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The Futile Dialogue in Our Head

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In this next example, a woman caring for her cantankerous ailing mother was feeling exhausted and drained by the experience. This dialogue expressed, in part, her emotional entanglement in the task:

Inner Aggression : You're not really that kind to her. You should be doing more for her.

Inner Passivity : What an extraordinarily good person I am for looking after her. I feel like a saint.

Inner Aggression : That's a joke! You resent every minute of it. You really don't like her that much, do you?

Inner Passivity : I'm trying my hardest to help her. She takes it all for granted.

Inner Aggression : Didn't she always take you for granted. That's the way it's always been. What else is new! Now you pretend to be a saint! Why don't you tell her what you really feel!

Inner Passivity : What's the use now? I can't just abandon her. I have to go through the motions, doing what I can.

Inner Aggression : Just don't pretend you're some kind of saint.

And on and on. In these examples, the individuals are identifying with themselves primarily through their unconscious ego, their inner passivity. If, instead, they were experiencing themselves through their authentic self, they would identify with their own trusted inner authority. In this following example, the voice of inner passivity has now been replaced by the voice of our authentic self, representing inner wisdom and strength. This example provides a feeling for how our inner authority can represent our best interests as it neutralizes the inner critic:

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Inner Aggression : You made a fool of yourself at the office today. How could you have asked such a stupid question at the meeting?

Self: Did I just hear some inner criticism?

Inner Aggression : Yes, you did! Do I have to repeat myself!

Self : Who invited you in? What's this nonsense you're babbling?

Inner Aggression : Don't think you can brush me aside so easily.

Self : You're silly. Go away.

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Inner Aggression : No, I won't!

Self : Okay, stay around. I don't care.

Inner Aggression : Did you hear what I said?

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Peter Michaelson is an author, blogger, and psychotherapist in Plymouth, MI. He believes that better understanding of depth psychology reduces the fear, passivity, and denial of citizens, making us more capable of maintaining and growing our (more...)

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