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Author Topic: Exercises for self insight  (Read 9338 times)
Ziggiddy
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« on: January 22, 2015, 06:42:51 AM »

I am very interested in exercises that help me find out what's really going on in my head.

I like reading and educating myself but sometimes I find myself lacking in direction.

I really really benefitted from the inner child exercise and use it a lot.

I also love the benefits I have gotten from finding an imaginary safe place populated with safe people.

I have been amazed to find that I am allowed to take anyone there I want - such freedom!

Anyway I recently came upon an activity that completely floored me.

After determining that I am absolutely immobilised when it comes to asking for help, I read about an exercise that can help you work through it.

You lie on the floor and hold your arms up and ask your mum for help.

Huh.

Couldn't do it.

My torso all but froze up at the very thought.

Not that long ago, I had this nightmare which was an echo of a dream I used to have over and over as a kid. It always ended up in me screaming for help but when I'd wake up, I'd find my screams were just a hoarse whisper.

Now when I thought about doing this exercise and why I froze up, I suddenly knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had been left to cry and cry and cry myself hoarse as a baby. If I needed any proof I just looked to how my mother used to do the same thing with my younger sister. Even to the point of preventing anyone from going to her.

I was wondering about other exercises that anyone has found useful or key into finding self insight?

What has worked for you? or if you were resistant like I was, do you know why?

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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 04:42:00 PM »

I was wondering about other exercises that anyone has found useful or key into finding self insight?

What has worked for you? or if you were resistant like I was, do you know why?

Well there is one exercise I do. In a way it's very simple but at the same time I found it very difficult and scary. I just sit, with my own thoughts without trying to drain them out. Whenever I was eating, doing chores etc. I usually would always have the television or music on in the background. I often still do but very consciously also often don't anymore. I realize and in fact have always realized that one of the reasons I did this was because I was afraid of my own thoughts so I sought for ways to drain them out. I was scared of my own thoughts and emotions and the depth of my hurt so I tried to fill every moment with sound so I wouldn't have 'to think'. Fortunately I've become a lot better at confronting and dealing with all this now. I'm even able to meditate now
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 08:56:12 PM »

Writing is a huge release and it is the way I process most things.  When I post, I usually do not have a plan or a direction so I am processing right here which is why my posts ramble a bit and sometimes don't make sense.  If I get stuck a lot or am really talking in circles, I will open a word doc and do free style writing and just let the words flow.  Usually by the time I am finished I am either crying (which is good) and or I have at least a small piece of the puzzle.  Then I can write something that makes more sense (hopefully). 

Sometimes I will draw.  I like to use crayons and sometimes will draw with my non dominate hand.  I will also use clay to make things.  Just random stuff and see what happens.

Excerpt
You lie on the floor and hold your arms up and ask your mum for help... .  My torso all but froze up at the very thought.

I'm with you here.  Nope.  Not happening.  I spent enough years at her mercy begging (sometimes on my knees) for her to help me.  I gave enough of myself. 
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2015, 01:50:37 AM »

oo I LIKE those!

Woolspinner once said something about colouring in. I haven't done it yet but ... wow I'm motivated. I'm going to buy some NICE colouring in pencils and try this.

I have also started glueing my favourite pictures into a scrapbook to start a journal which has been really fun. Like I DESERVE to have my nice pictures for me not hidden in some file somewhere.

Kwamina that sounds so interesting.

I never really thought about it but yes! I do that - as in I try and change my mind about how I'm feeling.

Idea Idea

Excellent lightbulb moment.

Why am I always trying to talk myself out of whatever I'm feeling?

Like if I'm happy - just wait till you crash.

If I'm hurt - well other people like me and I'm competent and excellent so nyah nyah nyah nyah

if I'm sad - cheer up - you hate crying. Go do something else.

It's ironic that I have advised people to sit with their feelings but then I haven't been doing it myself!

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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 07:28:55 PM »

Hey Z,

You really should try coloring! It is wonderful.  Smiling (click to insert in post) And be sure and smell the crayons too. Ah... .that brings back some nice memories of Lil Wools coloring Bugs Bunny pictures and Yosemite Sam. Just the other day I sat down to color, because I needed to slow down and try to get back in touch with myself.

I was wondering about other exercises that anyone has found useful or key into finding self insight?

What has worked for you? or if you were resistant like I was, do you know why?

While there are several things I do, probably the most effective exercise for me to find self insight is when I pull out my list of 'feeling' words or particularly my 'feeling wheel' which has pretty colors and the words radiate outwards. When I don't know what is going on inside of me, I look over the words and can always pull out several that apply to that moment in time. Then I trace them back to the center and see what category they fall into. For example, if I'm feeling overwhelmed or confused or discouraged, on the wheel that I have they all lead to 'scared.' When I realize that I'm actually feeling scared, then I start asking myself what it is that I'm scared of, and that often leads me on into a self insight I didn't realize.  The more advanced list of feeling words expands greatly on both the categories and the words.

