We have many stories and we have many parts that create a narrative around those emotional experiences. I have a multitude of parts and characters in my writing. My parts include: my inner child, my wounded teen, my warrior woman goddess, my teacher, my medium, my sassy-pants, my poet, my storyteller, my vulnerable lover, my naturalist, my angel fury, my wise woman, my codependent, my adult child of an alcoholic, etc. Here’s a link to a piece I wrote when I allowed my inner child (who is my resilient creative part) to tell me about being the child of domestic violence.
In Narrative therapy
We address these stories that we might be stuck in and begin to take control of the narrative. We tell the story about where we have been and how we have been stuck in a role; a self-expectation, or oppression which you can remember and find limiting. We create a bridge and maybe even a new internal or external support system for the new story you want to tell about yourself. We empty the trash and create a new consciousness. In this consciousness, we are the survivor, hero or heroine, beloved and loving one we want to be.
Simply put, we free ourselves from the stories of our past and we empower ourselves to create the true story of who we are in the present and who we are becoming. We create affirmations and pathways to the future stories we want to tell. This in turn is recognized by others and celebrated with members of the community we want to walk with us into our new story. For example, today I imagine that I will have a full counseling practice at Empowerment Within and many of you who have read this far will decide to engage in this awesome process with me or one of my colleagues.
So Yes, we are all heavily storied beings and our stories are both conscious and unconscious.
I tell people about this because
It is part of my identity, and it can slip out as part of my narrative. Often seeming somewhat out of my control. Understanding it may just be my inner child warning you to “be careful around me“ because I am a sensitive person.
Is it useful to tell people this—that I survived death and am still here? No. Not really. In therapy we might call this a defensive overshare. Maybe I might share it once we have established a trusting relationship. But telling you right off when you’re still a stranger? “Hi, I am a zombie; welcome to counseling”? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Only recently I came to understand that because of what felt like rejection and the lack of safety I experienced as a child. After my death experience and the long period of physical and emotional recovery from it, my Inner Child part uses it to ward off people who do not understand sensitives or who might see me as very weird (“special”).
Now, at age 66, I can also tell people that I have lost over 30 intimate friends and family members to various forms of death which added to “I died at 9” is not a great way to attract new friends.; “Hi, I died, all my friends and family died. Want to be my new friend?” I share this because my story is changing. And I can now take inspiration from even this part of my journey and all the gifts it has given me. More significantly, I share this here because — as a therapist — I help clients become aware of stories they are stuck in. Which oftne includes parts of their identity that they need to re-examine, embrace, transform, or release and move on from. “The Day I Died a Lutheran Child’s Primer”
We are all storied- people.
Some stories we tell and some we hide. Others we give away to nurture and to teach. We can swallow the story whole and try our best to repress. Some we find a way to spit back out and create a new narrative.
- What story is a part of your identity that may be holding you back?
- Is there a ‘go-to’ defensive story you tell that you use to determine who you can trust and who you can not trust with your feelings?
- Do family members or friends roll their eyes when you bring up an old grievance that you are still stuck in?
- Is there a story about who you are that you tell to explain why you can’t succeed in your dream job or career?
- What is the story you want to tell about yourself but are holding back on?
“ We do not become Storytellers.from SHE on the Tip of Her Tongue by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
We came as carriers of the stories
We and our ancestors actually lived. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.”
Karen Snider, LPC
Psychotherapist – Empowerment Within LLC