Do it yourself: Autonomy

A way to test and strengthen demarcation and self-connection yourself.

AUTONOMY means the ability to live in a self-determined manner, according to one’s own convictions and perceptions, instead of being determined by others and dependent.

That means staying with yourself in contact, in dealing with the other person, being able to feel and represent what is your own. You can only stay with yourself when you have taken possession of your own inner space, when you have a healthy inner distance (“limit”) from the other, when you can internally distance yourself from the other.

This is a “script” for a special kind of self-experience! You can check for yourself whether you have your “own emotional space”, as a decisive prerequisite for being with yourself, to be identical with yourself. Or whether you subconsciously tend to establish a “shared emotional space” with your counterpart, where there is no clear boundary, no clear distinction between what is your own and what is foreign.

The consequences: you identify with strangers and you are separated from what is most important to you: your self! And: your strength cannot develop healthily in the demarcation. It is blocked and directed against yourself: Depression, self-doubt, feelings of guilt, and self-devaluation are the inevitable consequences.

Props: four chairs, three “beautiful”, preferably round (meditation) pillows – for the “adult” and for the “child” self – a scarf, a 2-3 kg pebble and a screen (privacy screen, there is also a flip chart).

Caution: With clients who have experienced emotional or physical violence or who have had a psychosis, the imagination of a confrontation with a “perpetrator” can trigger violent feelings that the client is not yet able to cope with.

Because of the risk of retraumatisation, treatment should only be carried out by an experienced therapist. In these cases, the first step is to approach and connect with the split-off parts of the self, not the confrontation with the perpetrator.



You can easily check your ability to demarcate yourself:

You stand in the room, notice whether and how you can feel yourself.

You set up a representative (chair) for the person, in these instructions the mother (or: father, partner, child, work colleague) to whom you have a stressed relationship at the distance that is right for you.

You check whether this has changed your self-perception.

Most of the time this is the case. You are either far too close to the “mother” – tendency to merge – or extremely far away from her: over-demarcation.

Then you can change the distance to your “mother” in the room, look for the place where you can feel yourself again.

In individual dramatic cases with extremely low demarcation, this is only possible if you put a screen (!) between you and the “mother” – represented by a chair!

This is a clear indication of a lack of demarcation!

You can check your ability to delimit in further steps, and if necessary change it with solution sentences and rituals. The change can be felt immediately.

You put a scarf as a symbol of a boundary between you and the “mother” (the chair that represents the mother).

Tell yourself: I am complete without the mother, the mother is complete without me. I am not a part of the mother, the mother is not a part of me!

How does that feel? Are you relieved Forbidden? Both would be a further indication of a lack of demarcation!


First, you put a chair next to your mother with a pillow as a representative of her adult self. Maybe she wasn’t connected to it optimally, but it is part of her.

Your self-parts

As a child, you were forced to adapt to your parents and their needs. This is usually associated with an unconscious suppression – “splitting off” – own parts of the self. Maybe you don’t even know them! But they are part of your “basic equipment”! You can’t lose them – but your connection with them can be compromised!

You set up a chair – with a red meditation cushion, for example – for your “adult” self-part, who feels free and carefree, who does not need to be used, who does not have to suffer when someone else suffers.

Did you hide it, the “wild guy”, in order to fully adjust to your mother so as not to frighten her?

Then you set up a second chair with cushions for your “child” self-part, which is needy and vulnerable, which can also have undesirable feelings, such as fear, anger and hate. Have you also hidden your “inner child” with its vulnerability, with its vitality, to protect it from injury – or to spare the mother?

Perhaps you put these chairs far away from you, painfully aware of the fact of your self-alienation.

Are you familiar with these parts? Do you perhaps reject them – because you see them “through mother’s glasses”? Then take off mother’s glasses and see them with your own eyes!

Do you miss them? Do you feel a longing to be complete, to be completely yourself?

