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What to Do With Saboteurs

Marilyn Gordon, Cht.

It may sometimes feel as if you’re carrying an inexplicable heavy weight that prevents you from being creative or from stepping out of the box you’ve been living in. You can have grand plans and extraordinary ideas, but somehow you keep plodding along in your life and just “never get around to” expressing the great passion that is waiting around in corners inside your soul. If you asked it why it doesn’t come out of hiding, you might find voices like, “You’ll never make it. It’s too uncomfortable out there. If you succeed, you’ll feel like you’re at the edge of a scary precipice. If you fail, you’ll know for certain that you’re the failure you always thought you might be. Even if you try, it’ll tax your energy. You’ll never find enough time. You don’t really have either the talent or the guts to do it anyway.”

Nice talk! These messages can be echoes of parental conditioning—or can even be messages that parents carried within themselves. Perhaps you’ve been conditioned by siblings who always bullied you. Or maybe these sabotaging ideas come from previous lifetimes of perceived failure—or from trying a few times in this lifetime and becoming discouraged.

Wherever they come from, these messages are oppressions and limitations. They are manacles and straitjackets that prevent you from being fully alive. Many of us allow these voices to dominate our existence. Some of us, however, look for ways to break free.

A Deeper Look

One woman named Ann looked deeply in hypnotherapy at the influences sabotaging her. She worked a nine to five job; the bosses wanted more and more overtime, and she was beginning to get tired. More than this, she had dreams for her life. She’d invented some gadgets she dreamed of bringing to the marketplace, some products for business and for pets—but she had layer upon layer of life experiences that prevented her from doing anything about it. She had a deep desire to do this, felt oppressed by her job—but she had too many papers and too many extraneous projects in her office. She needed to clean it, but she never did. She also felt she didn’t know enough about how to go about her business.

First we used a technique called ReSourcing, which helps you to get to saboteurs instantaneously. I said to her, “I’m going to start a sentence, and I’d like you to finish it, if you would. It may sound a bit negative, but it’s phrased this way for therapeutic reasons. Don’t think about your answer. Just let it come from the top of your head. Here goes: ‘I don’t want to begin my business because…” And her answer was, “Because I don’t think I’m good enough.”

We then went into hypnosis, and we looked at her situation step by step. She felt a heavy weight on her body and in her mind. Her legs and arms felt shackled with a weight of total oppression. At first she felt totally enraged at his because it was always holding her back and making her feel discouraged. The voice within the heaviness said to her, “How can you even think about accomplishing these things? What makes you think you can do them?” She flashed in hypnosis to the realization that she’d felt this way even as a tiny child. Some force within her seems to be so powerful that it’s controlling her. She knows it’s the family’s conditioning keeping her within accepted parameters, shaping her so she doesn’t reach too far.

Instead of continuing to have an adversarial relationship with this force, she looked at the possibility of first simply paying attention to it. Listening to it, feeling it in her body, exploring it, understanding it, finding out what it needs are ways she can be with it instead of fighting it. She looks at what it might have been trying to accomplish for her all these years.

She knows this force is trying to keep her safe in the environments she’s grown up in. Because she was a sensitive person, she had needed to protect herself from a bullying brother and a conservative, limiting family. The heavy force has served her in its own constrictive way.

But she’s no longer a tiny child; she’s in a new environment. She’s free now, and if she appreciates—and even loves—this heavy sabotaging force, she just might extricate herself in a gentle and even beautiful way. She decides to make this force her ally in creating an experience of a breakthrough. In hypnosis, she experiences comfort and love and promises to allow herself to make one small step after another—continuing to keep her safety, yet stepping out of it and upward one small step at a time.

Loving the saboteur and allowing it to express to you what it’s been trying to do for you has its rewards. When you find out what it wants for you, you can create this shift in a much more affirmative way.

The Experience of Limitation

The experience of limitation is a necessary part of existence. Limitation defines expansion and freedom. Darkness is known by the light. It’s simply a matter of how long you want to wallow in the limitation that determines when you’ll take the steps to move out of it. Sometimes you just know that you must take the next step. If you’re standing in a forest and a tree begins to fall on you, you know you must move. This is how you know when it’s time to make a powerful shift—and when you know your clients are ready. It’s when the tree is falling, and you know you have to make the necessary change.

Without this resolve or what I call “the healing decision,” it may be difficult to move past the powerful saboteurs. You have to truly want to—even more than you want to stay the same. There are always so many reasons for keeping the status quo, that there has to be a firm resolve to change. Often there are perceived secondary gains (“If I keep this weight, no men will bother me.) Or fears (“If I get a new job, I might fail to do well.”) - or conditioned considerations (“If I do that. I’ll be better than my mother or father or brother.”)

You have to want to go beyond these considerations more than you want to hold onto them. Your clients have to want to also. Sometimes you may want to ask them, “On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the most committed, how committed are you to making the change you want?” If it’s below a five, take a look at it, and you may want to re-negotiate the purpose of your session.

Saboteurs as Allies?

Saboteurs are not, in and of themselves, bad. They are mechanisms to help cope with difficult areas of growth, and sometimes they are trying their best to take care of you. You may want to be the one who makes the decision about how you are to be taken care of—rather than relegating this decision to a force that may not truly be in your best interest.

Everything in life is an opportunity for awakening to our greatness and our strength. Working with the inner saboteurs is a part of the powerful work of personal growth and transformation.

©2006 Marilyn Gordon, BCH, CI
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