February 2, 2020

The Self-Critic and Victim Two-Step

Journal Entry #78

The work that I have been doing with Terry Green has been very deep and insightful.  I have now had 5 intense sessions with him.  They are usually 5+ hours of “therapy” (I prefer to call it discovery) at a time.  This gives us a chance to really explore what is happening inside my head, how all the different “voices” are communicating with one another, which ones are prevalent and which ones have been silenced.

Basically, I sit with my eyes closed and Terry will ask something like “I would like to speak to the Protector.  Who am I speaking with?” and then as I sit quietly, I would answer “I am the Protector.”  I then embody the protector, and continue to answer his prompts and questions as the Protector of Juli.  He might ask, “What is your role?  How do you help Juli?”  And I might answer “I work hard to keep her safe.  Sometimes she gets frustrated with me because she wants more freedom, but it is my job to protect her and keep her out of harm’s way.”  And from there we may discover that my Protector is working overtime and not leaving enough room for the voice of Self-Critic or Feminine Compassion, or Vulnerability or the Fixer or the Seeking Mind to have their say in how I interact with myself and the world.  Basically, it is an imbalance of voices and they are all fighting to dance in the spotlight.

What I love about this process of discovery, is that it is gentle, and each voice is given the respect and the space to express what it needs, how it can help and how it can serve me well.  There seems to always be room for negotiation with the dominant voice as well as the voice that has been silenced over the years.

Last Saturday, our focus was around the two-step dance of the Voice of the Victim and the Voice of the Self-Critic.

Here’s the thing, I have been feeling like I am on the precipice of a breakthrough.  I really want to feel better, I really want to travel, I really want to be busy and dependable again in both my life and my work.  And I haven’t been able to put my finger on what it is that is holding me back.

Until Saturday when the admission medicine kicked in.

Since I have been diagnosed with Leishmaniasis, the outpouring of support, compassion and attention has been incredible.  Everyone has been so kind and considerate.  Everywhere I go, people are asking how I am doing, how I am feeling and if I am okay?  This kind of attention and compassion isn’t something I have ever experienced in life before.  And it feels good. So, it begs into question, if I am well, will it all stop?

I can see how easy it would be to always be complaining, to never feel amazing or normal again simply because it brings a level of compassion and love from the world that we wouldn’t otherwise experience.  If we don’t’ talk about my health, and the bugs, what on earth will we talk about?  I can see how being a victim or being unwell in itself could be an “addiction” or a comfortable place to exist.

It just isn’t for me.

But there is a part of me, that is so tuned into my body, that notices every ache, pain, thought and feeling…so much so, that when asked, I share it.  Lately, it feels like complaining.  Yes, it is my reality and I am experiencing it, but dwelling on it is holding me in an unhealthy paradigm.

So, when Terry asked to speak to my Self-Critic, it had much to say.  I discovered that its role is to keep me in check, to keep in line with what I was taught to be “right” and that it measures my success by judging me against those standards that I have adopted from parents, teachers and peers.  It wants to keep me safe from persecution, from exposure and from the harsh judgements of others.  It wants me to conform so that I don’t rock the boat.  But my Self- Critic also wants me to learn and grow.  To mature and make changes to be more confident and capable.  It also revealed that I am not ill but that I am healing and recovering and that I am not stuck.

When Terry spoke to my Prideful Victim voice, it really liked the attention and spotlight.  It revealed that it LIKES to wear what happened to us as a badge of honor.  It expressed that it was proud of what we have been through and it really likes the story around being unwell.

I have said before, that I am not a victim.  And truly, I am not.  Leishmaniasis is just something that I have had the privilege to go through.  I don’t really understand all of its gifts and lessons yet, but I am open to discovering them, learning how this experience will help me along my path and exploring how I can help others along the way.

The Victim Voice was loud, it was proud and it was happy it had time to talk.  But it was also wounded and scared.  When it was given the opportunity to have space, to be nurtured, a strong sense of calm engulfed me.

In a lot of ways, I actually have been a victim in this journey.  My Self-Critic has been working overtime to deny Victims Voice because that isn’t socially acceptable, because we aren’t victims in our family, because I have the responsibility to take what life dishes out and because being a victim is like failing.  None of which are true, but that is what my Self-Critic has believed to be true for so long.

Stuck in this dance between Self-Critic and Victim, both vying for attention, both looking to take the lead to protect and keep me safe.  Both have important roles and voices and yet both have been at odds with one another for months now.

Enter Mature Embodied Victim Voice and Mature Embodied Self-Critic Voice.  It was here that I found the wisdom, comfort and clarity I have been seeking.  These respectful voices, negotiated an exchange that created space for something new to enter in.


As I sat in silence, in the connected comfort of gratitude and wisdom, I felt myself plugging back into my authentic energy.  I felt awe, reverence and a deep sense of self-love for the journey that I have walked this last year, and even beyond.  In this space, everything was one.  Everything was connected to everything else.  Everyone was connected to everyone else.  I was one with all there is.

I was neither a victim or a survivor.

I was neither a critic or compassion.

I was neither love or hate.

I was neither chaos or confusion.

I just was.

And I was okay.

I am still okay. I am okay no matter what.  I will be okay no matter what.

I am not the voices in my head.

I am not the voices outside my head.

I simply AM.

Even as I recall the feelings from that session, I can feel a deeper sense of peace.  I have a knowingness that I am ready to move on.  I am ready for the next phase of healing.  I am ready to let go of those voices that were trying to help but causing turmoil instead.  I am ready to slow dance with life again.

It might sound weird or simple to some.  But this awareness is the hinge I have been looking for.  I have found a separation between what has happened to me as a human being and the truth of my being.  I have been known to say that “I am a spiritual being having a human experience.”  And now, I have a perfect example of what that means.  Has this human experience enriched my spiritual life?


Has my spiritual life enriched my human experience?

You betcha!

I am learning that it is okay to fall apart even when I think I have it under control.  I am not weak.  Healing is messy. And just because from the outside I look like I am carrying it well, doesn’t meant that it isn’t heavy.   Healing pushes me out of my comfort zone but I understand now that that is where growth comes from. And even though I am making huge strides right now, I know that there is no timeline for healing.

I am continuing to learn through this experience.  I think that my biggest take away from this last session has been that the main voices in my head the last year have been coming from a place of fear and protection.  It isn’t that I don’t need them, it is just that they don’t have to be so loud anymore.  I am through the worst of this and now, I am ready to THRIVE.  No more avoiding out of fear, no more denying out of fear, no more living out of fear.  It is time to move on.

I am ready.

Ready to feel the fear and do it anyway.

My first order of business?

Valpolicella or Malbec?

Xo Juli


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