Target: Replaying a Recent Memory
Here’s another example, a story, of someone replaying a memory of a recent event.
Yvonne invited her daughter and son-in-law to an expensive restaurant to celebrate his birthday. Instead of ordering entrées and desserts as she had expected, they each ordered several expensive appetizers, along with their entrées and desserts. A lot of the extra food was left uneaten, on the table.
She felt angry and taken advantage of, but couldn't figure out what to do about the situation. She replayed it in her mind over and over again, and complained to friends, "I just can't get it out of my head."
Yvonne’s answer to question one was “this scene that is stuck in my head.” Her answer to what happened just before she replayed the scene was that she felt angry because she had been taken advantage of. Feelings are normally temporary and don’t make good targets. Her target was “this belief about how they should have behaved at the restaurant.”
After she completed the sentences with this target she said calmly, “I won’t be inviting them to any more meals in expensive restaurants.”
Target: A Common Problem: Public Speaking
Here is an example of a common problem.
Tim had just taken a new position as a manager. He was terrified about being required to give a presentation to four people at work. As he struggled to prepare it, he kept thinking about the time he forgot his lines in the school play and how embarrassed he was that day.
Tim knew the answer to the second question and his target was “this image of forgetting the lines in the play.” After dissolving this image he was surprised that he actually enjoyed preparing and making his presentation.
Target: A Mysterious Reaction
This example was a mystery that needed to be unraveled.
Carolyn was very distressed at the idea of retiring from her successful career and couldn’t figure out why. She had invested well and had ample resources to stop working without it having any impact on her lifestyle at all. She wanted to retire and spend more time with her already retired husband. Still, every time she thought about retirement, she was terrified of not having enough money.
She told me, "Taking money to the bank means that it disappears." We used the statement, “this belief that taking money to the bank means that it disappears” as the target.
When she said the sentences she realized that her belief was connected to a time when her parents promised to put money she earned into the bank for her to use for college. They spent the money for their own needs and never returned it to her.
Her old belief was a reality in her past experience. Money did disappear when she put it in the bank then, but that belief had nothing to do with her current reality. She dissolved the belief and is thoroughly enjoying her retirement.
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.
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