Embracing the Self

Client: I’m still a little unclear about embracing my disowned parts. I am sometimes a little bit of both. My behavior and thoughts operate as one person doing a certain thing in a certain way, then I completely flip and turn into my opposite or have opposing thoughts. I thought about the things that I hate in other people that really piss me off or offend me and then I thought about the times when I act just like that. I  just realized (as I am typing this) that I have a problem with anyone who is an extreme of one of my selves.

I have a problem with judgmental/critical people.
People who are excessively loud or attention seeking.
Overly religious people who push their views onto others.
People who have no interest in education and only care about superficial aspects of reality.
People who are “too” emotional – I see them as weak  (I have had a problem with in the past. Mostly as a kid and teenager.)
People who are not emotional enough.
Know-it-alls, been-there-done-it-alls.
I hate people who are negative all the time.

This list can probably go on more.
I hate religious zealots. I hate people who try to stuff their religious views down everyone’s throat.
I hate this but I do the same thing (not with my religious views but with my personal ones).

I also have a problem with people who are “too” emotional even though I have been like that in others’ eyes and my own eyes at times.
Like the books suggest, I asked this part of me how would she live my life if she was in control.

I don’t get to cry as much as I would like. Sometimes I feel sad about something and I tell myself to hold it. Sometimes [my little girl] doesn’t want to cry about people who have hurt her feeling so she keeps the tears in.

There is this bright, funny, positive go-getter part of me that tries to cover up the part of me that isn’t those things. I hate being called negative and I hate being negative. I work really hard sometimes to be this upbeat “go get ’em” person. I notice that when I say something negative, I sometimes say something positive to cover up what I just said so that I don’t come off as negative to others. I say and I am attracted to those sayings that talk about how hard life is but you can turn it around.

The other part of me thinks that all of that is bullshit and is waiting for the upbeat girl to fall flat on her face. I also fear that someone will call me out on my bullshit and embarrass me or show me how stupid I really am.

The critic in me is the one I hate the most. This is the side of me that is judgmental and mean to me and makes me freeze in fear and doubt anytime I need or want to do something important. This side picks on my victim and my victim cries ” I CAN’T!”. Everything is a “no” or an “I just can’t” and “I hate that too”. I hate “I can’t”. I hate that quitter negative voice.

I have a problem with kids sometimes and I think it’s because as a child I wasn’t allowed to do things that kids do. Certain traits were not valued by my mother and I got in trouble, yelled at or hit if I behaved in those ways.

Marta: All of these parts of yourself, the either/or behaviors, judgments, criticisms, reactions to others etc., are defended patterns that cover up your feelings, emotions, needs and wounds, as well as the expression of emotions and boundaries to embrace these emotions. We need to work through your defenses and that takes patience. Be patient with your child, she is afraid and she has been criticized for a long time. Take each one of your patterns and behaviors and find the feelings you are hiding in them.

To hate the critic is not to understand yourself. Underneath the critic is a defense; it is hating on top of hating. You hate the critic, the critic hates the child, and on and on. When you can begin to embrace the emotions and wounds in this hate, you will find the compassionate parent in you. The heartbreak is in the hate. You need to find your vulnerability, but you need to realize that all of your reactions hurt YOU.

You have different parts of you: the child, the teenager, the woman, the critic, the seducer, the manipulator. These are all pattern and defenses so that you don’t feel and change. If you are negative, then you are hurting. All of this is a defense against what you feel and need. Think about what I am saying. Go into your body and let yourself cry and feel your heart. Judgment is never the way, even towards your critic. It seems odd, but the critic in ways is protecting you from getting close to others. It keeps everything and everyone away. You don’t need to criticize in order to create healthy boundaries and expression that nurture your well-being.

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