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A Life Of Love And Balance Blog

Do Internal Friends, Siblings, Relatives Keep Us Stuck In Problems?‏

Posted by on in For Women
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OkaDeborah Chelette Wilson life coach family counselor Sxchg 92296 300x218y what behavior have you chosen to work through the change cycle?  Or did you?

Did it not get on your "To Do List"?  Did you talk yourself out of any need for change? 

After all its not really you that needs to change is it?  It’s your husband, your children, your mother-in-law, your boss, etc., right?



If you answered yes to any of these congratulations you are in the Pre-Contemplation step of the Change Cycle.

In this stage we are in a space of before.  Before we begin observing the impact of our behavior on others or self.  The before space where we can’t consider life any other way.  In this space there is usually a great deal of resistant energy as well as a lack of information about our possibilities.  In this place you are in denial about the possibility for anything different than what you have and you are resigned to it.

You are stuck in victim stance and place responsibility on others:

"I just have those fat genes like my Aunt Mary and my mother."

"I just can’t stop eating late at night.  It helps me sleep."

"If my husband and children would get off my back about eating too many sweets, I’d get my blood sugar under control in no time."

"Women have been put down so long, it’s no wonder I feel helpless and powerless to move ahead in my job. No one listens to me."

I’m sure you could add more.  In each of those comments there is a grain of truth. It is only a grain, but when you are in denial it looks and feels like it is the whole truth.  This is a place of self-condemnation and self-defeat, but it may feel comfortable because you’ve been doing it for years.

But let’s be realistic, it is a safe place.  You know it.  You can predict with certainty where it will keep you, and for human beings feeling so bad can actually feel good enough so that we will defend, minimize, justify, and rationalize why it is okay to stay there.  You sacrifice the life you could have for lack of awareness of the short-term and long-term outcomes of unhealthy behaviors.

Do you have any idea of long-term consequences of holding on to resentments, and what it does to your physical health?  Does denial help you see the consequences of your frequent outbursts of anger and yelling at your children?  Does it show you how afraid they are of you?  Will you see the long-term consequences of checking out in front of the television each night until it becomes such a habit that you don’t see your spouse or children moving away from you?  Are these problem behaviors or preferences?

If you are like most people, when you take a pause and contemplate some of your behaviors and their impact on those you love, you realize you are not being the you that you want to be.

Sometimes this realization may trigger more denial and its partner defensiveness, which both keep you stuck in repeating old patterns.  Defenses are not bad. We are born with them. They are designed for short-term protection not a lifestyle.

Defensiveness does have a purpose.  It allows you to avoid dealing with issues, and keep moving down the road of life.  The problem is defensiveness doesn’t solve any problems. You may feel better for a bit, but in the long run, denial and defensiveness helps you to not see the real problem, and if you get close it will distract you toward something new.

I’d like to introduce you to some old familiar friends that have been off your radar.  Along with your friend denial is his two siblings, minimization and rationalization.  They both encourage denial by explaining why you do something, as though that really means something, and downplaying your experiences, including thoughts, feelings, and the physical experience at the time.  This allows you to not be open to the benefits of all experiences, denying yourself an opportunity to learn and grown.

Their cousin intellectualization is like a Mr. Spock from Star Trek.  He uses analysis to avoid feeling any of his human side, so he doesn’t feel any personal significance of any experiences he had.  This cousin allows you to avoid emotional reactions to painful awareness of any problem, and to stay stuck from the valuable information and wisdom to be gained from your experiences.

One more friend is the Great Aunt Internalization.  She turns all your feelings inward against you because she believes you created the problem. Not that the problem is the pain caused by the thoughtless and heartless acts of others.

Great Aunt Internalization starts from a very young age.  She teaches you to swallow your feelings and supports you in an illusion of control.  Over time you learn how to self-blame, self-criticize, and generally feel like a failure.

Last, but not least, is Great Uncle Displacement and Projection.  He wants a break from Great Aunt Internalization and the opportunity to share this stored misery with the world.   He takes all those stuffed feelings of frustration, anger, anxiety and depression, and blames them on someone or something else.  Some call this scapegoating.  He is masterful at finding all kinds of substitutes that are safe and available to dump this on such as significant others, the weather, the economy, and the easiest of all, children.

So there are enough of those characters to provide you the necessary energy of resistance to stay the same no matter what it costs you.

Are you doomed?

No.  However in order to move from pre-contemplation to contemplation you need to begin to create a small space of awareness of what has been going on outside your conscious awareness.

You can’t change what you don’t know.

The first step out of pre-contemplation is awareness of defenses, how they operate, and how they have caused you to stay stuck in problems.

Here are other actions for your consideration to move you forward:

1. Read up on human defenses.  We all have them. You are not alone.  I have given you a little start in this article to help reveal them.  Again, the book Changing for Good will give you details and other defenses so you know what you are dealing with.

2. Take advantage of the people in your life who you know love and support you.  Ask them to help you explore behaviors or attitudes that may be causing you problems.

3. Gather information about personal growth and development.  You may have graduated from High School or College, but Life School is ongoing.

4. Remember your human defenses have run amuck.  It isn’t about getting rid of them, it is about recognizing when they are getting in your way.

5. Take small steps in this process.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or even you.  Growth is about moving forward, knowing that where you have been and what you have done may have shaped you up to now, but you aren’t done yet.

The benefits of tackling the difficult waters of your denial is that you will be opening yourself up to new possibilities. Instead of continuing to support and grow a false survival you, you will be taking steps to become the more truly soulfull you.

Next month: Contemplation - What am I doing I want to stop doing?  What am I doing I want to keep doing and do more?

*Information comes from the book Changing for Good:  A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program For Overcoming Bad Habits And Moving Your Life Positvely Forward by James O. Prochaska, PH.D, John C. Norcross, PH.D, and Carlo C. Diclemente, PH.D published in 1994.  It can be purchased at:  www.amazon.com

Soulfull Woman Deborah Chelette-Wilson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, speaker and life coach who has helped many women find that elusive “something missing” in their lives. We are often pulled in so many directions, that it’s difficult to know how to put ourselves on our own To Do list. Contact Deborah to find out about her free 15-minute coaching session to help you find a more stress-free and soulfull You



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Guest Friday, 20 July 2018



Dr. Daniel Seigel :http://www.drdansiegel.com/

Heather Forbes:www.beyondconsequencesinstitute.com

Trauma and Loss Institutehttps://www.starr.org/training/tlc/com

Dr. Peter Levine Institutehttps://traumahealing.org/

ACE’s Study:http://www.acestudy.org/the-ace-score.html

Dr. Bruce Perry The Child Trauma Academy :http://childtrauma.org/

For more information contact Deborah Chelette-Wilson at deborahchelettewilson@gmail.com


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