I assume most or all of us (?) have our inner demons, so the question is…
How do we relate to our inner demons?
Do we distract ourselves from them? Do we pretend they are not there and allow ourselves to be influenced by them without much conscious awareness of what’s going on? Do we try to fix them or get rid of them? Do we try to transcend them?
Or do we meet them, get to know them, listen to them, and see how we can create a mutually beneficial relationship?
What does the monster wants from us?
What I find is that they want what we all want, whether we are a monster or not and whether we are a child or adult.
We want attention, respect, understanding, love, and sometimes limits to our behavior.
What are some examples of inner demons?
It can be an emotion or state like anger or depression. It can be a compulsion or addiction. It can be some other distressing or undesired behavior pattern. It can be a distressing identity or belief about ourselves. It can be trauma.
Anything about us that’s there and we struggle with or don’t like is, in a sense, an inner demon.
Very broadly, we can say that any emotional issue is a kind of inner demon, as is any (stressful, as they all eventually are) belief about ourselves, others, a situation, or the world.
How does it look when we befriend an inner demon?
It can be scary, confusing, and a struggle at first, so it helps to have someone guide us through the process. Someone who has experience, skills and good tools, patience, kindness, gentle firmness, and heart.
And it can be immensely rewarding. Not only does it mean we are more free from the struggle with our demons and the way our demons impact our life. Finding a new relationship with them can be very enriching and supportive in our life.
The demons may turn out to be something quite different – and essentially more innocent and lovable – than we initially thought.
In some cases, we may find that a new partnership with them allows their qualities and abilities to be used in a constructive and enriching way in our daily life.
Befriending our demons often gives us more grounding, sense of wholeness, and realness, and we find new sides of ourselves we can draw on when the situation calls for it.
How do we befriend our demons?
There are many approaches and we each have to find the one(s) that work for us. I’ll mention some I happen to be familiar with and find especially useful.
– emergency tools –
If I feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to meet the demon, some emergency tools can help.
For instance, I can bring attention to my sensory experiences in general (hands, feet, smell, sight), or specifically to the sensations coming up with my inner demon. This brings attention out of the (scary) thoughts about it, and it helps me ground and have a little more space.
I can also move my body. Jump up and down. Splash my face in cold water. Talk with a friend who can hold space for me.
In general, I can do whatever helps that doesn’t hurt.
– getting to know the demon in the moment –
When a demon comes up, I can notice the sensations and thoughts (images, words) coming up with it – that makes it up or reacts to it. I can notice, allow, and see it’s already allowed (by mind, life).
I can use some pointers and reminders to help me notice, allow, be with, and get to know and perhaps even befriending it.
I can say: You are welcome here. Stay as long as you want.
Thank you for protecting me. I love you.
I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you. (Ho’o.)
I can ask it a few simple questions and listen to what it has to say.
What do you want me to know?
What would you like from me?
How can I support you?
– getting to know the demon more in-depth –
I can also set aside time to come back to the demon and engage in a more thorough exploration.
Whatever approach we use depends on what’s available to us, what we resonate with, and what we are drawn to use for that particular demon.
In my case, it can be dialog (Big Mind process, Voice Dialog etc.), inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries), reorientation (tonglen, ho’oponopno), somatic work (TRE), and energy work (Vortex Healing).