The other very effective exercise I do is pay attention to my body and what it is saying per my T's constant instruction. I'm usually way beyond paying attention to it by the time I realize I need to do this (overtired or have a headache, etc).  My T has taught me that when my body or mind is quite tired, it is usually because I am feeling unsafe. So when I catch onto the fact that I am tired, then I begin to trace backwards and ask, "When did I start to feel so tired?" That way I begin to self analyze the beginning of the tiredness and then why I feel so tired, etc.  Being tired is a sign that I need to get back to feeling safe.

When I'm resistant, it's usually because I am not taking time to be aware of myself. I'm usually too caught up in taking care of all the things for other people or the busy-ness of life. I'm getting better at taking care of me though!

Wools

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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2015, 07:43:58 AM »

Hi Ziggidy,

Nice thread!

Excerpt
I was wondering about other exercises that anyone has found useful or key into finding self insight?

What has worked for you? or if you were resistant like I was, do you know why?

I journal to release a lot of the negative emotions and pain associated with my FOO. Looking back over my journal of the past four years, I can see that my latest entries aren't that dark and angry anymore. Anger was something that I would choke on. Never able to express in a healthy or positive way. I would hold back the anger for fear that I would loose control like my mom. Now, in journaling those thoughts, it seemed to help give a voice to the anger and it didn't seem so scary after all. I can express my dislike or even anger about a situation without fear that I will loose control, or be seen as a maniac. Actually, as I am writing this, I don't feel anger about much of anything. People and situations just don't trigger that response in me anymore. I was always on the defensive, so my first reaction was anger. Everything was perceived as a personal attack.  I am no longer on the defensive, ergo, no anger! Wow! I didn't make that connection until just now! Hmmm. Will have to evaluate that further.

I have had the past two years all to myself. No one else to give my time and attention to at home. This has been one of the most important aspects of my healing. So, I have had a lot of time to devote to my healing.
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2015, 10:58:45 AM »

I have continually been doing a prayer daily it goes like this:

I say , I pray for name of ex to go into the light .

And name of ex prays for me to go into the light.

Then I do the same with another request the second one I particularly do is I pray for her to have a r/s with a higher Power and I say she prays that for me. ( I say her name to make it personal )

And third I pray for name to be cared for and name prays for me to be cared for .

I do this everyday to help w my own personal forgiveness.

I know after the pain and depression and anger and all the rest of this grieving stops I hope Im not left w the poison of hate
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 09:11:28 PM »

Hi again!

Wools, I want to thank you for mentioning the feelings wheel!  I had never seen or heard of one so I googled it.  What a wonderful tool.  So often i can't name a feeling and I can almost never trace it back to the root feeling.

I also mentioned your name in relation to the feelings wheel in response to another thread.  Just letting you know and I want to say thank you!

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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2015, 09:45:37 PM »

You really should try coloring! It is wonderful.  Smiling (click to insert in post) And be sure and smell the crayons too. Ah... .that brings back some nice memories of Lil Wools coloring Bugs Bunny pictures and Yosemite Sam. Just the other day I sat down to color, because I needed to slow down and try to get back in touch with myself.

I love doing art work I'm probably on the OCD spectrum somewhere and when I'm making something I'm in "the now" not ruminating about the past or worrying about the future... .I'm just in the moment.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Excerpt
While there are several things I do, probably the most effective exercise for me to find self insight is when I pull out my list of 'feeling' words or particularly my 'feeling wheel' which has pretty colors and the words radiate outwards. When I don't know what is going on inside of me, I look over the words and can always pull out several that apply to that moment in time. Then I trace them back to the center and see what category they fall into. For example, if I'm feeling overwhelmed or confused or discouraged, on the wheel that I have they all lead to 'scared.' When I realize that I'm actually feeling scared, then I start asking myself what it is that I'm scared of, and that often leads me on into a self insight I didn't realize.  The more advanced list of feeling words expands greatly on both the categories and the words.

Wools... .I love the "feeling wheel" I hadn't heard of it before either what a great tool.  Verbally expressing what "I feel" can be hard for me because I am a "feeler" kind of person and because sometimes I'm very sensitive to the feelings of others and tend to pick up their feelings too.  Nice way to get to the "root" feeling, identify it and figure out why you feel it?  Is it even yours?  If it is yours is it appropriate for the situation?  If not why are you having that particular feeling or reaction?  Sometimes we don't want to acknowledge the "root" feeling so we camoflage it by calling it something else this doesn't let you do that it takes you to the most basic/primitive feeling.

