A perfect entrance, but her fortunes were not
But, thanks to the big people, she did survive
And she learned!
Then she was supposed to grow up, but how fast and how much?
And even that was harvested erroneously
Freezing, and the great rescue
Not measuring up
At last, some relief
The dragons grow bigger - defense, defense!
The quest for redemption
Accepting counterfeit attention
The trap, the self-created cage
The great comparison scheme
"Something", by itself, must have caused it
Her mother as 'the cause'
But, now, the dilemma is...
How do we break the standoff?
Letting go of the biggest racket of them all
The end of the story
Although this could be a child of either gender, we create it as story of one person in particular, who we’ll call Samantha. This is, in slightly different versions over different time periods, my story and the story of most of the people I know sufficiently enough to have insight into how they really think and how they, as I solved the puzzle and did what it took to create a new life.
A PERFECT ENTRANCE, BUT HER FORTUNES WERE NOT
There once was a little girl named Samantha (Sam, for short), who entered this world pure and perfect. She was perfect as almost all children are in that she had sufficient abilities, physical and mental, to create a happy life - which is all that life is about.
However, her fortunes were not as she would have wished.
She grew up with imperfect parents in an imperfect society with an imperfect culture in a world that moved of its own force.
And she experienced pain at times, expressing it rather directly as a little baby, but somehow not getting the response she needed. This terrified her, but she kept on trying as best she could.
BUT, THANKS TO THE BIG PEOPLE, SHE DID SURVIVE
Thanks to the gods, her parents were knowledgeable enough to rescue her from this incredibly vague but pervasive fear that she might die, though she wasn’t quite sure at the time what that meant. It was vague at best, seemingly automatic and relatively unconscious.
And then several miracles happened over the next few years. She grew physically bigger and was able to walk – and that was a big wow!
AND SHE LEARNED!
Thanks to a wonderful brain, she learned new things.
Of course, some of those things weren’t quite right, as they were based on things she didn’t know enough about to be correct.
But miraculously she managed to self correct some of those as she gained more knowledge. Part of her learning of it was through experiencing pain from doing what didn’t work and part of it was from accidentally discovering what did work.
When she was learning to walk, she fell down and sometimes it hurt, so she cried. But she wanted to walk, like the big people, so she kept on trying, but she never criticized herself, for she hadn’t yet learned that. She simply went through the learning process, the same one a champion goes through.
She tried to walk, she fell down and got feedback, she got up trying to correct what didn’t work last time, though slowly. She tried, she fell down, she got up… And eventually she learned to walk. No problem. She hadn’t yet learned to compare herself or that anybody thought badly of her for “not learning fast enough.”
THEN SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO GROW UP, BUT HOW FAST AND HOW MUCH?
Soon, she began to discover that the big people wanted her to grow up, though she didn’t know about that concept exactly yet. She did the best she could to interpret what they wanted, as she knew she had to please the powerful big people, since she was powerless herself. Since she didn’t understand, she did the best she could to learn, just like in walking, but, in contrast to walking, this seemed not to be so clear.
She didn’t know something, but she had to make up something in order to decide what to do to not be deprived or even, sometimes, punished.
She definitely got the idea that the big people were powerful and that she was little and powerless – and, for sure, dependent on them for her life. Indeed, it was horrendously frightening to think of the big people not liking her or of her being so bad that they would leave her to starve.
AND THEY TRIED THEIR BEST, WHICH WASN'T ALLTHAT GREAT
She didn’t know at the time that the big people, to some extent, did not know what they were doing and that, just like her, they were trying their best.
She only knew what she knew, at a limited level of understanding, so she had to make up what she didn’t know – for that is how humans learn. They try something, figure out why it failed and figure out an alternative, and then they try that - over and over and over.
Of course, if they get the idea earlier on, they make things a lot easier by learning from people who have already done the trial and error and made the mistakes and then figured out what would work and tested it to see that it did work. But she didn’t get that idea very early. The source from which she did learn, the big people, was not a very good source.
