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Posts Tagged ‘Voice Dialogue’

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“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”   Rudyard Kipling

A short while ago I wrote a series of blogs about Voice Dialogue, by Hal and Sidra Stone.  They talk mainly about different sub personalities and how they can interact within ourselves and with others given the right circumstances. In a memorable film called “The three Faces of Eve“, the film showed how certain ways of talking could bring out this persons differing personalities.  It made me consider the power words have in our lives and what can be triggered by the way they are used.

Everyone likes compliments, encouragement and appreciation for their efforts. It gives you a buzz and even if the task has been difficult you feel it was worthwhile. You are willing to overlook ill feelings which may have come up because of pressure to get the job done, or having to work late. Even harsh words said are often forgiven in the haze of good will that the praise has created. In Voice Dialogue terms, we moved from Angry/Resentful worker to Happy/Fulfilled employee. The “boss” has moved from the Tyrant to the Good Guy.

How has this happened? It has all been accomplished by how the words which were spoken were said, their tone and how they were received. You see, even the most innocent of words if received incorrectly can engender feelings of hurt and resentment.

“You KNOW I don’t want those papers there, put them OVER HERE!  Such a simple sentence can be heard in many ways. If heard as a criticism the worker will be upset and possibly angry. If heard as a stressed response from their boss they may feel sympathy for them. If the Harried worker was feeling tired, worrying about home, they may not have seen the Stressed boss. They may not know the pressure being applied to them to get the job finished.

Misunderstandings occur every day, mostly with those we interact with often, with family and those we care about. These are the times when words can wound and create fear, loathing and hate.  Others can, of course, bring feelings of love, warmth, healing and adoration.

Words are a miracle in and of themselves. They are only letters strung together and have been given meanings by others. As we are taught to use them they are given emotions to attach to them. Depending on our experiences they can be good or bad.

image from http://www.dw.de

As my children were growing up there was a new technique encouraged for parents, called the “Speaker Listener Technique”.  Each time the “speaker” said something the “listener” had to repeat it back using their own words. That is, not repeating what had been said but what had been understood. It was effective, but it slowed communication down dreadfully.

We each have our own method of communicating with others, with the world at large and it will not appeal to everyone. Yet this simple statement is a description of a battleground of sorts.

There are people who manage to speak in carefully controlled tones at all times, seemingly never getting upset or annoyed over anything. They often dislike hearing anyone raise their voice. The almost polar opposite is the person who, if agitated by events, will raise their voice, perhaps even resort to a curse or two if they are really upset. It is a stress relief mechanism. It may not be appreciated by everyone but it may be the way they have found to release that build up of emotional pressure. However, if the calmly spoken person really takes offense at the loud tone, it can have ramifications.

Who is right and who is wrong? Is there a right or wrong or is it simply the way people have learned to communicate?  If the person who, under pressure resorts to loud words is told that it affects the calmly spoken person will they feel constrained to change? Will it alter their real nature by having to submerge their pressure relief system? Will they feel lessened by the other person because of the criticism?

image from litreactor.com

There are  hundreds, if not thousands of variants in between these two communication styles. Hundreds if not thousands of sub personalities pulling the strings to bring these interactions about.  When we lash out in anger or hurt we always have to face the consequences. If we are willing to do that we can overcome the fallout from it. It is only when we cannot pursue a resolution that the ‘injury’ festers and becomes something more.

I firmly believe that we, and only we give words power, to either hurt or heal. Our current world is conducted at breakneck speed, often with little time to consider all possibilities of a statement. Everyone needs to accept that word usage has changed our language and misunderstandings happen – frequently.

I know of one person who spent several decades afraid to speak their own mind, to show their emotions in word or deed and when they were finally free of the constraining force, found there was an explosion of stress released. Sometimes the force of the communication came at the wrong time and was misinterpreted. This person then began to retreat back inside their shell for fear of being judged harshly. They were afraid they would be deemed ‘unworthy’ or less in some way. Their hurt or anger is now turned inwards which is unhealthy and unhelpful for that person.

We must all look at how we communicate, how our words are intended and received and if they are received in a way unintended then it is our responsibility to correct it – sooner rather than later. We must all shoulder the responsibility to teach by example that words are powerful and expression is allowed – yet we must also ask ourselves if we are being judgmental because of our beliefs and our criticism unwarranted. Sub personalities or simple communication styles. We all need to learn more. Perhaps if we learn to communicate in a better way, words will not be weapons wounding at times.