I'm gonna print a couple on the color copier at work and use them tap into my feelings a hopefully get better at naming them and act accordingly.

Thanks for sharing this. 
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 12:27:05 AM »

Ok I bought some crayons and I coloured in with my daughter. It was quite stirring. I remembered it being one of the few pleasant sharing experiences I had with my mum as a kid. And I realised why i stopped doing it - she would 'win' at it and I would be required to praise her for how well she coloured in. I was not good enough with the pencils to stay in the lines.  :'(

On the other hand, sitting quietly with Mr Potts has been charming. i even play with him. I was going to chase him with the staple remover but he doesn't run fast.

Christin I think it's great that you pray and work against your depression. Do you feel you are strong enough to feel the feelings you have been having? It's remarkable to me that you pray for other people. i need to be reminded to do this. My family's prayers were all quite selfish, superficial and hollow.

Panda - I like the point you made about us camouflaging one feeling with another. In fact I feel tears rising just thinking about it. I can identify feelings but not when I have more than one. And then I work so SO hard to talk myself out of whatever it is or defend myself to imaginary interrogators.

GRRRRRRR it is SUCH a waste of energy but I can't seem to stop doing it!

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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2015, 06:24:18 AM »

Ok I bought some crayons and I coloured in with my daughter. It was quite stirring. I remembered it being one of the few pleasant sharing experiences I had with my mum as a kid. And I realised why i stopped doing it - she would 'win' at it and I would be required to praise her for how well she coloured in. I was not good enough with the pencils to stay in the lines.  :'(

On the other hand, sitting quietly with Mr Potts has been charming. i even play with him. I was going to chase him with the staple remover but he doesn't run fast.

Christin I think it's great that you pray and work against your depression. Do you feel you are strong enough to feel the feelings you have been having? It's remarkable to me that you pray for other people. i need to be reminded to do this. My family's prayers were all quite selfish, superficial and hollow.

Panda - I like the point you made about us camouflaging one feeling with another. In fact I feel tears rising just thinking about it. I can identify feelings but not when I have more than one. And then I work so SO hard to talk myself out of whatever it is or defend myself to imaginary interrogators.

GRRRRRRR it is SUCH a waste of energy but I can't seem to stop doing it!

Ziggiddy,

Yes I pray daily ... For others to have what I want in my hopes and dreams .  It has helped alot! I like this forum too for learning and venting at times . It changing little by little the anger I am realizing what I was living like and treated like was very wrong to myself . Praying helps me forgive myself .

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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2015, 11:40:03 AM »

Thanks for this lovely thread. I looked up the feelings wheel (Harri, I think you told about it before but I forgot) and it's fascinating. I now know why I translate people who are distant with me as people who are angry with me because I've apparently done something wrong.

I used to colour mandalas and I think I'll start colouring again Smiling (click to insert in post)

Christin, I also pray (it's literally the only thing my partner doesn't know about me as he's an atheist) and I use prayer to remind myself that God loves me and even if I can't see how to get out of a difficult situation, it'll pass with his help. I don't mean to influence people's beliefs or anything by saying this, it's just what works for me and how I feel it...

Panda, as Ziggiddy says, that's a good point about camouflaging feelings with other feelings. I tend to camouflage anxiety with other random feelings. According to the feelings wheel, the critical and skeptical attitude of my inlaws is related to anger... .which is fascinating to me, as they never express explicit anger. This is some food for thought.
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 09:14:21 PM »

Harri and Panda and Polly,

Wools, I want to thank you for mentioning the feelings wheel!  I had never seen or heard of one so I googled it.  What a wonderful tool.  So often i can't name a feeling and I can almost never trace it back to the root feeling.

I also mentioned your name in relation to the feelings wheel in response to another thread.  Just letting you know and I want to say thank you!

I'm so glad to hear that you all love the feelings wheel as much as I do! It really has been an invaluable tool for me. If I just would've remembered to pull it out this week and last when I was feeling so "overwhelmed" at work... .I need a dose of my own medicine here!  It goes back to scared, that's why. Sigh, back to the drawing board, but identifying the feeling helps me know that I've been scared... .of failing, disappointing and who knows what else.

Ziggiddy,  I'm very happy to hear that Mr. Potts has been a constant companion (and that you didn't chase him with the staple puller! ; ) Did you take time to smell the crayons? That brings back memories for me! Here's a thought for you to remember the next time you color and struggle with staying in the lines:  take a careful look at the next beautiful sunset you see. I told my T that when I see a sunset, I'm reminded that God doesn't color in the lines either. He regularly colors outside of them. 