Here the dilemma of the symbiosis becomes clear: how to stay in contact with yourself and be close to the mother. You may find it difficult to keep in touch with yourself and with the other person at the same time. In the symbiosis you have – it seems – only the choice of being connected to the other person – and losing yourself in the process, or being connected to yourself and losing the other person in the process.

You cannot combine the two basic needs, for closeness and for autonomy, BECAUSE YOUR INNER LIMIT IS LACKING! BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T TAKE IN YOUR INNER ROOM!

The lack of the inner limit

This leads to the well-known phenomenon, the strenuous alternation between over-adjustment (merging) and over-delimitation.

Since you cannot delimit yourself in contact, you tend to merge. In order to feel yourself again, you only have to break off contact – over-demarcation. Without an “inner limit” you don’t have the “inner space” that enables you to remain connected to all parts of yourself, regardless of whether your counterpart agrees or not.


Checking an “identification“….

Take the place of mother’s relatives who she has lost or to whom she is not connected: her deceased brother, her father who was rarely there for her, her partner (your father) who did not understand her so well.

Perhaps “you know these places”, as if you wanted to replace what mother was missing? Even if that feels responsible and dear: it prevents you from feeling with the mother as a child, who you really are – who you really are – it holds you in a “wrong role” and prevents you from being „yourself”.

…..and Solution

At each of these “wrong places” you can decide to get out with the sentence: „Mother, I am not your deceased brother… .your missing father… .your partner, I am your very lively and present son (daughter)!“

In the place of mother herself?

When the mother is stressed and therefore not completely with herself, a child sometimes tries to bring her self closer to her. It puts its own needs aside, tries intensively to feel what mother needs in order to be really happy.

It feels very selfless and noble. But it can only fail – and then you feel like a failure and guilty. And: it prevents you from being in your own place, from being connected to your own self!

….and Solution

Get out with the sentence: “Mother, I cannot replace your self for you. You have your own self. And whether and how you are connected to him is solely your responsibility.

And I take care of myself!“

Checking a symbiotic merging with the mother…

Next, stand in your mother’s place and feel whether you “know” this place too?

Sometimes you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes so well that you can’t get out of them at all!

You take over the thoughts and feelings of the other as if they were your own!

Are you more on “mother’s boat” than on your own? Are you a “stowaway”, or maybe a “pilot” or even a “captain”? That may feel noble, selfless – the “hidden gain” – but it separates you from yourself. The price: Your boat may be in distress – because the captain is not on board, but “on the wrong steamer“!

Many clients cannot perceive themselves as independent, as separate from their mother, they experience themselves as part of the mother, as if they were in the mother – or the mother in them – as if they were an organ, a “prosthesis” of the mother as if the mother were allowed to dispose of them, as if they were responsible for ensuring that the mother is well. As if they don’t have the right to be themselves!

…and solve

After you have become aware of the phenomenon of your merging, the hidden “profit” but also the price it costs you, you can decide where you belong. In your own place?

Then get out and say to your mother: “You are you, I am me, you have your fate, I have mine – and it can be different from yours!”

Even if it feels selfish or loveless, it is healthy, it is your right! When the feeling is confused, follow your mind!

Return of the accepted gravity

If you’ve been on mother’s boat, do you know her suffering, her pain, her feelings of guilt, and perhaps you carried it as if it were your own? You thought it would be easier for mother if you could do it for her? An illusion! And that keeps you in the wrong place.

Symbolized by a heavy pebble, you can give your mother back what you took over: “Mother, perhaps I saw your suffering more than your strength. I respect your strength by leaving your suffering with you!”

Even if it feels selfish or loveless, it is healthy, it is your right!

Taking back your own energy

Perhaps you gave your mother all your space, all your attention, all your ENERGY? She has her own energy, she cannot do anything with your energy! But YOU can use it!

Do you want her back again?

This is done with an exercise from QiGong: you symbolically bring your own energy back from the room with your open hands, lead it back to yourself three
times – palms on top of each other: to your heart, to the head, to the stomach, to the sacrum , depending on where you “need” your energy!

Amazing how deep the effect is!

