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Voice Dialogue - Inner Self Awareness

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  1. Pauses – One of the better indicators is the way both people feel comfortable with short pauses in conversation. Because they are feeling more connected there is no vulnerability in the pauses. They know that they remain connected without having to talk all the time.

2.   Quality rather than quantity – topics of conversation are notably different (see lists below) the gauges on your dashboard have changed. Instead of registering volume and speed they are more like a thermometer registering the degree of warmth  of the personal connection.

3.    Focus - the conversation is more connected and less protected because it’s largely about “I, you and me issues” (more connected, less protected).

4.     Balance – each person in a relaxed way “makes time” for the other to alternately be the speaker of listener.

5.     Personal communication usually includes some free and unconditional “sharing” with the other person. There more “sharing” there is, the better the connecting.

6.     More time is spent in the a “grown-up” state of mind . This enhances the warm personal connection. Why? Because the grown-up state is where we feel so well protected. Internally we feel safe and secure even while we are connecting closely with another person.

Personal topics are more connected and less protected

Notice that the lower you go down the list the less protected and the more open and connected the linkage will become between the people communicating. The more power the people talking have to make changes, to fix or improve things they are talking about. Personal communication is described as open.

As you switch to the your personal channel, (and always assuming that the other person is ready to connect with you on the same channel) the topics of the conversation change.  In many ways the conversation takes on a more “grown-up” feeling. No one is getting hooked into “child-like” or “parent-like” states. What we are talking about at this time is more likely to include:

When you are using your personal channel you usually ask more questions. Questions help to maintain the connected energy also keep it at an even level. At the time when you are asking a question you will be largely free of “impersonal parent” activities like judging, rule-making, over-confidence or criticising,


The more two people become familiar with communicating through their personal channels, the deeper the conversation is likely to become.  New areas of conversation are tried out tentatively to see if both speakers are comfortable about bringing them into the personal discussion arena.

This means that both people are developing a stronger level of intimacy.  This is illustrated by the way that they now feel safer sharing details about their vulnerability.  Topics which were not discussed before, might now include:

You can usually tell that you have reached this stage by the topics being discussed, however another clear sign that you will notice is that you will also be feeling more vulnerable.  It is OK AT this point if you choose not to stay at this level for too long.  It's better to back out a bit until you know that connecting at this level is safe and that you can confidently protect your own vulnerability around this level of openness.

It’s so very important that you neither expect nor ask the other person to take responsibility for protecting your vulnerability.  Even if they offered to do this for you, do not allow them to take on the task because what they are offering to do is not only dangerous for both of you to try, it’s also impossible to achieve.  No matter what anyone else claims they can do for you, only you can look after your own vulnerability.


The degree of intimacy that can be achieved through personal communication channels is up to you. However you will notice quite clearly signs that tell you that the intimate connection is becoming deeper and closer.

One sign in particular will be a further increase in your own sense of vulnerability. The more connected you feel, the less protected you will be.  The same warnings as above apply here about expecting the other person to protect you.  Don't even think about.

At the same time you will also be experiencing the joy that we can only feel at those times when we are connecting with someone else at such a deep personal level, yet knowing that we can maintain our own sense of safety and protection at the same time.

Discussion at this point might include previously " hidden or forbidden" topics such as deep personal secrets, past events in one's history that were shameful or scary, sexual fantasies and almost anything else about which we would normally feel a bit shy or guilty sharing with another person.  

Communication about sexual activity can be either personal or impersonal. If two people are lovers, then the more they feel comfortable using their personal channels to talk to each other at this level the closer they become. This also allows them to start talking about difficult or "forbidden" topics such as new and previously untried sexual activities.  However, this is one of those times when it is helpful for one or both partners to remember they are free to move back to the impersonal channel if the topic becomes too stressful or embarrassing.

George and Kay, a couple who came to see me some years ago, had a disagreement around this. George claimed that because they loved each other there was ‘…. no need to talk about it. It should all just happen naturally’. Kay, on the other hand, really needed to talk about any new bedroom activity before trying it.

I agree with Kay. If you aren't comfortable discussing such things very personally with your lover, there's a fair chance that one or both of you will be even more uncomfortable trying them in real time.  

See Impersonal selves

See Personal and Impersonal pairs - introduction

See  also Personal and  impersonal styles in a relationship

Personal selves

The opposite personal selves operate at the warmer level. This allows a much closer connection.  Almost all the personal inner selves permit or even encourage warm interaction and more intimate communication.

When two people are both communicating under the influence of these most intimate of the personal selves they will find they can get incredibly close to each other. For many individuals this is what they experience as love or intimacy. If they are operating as two grown-ups then that is true intimacy, but if it is more just some of the personal selves at work it will be less stable.

This is the downside to operating too much in a very personal state without being very self-aware. Sooner or later something can go wrong. And because of your closeness you are extremely vulnerable. The trouble with personal selves is that they lack the strength to set functional boundaries to protect your vulnerability.  

Your personal inner selves work by reducing boundaries so their only alternative when things go wrong is to return control to the impersonal selves that specialise in distancing, criticism, anger, shaming, blaming, punishing and aggression. This, of course, causes the other person to withdraw. These selves may try to appear as if they are boundaries and so distract attention away from boundary issues but actually they just set up ‘walls’ that block or even destroy a relationship if it seems to be causing too much pain.