Learning is a lifetime occupation. We can only do that by communicating with others.

“There exists, for everyone, a sentence – a series of words – that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you’re lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.”
Philip K. Dick, VALIS

May all our words be great ones, and all our intentions be from the heart.

Blessings,   Susan

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“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”   Arthur Ashe

After talking about sub personalities I was wondering if there was a better, more “close to home” example I could use to show how these sub personalities can be so helpful in our daily lives, and yes, they can be unhelpful also. Yesterday, that is precisely what happened.

I had been through an agonising night with my Lyme Disease, I thought, and it felt as though my right hip was being slowly pulled apart by red hot irons. Not terribly pleasant and definitely the stuff to keep you awake! I was most assuredly ‘The Victim’ of the tick/parasite, ‘The Predator’, and also ‘The Invalid’, as I achingly slowly trekked to the bathroom and back throughout the long night. I was finally trying to rest in bed. The bug ‘die off’ is painful and at times feels as though it is a never ending cycle. It isn’t, but ‘The Inner Child’ feels quite vulnerable.

Whilst no-one wants to be in an accident (‘Victim’), or to be in the position of seeing one (‘Witness’), sometimes you are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time or the right place at the right time. It depends on your perspective.

My husband, Ray (‘The Carer’), had brought a nice cup of Earl Grey tea and sat down for a reassuring chat. A nice comforting chat is always good for the soul and anything else which ails you.  Suddenly we heard that awful sound everyone automatically recognises, the dreadful squeal of brakes followed immediately by the heart stopping thud of two cars colliding.  This, right outside our house, close to the bedroom window.

We exchanged quick looks as he stood up to find out if he could see the accident, but unfortunately the hedge around the property completely blocked the scene. He dashed off to check things out. ‘The Protector’ had come out in both of us. Whilst he made a quick exit through the front door I shuffled up to the wardrobe and dragged out my dressing gown. Dressed in PJ’s, slippers and dressing gown I too headed out.

image from http://www.ebay.co.uk                    Comfy and cosy but not high fashion!

About now, everyone should realise the possible folly of this. Sans make up, something I NEVER do, and having a bad herx reaction I wasn’t fit to look after myself far less anyone else! None the less, “the calling” was there so I painfully shuffled past onlookers and seeing a couple of people around the car on the far side of the road, I went to the lady sitting alone inside the car closest to me. I don’t think I could have crossed the road but if the need had been there, I don’t doubt I would have done it!

“The Calling” is an inner pull which never goes and compels you to action; someone may have been hurt and I might be needed. I ‘knew’ Ray would be channeling ‘The Commander’, directing the rushing traffic coming over the crest of the hill. Despite a sign clearly indicating a cross road just before the crest, (why do Councils allow cross roads to be placed in such idiotic places?) cars were still coming over the hill at a speed dangerous to anyone standing there, far less an accident scene! By the way, that was ‘The Inner Critic’ passing comment on Councils.

There he stood, powerful and commanding. I could see the energy flowing from his hands as ‘The Commander’ waved in an imperious manner for the cars to slow down and stop – and they did! They stopped, then slowly made their way past the two cars which were pulled over onto the side of the road. A potential second accident was avoided.

image from dir.coolclips.com

Shuffling along I made my way to the nearest car and checked out the situation, ‘The Analyst’ realised that no-one was hurt, no blood, no broken bones. The driver, shaken and in shock, I moved between both ‘The Protector’ and ‘The Carer’ so that the driver I’ll call “Emma” could finally reach a state of relative calm and phone her son. Talking calmly is a great help in these cases. Her trembling stopped and she was able to speak to the Paramedics when they arrived.

The Paramedics became ‘The Professional Carers’ and also ‘Traffic Controllers’ as they positioned their ambulance van with lights flashing where approaching traffic could see and relieved Ray of that task.  Emma’s son arrived and  I too was relieved of my roles.

Ray gathered me up and started to half carry me back home. Away from the adrenal rush, the pain, sickness and discomfort came flooding back. I was more concerned with the Paramedics seeing me as the patient if my legs folded under me instead of the accident ‘Victims’, so I breathed a painful but relieved sigh when I reached my comfortable bed! Ray, ‘The Protector’ and ‘The Carer’ was once again taking care of Susan ‘The Invalid’.

image from blog.sequoiaseniorsolutions.com

Everyday occurrences can see the same exchange of sub personalities appear as they did when we attended this accident. If you pay attention you may also see sub personalities around you such as ‘The Office Bully’. ‘The Inner Child’, ‘The Organiser’,’The Pusher’, ‘The Pleaser’ and so on.

