140/365. The Demon Inside (and how I shot this)We all go through times when we feel low and depleted and there’s nobody there to comfort us. Or maybe there is somebody who  is usually available, but is exhausted and stressed out herself.

Sometimes the depletion is chronic and our psychological makeup resembles a bottomless pit of needs and wants, and no person, no situation is ever going to make up for the deep emptiness we feel.

Some people can get very clingy. They feel that their partner should make up for what might be rooted in a long history of deprivation and instability. Because it’s hard to trust, one or two people become the support system for an overwhelmed mind, and at the end of the day, there is not enough to give and never enough to be had.

Very often, symptoms like depression or anger are simply an expression of an underlying need that was never sufficiently attended to. The basic human desire to be loved and cared for is being buried under a layer of defensiveness and withdrawal.

I have been reading Tsultrim Allione’s book Feeding Your Demons1. It  describes a fascinating tool which helps us to resort to our own resources when our needs become too much to handle. The word demons is not to be taken literally, but it is rather meant as a metaphor for the feelings and memories that haunt us.

The technique she describes is based on inviting the feelings we’d rather get rid of in. If you are a jealous person, sit down with your jealousy. Give it a imaginative, “demon-like” persona. Maybe it’s an angry, powerful figure with groping hands and an insatiable appetite. Ask him what he wants. What he needs. And what would happen if he were to receive what he wanted.

Attending to the needs of our “demons” automatically makes them calmer. They turn from ugly, uncontrollable creatures into quiet, somewhat mellow and eventually supportive phenomena. If we pay enough attention, we can even make them into allies. The hyena of jealousy might turn into an elegant greyhound if we take enough time to try and understand what the need behind the possessiveness is.

And doesn’t the association with the image of the greyhound automatically give us a certain dignity and pride that leads us away from our neediness, and focuses our energy back onto the basic goodness of our nature?

All it takes is the courage to face what haunts us. In the end, we will come out all right.


photo credit: Anant N S (www.thelensor.tumblr.com)

  1. Tsultrim Allione (2008). Feeding Your Demons. Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company. []



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 11 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


From Psych Central's website:
Of Gods and Demons – How To Nurture Yourself (II) | The Gentle Self (January 19, 2012)

    Last reviewed: 10 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Schoen, G. (2012). How To Nurture Yourself. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/gentle-self/2012/01/how-to-nurture-yourself/


The Gentle Self Buddha Betrayed
Gerti Schoen is the author of The Gentle Self
and her latest book, Buddha Betrayed. Check them
out on Amazon.com today!

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Lou: It is hard to work through an impasse when the stumbling blocks are the spouse’s parents and sister. When...
  • MMPP: How dare we question the wisdom of a Psychologist! They are all knowing and their abilities should never be...
  • Cooper: The weight that worrying carries is tremendous. It heavily influences the ways we live, and behaviors often...
  • Jasmine Settles: This article is very enlightening on an old age remedy. Many cultures believe that nature is the...
  • Cut the critic: Thanks so much for posting this topic. From the time I was 6 or 7 I have suffered from S.A.D. The...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!