I CAN BE IN THE PRESENT
by being kind but realistic
PREVIOUS: Book-ending, Part 1
Review post: ‘ My Rights’
See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
BOOK-ENDING with the Inner Child
This tool has been borrowed from D.A. (Debtor’s Anonymous). It is a MENTAL tool used to Cognitively Restructure our thinking (T.) – in order to be free of the mental suffering & confusion we put ourselves thru so much of the time! Once we learn the technique & get used to it, we’ll find it comes in handy not only for ourselves, but helps us hear when others are using CDs on us!
Among other things, a fundamental task of the “UNIT” (the Healthy Adult & Loving Parent) is to bring the WIC into the present (sometimes kicking & screaming) – so we can consistently be able to see the world using new & correct information – that there are other kinds of people and options which are not like our family!
• To do that we have to be aware of our negative & distorted beliefs, and then work on correcting them. It’s the only way we can truly be safe! Book-ending is a valuable tool in changing our CDs (Cognitive Distortions). We need to prove to the WIC that the way things were in our family is not how it is everywhere else in the world. Some place Yes, but Not everywhere! We need to create new pathways in the brain to counter the old deep grooves, & the main way to do that is repetition. You know: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice!”
1. Identify an activity that scares you – going to a party, making a cold-call, asking for a need, objecting to being mistreated….
2. Before taking the action, list as many scary, negative beliefs about the situation as you can come up with, in 2 categories – ‘About Me’ & ‘About Them’.
• These assumptions will come mainly from the WIC, but you may find it easier to list statements coming form the bad parent voice, using either “I” or “You’ statements
✶ IMP: you may want to write what you have already experienced with this person or event in the past, so you’re clear about who or what you’re dealing with. This can be tricky is you tend toward paranoia, as your evaluation may be slanted or incorrect. On the other hand, we often ignore what we DO know about people, places & things which are unpleasant, unsuitable or actually harmful.
3. When possible, take the action.
4. Afterwards, so back to the notebook & write down:
• what actually happened
• how that was the same of different from the ‘PRE’ list
• how do you feel now (your emotions)
• what do you conclude about this event
Shortened EXP: (add many more lines to each point)
1. Afraid to say NO to someone’s request
2. They’ll be mad at me / won’t like me…. if I decline
3. I fearfully phone / email / text: “I won’t be able to —-”
4. Possible positive results:
— The person says OK & is not upset with me
— I’m relieved & surprised, can’t believe it was so easy
— It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (not bad at all)
Use the same 5 points above, but for :
• #1 write down the event or situation you’re looking forward to, and exactly how you picture it ‘going down’
• #2, write all the beliefs, assumptions, projections & expectations you have for the person or event. If you’ve had previous experience with this particular person / situation, list what happened before
• Continue with #3 & #4 as above.
For FUTURE REFERENCE – If you tend towards grandiosity, idealization, & over-expecting – the general rule is to FIRST identify:
a. what you automatically think will happen
b. cut that expectation in half
c. then cut it in half again
d. then take the action with this new goal in mind
a. I’m going to a dance. I’m convinced (secretly) that I’ll meet Mr/Ms. Right & live happily ever after
b. Half is: I’ll meet someone, we’ll click & we’ll go home together
c. Half again is: I’ll enjoy the music, dance with different people & be happy that I went out for the evening. I may or may not meet anyone I like!
d. Now I can explain this to the IC, & then go, with much less anxiety!
In the beginning when this 2-part tool is new to you, it’s best to do it in written form, or later – anytime you’re particularly stressed about an action.
Eventually you can do book-ending on the run – in your head – ant time you need it.
REVIEW posts on ‘CDs & the Brain’ to see why it’s so important to re-program the brain by adding new pathways.
Little by little the IC will be drawn into the present, where life can be much better than it started out – when our thinking is accurate!
NEXT: “Inner Child Speaks” – Re-posted – #1