Integrating all these sub personalities is the work of Hal and Sidra Stone in Voice Dialogue and, in my opinion, is powerful.

If you are interested, read the following:

Which ‘me’ are you talking to?

A Day in the lives of…What’s Your Name?

A Day in the lives of…What’s your Name, Sir?

“The intellectual is different from the ordinary man, but only in certain sections of his personality, and even then not all the time.”     George Orwell

There are more examples to be found in the film genre – for another time.

Happy reading,

Bless, Susan  xx

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image from hyperallergic.com

From earliest times men have been seen as the ‘Hunter – Gatherers’ and are still working on levels of sub personalities in this mode. However, in today’s society their personas have become much more divergent. Here is an example of what an atypical days in the life of a modern day married man might look like. This is a follow on from “A day in the life of….What’s Your Name?”

6am     Wake Up. ‘The Husband‘ greets his wife before heading to the bathroom to get ready for the day.

7am      Breakfast. ‘The Husband‘ tries to talk to his wife whilst ‘The Father’ pays some attention to the children before he has to leave for work. He feels a little frustrated that he hasn’t been able to give either his wife or his children enough of his time.

7.30am   ‘The Husband’  leaves for work, getting into his car he becomes ‘The Aggressive Pusher’, jumping between lanes, tailgating in an attempt to get to work early and get a head start on work at the office.

8.30am  ‘The Executive’ walks into the office, politely speaking with fellow colleagues whilst ‘The Dictator’ demands coffee from his secretary, taking out his frustrations on the first person available.  ‘The Rationalist’ apologises for being abrupt when she brings in his coffee. ‘The Coordinator‘  arranges for meetings to be scheduled during the day.  ‘The Chairman’ runs these meetings ensuring everything runs to schedule. As the group leaves ‘The Flirt’ pops out to share a few moments with one of the girls.

12 noon   ‘The Executive’ walks quickly to the luncheon appointment. ‘The Connoisseur’  selects an impressive meal, suitably impressing the clients. ‘The Raconteur’ regales the clients with small anecdotes and little personal touches to endear himself with the clients and build a rapport to help establish a further working relationship. ‘The Flirt’ shows a little charm towards the ladies and receives a few coy smiles in return.

1.20pm   After lunch,  ‘The Executive’ has the clients in his office signing contracts. ‘The Banker’ steps in as he pays some of his personal accounts, followed by ‘The Husband’ as he brings his wife up to date so she wont pay the same accounts. ‘The Executive’ returns, calling on the secretary to arrange through ‘The Coordinator’ for more meetings the next day.  On the way out of the office ‘The Mate’ comes out as he exchanges banter with the male colleagues.

5pm    ‘The Husband’ (he’s been thinking about home) gets in the car. ‘The Marauding Speedster‘ takes over as he sees an open stretch of road and he wants to feel some wind in his face. ‘Road Rage Roger’ may make an appearance if he’s held up too.  Along the way he sees an elderly lady standing next to her car, apparently broken down.  ‘The Protector’ appears and he stops to help her out. Back behind the wheel again ‘The Speedster’ takes over until he reaches home.

6pm   ‘The Husband’ arrives home and greets his wife. The children surround him and ‘The Father‘ appears. For a time ‘The Inner Child’ surfaces as he plays with his children. The children are reluctant to go to bed so ‘The Stern Older Judge‘ appears and shuttles them off to bed.

7pm    ‘The Husband’ is able to spend some quality time with his wife, talking over the days affairs and asking after her day. ‘The Lover’ appears as the night  passes and he helps prepare the romantic bath for his wife. ‘The Seducer’ is preparing the way for romance.

9pm  Fully relaxed and he and his wife share some couples time, bringing each other up to date on their respective days, (although he doesn’t mention flirting with the ladies). ‘The Romantic’ has prepared a glass of wine and perhaps some chocolates to enjoy.

10.30pm    ‘The Armchair Sports Fan’ watches some sport whilst his wife has a long hot soak.