The ignorance of the big people, who wanted her to succeed as their daughter for whatever reason, caused the big people to use what they believed was true and workable. They criticized her, punished her to motivate her, compared her to others so that she might get better through competition, and occasionally guided her with advice, a lot of which was wrong, unfortunately.
AND EVEN THAT WAS HARVESTED ERRONEOUSLY
Sam picked up on some of the “lessons”, incorrectly and sometimes correctly, and she copied her mother, who would blow up at other people to effectively get them to do things (or so Sam believed, though she didn’t see the costs to her mother nor notice the failures). Her mother so badly mistreated her father but he seemed to take it, so Sam decided that maybe the behavior worked.
Sam was deathly afraid of losing the big people, so any criticism, disapproval, or even imagined disapproval (due to their inaccurate communication and/or her misinterpretations) scared her to death. So she wired up in her brain that criticism meant, vaguely, death or some equivalent of it.
Confusing to a child, for sure.
When her mother compared her to the next door neighbor’s daughter of the same age, it was constantly in an unfavorable way. Even when her mother complimented someone or admired someone, Sam filled in the blanks with “she must be comparing me.”
And since her mother was so erratic and volatile, Sam was on edge, trying to cover all the bases to make sure she didn’t get the ‘wrath of God’ from her mother.
Later, when Sam became ‘big’, she was so stuck on making sure nothing was wrong that she constantly had it in her mind – her anxiety at times seemed unbearable, as she couldn’t figure out how to solve all the possible bad things that could happen. So she had to constantly guard against them, believing that fear would motivate her to do so. She continuously dosed herself with fear as a believed motivator. But the fear often won out so strongly that she could barely function, often using the freeze strategy of the fight/flight/freeze response.
She did get good at the fight response, believing that would make her powerful when she felt powerless at the core. Maybe, in her little mind, she thought, that would scare people into doing what she wanted or maybe she could punish them into submission.
When she felt envious, she ginned up an extreme reaction to fight against it, like a temper tantrum, flailing about in rage, as if it were death itself that she was defending against. It was the equivalent of that, if you listened to her talking of it. “I couldn’t help myself, I had to do something cause ‘I couldn’t stand it!’” “Couldn’t stand it” means it was so fearful that it scared her like death would.
FREEZING, AND THE GREAT RESCUE
She froze on her SATs and got an unbelievably low score, far, far below her actual abilities.
Nevertheless, her father rescued her by getting her into a good university, which was a good thing, I think.
There she did rather well, though efforting quite a bit at it, which of course she criticized herself for.
NOT MEASURING UP
Her brother did so much better than her and she feared that he might be smarter, almost experiencing this like a small child would the competition of a brother who was deserving of love, while she wasn’t and might be neglected and would die. She fought him tooth and nail, as if protecting her very life.
Later, she learned that "not measuring up" meant she didn’t have worth, which meant no one would love her unless she proved her worth.
Somebody had to give her the worth, for she never learned to give it to herself, so she was constantly seeking the approval of others, but only those who were “above” her because it meant nothing to get approval from the lesser people.
AT LAST, SOME RELIEF
She did have one respite from the anxiety, when someone actually loved her – giving her relief at last.
But depending on another for the supply proved unreliable as they split up, with complaints of being too codependent and too anxious and critical – no wonder.
Sam had no decent concept of how a relationship worked, so the odds were totally stacked against her – not as a bad person, but as an unskilled, unknowlgeable person, just as it would be for anyone who was unskilled and unknowledgeable. But, of course, she made herself wrong for it.
THE DRAGONS GROW BIGGER - DEFENSE, DEFENSE!
To try to get into another relationship was so frightening that she would have an anxiety attack on the first date and literally could not function. The dragons were big and scary and she had no control over them.
