Target: A Fantasy About the Future
A common problem is that your protective brain imagines that a problem or situation that happened in the past will be repeated and does its best to keep you out of trouble.
Marie was told repeatedly by the Nuns at school that it was important to dress modestly. She never broke the rules. As an adult, she is very uncomfortable wearing the attractive, stylish clothing her friends enjoy. Her target was “this fantasy that the Nuns will punish me.” After she finished saying the sentences she announced that she was going shopping.
Target: An Attempt to Change the Past
You can also create toxic stress by repeatedly trying to solve an impossible problem like getting a dead parent to change something she did when she was alive.
Ron often replayed the scene of his mother giving away his comic books, told others the story and insisted that he could never forgive her, even though she had died 10 years earlier. We suggested that he could retrieve his energy from “this belief that mother should have been different.”
After he used that target in the sentences he said, “She was only 27 and had three kids in a one-bedroom apartment.”
More Sample Targets
Here is a list of 50 other targets used by real people in some of our workshops.
1. This image of her standing there screaming at me (the employee having a major freak out).
2. The voice of (a person in memory) scolding me.
3. This belief that I should be able to handle negativity.
4. This weight on my shoulders (the migraine pain that takes me out of my life).
5. This pressure, tension and tightness in my chest.
6. All of the times when I haven’t been heard.
7. The time I wasn’t listened to.
8. This belief that I’m supposed to be in charge of this process.
9. All of the fantasies that get in the way of my writing.
10. This fantasy that I won’t succeed. (Belief that I’m not enough.)
11. This turning in my gut (experiencing something as unnerving and gross).
12. This traumatic image in my mind (image of doing CPR on the dying person).
13. This fantasy that business will use up all of my time and I won’t enjoy it.
14. The fantasy that I can get what I missed from my father (trying to retrieve father’s wisdom from his papers).
15. This experience of being locked out of my heart.
16. This scene of finding (name) (previously finding someone who had suicided by gunshot).
17. The fantasy of all the terrible things that will happen if I lose my home.
18. This fantasy of not being able to give something of value.
19. This sore, warm acid lump in my gut.
20. The expectation of how my daughter should behave (daughter is a drug addict).
21. This residual heartache.
22. This image of (name) driving away with the wire attached to my heart.
23. His voice saying I’m selfish.
24. Picture of (name) walking away from the table.
25. This language that’s stuck in the back of my head.
26. All the distractions that keep me from my project.
27. My mother’s voice telling me I should be doing something different.
28. All the obstacles to achieving this task.
29. These bodies pushing in on me and squashing me (discomfort with airplane travel).
30. This decision to take care of everything.
31. Mother telling me I was no good right after I had been raped.
32. The sense that I’m toxic.
33. This image of my daughter (name) choosing to live her life their way.
34. This image of being alone with my father.
35. This need for my mother’s sympathy.
36. This image of me in the dressing room mirror.
37. This danger that I remember (probably being molested as a child).
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