory, but when I read this I felt a huge and I mean HUGE resistance to the idea of coming to myself. In fact a little hole has opened in the pit of my stomach. Most unnerving.

I also have this crazy image of some kind of weird big eared demonic looking animal looking in at me through the slats of the cot. Most uncomfortable.

Excerpt
. It took awhile to hear what I was saying to myself, but now when I catch myself mumbling "idiot, how could you do that, only a moron would do that" kind of comments, I say ":)on't talk to my friend that way!" or "IT'S JUST COFFEE. The world is not going to end because I spilled a little coffee." Or I ask, "Who is talking? Who told you that?" and sometimes I find that I'm hearing the voice of my parent. I remind myself--your dad is not in the room. WHO CARES if you leave dishes in the sink overnight, he won't know and no one is going to die if the dishes are washed tomorrow.

When I catch myself HATING certain people (someone who cut me off, the coworker who cackles and makes inappropriate comments, the rude salesclerk), I pause and decide I'm taking it personally and I silently offer them a metta loving-kidness prayer: "May you be happy." If I'm especially worked up, I offer the same to me: "May I be happy." Kind of takes the sting out of it.

It's great that you are standing up to your inner critic and I think it's a real accomplishment that you found it. So many people can't separate it from their own internal voice so well done. Definitely an epiphany moment.

Whislt I think it's grea tyou rebelled against it BusyBee I'll challenge you to take it a step further if you are up for it! I have been trying to work my way in behind the scenes with mine. Trying to move in towards it. Rather than yelling at it now (and that was a crucial thing to break the tyranny it had over me) I try and look behind the panic that drives it. Speak soothingly to it as after all, it's another aspect of myself and it's been with me forever.

I try and take the notion that it is actually trying to protect me but like a small panicstricken child it just doesn't have the right tools to do that.

Maybe you might try asking the critic (or call it by another name - panicked protector) what  has happened to it to make it so scared. Why does it feel that THIS is the only way to protect me? Can it slow down enough to explore other options?

I have been gobsmacked to find it calm down more quickly than I could ever have imagined and start tapping into rational ideas rather than emotionally driven ones.

I also on occasion let it run riot.

Like your work colleague with the makeup and attention seeking behaviour - perhaps you could consult with the Panicked Child and see what she REALLY thinks! As in - perhaps Little You never got to run riot on the things you REALLY felt. Let the kid stand up and say "Seriously? What's with all that goop? you look ridiculous! And another thing ... ." I have found this kind of thing exceedingly useful as afterward a lot of the driving irritation is used up in the energy of castigating and criticising and telling myself what I really think - something I was never allowed to do as a child and punished severely for if I did anything like it to my parents.

NB I am not suggesting to say these things out loud - I'm sure you know that! Just that ranting and raving internally can be a wonderful way to blow off the irritation.

Afterward I find my Panicked Child is just delighted with me for understanding how she felt and we are more in league rather than at odds.

perseverantis

Excerpt
I had that heaviness/emptiness in my chest as well for the longest time.

I am so sorry for you to have such an awful feeling. Is it grief? Or sadness? Do you have any ideas what specifically causes it? I found the heaviness in my chest is lighter since I have begun grieving my losses and from that grief drawn more confidence that I really was shortchanged.

Do you find it easy enough to identify your emotions or can it be difficult to put a name to them? Sometimes, or even usually when raised in a household where there is BPD in a parent our own emotions become submerged under the importance of theirs. Then they can be misnamed when not being relegated or ignored. Knowing the name of what we are feeling actually makes it easier to go through the emotion. Perhaps you feel emotions as a physical thing (heaviness instead of sadness for instance)

So helpful to read these comments.

Thanks guys!

Zed




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busybee1116
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« Reply #31 on: December 27, 2015, 11:41:40 PM »

Hi Zigg! Just a quick note because I'm pecking this out on my cell phone. In some ways, talking to my inner critic is a lot like confronting my father and telling him the things I was unable to say when I was a child. Who are we kidding--hard to say now!  I also realize my dad has a lot of shame and guilt, he grew up in a pretty miserable time and place. It's made me have more compassion for him. He is uNPD. He will do anything to avoid appearing less than. That means leaving backward/rural family, getting a PhD, having smart well behaved kids, picture perfect yard and family, and no crumbs anywhere because SOMEONE might think less of him. Sad, isn't it?

