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Although only some of us talk aloud to ourselves, all of us have inner voices, even if we are not aware of them. These autonomous parts of ourselves provide running commentary on how and what we are doing. Are our inner commentators friendly and supportive, or critical and attacking? We turn to fairy tales, stories that arise from the collective unconscious, for wisdom about our relationship with those parts of ourselves that tend to operate autonomously. The Ill-Fated Princess must climb a mountain to confront and befriend her “bad Fate,” after which her destructive unconscious complex befriends her. In Vasalisa the Beautiful, a loving mother gives her daughter a doll that provides good advice in difficult situations. The bad Fate and Vasalisa’s doll illustrate the process of noticing how we relate to other parts of ourselves—and by changing a negative inner dynamic we become more whole.
“I am alone in Aunt Gloria’s house and I know I’m there because I am house- and pet-sitting for her. There are several cats I’m taking care of but suddenly a bird flies in the window and all the cats are chasing it. Then a stray cat gets in and all are hissing and bristling. I run down the stairs and there are two mice on an armrest, but one appears almost dead. When I look closer, it is dead and there is a note by it that says something like “Satan, I know you could’ve done this deal yourself.” I look up and a bedraggled and skinny old man is standing at the top of the stairs and I know then his name is brandy-mouthed Bob. I’m frightened of him. He comes down the stairs toward me aggressively and said, ” Should we throw some punches?” I didn’t know what to do so I grabbed his skinny wrists and tried to hold his arms back, afraid he would bite me.”