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It’s important to keep reminding yourself that hiding underlying vulnerability is one of the primary tasks of every inner self.
It’s a mistake to dialogue with a self and then take everything it says about its "opposite" as accurate data. Let’s face it, lots of selves will tell you what you want to hear, others may tell you anything rather than admit to being not sure, lots of other selves just like to play tricks to keep us away from something they don't want us to discover about some deep underlying vulnerability because hiding underlying vulnerability is one of the primary tasks of every inner self. It is often the case that when you dialogue with the opposite self you find out a lot more about the underlying vulnerability.
However, three useful ways to discover opposites are:
(a) tuning in to the energies of the self rather than its words
Even after I had dialogued with a Patriarch and Matriarch in the same person and both were exhibiting negative or critical energy I would seriously question that they were energetic opposites just because one was energetically male and the other female or they just said that they didn’t like one another.
It’s likely that after more in depth dialogue I will discover for example, there are two different pairs of energetically opposed selves both focused around negativity and positivity. For example, the negative patriarch might turn out to be opposing or disowning a powerful but positive goddess energy while the negative matriarch could be concerned about blocking a positive non-
I’d be even more doubtful if a self like the "knower" or the "judge" informed me that it knew for sure which other self was its "opposite" self. Nor would I expect any self to give me honest or even accurate data about another self that it had been responsible for disowning Let's face it,. it's a bit of a contradiction to expect every7 inner self like to be aware enough to see things as clearly as we would like them to. *
* (I am much more inclined to accept the help of a self that says "I'm not sure what my opposite is, but I can feel it over there.")
(b) identifying the hidden vulnerability rather than the vulnerability the self wants to tell you about.
One of the more useful clues to the energetic opposite selves like the judge, the entitled knower or rule maker is the hidden vulnerability which these primary selves are protecting, by keeping it hidden both from the individual and from others. The more a self is telling you that the person is invulnerable, that they know exactly what they’re doing, that everything is going to work out the way they wanted to, the more I would suspect that this is a self that is trying to hide vulnerability. When I hear this from one or more selves I often worry about what the vulnerability might be and why they are so focused on hiding it.
If your hidden vulnerability is around your fear of being wrong, the knower self will almost certainly want to talk to you and did you all about how sure they are about things. The energetic opposite of the entitled knower may be a self (often connected to a negative core belief) that worries about making mistakes.
In my own case, my hidden vulnerability is also around my fear of being wrong but my energetic opposite is a very liberal self who maintains there is no "right" or "wrong" way of doing things. In someone else it might be a rebel or mutineer pattern, in the next person a freedom fighter. In the next person it could as easily be one that plays the role of a philosopher who says "nothing exists outside of us – there is no reality."
If the hidden vulnerability is a deeper fear of losing the respect of others or a lack of intelligence there may be a weaker knower self but one whose main interest still lies in keeping the hidden vulnerability from becoming known. That could mean you also look for some very different opposite selves and these will vary widely in cases like this. In fact you will probably meet the opposite self first, for example the “peacekeeper”, ‘don’t rock the boat’ or people pleaser’.
(c) Dialoguing with the opposite side (without trying to identify the self first)
After dialoguing with a stronger more primary self, I often ask the client to choose a chair at random on the opposite side and move over to that side, with no prior knowledge of what kind of self we will be dialoguing with. Even after talking to that self for a few minutes we still may not know its name, but more often than not its energy will be very obvious. And many times it is the energy of the true opposite self that is sitting in the chair.
Copyright © John Nutting 1996 -
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Identifying Energetic or Polar opposite selves
Be careful about assuming too soon that there might be standard or specific opposite selves that apply in all cases. A common mistake is to think for example that every "patriarch" is the polar opposite of a "matriarch" in the same person or in others. (and vice versa) or that the opposite of every "knower" is a "not-
Such a verbal opposite may be true for one person but not for the next. What is important is that we locate the energetic opposite for each individual. In my experience where there is a strong patriarch in the room it may be energetically opposed, for example, in one person by the energy of an inner female, in the next person by a warrior woman, or a goddess, in a third person by an inner mother or a wise woman and in a fourth, yes, by an inner matriarch. The only way to find out for each person is to conduct a series of in depth dialogues.