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How Your Psychological Blind Spots Keep You Stuck in Life

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Sometimes, life doesn’t seem to make any sense. Albert Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Here’s the funny thing. We will say that line about someone else, have a good chuckle, and then DO THE SAME THING OURSELVES! This time, it’s not that funny, is it? I know. I’ve done it myself.

I will be sharing 3 examples of seemingly paradoxical behaviour from people who have been in my private practice. (Of course, I have changed the names and some of the demographics to respect their confidentiality).  

  • Tom complains about how he has never had any money and then proceeds to order in for the 4th time that week.
  • Bev tells me how there are no more good men out there in the world. However, weeks later, she tells me about laughing flirtatiously when a guy was mocking other people at the party, and who is now mocking her laugh and some of her physical features.    
  • Alexa, a business owner, spends $3000 on a marketing course but then continues to spend too much time and charge too little for her services and never gets to the new clients she attracted with the marketing methods she learned with the course.

On the surface it would seem like these people are “insane” according to Einstein’s definition. But as I have seen in my psychotherapy practice for the last 12 years, these are not atypical stories. In fact, I have seen this seemingly contradictory behaviour in friends, family, colleagues and so many others that it cannot be insanity. It is indeed a human condition.     

So, what the heck is going on here?

Well, things become a little clearer when you look below the surface. There are actually two different behaviours at work here. One, the subconscious, is acting on fears experienced years before, often in childhood. These subconscious behaviours and underlying fears are often maintained through life unless they are dealt with in adulthood. I call these patterns people’s psychological blind spots.  

The other behaviour is based on what our rational conscious brain sees. It interprets what it sees or doesn’t see in the present moment and comes to a conclusion based on reason.  

Now, let’s go back and review the 3 cases with these two different perspectives:

  • Tom grew up seeing his parents constantly living on credit card debt for years and just complaining about it daily. He told me he was seriously afraid of ending up on the streets. As a child, buying something would temporarily distract him from his biggest fear. Tom’s conscious brain doesn’t see what the subconscious brain sees and rationalizes his overspending by saying, “Why shouldn’t I enjoy my life too?”
  • Bev was often not even “seen” in her family of six siblings and she grew up believing that she was unlovable. She noticed that when she was dating someone, that fear was briefly abated. So, she subconsciously lowered her standards for the men she sought because any relationship was better than being alone, or so she thought. Bev’s conscious logical brain continues to rationalize or explain away “bad behaviour” early in her relationships. It says things like, he was short with me because he is under a lot of pressure at work.   
  • Alexa was deeply affected by her parents’ constant arguments and eventual divorce when she was seven years old. She felt responsible for their divorce and believed she just wasn’t good enough as she was. She noticed that when she did things for her father, he would briefly pay attention to her. So, she became the ‘Pleaser’ in the family. She grew up subconsciously feeling that she was unworthy when she wasn’t making someone else happy. This has carried over into her business relationships as she overextends herself and thereby, devalues herself with clients. On the other hand, her conscious brain tells her that she has to treat her clients well or they will tell others about her poor service. 

So, now that you understand how to explain the seemingly contradictory behaviour, how do you reconcile these two radically different perspectives? What can you do about it when you get stuck and come up against a pattern you can’t seem to shake?

There is a new way to approach these challenges in life. I call it your True Self way. I define your True Self as the one you are in when you feel inner peace or fully engaged or in the flow. Your True Self sees its own strengths and weaknesses and accepts and loves all of itself. And it is able to be open and vulnerable enough to admit them. It is curious and connects well with others. It is your most balanced self. Everyone has moments when they are in their True Self. It does take practice to learn how to get into this state at will.

“Everything can be taken from a man, but the last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitudes in any given set of circumstances.” –Viktor Frankl

Let’s look at how your True Self would approach each of the situations above:

  • Tom’s True Self understands his subconscious fears and takes responsible action. For enjoyment, he goes bike riding but also gets on a schedule to start paying down his debt. 
  • Bev’s True Self appreciates her subconscious fears and begins to love her inner wounded child who feels unlovable. In addition, she starts to watch the actions men take early on in the relationship and assume those actions represent who he really is.
  • Alexa’s True Self understands the Pleaser part and aligns with it by beginning to please herself first, and others second. Now, she is not only satisfying her clients in a fair way, she is also satisfying herself and growing her company.

For many people, it can come as a revelation to finally understand why you keep making the same mistake over and over again or keep coming up against a brick wall and can’t seem to take your business to the next level. No, you are not insane. And no, you are not alone. Most people run some sort of “self-sabotaging’ pattern in their life and most of those people can’t see it. It’s often difficult to see your own subconscious patterns. It’s like trying to see your own back.

When you begin to align your conscious and subconscious beliefs and behaviours, your life and business begin to make sense. You will feel like you are waking up from a semi-comatose state. You will feel more energized and connected to others. You will also make decisions quicker because you are more focused and clearer about what you really want. You will get unstuck and begin making real progress, maybe for the first time in your life. And that will probably be the sanest thing you can do.  

As former Chief of the Emergency Department, Dr. Sam Gerstein saw the toll work stress takes on people’s health. After over 20 years in the ER, he pivoted his practice to psychotherapy to focus on the total Mind-Body. In the last 12 years he has helped entrepreneurs-at-heart to first manage their work stress and burnout, and then guided them to move out of dissatisfying jobs and discover and start their own custom-fit businesses.In his highly acclaimed book, Live Your Dreams: Doctor's Orders, (with foreword by Jack Canfield), Dr. Sam highlights 40 stories of people who overcame their fears to start their own businesses. As a Business Strategy Coach, he has now created online programs to help even more entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs-at-heart overcome their psychological blocks that have been preventing them from successfully pursuing their own side hustles and businesses.

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Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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Life

5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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Life

3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Courage and Create a Life of Meaning

we cultivate meaning in our lives when we pursue our calling

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Our deepest human desire is to cultivate meaning in our lives. Our deepest human need is to survive. (more…)

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Life

Grit: The Key to Your Ultimate Greatness

Grit is an overlooked aspect of success, but it plays a critical role.

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A grit mindset is an essential key to your greatness. It’s what separates those who achieve their goals from those who give up and never reach their potential. It’s also the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery. If you want to be great and achieve your dreams, then you need grit. Luckily, it’s something that can be learned. Please keep reading to learn more about grit and discover four ways to develop it. (more…)

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