Wools
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2015, 02:45:56 PM »

Thank you Ziggiddy for this thread! I have been lurking in it as I am not too skilled with exercises (except maybe being with my thoughts - something I've done ever since I remember - observe and reflect upon what was going on and what I thought of it and learn how to navigate.) Thank you Kwamina for mentioning it.

There is a lot in this thread, thank you everyone, I have gained insights just from reading it. I hope sharing a couple of them might help:

I have a brother who is six years older, so by the time I arrived, everyone around me was 'grown up' by comparison and unless I made a lot of noise, I could easily just observe. Now I realize that that has been my one and only weapon throughout childhood (as opposed to feelings which were either not allowed or criticized if they did not conform): my mind was always my safe place where nobody could intrude or bully me into agreement. A place where I could be myself. That of course changed with time - my true self went into hiding in a secret chamber where nobody else had access, and my 'public self' would pose as a front. Now I understand why I've felt so conflicted and full of contradiction: I have lived a double life. And of course the 'inner critic' became part of the 'public self' arguing with the true self and trying to bully it into submission. It had an upper hand for a good many years. But it's loosing the war now and loosing territory day by day.

Wools:

Wools, I want to thank you for mentioning the feelings wheel!  I had never seen or heard of one so I googled it.  What a wonderful tool.  So often i can't name a feeling and I can almost never trace it back to the root feeling

Same here!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I inspected the wheel and it brought tears to my eyes: the top part leading to the root of sad, mad, scared was majorly my family experience.  :'(  I always knew that I spent as much time as possible outside of home, escaping, and playing with friends. I thought that it was part of my 'flawed personality' of escapism into pleasure versus work (paradoxically, because I have a strong work ethic and people sometimes tell me to stop working, but I also am a big procrastinator with important projects)

Now it makes sense: I was not fleeing work per se. I was fleeing the oppressive emotional atmosphere. With friends, I could feel all the good stuff and feel free (the bottom part of the wheel that leads to the root of peaceful, powerful, and joyful)!

And procrastinating big projects makes sense too - who wants to work hard to be "rewarded" with sad mad and scared? (Now I am working on working through sad mad and scared with bigger projects, because in real life, chances are high that the ultimate reward will be peaceful, powerful, and joyful - even if I fail - there is lots to be enjoyed and learned and gained in the process - which comes back to winning the war against the inner critic. Thoughts and emotions can be integrated and work well together. Thank you Wools!

Excerpt
take a careful look at the next beautiful sunset you see. I told my T that when I see a sunset, I'm reminded that God doesn't color in the lines either. He regularly colors outside of them. 

Wools

Wow!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post) (I may take up coloring to relax)
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2015, 07:54:03 AM »

my mind was always my safe place where nobody could intrude or bully me into agreement. A place where I could be myself. That of course changed with time - my true self went into hiding in a secret chamber where nobody else had access, and my 'public self' would pose as a front. Now I understand why I've felt so conflicted and full of contradiction: I have lived a double life. And of course the 'inner critic' became part of the 'public self' arguing with the true self and trying to bully it into submission. It had an upper hand for a good many years. But it's loosing the war now and loosing territory day by day.

That sounds like the defense mechanism I used as a teenager and student - I used to have this elaborate daydream of a distant land where I would live in a cottage and enjoy nature. It kept me going for years. Of course, when the 'inner life' is so important, you're bound to feel like leading a double life. I felt like I couldn't be myself at all.

Pessim-optimist, I'm glad you're allowing your true self to come out more and more now.
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2015, 11:21:57 AM »

Ziggiddy: 
Excerpt
Ok I bought some crayons and I coloured in with my daughter. It was quite stirring. I remembered it being one of the few pleasant sharing experiences I had with my mum as a kid. And I realised why i stopped doing it - she would 'win' at it and I would be required to praise her for how well she coloured in. I was not good enough with the pencils to stay in the lines.

The selfishness of your mother, the need to compete with and win against her own daughter is heartbreaking.  Not for her so much, but for you and Little Zig.  Were you able to finish coloring?  Did you even want to?  I wonder if painting with finger paints or watercolors might be something you would enjoy more?

Wools:
Excerpt
If I just would've remembered to pull it out this week and last when I was feeling so "overwhelmed" at work... .I need a dose of my own medicine here!  It goes back to scared, that's why. Sigh, back to the drawing board, but identifying the feeling helps me know that I've been scared... .of failing, disappointing and who knows what else.

I am glad you were able to go back and figure out your feelings even if it was after the fact.  It is better than nothing and next time around, though I hope things calm down for you, you might just remember to use the wheel a bit sooner.  Practice, right? 

