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Exploring and Visualising Your Investigation Research

Whether you’re typing up or printing out your work, I would start highlighting all repetition that appears across your findings. For instance, if the words ‘rejection’, ‘felt not good enough’, ‘dad’, ‘just like that time when I was abandoned when I was 3’ or variations of these kept coming up, you would highlight these.

highlight words

You may see that there’s a theme or a few themes so in the example above, you could see fear of rejection, inadequacy, your father as three recurring themes and then you could for instance, highlight each instance of that theme in a different colour.


If there are ‘keywords’ that keep showing up, beliefs, something that you’re doing, get some Post-It’s and start putting each one on individual sheets. This will help when you put your investigation board together.

abanIn fact, your wall can be your investigation board – use something like Post-It’s and washi tape (Japanese low tack decorative masking tape) and organise your keywords in a way that means something to you. For instance, on the photo above, it starts with both parents, feeling abandoned by both so the abandonment sits between the two, then disappointment from dad, criticism and being afraid to fail from mum and together they contribute to a sense of being desperate to be loved and believing that they’re not good enough and then toxic relationships.

Other things that you can note with Post-It’s, pictures, highlighter etc:

  • Particular ages that keep coming up or years.
  • Significant life events that bear relevance on who you are today. In fact, you could take these events and use these as a way of plotting out your pattern. For instance, in my case, it would be that my parents broke up when I was two-and-a-half. Tracking that from that point to who I am today could be parents broke up —> felt abandoned by father, angry with mother, very confused —-> mother ambivalent and seemed to have emotional preference for sibling —> felt not good enough —> father kept disappointing and mother angry and ambivalent —-> always feeling afraid and inadequate —> like a boy for the first time and discover the possibility of feeling enough and good with boys —-> boys and parents continue to ‘abandon’ and let me down —> I do things to chase love and attention with dire results —-> feel rejected, afraid, inadequate, and basically like something’s wrong with me —> start trying to forge adult relationships —-> going out with variations of my parents and feel like a child —-> toxic relationships —-> feel not good enough —-> emotionally implode
  • Track pervasive feelings. If you seem to have been angry over the years, look for your notes and find out what you were angry about – is there a theme? If you trace your way back, can you pinpoint when the anger started?
  • photoTrack any habits that keep showing up. For instance, when I first wrote this course, I was alarmed to discover that I dated men who had been friends with each other on several occasions. Each time, the ‘friend’ would swoop in after the breakup with their ‘friend’ and that would be my distraction. Obviously that relationship would go sour as well. I kept moving countries after a big breakups for a while too.

Make sure you note your A-ha moments and if you’re working on an investigation at the time, note what you were working on the time, such as remembering a particular situation. It’s important to track this info because you might not savour the importance of these for long enough plus they are likely to have relevance to other pieces of your pattern puzzle.

Remember, if you have an A-ha moment about something, it has a house of cards effect because there are other parts of your pattern that use the same beliefs and behaviours, plus beliefs feed into each other so you tackle one, you start to pick holes in all of them.

You may also find that your A-ha moments are actually helping you to make peace with certain people or situations so make sure you write an Unsent Letter.

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