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Bring Back the Cilice Belt

Among Dan Brown's many accomplishments is bringing the cilice belt to popular attention. Silas, Brown's tonsured hit man in "The Da Vinci Code", wears one and also flagellates himself with The Discipline, a knotted rope. The image of this tall, albino monk performing 'corporal mortification' is a shocking one that stays with the reader.

Curiously, it was the image that sprang to mind yesterday when I was talking with a woman about the issues she is facing right now. Yvette (not her real name) is not, fortunately, at risk physically, but the situation in which she lives is spiralling out of control.

Her emotional world is becoming increasingly tortured and intolerable. And because she objects to various behaviours that she senses to be fundamentally wrong, she is being blamed. She is constantly being told that her attitude, rather than the behaviours, are the source of the problem.

Yvette is desperate to manage a dysfunctional situation and remain in control of her life. Her dilemma is this: if the behaviours are unacceptable then she is vindicated? but powerless. Because they are not going to change. If her attitude is to blame, then she is, clearly, losing her grip on the situation but, theoretically at least, she has the power to improve things.

Maybe this strikes a chord with you?

Reassurance doesn't work terribly well in a situation like this, because if Yvette is right, then the situation must be worse even than she likes to think. (Actually, it's a perfect no win situation for her, because if the opposite is true and the behaviours are ok, to her that signifies she must be spiralling into mental illness.)

And so it was that I suggested to her that she get a cilice belt and a Discipline and ritually flagellate herself. I said this not because I don't care about her situation and would wish any more pain on her. I care very much and would dearly love her to be spared any further pain.

Precisely because I care, I wanted to give her a response she could work with. Reassurance wasn't going to do that for more than about 5 minutes.

She met my suggestion with stunned silence. Then she started to laugh. The image was so grotesque that it was funny. And as she laughed she translated it into terms that were meaningful to her. Suddenly she could visualise what she had been doing, unintentionally, and it became repellent to her.

Words are tremendously powerful. Words have the power to shackle and enslave you. The right words also have the power to set you on the path back to freedom and wholeness.

C) 2005 Annie Kaszina

Joyful Coaching

An NLP Practitioner and Women's Empowerment Coach, Annie specialises in helping women heal the trauma of bad relationships, so they can enjoy the present and look forward to the future. To contact Annie email: annie@joyfulcoaching.com

For more information and free resources go to http://www.joyfulcoaching.com

NOTE: You're free to republish this article on your website, in your newsletter, in your e-book or in other publications provided that the article is reproduced in its entirety, including the author information and all live website link as above.

In The News:

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Thu, 15 Nov 2018 23:04:00 +0000
The man trying to broker peace in Yemen said he is hopeful a new round of talks between the warring sides will begin within weeks provided a lull in fighting for a key port city holds.

Number of missing in California wildfires rises to 631
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 20:34:00 +0000
The number of people reported missing in California's deadly wildfires has jumped to 631, as 65 victims are confirmed dead.

Story that raised $400k for homeless man 'was a lie'
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Man shot dead outside home 'linked to gangland feud'
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A man shot dead outside his home in Ireland is believed to linked to a long-running gangland feud.

Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty of genocide
Fri, 16 Nov 2018 04:56:00 +0000
The last surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge that brutally ruled Cambodia have been convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by an international tribunal.



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