Broken Superhero Self Regulation (excerpt)
1. Activate the Observing Self: From the beginning, be intentional and mindful.Step back and use the Observing Self to notice the surge of more active feelings such as anger and sarcasm related to the Superhero Self. Pick up on more vulnerable feelings such as hurt, worry, and shame. In a crisis you might feel overwhelmed. Read your anger scale. At the same time, notice what is going on in
externally. Try not to judge yourself or others and slow things down.
2. Breathe to Create Time: Before responding to a situation or another person, allow for the anger scale to go down and the thinking scale to become clear by creating time. Allow the Self to begin to center by breathing (inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth as if you are blowing on some hot soup). Don’t fight feelings if they are overwhelming.
3. Center the Self: Breathing could lead to centering of the Self. If this is difficult, or the anger scale goes back up to an 8 or 10, use self-talk as a mental device and calmly say “relax” learned through Progressive Muscle Relaxation to get centered. If a prayer or another mental device works for you make it you thing. Think about finding the Self and moving it towards the center of your internal experience.
4. Shifting/Ride it out: If the problem continues and feelings are experienced but contained, shift attention to something that is safe. This adjustment requires a careful letting go. If shifting is not working, relax and sit with feelings. You might want to ask the Superhero Self for a little space to have your own experience. Remember, you are independent of Superhero Self feelings. “I know I’m experiencing it but I don’t have to be controlled by those feelings.” The emotions will pass like a storm (“Riding the Storm Out”). Remember, the surfer rides the wave but doesn’t try to control it.
5. Mindful of External Environment: Take time to notice what is unfolding around you. Slow things down and be mindful without judging yourself or others.
6. Move into Flow: When the self is Centered move into a state of “flow”– optimal performance of effortless action.
7. Repair and Connect: Give yourself time but do not avoid the problem. Come back to repair with the person and handle the situation when ready. Relationships are essential in the development of the Self.
Chad Alcorn, Psy.D.