“There was a big fight at my house last night. Unfortunately, it was inside me.”

We can all say that we have fights inside ourselves.  It’s true…one part of me takes a position on something, and another part of me disagrees.

Polarities.  They happen all the time.

Often we try to get rid of one side of a polarity.  That’s not a good idea!  Typically each side has something important to offer, and the two sides need to be reconciled.  Hating part of ourselves is similar…not a good idea.  If we look closely, each part of us typically means well, though we may be acting or thinking in an unsophisticated or childlike manner.

When something traumatic happens to us as children, or later in life, the part of us that remembers the event tries to figure out what to do to make us feel better.  If it can’t get closure on the event, it becomes “unfinished business”.  Whenever we think about the trauma we become upset, and we typically try to push the part of us that remembers it aside so that we can function as well as possible.  Another term used to describe this is “compartmentalization.”

Interestingly enough, when we do this we isolate the part of us that has the feelings and memories.  And I mean, we really isolate it.  It does not particularly grow or change as time goes on.  It retains the level of thinking that it had when the event happened.  As a result, it thinks in unsophisticated terms and has poor problem solving abilities.  In other words, many of the parts of us that are so destructive are that way because they are essentially “young”, not evil.

It turns our that we don’t just have an “inner child”, but we have inner children, or various parts of us that need compassion and healing.

This is not to say that we don’t have a core, mature self.  We do.  But we have dissociated parts of us that are frozen in time, and who get excited and inundate us with discomfort and anxiety and a thousand other feelings when they are upset.

Don’t let them fight.  And don’t try to get rid of them.  Become your own therapist or find one to help you…and “rehab” them.  Help them to find healing.

Here’s hoping for a happier inner house for all of us.

David

This entry was posted in Gestalt, Healing, Internal Family Systems, Self Esteem, Trauma. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “There was a big fight at my house last night. Unfortunately, it was inside me.”

  1. Jennie Anderson says:

    Mornings Dr David,

    Inner unbalance: This story has several versions. One names the 2 wolves as “Evil” & “Good”. That dichotomy worried me as it seems without knowing one, we cannot know the other. The version below has been helpful in balancing the fights inside, one day at a time.

    Wolf Parable
    An elder Apache was teaching his grandchildren about life.

    He said to them,”A fight is going on inside me; it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and respect. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person too.”

    They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
    The old Grandpa simply replied, “The one you feed.

    Thank you for your quiet wisdom, Jennie

    • Jennie, thanks for your reply. Your story has a point…we must “feed” our higher nature. However, in my opinion there is a problem that can arise also if we do that without discernment, which is what I think you are getting at. It comes when we try to “get rid” of a part of ourselves. It can be easy to decide that an unsophisticated part of us wanting to do a seemingly unproductive behavior should be opposed outright. However, often there is a “baby in that bathwater”, and there is an element of truth in it that is important to us. In the same way that one does community-building, it can be helpful to integrate polarities within us when we can, rather than simply side with either side. Both sides often have wisdom to offer that we need.

      Thanks again for your comment!

      David

      • Jennie Anderson says:

        & then sometimes… just sometimes one realizes that one has let go of the fear, the sorrow, the regret, the inferiority & for that moment one hears the friendly face of courage & humility from within. Perhaps it is not “fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego” that have a hold over us but us that holds too tightly to these. . .

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