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Fear and avoidance of parts / inner stuff

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Fear and avoidance of parts / inner stuff

Postby fireheart » Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:11 pm

Long time, no see. Things have been okay for us, mostly focusing on daily life. I have a question that I thought you guys might have some ideas about...

Fear/avoidance of parts.

Some days it's like there is a big wall of cold fog between me and other parts inside. I know that I need to reach inside the cold fog and find the others, because connection feels really helpful and healing (and because coordination helps to be aware of/meet needs). But the cold fog is scary, and stepping foot into it brings up the fear of dissolving (into unconsciousness).

How do you gather the courage to connect inside?
How do you overcome inner avoidance?
How do you connect with your others?

Especially when you know that there are parts who are upset.
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Re: Fear and avoidance of parts / inner stuff

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:09 pm

Ugh. This is a big issue for us.

Our best way of "reaching inside" is to write in our journal. So, we translate your questions for ourselves as:

1. How do you gather the courage to ask, in writing, for people to check in and say how they're feeling?

2. How do you actually open the drawer, get out the journal and colored pens, and face the fact that different parts have different feelings that you might not even know about until you see them written in front of your face in different colors and handwritings?

3. How do we connect with each other? This is the only easy question because literally all we have to do is get the journal out and try to write in it, so it's frustrating (to whichever parts are able to step back and have some distance) that we can't just do that, dammit! :roll:

Our fear isn't that of dissolving into unconsciousness but of feeling too much pain and becoming overwhelmed with it. But it's still a fear that keeps us from establishing more communication and coordination.

And the fear is bigger when we know that parts are upset, since it means we are knowingly walking into more pain.

I don't really have an answer for you about how to manage this. It's often the case that even though we know we should write in the journal, and that some parts would feel better afterwards, the amount of pain we would have to go through to get there feels like it would hurt too much.

Sometimes we can get ourselves to do it if there's a specific problem to solve, so we have different parts check in and we keep some distance by using a more intellectual approach, such as figuring out the different survival behaviors that our reactions are based on, and trying to find the initial trigger for the upset.

Sometimes, like yesterday, we're tired of the feelings of one part taking over completely. We had been stuck in a feeling that the T was kind of an "enemy" that we needed to protect ourselves from. Other parts had been putting up with that feeling for a few weeks now, but we had been working things out with the T, and I guess other parts were getting a little stronger with their feelings that he really cares and wants to help us, etc. So we were able to get out the journal and let different parts write about how they were feeling, including the one who still wants to protect us and themselves from him. That helped the less dominant feelings be heard, and even though it was painful, we could see that the benefit outweighed the pain we had to go through to get there.

I guess it's just one of those things that has to be practiced, and tried out a little bit at a time, over and over. Instead of imagining setting your whole foot into the fog, maybe you could try just sticking a toe in and then taking it out and seeing that you're still ok.

For us, we try to monitor how much pain we're in, and just put the journal away if it's too much. Maybe we should try to take the journal out at a regular time, maybe even daily, and set a timer for 5 minutes so that we know it's time-limited. Then we would have the option of continuing if we want to, but the idea is that we try to do at least 5 minutes at a time, because, really, you can do almost anything if you know it will only last 5 minutes.

I don't know what your way of reaching inside is, but would it be possible to do it a little bit at a time like that? I think this is what birdsong calls titration--trying things for a little bit at a time until they become easier and can be done for longer and/or in more depth.
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Re: Fear and avoidance of parts / inner stuff

Postby birdsong87 » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:56 pm

(it's actually Levine who calls it titration)

Is there any way the others could come closer to the front so you wouldn't have to reach thru the fog so much?

Any helpful imagery to warm up the fog and make it more friendly? like with a warm heart exercise for everyone?

wild guesses, but can you talk to the fog like it is a part and see why it is in protection mode? Negotiate?


we struggle with not-connecting a lot right now. it takes so much courage.
Dx: DID cPTSD
L (host 1); Asti (host 2); Annett (teen protector); Maya (child); Age (observer); Thamara (child); Danielle (aut. teen); Mike (caregiver) and others
Our blog on resources https://www.dis-sos.com
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Re: Fear and avoidance of parts / inner stuff

Postby fireheart » Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:24 pm

Thank you for your replies. It's taken me a while to get back on here because the avoidance keeps trying to steer me away from this as well.

The Gang, thank you for writing out your general process so thoroughly. For us it's less about feeling the pain, I think. Maybe more about it potentially "getting in the way", a.k.a. reducing our functioning.

I've been trying the five-minutes thing for a while, but to no avail so far. I just keep avoiding it. :?

Birdsong, I like those imagery suggestions. I hadn't really thought of tackling it from that angle. I love that you remembered about the warm heart exercise. After reading your suggestion, L called up his inner helper related to the exercise and "warmed our hearts" like that. It was helpful, somehow...

I can't really bring myself to talk to things that are not parts... I think that also takes a lot of courage. (And it's hard to see the point, but maybe that is just avoidance talking).

I've been working on this and observing. Some other things that have helped me so far:
- a basic motivational quote: "If you don't try, you've already failed. You only fail when you stop trying."
- coming on the forum or talking about parts/etc.
- the idea that I can spend my energy on avoiding things (temporarily!), or I can spend it on dealing with things inside and in that case probably end up spending less energy on it altogether.
- I haven't tried this yet, but a T suggested that I should try telling a story together. So I would start and then prompt another part to tell the story further, and then they will "tag" the next part, etc. I think that could help as well.
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