Waking Up to What Doesn't Work

This morning I was working with a client in her home office. I asked her questions about the things she kept in her office space. Things were going along well, when suddenly her critical voice kicked in. She commented harshly on her ability to get things done. Her voice sounded different. There was a shrill tone. Plus she spoke much more quickly. It sounded like there was someone inside of her punching away. I distracted her by getting back to the things in the room.

She was responding well until a few minutes later when that same critical voice showed up. It sounded like she was doing an imitation of someone, except that she didn't know that was what she was doing. The voice said, "God, I can't believe how much I waste my time. Something must be wrong with me. I don't know why I can't just take care of these things. I feel like I'm wrecking everything."

I told her she was being hard on herself and that it got in the way of her taking care of these things in front of her. I commented on how it looked like she was punching herself with her words. I described how she winced from their impact. She snapped out of the trance. Her breathing went back to normal. Her clarity came back. She didn't say anything for a few seconds. I could feel a little realization of her behavior kicking in.

We continued going through her things. Then she started talking about her mother. She described how her mom was critical of her while she was growing up. She imitated her mother and it sounded exactly like her critical voice.

I said, "Oh, that was your mom earlier. You were channeling her. Or the way she programmed you to get things done when you were little. It sounded like a recording that was being played back. You faded out and she came in and spoke to you. We all have an element of that in us. Our parents taught us how to react to the world. But some of the things they gave us over the years turn out to be things we can't use. We are so used to them being there that we don't question them. Until now. You are much more effective taking a direct look at the things in front of you and making decisions based on what feels right. The voice from the past doesn't suit you. It's clutter."