Pessim-O:
Excerpt
Now I understand why I've felt so conflicted and full of contradiction: I have lived a double life. And of course the 'inner critic' became part of the 'public self' arguing with the true self and trying to bully it into submission. It had an upper hand for a good many years. But it's loosing the war now and loosing territory day by day.

Thanks for that insight.  I had an inner world filled with friends and foes alike that served as a safe place.  Mostly the inner critic was kept separate (except when it told me I as crazy for having this wonderful place in my head).  I never really thought to label this as presenting a false self to the world, but it does fit.  I am thankful though that I had that place as I think it helped preserve the parts of Little Harri that the real world tried to destroy.  Sharing this part of you helped me to see that.  Thank you. 
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2015, 07:30:03 PM »

  I always knew that I spent as much time as possible outside of home, escaping, and playing with friends. I thought that it was part of my 'flawed personality' of escapism into pleasure versus work (paradoxically, because I have a strong work ethic and people sometimes tell me to stop working, but I also am a big procrastinator with important projects)

Now it makes sense: I was not fleeing work per se. I was fleeing the oppressive emotional atmosphere. With friends, I could feel all the good stuff and feel free (the bottom part of the wheel that leads to the root of peaceful, powerful, and joyful)!

And procrastinating big projects makes sense too - who wants to work hard to be "rewarded" with sad mad and scared? (Now I am working on working through sad mad and scared with bigger projects, because in real life, chances are high that the ultimate reward will be peaceful, powerful, and joyful - even if I fail - there is lots to be enjoyed and learned and gained in the process - which comes back to winning the war against the inner critic. Thoughts and emotions can be integrated and work well together.

Pess-opt this really really resonated with me.

I felt ... feel the same way.

I adored my friends without ever wondering why i felt better with them than at home.

My mum was incredibly superstitious and often interrupted our play because of this: ':)on't pretend someone in the game dies or someone will die in real life; don't make a sound like an owl - if an owl hoots someone will die; don't sing that song it reminds me of a friend in my past, don't wear that petticoat on your head - you'll tempt fate and someone will die ... ." Man. i am quite stunned by the depth of this. Starting to see why I was so scared to move in other directions. I could kill anyone with playing the wrong game!

You really inspire me with the way you put your thoughts and your feelings together.

Harri

Excerpt
I wonder if painting with finger paints or watercolors might be something you would enjoy more?

What a wonderful idea! yes I think I would.

You just reminded me that just because one thing doesn't work there are other options. Very good.

Right now I feel a strong desire to go put a petticoat on my head!

Z

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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2015, 07:48:57 PM »

So maybe we post all of this art work we are all doing  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2015, 08:09:36 PM »

I could kill anyone with playing the wrong game!

What a guilt-trip! I am glad that nobody happened to die around these times you played - it would have sure ended up traumatizing you - kids tend to feel omnipotent and super guilty that way.

Right now I feel a strong desire to go put a petticoat on my head!

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) Your kids might love that! You may even create your own family "silly times" that will be remembered for years to come.
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« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2015, 09:05:45 AM »

Hi everyone

I think the exercises for self insight discussed in this thread can be very helpful for many of us.

Does anyone else perhaps have certain exercises for self insight you would like to share here? I'd be very interested to hear from you!

Thanks in advance for anything you can share Smiling (click to insert in post)

I not too long ago came across an exercise which can help you enhance your ability to feel. I got it from the work of Pete Walker, M.A. who specializes in grieving and trauma-recovery:

Here is an exercise to help you enhance your ability to feel and grieve through pain. Visualize yourself as time-traveling back to a place in the past when you felt especially abandoned. See your adult self taking your abandoned child onto your lap and comforting her in various painful emotional states or situations. You can comfort her verbally: “I feel such sorrow that you were so abandoned and that you felt so alone so much of the time. I love you even more when you are stuck in this abandonment pain – especially because you had to endure it for so long with no one to comfort you. That shouldn’t have happened to you. It shouldn’t happen to any child. Let me comfort and hold you. You don’t have to rush to get over it. It is not your fault. You didn’t cause it and you’re not to blame. You don’t have to do anything. Let me just hold you. Take you’re time. I love you always and care about you no matter what.”

I highly recommend practicing this even if it feels inauthentic, and even if it requires a great deal of fending off your critic. Keep practicing and eventually, you will have a genuine experience of feeling self-compassion for that traumatized child you were, and with that, you will know that your recovery work had reached a deep level.


I liked this exercise, it made me realize just how unprotected and isolated I felt as a child. I hope that it can also be of help to others.
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« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2015, 12:27:12 PM »

Excerpt
Visualize yourself as time-traveling back to a place in the past when you felt especially abandoned. See your adult self taking your abandoned child onto your lap and comforting her in various painful emotional states or situations.

