chapter  2
18 Pages

Embracing inner demons

Session two: threat and self-compassion
WithErik van den Brink, Frits Koster, Victoria Norton

Long ago, explorers set out to discover new parts of the world. They embarked on their journeys not knowing what they would find. This chapter explains how to become an explorer of 'inner landscapes' without a clear map of what we are going to find. From the point of view of evolution, it is crucial for our survival that we are warned against threat. It is no wonder the threat system is the most fundamental and it easily dominates other systems. Threats from inside tend to hang around, however. Particularly when we stick to fight-flight-freeze strategies, they may even grow and keep haunting us, like inner demons. Can we meet our inner demons with another attitude than fight–flight–freeze? Yes, indeed we can with self-compassion. It has been referred to as the Self-Compassion Mantra or Self-Compassion Break, which we can do any time we suffer emotional pain.