When I was in ‘crisis’ back in April time, the crisis team came out to me and i met someone (lets call him Greg) who really inspired me to use DBT skills to balance out my mental illness.
He used different DBT skills with me each day, the first day he would teach me one and then another one each consecutive day he was with me, which was 5 days all together before i was discharged. But i really wanted to focus on the first one he taught me because that was the one that really worked for me.
Its called the ‘2 Wolves’ and it is a DBT therapy technique that helps you to resolve internal and interpersonal conflict. So think of it like you’re clearing up some unfinished business. It helps to show us the negative and positive ways of thinking and how it can affect our perspective and ways of thinking.
Okay so i want to do this the way that he taught me, ive read online a couple of different ways this can be done so if im explaining it a little different to how other people do it, i do apologise.
The 2 Wolves: One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all”
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed“.
So sit yourself down somewhere comfortable, maybe on the sofa, at the dining table or somewhere where there are multiple chairs. You should have two empty spaces in front of you or one either side of you. Make sure your space is quiet and you’ve got a chunk of time to yourself with no interruptions or visitors.
Critical side of ourselves:
Think about the critical side of yourself, I’m going to use myself for this so we can get a better perspective. So I think about how i put yourself down, tell myself im not good enough, i’m fat, lazy, boring, annoying and other negative thoughts that for me can go on and on. I take that critical part of myself and put it into the chair on the right. I then imagine that part of myself as a BIG, black, DARK, nasty, SNARLING, ravenous wolf, that is hungry for my thoughts and feelings. I call him lucifer, because he is the devil. He waits, knowing that soon there will be some meaty, nasty little thoughts he can get his teeth into.
Compassionate side of ourselves:
Now, imagine the compassionate side of yourself, now for me this can be quite challenging because if you’re anything like me, you wont have many nice things to say about yourself but this is all part of this exercise! To get ourselves into the compassion thought process so we can stop killing ourselves with hate. So I think about the fact that i am a good mother, a kind sister and daughter, a helpful friend, a listening ear, give advice when asked for it and other positive aspects of myself and my life. So i take that compassionate side of myself, put it in the space on my left and imagine that part of myself as a white, soft, compassionate, kind, approachable, loving wolf, that wants to be my best friend, even though im reluctant to accept that gesture. I call her Lunar, she’s waiting patiently for me to put down her bowl and feed her my thoughts.
Ours minds are not one whole thing, but are many different parts. So for example in this story there are Lucifer and Lunar and I have to choose between them, which one i want to feed.
So imagine the parts of the mind are interacting and in conflict with each other. For example, Lucifer and Lunar fight for one of them to be the dominant wolf in our minds and in being in control of our behavior.
Only I have the ability to choose which one of these wolves I’m going to ‘feed’, after making this choice, only i can decide how i am going to feed the specific wolf and how to look after it.
If I pick Lucifer, feed him with the negative thoughts of myself, then he is only going to get bigger and stronger and more dominant. This is what happens in my mind a lot of the time and unfortunately Lunar gets nothing, she is starving, skinny and malnourished, too weak to fight. But if i can find the strength, to think of my positive thoughts, i can help Lunar to fight back, gain control and dominate Lucifer, leaving him to be the wolf that is lurking at the back of my thoughts, waiting for something to be thrown his way so he can become strong again, i just have to find the courage to make sure I’m only feeding one wolf.
I really hope this helped some of you, im going to make a YouTube video of this blog post so that I can explain it better.
Love you all xoxox