11pm      Soft music and lighting fill the bedroom from the fragrant candles he has lit. Refreshed and languorous from her bath she walks into the bedroom. ‘The Husband‘/’The Lover’ meets  ‘The Wife‘/ ‘The Lover’ and………..‘The Seducer‘ meets ‘The Seduced‘, or is it vice versa?

image from http://www.sitcomsonline.com (Herman’s Head)


I’m complicated, sentimental, lovable, honest, loyal, decent, generous, likable, and lonely. My personality is not split; it’s shredded.    Unknown

This is a lighthearted look at a real situation. We are all complex human beings and these sub personalities assist us to complete sometimes difficult or mundane facets within out life. Look for example at the soldier; he undertakes hazardous duties which, under normal circumstances he would be unable to do. Training alone does not make a good soldier. ‘The Warrior’ is available for him or her to call upon to help him perform his duties, to keep him alert to danger and keep him safe.

Would we have it any other way? Perhaps only with Politicians, where we could expect that ‘The Negotiator’ or ‘The Politician’ would perform according to his promises, and not be ‘The Turncoat’ or ‘The Cheat’ or ‘The Deceiver’ they often turn into.  Such are the complexities of sub personalities.

Another, different look at this intriguing subject in a later blog.

Blessings, Susan x              ‘The Writer’ or ‘The Blogger’.

If you are interested in this article you might like to read:

Which ‘me’ are you talking to?

A Day in the Life of……What’s Your Name?

NB. The Voice Dialogue technique was the work of Hal and Sidra Stone. They identified hundreds of sub personalities and their interaction with each other and other people. This article in no way is a definitive work on the topic. If interested more detailed explanations can be found on their website.

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What’s the matter with her? [Jasper] asked Griffin.
Griffin shook his head. ‘Nothing. She’s just two personas struggling for dominance in one body.’
[Jasper] … Poor little thing.”   ― Kady Cross, The Girl in the Steel Corset

In many ways it may be difficult to imagine having so many personalities all wrapped up and active inside one body. So here is a little example of the type of changes you might recognise.

6am       Wake up – ‘The Wife’ is getting herself ready for the day ahead as she chats to her husband.

7am        Breakfast – ‘The Mother’ Time to wake the children (if they aren’t already awake), and get them  organised for breakfast, shower, dress for school. ‘The Wife’, still around as she gets her husband off to work.

8am        In the car – ‘The Taxi Driver’  as ‘The Mother’ takes the children to school.

8.30am  ‘The Mother’ becomes ‘The Taxi Driver’ as she leaves the children and the ‘The Kamikaze Driver’ as she hurries to et to work.

9am        ‘The Secretary’, subservient to her boss and on top of her game in the office. ‘The Office Organiser’ pops out from time to time to arrange matters in the office.

12noon    ‘The Secretary’ leaves for lunch and ‘The Tyrant’ demands better service from the deli worker. ‘The Aggressive Bully’ appears as she talks to the customer service personnel when she feels she isn’t being served well. ‘The Inner Child’ appears when she realises she may be late back at work and is worried her boss may be upset.

1pm         ‘The Secretary’ seamlessly takes her seat, assisted by ‘The Office Organiser’, with a short breakout for ‘The Wife’ when she talks briefly with her husband, followed by ‘The Mother‘ when she calls to check her children have been collected from school before returning to ‘The Secretary‘ to complete her work day.

5pm       ‘The Secretary’ leaves work and becomes ‘The Kamikaze Driver‘ as she tries to get home as quickly as possible, stopping en route to collect her children, becoming ‘The Mother’ followed by ‘The Taxi Driver’ as she ferries the children home. Once home ‘The Mother’ takes over again.

6pm       ‘The Mother’ is fixing dinner as her husband arrives. ‘The Wife’ greets him and thereafter ‘The Mother’ and ‘The Wife‘ play tag team until the children are in bed and husband and wife are alone.

9pm      ‘The Wife’ and her husband enjoy some couples time before she decides to have a long hot soak.

10.30pm  ‘The Integrated Woman’ enjoys a long hot soak, surrounded by candles, soft music, oil scented bath water and heavenly peace and quiet.

11pm      After her bath ‘The Wife’ goes to bed and becomes ‘The Lover’ and ‘The Seductress’ with her husband before she falls asleep to dream her dreams.

image from http://www.scenicreflections.com        Representation of ‘The Three Faces of Eve’

“It all made sense — terrible sense. The panic she had experienced in the warehouse district because of not knowing what had happened had been superseded at the newsstand by the even greater panic of partial knowledge. And now the torment of partly knowing had yielded to the infinitely greater terror of knowing precisely”
Flora Rheta Schreiber, Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Personalities

This is a very simplistic example of sub personalities at work. They are so subtle at times, so obvious, that we don’t realise that they are sub personalities at work. In fact most of us take it for granted that it is simply a part of our one persona.