Hi Kwamina

I have found Pete Walker to be an exceptional help in dealing with pain, grieving loss and just general empathy.

The exercise you mention I had not come across at the time I creatively visualised a scene from my childhood but realise it fits here.

the scene was this: my mother who likes to ask people for favours (a central characteristic of her personality) always would ask people to bring her back a doll for me whenever they travelled overseas. in particular, a souvenir type doll depicting the national dress of whatever country. She would collect these dolls together and ostensibly give them to me only I wasn't actually allowed to play with them although they were 'stored' in my room.

Well I was recommended by a member here to get a teddy bear for myself. I decided to get one from a thrift shop as it would be one that was no longer wanted anymore- abandoned so to speak. In the commission of this, I found by striking coincidence, a number of identical dolls to the ones I used to have (my mother still has them!) Well I was debating whether to buy them when I decided to sit down in the shop ( a large warehouse) and consult Little Zigz on the question.

What happened next was almost beyond my control. or even my imagination! Sitting there in amongst these childhood things, I saw Little Zigz wanting to play with one of the dolls and heard my mother's sharp reprimand "No!" She looked up at me, real scared. I said "Go on. It's ok. You're allowed." So she picked up the doll then to my surprise went to throw it on the ground. I asked her if she would like me to buy the dolls then she could take them out to our shed and throw them on the ground there. Oh no. That wasn't enough. She wanted a hammer! I shrunk back at the violence I thought she wanted to do but was prepared to stand by her while she did it. In the end, she didn't want to destroy them, just the 'not allowed' feeling.

It stayed with me and despite not purchasing the dolls I went home and went further.

A memory had come of her in a little nightdress (in her mother's favourite colour - she often worse things that were her mother's favourite something-or-other)

and along with the memory a stinging burning pain across the back of the legs (I can feel it even now while writing this)

I was not ready to process the whole memory of that belting but I did see her father striding toward her, belt in hand.

Adult Zig also strides.

Adult Zig is almost as tall as her father.

So adult Zig strode over and grabbed the belt.

Asked Little Zig ":)o you want me to belt HIM so he knows how it feels?"

She was too scared to answer but I knew she didn't want to. She wanted to destroy the feeling of being  'in trouble'

So we did that together hugging while I told her it was okay to be in trouble. She wouldn't die. She would survive.

Then we stood up and walked out of my father's bedroom where so many of the beltings took place.

In a Hollywod type scene, the house folded in on itself and disappeared.

It was quite eerie.

And incredibly cathartic. i recommend it.
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« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2015, 04:12:36 PM »

I found Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child by John Bradshaw to be extremely helpful. The book offers a lot of meditation and visualization exercises that had a very powerful effect on me. In one of the exercises you visualize your adult self going down a long corridor with doors on both sides. You enter the doors one by one and extract from each room your baby self, your toddler self, your school-aged self, your adolescent self, your teen self, and your young adult self. The exercise forces you to visualize what you looked like in each stage, which for me was really hard because I had some mild body disassociation as a child. I would look in the mirror and not recognize the person standing in front of me and it would take me a second or two to put together that the vision in the mirror was me. Well the exercise kind of re-welded my adult self to my various stages of child selves and I had a very distinct feeling of wholeness afterward, and of relief that now each of my child selves were safely in my capable adult hands. I highly recommend it if you're feeling disconnected from yourself.
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« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2015, 08:55:06 AM »

Hi Ziggiddy

Then we stood up and walked out of my father's bedroom where so many of the beltings took place.

In a Hollywod type scene, the house folded in on itself and disappeared.

It was quite eerie.

And incredibly cathartic. i recommend it.

Sounds eerie indeed, the house folding in and disappearing like that  Was her dad still in the house when it folded in?

I remember previous posts in which you talked about those dolls and your mother's strange behavior. Very strange indeed that they were supposedly your dolls which she also stored in your room yet you weren't allowed to play with them. Good though that you went to save that abandoned teddy bear from the thrift store Smiling (click to insert in post)

I am glad this inner child work has been so cathartic for you and is helping you move on and heal

@gentlestguardian

Thanks for sharing this great exercise! I can see how this would indeed have great potential for enhancing your sense of wholeness. It sounds like the adult you was able to lead all the little versions of you to a safe place which is truly wonderful Smiling (click to insert in post)

"She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind." -- Toni Morrison
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« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2015, 02:51:41 AM »

I am very interested in exercises that help me find out what's really going on in my head.

I like reading and educating myself but sometimes I find myself lacking in direction.

I really really benefitted from the inner child exercise and use it a lot.

I also love the benefits I have gotten from finding an imaginary safe place populated with safe people.

I have been amazed to find that I am allowed to take anyone there I want - such freedom!