Her constant self criticism and her constant firing off of the danger signals totally overwhelmed her life. To do so well in school was a heroic task, through all that muck and through fighting all of her imaginary dragons.
She flew off the handle at work, as her way of handing the stress of the situation, attacking whoever is near, as if they were the source of the stress and the fear of life itself.
Very, very, very confusing.
THE QUEST FOR REDEMPTION
Barbara heroically sloshed through the process to try to cure her problems, often being close to giving up because “they were unsolvable and it was hopeless,” which, of course, was not true.
She tried all sorts of medicines to alleviate the emotional pain that she attached to the anxiety and the fear she felt underneath that. That was a good solution at the time, as it gave her time to be able to learn things without the disruption of the depression and extreme anxiety.
She tried all sorts of therapists, but they were all 'dumb and incompetent', especially seeming more so as she got “smarter” in all this stuff.
She learned a lot of the theory and concepts, though not quite completely enough. She was a walking pillar of knowledge and a dilettante of many disciplines and theories.
The problem was that she never quite completed things. She would try something and not get as quick results as she expected, but she expected the unreasonable from others and from life, just like her mother had.
She ran into so many incompetent people and so many that didn’t have good values or didn’t serve her well enough – and she dealt with it the way she staved off other things that were wrong, she attacked with a metaphorical sledgehammer to kill the ant. She created rage.
ACCEPTING COUNTERFEIT RECOGNITION
She was so dependent on other people for getting some recognition that even attention of a negative nature was better than none, much like a child who doesn’t “get” that such attention is empty. She developed all sorts of methods of getting attention, just as a child would, such as getting pity, having a problem, needing to be rescued, fix me, please, poor me, arguing for how things will never work – anything to engage the object from which she needed the attention.
THE TRAP, THE SELF-CREATED CAGE
She even wired up a little trap for herself.
Though she was so anxious around people because she might not get the approval she was starved for, she had to avoid them sometimes to avoid the extreme anxiety.
She didn’t realize it but she was still a little girl and they were the big people.
But the catch22 was that she would get “lonely and miserable” if she wasn’t around people. And she was convinced of her belief at the level of it being an absolute truth that she couldn’t stand being lonely and that she would have to be miserable (because she was so dependent on being around others for approval – in other words, if there wasn’t anybody around to give her approval, she would be totally deprived of any possibility of redemption from the hell of worthlessness).
THE GREAT COMPARISON SCHEME
And she was, indeed, "inferior to others, with more problems," while, ironically, also holding herself as superior to some clods out there.
She also would contest anything that could be interpreted as a threat.
She swore up and down that she was stupid, despite evidence indicating the opposite, including some extraordinary accomplishments. But when her coach, Kevin, used an estimate of her IQ at being relatively high at 120, she was insulted and angered at such a comparison, especially since her mother’s admired persons and Sam’s admired persons had IQs above 140 - which is extremely unlikely statistically, but she believed it, just as a child overestimating the power and abilities of another.
Trying to be good enough showed up in trying to “look good” to impress others in order to get approval (of her “mask” and not her real self).
Nothing new there as almost everyone has that “look good” syndrome.
She was just paranoid about it, extremely frightened. Her fear was so great that she would go the limit until her body gave out on her, experiencing anxiety to the hilt, all the way to hyperventilation.
She would claim that it just snuck up on her and she had no power over it, which seemed a bit remarkable given all of her exposure to psychology and its strong message to the contrary. It seems she didn’t quite “get” the full impact or maybe even "get" the idea that there is no reaction in a human being unless it goes through a filter of some sort that adds meaning to something.
"SOMETHING", BY ITSELF, MUST HAVE CAUSED IT
She would sometimes claim that the “something” directly caused the reaction and deny that, in order to create the reaction, there must have been an “internal conversation” (recordings that matched the event and which contained what to do and how to react to get a believed result).
She “kinda” ‘got’ it, but her language and her choices seemed to not reflect the understanding, as she’d be off and running on how something “did something to her”, rather than her creating the reaction from her internal conversation.
