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Understanding Withdrawal (with outtake)

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inquiry & integration

inquiry instructions

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Inquiry:  What are the needs that aren't being met that lead you to withdraw? (refer to Introspective Guides on feelings and needs)

Personal Integration: This practice can be done alone or with a friend, lover, or counselor. Take one to five minutes or longer to contemplate and answer the question. When done with another, it is essential that the listener remains neutral and encourages you by repeating this inquiry as needed to help maintain focus.  One of the keys to learning how to re-engage is to discover the needs that weren't met that led to you withdrawing in the first place.  This can really be supported by looking at the Introspective Guides and then asking yourself directly, "How can I give myself the best chance possible to meet this need?   This requires a certain capacity to be honest about your own withdrawal, have the humility to look for your unmet needs and be courageous enough to not give up.   It is much easier to blame our partners for our withdrawal, but this is why friendship or counseling can be so helpful to see our part in closing our hearts, and staying honest and engaged with opening up again.

Inquiry 2:  Can you stably see that your withdrawal is a form of withholding love, and is a defense?  

Personal Integration 2:

Inquiry 3:  Will you look at your withdrawal, be humbled, and open with your partner, that you are partially shut down?  If not, will you allow yourself to be more humble, harmless, or helpless?

Personal Integration 3:  Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  It takes an advanced consciousness to stay aware of our own withdrawal and see it for what it is.   This requires not being satisfied with blaming our partners automatically, and instead, continuing to take on the challenge of reengaging from our heart.  Most of the time the hardest part is admitting to ourselves that our heart isn't open.   This is a humbling transformation, no matter what the external conditions are.   As you become less justified in withdrawing it is also healing to open to the more vulnerable feelings that will arise.  Underneath all withdrawal is a constellation of vulnerability.  Can you see how you most experience this more open state?  It will be helpful to utilize the Introspectiive Guides on Challenging Feelings and Needs to specifically identify the feelings.  Then it gives you a chance to really let yourself breathe and feel what is underneath the wall of withdrawal.

Inquiry 4:  Are you open to engage your friends or a counselor to help you to take more responsibility for your own withdrawal?

Personal Integration 4:  Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  It is pretty rare to openly admit that you have a withdrawal issue without trying to pin the responsibility on our partner.   However take the time and really imagine saying to your friend or counselor "I want to own my withdrawal.  I want you to just listen to me, and not tell me I'm right or justified to withdraw, but to ask me what I need, and what I feel underneath my tendency to move away."   Asking for the deeper truth, and not wanting to just be validated is something that most friends have to directly ask for.  See how much you can visualize yourself doing this.

Inquiry 4:   Are you open to prayer, meditation, inquiry or a practice to engage from your heart rather than withdraw?

Personal Integration 4:   Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  Seeking a practice rather than a justification is a stage of development.   Be honest with yourself, without judging if possible, and ask, "Am I ready to really ask for help, be silent, and re-engage from my heart?  Just asking is a great start.  Stay honest as you contemplate your readiness to live your practice as opposed to falling prey to your psychological defenses.





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Since 1972, Humanistic Spirituality founder Robert Strock has maintained a private spiritual and therapeutic counseling practice that specializes in purposeful living, relationships, spiritual psychology, and death and dying counseling. Humanistic Spirituality provides various spiritual workshops, guided mediations, and licensed marriage family therapists and licensed social work continuing education courses. Contact us to learn how we can help you find inner peace and spiritual awareness through our counseling, or our free guided meditations, videos, audios, writings, introspective guises and more. A warm welcome from the team at Humanistic Spirituality.

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