Anyway I recently came upon an activity that completely floored me.

After determining that I am absolutely immobilised when it comes to asking for help, I read about an exercise that can help you work through it.

You lie on the floor and hold your arms up and ask your mum for help.

Huh.

Couldn't do it.

My torso all but froze up at the very thought.

Not that long ago, I had this nightmare which was an echo of a dream I used to have over and over as a kid. It always ended up in me screaming for help but when I'd wake up, I'd find my screams were just a hoarse whisper.

Now when I thought about doing this exercise and why I froze up, I suddenly knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had been left to cry and cry and cry myself hoarse as a baby. If I needed any proof I just looked to how my mother used to do the same thing with my younger sister. Even to the point of preventing anyone from going to her.

I was wondering about other exercises that anyone has found useful or key into finding self insight?

What has worked for you? or if you were resistant like I was, do you know why?

Hi Z, this post reminds me of a nightmare I had a couple of nights ago where I was trapped at my parents house and I couldn't call my partner because his number wasn't working. It was an awful feeling.
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« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2015, 02:58:06 AM »

Hey Z,

You really should try coloring! It is wonderful.  Smiling (click to insert in post) And be sure and smell the crayons too. Ah... .that brings back some nice memories of Lil Wools coloring Bugs Bunny pictures and Yosemite Sam. Just the other day I sat down to color, because I needed to slow down and try to get back in touch with myself.

I was wondering about other exercises that anyone has found useful or key into finding self insight?

What has worked for you? or if you were resistant like I was, do you know why?

While there are several things I do, probably the most effective exercise for me to find self insight is when I pull out my list of 'feeling' words or particularly my 'feeling wheel' which has pretty colors and the words radiate outwards. When I don't know what is going on inside of me, I look over the words and can always pull out several that apply to that moment in time. Then I trace them back to the center and see what category they fall into. For example, if I'm feeling overwhelmed or confused or discouraged, on the wheel that I have they all lead to 'scared.' When I realize that I'm actually feeling scared, then I start asking myself what it is that I'm scared of, and that often leads me on into a self insight I didn't realize.  The more advanced list of feeling words expands greatly on both the categories and the words.

The other very effective exercise I do is pay attention to my body and what it is saying per my T's constant instruction. I'm usually way beyond paying attention to it by the time I realize I need to do this (overtired or have a headache, etc).  My T has taught me that when my body or mind is quite tired, it is usually because I am feeling unsafe. So when I catch onto the fact that I am tired, then I begin to trace backwards and ask, "When did I start to feel so tired?" That way I begin to self analyze the beginning of the tiredness and then why I feel so tired, etc.  Being tired is a sign that I need to get back to feeling safe.

When I'm resistant, it's usually because I am not taking time to be aware of myself. I'm usually too caught up in taking care of all the things for other people or the busy-ness of life. I'm getting better at taking care of me though!

Wools

My former sponsor gave me that color wheel and I think I'll look at it before I go to bed. I'm definitely feeling a lot of things tonight.

//

I must say its probably very rare that children of parents with personality disorders got away without any traits of any personality disorders.
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« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2015, 12:19:53 AM »

Hi unicorn

Thanks for responding to this thread as it brought it back up in my 'posts' replies.

I reread it with growing interest.

I see now that dreams are probably a much more direct line than I previously thought. I didn't remember that the hoarse screams were always always for help.

I also agree with your assessment that children of BPD probably can't escape the legacy of their upbringing completely. It makes me want to commend them more for trying!

Kwamina - I sorry I didn't see your question previously. How could I miss that bright plumage?

Was my dad in the house when it folded up? No. No one was. Although that was an excellent point. It was just sad lonely small and worthless. Eerily quiet. Actually I'd say supernaturally quiet. The main thing to me at the time was that me and little Zig were outside on the street. And a point that I didn't remember before was that we were holding hands. Or rather she was holding my hand. It moved me.

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« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2015, 12:50:19 PM »

Kwamina - I sorry I didn't see your question previously. How could I miss that bright plumage?

Indeed, how could you? Smiling (click to insert in post)

Was my dad in the house when it folded up? No. No one was. Although that was an excellent point. It was just sad lonely small and worthless. Eerily quiet. Actually I'd say supernaturally quiet.

I have certain dreams about my past which appear to be different than other dreams I've had. In them I'm walking through places from my past like my old high school or neighborhood. Though it looks like scenes from my past, something feels very different. 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. There is also something else that feels very odd, but that I had not been able to put into words until now. There is no sound in these dreams, like you said, it is eerily quiet, indeed supernaturally quiet. It feels like I'm revisiting my past in these dreams, but it's not really my past but more like the remnants of days gone by. Life has moved on and you could say has left the places I am revisiting, hence the fading colors and total absence of sound. It's like I'm seeing a shadow of my past.