She made the common error of using the term “feel” instead of “believe” or “think”.
The error would be no big deal, except that using the word “feel” is a common way of justifying what comes after it, as being true in some mystical way from within, such as being “from the heart”. But, as far as I can tell, the heart squishes blood and does its own thing, not sending messages of wisdom to its owner.
She would often say “oh, sorry, I wasn’t being perfect”, misinterpreting the motive of the coach.
The point was having her use the word “believe” or “think” so that she could take responsibility for having created it and choosing to still believe it – otherwise, there would be little hope for her taking the other side, that of uncreating it and having the power to choose something else.
For her, things were fixed and in stone and she couldn’t do anything about them, as she was powerless, though she said that "‘intellectually' I know that isn’t true". But the effect indicated that she believed she was powerless, as the effect corresponded with that being the cause or the facilitator of the result.
HER MOTHER AS 'THE CAUSE'
She would often proclaim that she was so screwed up because of her mother or she would use an interaction with her mother to show that that was what caused her problem(s). She held onto and repeating the stories over and over, even though her coach had heard them many times and didn't need a review.
Yes, her mother did cause much of the erroneous information and helped create an atmosphere and situations that would be conducive to Sam making erroneous conclusions.
BUT, NOW, THE DILEMMA IS...
But the dilemma now is to leave things as they are or to choose to change them.
But, Sam reasoned, I have not been able to change them, so therefore I won’t be able to (in essence). She failed to realize that she was the one constantly honoring the beliefs and therefore creating the results. But, being powerless, how could she possibly change the way things are and the way things will be? Being helpless would definitely be a justification for no action.
She also could not seem to follow through on the homework, complaining that she always had a discipline problem. Consequently, she made little progress over time, though she did make progress intellectually. She just didn't do the work that was necessary to complete the homework.
So, it seems we are caught between a rock and a hard place.
On one side is the very real need to change her beliefs and on the other side is the hard place of moving out of powerlessness, which seems to have its fringe benefits, but with immense costs.
This is a problem, which is defined as two equal and opposing forces going nowhere.
HOW DO WE BREAK THE STANDOFF?
The only solution is to break the opposing force. But, again, how do we get her to realize that?
Tony Robbins, in conveying NLP, says to create massive pain and/or massive pleasure to move an irresistible force. Perhaps that is the way, but how will that be created?
If we can guide her to using the analysis where the pain (the great cost) is identified and the payoff is seen as illusory, then we might be able to break the tie, so to speak.
That would be done in using a process similar to the one used in identifying a racket, which is what she is doing. Or one could use a simple “Ben Franklin T” listing the costs on one side and the benefits on the other, in the Problem Solving section.
LETTING GO OF THE BIGGEST RACKET OF THEM ALL
Perhaps the biggest racket of them all, for her and for most people, should be identified - and completed! Indeed, its solution is the #1 entry to living a much greater life.
It is a big leap, but it is the foundation that holds everything else into place. The racket consists of still believing and acting as if one were small, like a child, and powerless and dependent. Giving up that racket is the entry to adulthood – and to freeing up vast amounts of energy that can then be used to create a great life.
If this “belief” is reversed, that frees us up to go through all the other beliefs that are being kept in place by her but doing great damage, knocking them off one by one.
That is the way to the solution, but will she choose to do it? As so many before have chosen (though many haven’t chosen it), with absolute proof that it worked. See Bad Past, Good Life for examples.
Proof abounds that it will work, but how do we persuade her?
THE END OF THE STORY...
I wish I could tell you the end of the story and have it be that she made the right choice and then lived happily ever after. But at this time she has not yet made the choice, though it is a clearly advantageous.
Will she complete the work necessary to give up The Racket Of Being A Child? Will she go on to do My Declaration That I Am An Adult?
When I find out the “rest of the story”, I’ll write it up and link it to this piece.