Voice Dialogue, as taught by Hal and Sidra Stone, teaches therapists how to speak to these sub personalities during a Dialogue session.  The theory in Voice Dialogue is that only by becoming fully integrated with all your sub personalities are we able to utilise the strengths these sub personalities can provide.

An immediate example can be seen when the recent horror of the soldier killed in the UK. People rushed to protect the fallen soldier. “The Protectors’ had all come to the fore. The lady who confronted the armed man, ‘The Amazon’, strong, unafraid (in that instant) and able to stand her ground.  Those who comforted the soldier, ‘The Carers’ who only sought to give aid and comfort in his final moments. The police who captured those responsible, ‘The Enforcers’.

NB. Use of this sad and horrific example is not aimed at causing further grief, hurt or diminishing the horror of what occurred. No offense is intended to the family or anyone associated with the incident. My heartfelt condolences and prayers are with the family and those affected by this event.

Blessings   Susan x

Next I will explore the atypical day for a man in this scenario.

 

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“I’m talking to myself in two different personas now. I’m reaching for a full-throttle meltdown and why not? Why stop halfway? Why not just go for it, jump on and ride the wave?”
C.K. Kelly Martin, My Beating Teenage Heart

Communication – The way we talk to each other; the way we talk to ourselves, is a complex sharing of thoughts, words and feelings. It is influenced by not only how we are feeling, what we are doing or who we are talking to but more importantly who we are when we are talking.

No matter how straightforward we may appear to be to the outside world or to each other, we are a complex mix of personalities.  By this I do not mean simply personality traits but complete personas. You might almost say, with a degree of confidence, that at any given time you could be talking to a different person. Have you ever noticed or had that feeling when talking to someone? There are times when you feel that you simply don’t know who you are talking to because they seem so different from the one you are used to talking with.

Had and Sidra Stone, founders of “The Voice Dialogue”, (more about that in a later blog), identified hundreds of sub personalities within each person. Each of these sub personalities affords us the ability to handle or perform in certain situations. Just think of the stories you hear about the super human feat performed by people in dangerous situations, later they have no recollection of what they did or how the did it. In fact they often say that they could never imagine doing something like that since it is so far outside their normal ‘persona’. The person who runs into a busy street to save a child who has wandered into traffic, no thought for their own safety, this is an example of a sub personality suddenly ‘stepping in’ to do something which would be unimagined by this person under their normal circumstances.

Take a look at your life. Can you identify how many roles you have performed so far? We are each imbued with certain predetermined roles given our family dynamics.

As a child you are a son or daughter, brother or sister. These roles are carried with you throughout life and at times may be more dominant than at others. In the fullness of time there may be a change to husband or wife, or partner, and further to father or mother. Even with these changes you are still son, daughter, brother or sister.  If all falls into place there may be Grandfather or Grandmother.  These are the traditional and acknowledged roles.

In the matriarchal society we saw the changes for a female moved from maiden to mother and then crone. These changes were also closely tied to the wheel of life and the seasonal cycle of the year.

image from carolyn-thelongroad.blogspot.com

Yet no matter the time of year, the time of life or the relationship, the face we see in the mirror can reflect any facet of out personality, or sub personality.The person we forget about is YOU, the face who most closely represents the ‘true you”. Have you taken the time to find out who you really are?

Each of us need the time to become in tune with who we are, our inner dreams and desires, what makes our heart and soul come to life.  At times what stirs our hearts and minds will be different from those desires we once had.  Something else is compelling us to move in another direction. Have we changed or is another part of our persona begun to direct the story of our life?

Some of the sub personalities identified by Hal and Sidra are; The Inner Critic, The Protector, The Mother, Inner Child, The Enforcer, just to name a few.  Think of the film, “The Three Faces of Eve”, based on a true story where a woman was found to have clearly distinct and separate personalities dominant given certain circumstances. Eventually the doctors found many more than three personalities and we are no different – we simply control the extreme elements or sub personalities.

When we meet someone they remember us as who we are at that time and that is how they greet us when they meet us next time, regardless of where we are in life.

Voice Dialogue has been developed by Drs Hal and Sidra Stone since 1972. They have been active teachers of the method since that time. You can read more about these two extraordinary people at their Delos website.

Hal and Sidra Stone, Voice Dialogue Training, Melbourne 2002

“One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self; of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I look forward to talking to you, or you, or you at another time.

May all of you be happy.   Susan x

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