As for inner child--your exercise about lying on floor, reaching up, asking for help from your mum--I  would have the same reaction!  I do not have children  of my own, but I have always loved children. I love their sweetness, innocence, silliness, playfulness. And I remember being that way, briefly. So to realize that beauty was taken from me... .very sad. And if adult me were around somehow, if I could go back in time, that's what I would do. I would protect that little me fiercely. It felt very weird the first few times I did it by myself. It's almost like that hurt little part of me did not trust anyone. Plus, lots of bottled up anger, sadness and loneliness to feel, it was hard. But after awhile, it became a meditation. I started (at my therapist's suggestion) by closing my eyes and rocking a pillow, like you would a baby. Just patting, shooshing, cuddling, comforting. It was very soothing. Little me (in my mind) took awhile to stop crying and just relax, allow and trust. And later, turned and smiled at me. Corny, but that memory still brings me to tears.  Later, I would close my eyes, imagine walking up the stairs to my childhood bedroom, and open the door. I was surprised sometimes by who (what age me, turns out 8-11 more than little toddler me) is waiting for me frequently! But after awhile, we just integrated. I don't do the exercise much anymore, just when I can really tell something has come up.
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Kwamina
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« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2015, 09:25:20 AM »

Kwamina that gave me the weirdest sensation in my chest/abdomen. As soon as I saw your phrasing I immediately had a picture spring up of my own high school - not like when I went there but with no one around in a late afternoon. So silent it was deafening. I felt a small leap of fear too. Definitely going to investigate that.

So how's the investigation going? Any new leads?

The dreams feel very weird too. Like something is missing but I hadn't been able to put my finger on it until you mentioned your dream and how eerily quiet it was.

Do you feel the faded colours have any significance? Do they evoke anything to you?

I think the faded colors and total absence of sound both signify that there is no life in this place. I'm walking through my past in these dreams but at the same time it's not really my past. Feels like a projection or shadow of my past. When I wake up it feels like my mind has been in overdrive and it sometimes takes me quite some time to at least partly shake this feeling. It's tough since these dreams confront me with the past which I cannot change. Accepting the past and that I cannot change it and how it has impacted me, is one of the biggest challenges I face, one of the things I struggle with the most. Acceptance really is hard, but I have made steps in the right direction Smiling (click to insert in post)

Another way to look at these dreams I have is perhaps as a challenge to get me to face the things I do not want to face because deep down inside I still do not want to accept that things really were that way and that so many years have passed.

Also would you know or recall if these dreams were in a time frame of just before you woke up or perhaps in the deepest hours of the night?

They have often occurred quite shortly before the time I would have actually gotten up. They have also occurred during other times of the night though. The dreams are so intense that I always wake up before they are completed. Nothing 'spectacular' happens in those dreams. I'm just there walking through the places from my past, there's no 'action' and I can't call them nightmares, but the fading colors and absence of sound create a very strange and surreal atmosphere.

Whislt I think it's grea tyou rebelled against it BusyBee I'll challenge you to take it a step further if you are up for it! I have been trying to work my way in behind the scenes with mine. Trying to move in towards it. Rather than yelling at it now (and that was a crucial thing to break the tyranny it had over me) I try and look behind the panic that drives it. Speak soothingly to it as after all, it's another aspect of myself and it's been with me forever.

I try and take the notion that it is actually trying to protect me but like a small panicstricken child it just doesn't have the right tools to do that.

Maybe you might try asking the critic (or call it by another name - panicked protector) what  has happened to it to make it so scared. Why does it feel that THIS is the only way to protect me? Can it slow down enough to explore other options?

I have been gobsmacked to find it calm down more quickly than I could ever have imagined and start tapping into rational ideas rather than emotionally driven ones.

I also on occasion let it run riot.

Like your work colleague with the makeup and attention seeking behaviour - perhaps you could consult with the Panicked Child and see what she REALLY thinks! As in - perhaps Little You never got to run riot on the things you REALLY felt. Let the kid stand up and say "Seriously? What's with all that goop? you look ridiculous! And another thing ... ." I have found this kind of thing exceedingly useful as afterward a lot of the driving irritation is used up in the energy of castigating and criticising and telling myself what I really think - something I was never allowed to do as a child and punished severely for if I did anything like it to my parents.

I find it very interesting what you say her Ziggiddy! Empathizing with and trying to understand the inner critic instead of (immediately) shutting him/her down. Considering that our critical inner voice, is often the internalized critical voice of a family-member (parent, sibling etc.), empathizing with our inner critic in a way is like empathizing with our BPD family-member. And it is true that our BPD family-members lacked certain tools and as a result our internalized critical voice would then also lack these tools. This is an interesting way to look at things. Considering the fact that our family-members are disordered, as hurtful as the results of their behaviors might be, their intent might not have necessarily been to hurt us and even if it was, the fact that they have a limited tool set plays a significant role here. With more and better tools, we also have more and (hopefully) better choices.
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« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2016, 10:32:37 AM »

Wow.  This hit home.  I was just talking to friends about how I have to have something to listen to constantly, like audiobooks, tv, etc.  It keeps me going.  Now I realize that, they just keep the thoughts out of my head to keep me from being upset.  I am not sure if that is so bad though.
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Kwamina
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« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2016, 06:01:22 AM »

Hi again

As another year is approaching its close, I would like to bring this thread filled with exercises for self-insight to everyone's attention again. These exercises can help in our healing process so I encourage members to go through what's been posted. Examples of exercises mentioned are writing, coloring, sitting still with your thoughts and feelings, using a feeling wheel, meditation & visualization and several inner child exercises.

If you have certain exercises that have been helpful to you and think that others might also benefit from them, I encourage you to add to this discussion by posting them here.