First contact with the split-off self-parts

Feel about your self-parts: would you like to have them closer to you? Don’t you refuse them anymore? Do you want to be connected with them?

There is your adult self that is free, carefree, independent. Do you know it? Do you like it? Or is it dangerous? Maybe some won’t like you anymore? Are you taking the risk?

Then take the pillow that represents this adult self and press it tightly against you. Feel how it feels when you become one – with yourself.

And your child self? If you are still rejecting it now, thinking it should have been completely different, then you may still see it from your mother’s perspective. Then symbolically take off your mother’s glasses and see if you have anything wrong with him? It may have endured a lot: was alone, lonely, hurt, confused, sad, angry? You can say to him: “Thank you for enduring all that back then, that you did not die, that you did not go crazy. You are very strong!“ How is your inner child doing?

What would it have taken back then?

Perhaps it has been heard too seldom: How nice that you are the way you are! You are unique! And I like you the way you are!

Can you hug it, give it as an adult today what it would have needed back then? „It’s great that you’re there! You are all right the way you are! I won’t leave you alone anymore! I’m here for you! I will not let you get hurt! I’ll take care of you because you should have fun too!!“

Then take it as close to you as you can. Feel how you are connected to both parts at the same time! You are both! There is nothing to hide or excuse!

Differentiation from the mother

You can only be connected to yourself when there is a clear boundary between you and your mother. It is your inner space. Maybe your room is 75% occupied by your mother? Are you a “sham”? Can you differentiate between “self” and “not self”. Are you ready to protect your border, even against your mother? Yes?

You can check this in your imagination on a symbolic level. Imagine she comes up to you and before she reaches your limit you push her back with full force.

Does that feel strange? Forbidden? Cold? Loveless? What is now inhibiting you is an “unconscious prohibition of demarcation”. It is the core of the symbiosis theme. Even if it feels selfish or loveless, it is healthy, it is your right!
Repeat it until you can defend your boundary with full determination.
(This ritual can be performed even better in real life, with a representative of the mother.)

Connection with the split-off self-parts

Finally, you turn back to your self-parts. Instead of merging with the mother, try to merge with your self, with the parts that you thought your mother did not like.

So you can feel complete, whole, healed.

And then you can show the mother who you really are:
“Mother, you don’t even know me yet. There is a part of me that is not at all nice and good, that also feels completely without you. And another, who can also be weak or sad, playful and high-spirited. And from today I will not hide anymore, from today I will stand by myself as I am!“

Counter demarcation

Anyone who cannot distinguish themselves has not yet taken possession of their own space. That is why he likes to move around in unfamiliar rooms and interferes – with the best of intentions. When the other person stops him, he feels hurt, misunderstood – he thinks he is doing it well.

Now imagine that you walk up to your mother and she stops you at her limit. How does that feel? Maybe like rejection, not being loved? Or is it also a relief?

In itself it is quite normal: if you can protect your border against your mother, then she can protect her border against you too! Maybe that’s exactly the problem that she couldn’t do that?!
It also makes it clear: you are not responsible at all in mother’s room, and you are also not able to act at all in another room than yours. And this counter- demarcation also affects the time axis: what is over is over, in reality there is no turning back!

Healthy distance and respect

If it is possible to establish a healthy distance to the other person in this way, then this is usually associated with an increase in respect, for oneself, but also for the other person. And this mutual respect is the prerequisite for real love.

Imagine your mother looks at you! Could it be that she is basically happy when you have arrived at yourself?

Mothers and fathers want strong, self-confident children – and sometimes unconsciously prevent it. The tragedy of the parents!?

These rituals can also be performed in a modified form with other people, the father, a grandmother, your partner, a sibling, a child, an early deceased, from whom one is not yet separated. But also with a manager and difficult colleagues!
If you notice that these rituals trigger something in you, and if you want to feel more of them, I recommend that you take these steps with therapeutic accompaniment!

Any copying of the contents of in written, printed or electronic form requires written approval.
Violations of the copyright law will be punished legally.