Dreams are interesting indeed! These particular dreams take a lot out of me though and leave me feeling emotionally exhausted when I wake up.

The main thing to me at the time was that me and little Zig were outside on the street. And a point that I didn't remember before was that we were holding hands. Or rather she was holding my hand. It moved me.

This is very nice that the two of you were holding hands Smiling (click to insert in post) You are taking good care of little Zig Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2015, 03:02:18 PM »

This is an awesome thread. Love what you guys have postsed. I, too, have done inner child exercises. At first it felt very weird and a little forced, but ultimately led me to huge breakthroughs. I had a guided session with my therapist trying to name some heaviness/pressure in my chest that I frequently get. It turns out that feeling is preverbal, which is why I don't have words to name it. And that shocked the heck out of me to realize I'd been carrying it around my whole life. But when she asked me to describe when I would feel it since I couldn't name it, she had me turn to my childhood and 2 images flooded me--one was me, being left at a campground by myself. Forgotten. I don't know if that actually happened, or if it was just a fear, or if I had been threatened with it, but it felt REAL. And little me was very small, toddler small. I was outraged for little me and the feeling of sadness and aloneness was overwhelming. The second image was of me, in the dark, crying my lungs out in my crib, a little smaller than the camping incident. I visualized adult me opening the door to my room and reaching in, scooping up little me, comforting me. I allowed myself to say things I'm sure my parents never did: "It's okay to be sad. You can be angry. How awful to be left alone. I'm sorry you were left here." The sense of holding a baby me was also very REAL. I could feel my wet little face, my sweaty little curls, by sniffling and shuddering, sucking my thumb. That baby was in pain. It was awful and healing all at the same time. I've had many sessions with that little girl since, we play now  Smiling (click to insert in post) and sometimes she still cries and needs comforting.

Other exercises I like and use often:

Talking back to my inner critic. 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.

Another interesting exercise with people who trigger me:

I ask: what about that person do I have in common? What do I not like about myself that I am seeing in that other person? When have I done that triggering behavior?

As an example, there's a coworker who wears a pound of makeup and garish clothing. She bugs the daylights out of me. I think she's tacky and tasteless. It took me awhile to see that I would not want to be seen as tacky or tasteless and I work hard to avoid appearing anything but professional. And that led to questions about why can't I wear makeup, stand out, be noticed? What would happen if I wore loud colors and fake flowers in my hair? What is this persona that I hide behind? VERY interesting. I'm sad often that no one really knows me. So who am I really? Why do I hide? Lots and lots of work came out of this kind of stuff.

A corollary to the last exercise:

What is the most forgiving explanation (thank you Brene Brown) I can give for someone else's behavior (that does not violate my boundaries)? And failing that... .what is the funniest?

Maybe the guy who cut me off is trying to get to the hospital because his wife is in labor.

Maybe he's an undercover police officer en route to a burglary in progress.

Or maybe his toupe fell off and he was so distracted picking it up off the floor that he didn't notice me  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

One more--Downward Arrow.

This is how to get to a core belief.

Pick a triggering thought.

I dribbled coffee on the floor! I must wipe it up NOW. Fear, worry, awful.

The downward arrow is asking yourself the same question over and over about the personal meaning of a thought to get to the underlying message/belief.

Someone who dribbles coffee on the floor--what kind of person is that?

Sloppy, dirty, lazy, messy. If that were true about me, what would that mean?

I'm a slob. If that were true about me, what would that mean?

I'm a bad person. If that were true about me, what would that mean?

I'm not lovable or worthy of attention, affection. If that were true about me, what would that mean?

That I'm never good enough. I don't deserve to exist.

YIKES. No wonder I run to clean up coffee.  And who gave me the idea that dribbling is unacceptable? MY FATHER. It took me awhile to realize I was running around like a scared child worried my father would see my messy room or a few coffee dribbles. I have not lived with him or had to abide by his house rules in 25 years.
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« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2015, 04:18:06 PM »

Great thread - thanks for sharing busybee1116.

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

Like you, I try different techniques to manage my BPD and though there is no miracle cure, PSTEC did get rid of that feeling I had carried with me for so long - it's just one piece of the puzzle I m trying to put together... .
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« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2015, 09:19:34 PM »

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

In my situation, the chest discomfort turned out to be stuffed emotions. When I get it now, I check in and I can usually figure out what I'm trying to avoid/suppress/deny. It's a "listen to my body" moment because it's telling me something! I went for years not really having emotions--just stuffed them all down. They weren't allowed (beyond happy and obedient) in my FOO.
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