Take care and I hope these exercises will lead to new insights in the New Year  
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busybee1116
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« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2017, 01:18:46 AM »

This was a fun thread to reread! I need to pick up a few of my own exercises.
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Harri
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« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2019, 02:21:13 PM »

Responding to another post reminded me of this thread from 2015.  It is such a great resource.

Let's see what we can add to it.

I still use writing and art work (clay) to help me focus and center myself so that I can understand me better.   Mindfulness helps me as well.  Just observing myself in the moment, no judgement, just focusing on feelings.  We talk about mindfulness a lot here in terms of being in touch with our feelings.  Sometimes, to be able to get to that point or even as a form of meditation, I will focus on what I am doing. 

Example, if I am walking, I focus on how my legs and feet move, how the floor feels, how my steps sound on the wood, etc.  Washing dished, I focus on the sound of the water, the feel of the dishes and the smell of the soap and how that feels.  It helps me clear my head so I can relax and focus on deeper things.  It is also good practice for being able to sit with my feelings.

Anyone else want to share?
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Ziggiddy
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« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2020, 07:42:55 AM »

Hey Harri (and Kwamina! my parroty friend)
Well it's been a longgg time since I was here and I confess I am moved to find this thread still accessible and not archived <wells up a little>

I love your idea of noticing your body and what parts are doing. As children invalidated we lose touch with our insides in the panic that leads to dissociation and any technique that brings us back into touch with our insides is beneficial imho.
I use a lot of deep breathing. A LOT.
I had an event where a gun was shot near me and I noticed before I fled into PTSD flashback that just for a tiny moment there was this small pressure inside my chest - like a finger blocking over and pushing down my windpipe.

When I was able to come back to the present, I realised it was a physical reaction of pushing down fear. My breathing was shallow despite years of trying to learn how to breathe deeply (I never knew till I was in my 40's that I breathed very shallowly)
It's such a simple thing and we get told it all the time  - to be honest I find it very silly to hear "Just take a few deep breaths" even when I am telling myself .. but it really works!
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« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2020, 07:29:56 PM »

Hi Ziggiddy  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

It's been a long time indeed! Great to hear from you again Smiling (click to insert in post)

It's such a simple thing and we get told it all the time  - to be honest I find it very silly to hear "Just take a few deep breaths" even when I am telling myself .. but it really works!

Sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest to do, or to remember in times of stress. Yet the simplest can often be the most effective. Our friend Pete Walker of course also mentions breathing in his steps for managing emotional flashbacks:

"Breathe deeply and slowly. (Holding the breath also signals danger)."

The Board Parrot
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Ziggiddy
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« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2020, 09:53:55 PM »

 With affection (click to insert in post)
I tota;;y forgot about holding breath being a signal. Thank you for the  reminder!
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« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2020, 08:12:20 PM »

This was such an interesting read. Pete Walker pointed me in the direction of Childhood Emotional Neglect. My mom wasn’t nurturing but wasn’t abusive so until I read Pete Walker, I discounted any childhood trauma from FOO (except abandonment  from  father, and some physical fighting with younger brother).  However, I did Pia Melody’s FOO intensive weekend, where we spent 20 hours in a group setting trying to figure it all out and it turns out not being nurtured was abuse.

The therapists take you thru different traumas and always ask “how old are you feeling right now?” Very important bc this helps identify the origin of deep feelings. Mine are always fear based and usually come from ages 3-8. tightness in chest and shallow breathing!

The most healing part of the weekend is The Empty Chair exercise where they placed an empty chair in front of me and i visualize a person who hurt me come in, sit down and listen as I shared all my feelings and confronted him/her about specifics. Then you give them back all their shame that they placed on us. We did this in our safe group, and it was extremely powerful.

The whole premise was that children take on the shame that adults “should” feel, but don’t. This misplaced shame needs to be given back to its rightful owner.  It was very heavy and I needed the Ts to guide me through this as it was a totally foreign concept to me.

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Panda39
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« Reply #41 on: March 10, 2020, 11:42:54 AM »

The most healing part of the weekend is The Empty Chair exercise where they placed an empty chair in front of me and i visualize a person who hurt me come in, sit down and listen as I shared all my feelings and confronted him/her about specifics. Then you give them back all their shame that they placed on us. We did this in our safe group, and it was extremely powerful.

I did this exercise at a "Communications Workshop" as a (rebellious) teen.  It made an impact on me too.  My dad came in dressed in a suit with briefcase...he was always at work...absent.  My mother came in sat down and started yelling at me.  One absent parent and one parent that was critical and yelling no wonder I was acting out!  The exercise was very enlightening even as a 15 year old. 

I don't remember telling my parents about the images I had of them,  but my dad started spending more time with me and later became self-employed and worked from home so I saw him much more often  which I needed, that in turn seemed to help my mother too.  She was/is still critical but at least the yelling stopped and I stopped being so rebellious (I still have my moments though  Being cool (click to insert in post)

Ziggiddy,
It's great to hear from you again  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

Panda39

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