Eliminating confusion and establishing certainty is an essential process for creating what is necessary for true happiness.
Being clear on what confusion is
Is confusion "bad"?
The reason why you haven't stopped confusion
Use the Sherlock Holmes approach
A digression on what the brain does
Do this to solve it
BEING CLEAR ON WHAT CONFUSION IS
Definition: The state of being mixed up, jumbled together, in disarray and disorder. It is a lack of solid facts (information) resulting in having no way to cope in a skillful way.
Although often identified as an emotion, confusion is not an emotion. It is a state of being, reflected by a way of being (not proactively placing order into that area of confusion and doing things (creating disarray, doing sloppy thinking, or simply a lack of clear thinking). The emotion involved is a version of fear. Fear comes about from a possible threat, with the fear process causing the chemical basis for motivating us to solve the threat. Uncertainty creates a state of anxiety, where things are not "tacked down" securely, not known - the primitive brain interprets that as threat and tries to deal with that uncertainty - in other words it motivates us to seek certainty, which is a form of safety (on "non-threat").
IS IT "BAD"?
Because beliefs about confusion can cause one to create a feeling of fear from some imagined possible danger, we often add a connotation of "bad" to it. In Buddhist terms, it is simply confusion and is not either "bad" nor "good". The discomfort feeling that comes from confusion is a useful signal for us to "deconfuse" ourselves.
In practical terms (i.e. workability) confusion is something that may create the condition for increasing the likelihood of an undesired outcome. In philophical terms, it is an opportunity for inquiry, as it indicates a "not knowing and a condition of "not-well-ordered", so, in that context it is "good" or at least potentially useful.
In that it is a condition of disorder, it is simply a condition along the spectrum of sanity/insanity.
THE REASON WHY YOU HAVEN'T STOPPED CONFUSION
A statement from Barbara: "I am confused about this. I have tried to understand for years (with numerous therapists) but can't seem to."
What probably happened in "therapy" was an incompletion of nailing down all the pieces in the issue that she is confused about. The evidence that they are not nailed down lies in the apparently undesired results.
As is one major tenet in psychology, I think, that "to solve most problems, see what you are doing and then do the opposite." The opposite is to "unjumble" it, to put it in order - and to make distinctions about the pieces rather than trying to solve an undifferented "blob" (bunch of things stuck together). The "way out" is not through "solving the symptoms" and is through "solving each of the causes, one by one" (read Cause And Effect And Power). Because people don't approach problem solving correctly, they will often end up getting results that are not what they want and then they will conclude, irrationally, that there is no hope and that "this is unsolvable", after which they can proceed on to hopelessness and victimhood. Note that when one is confused and trying to solve it, most people are trying to do it as if they can eat an elephant all at once. The truth is that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. When you stop and deal with each piece of the problem it will soon be digested. Notice that the solution to confusion is similar to the Formula For Overwhelm.
USE A SHERLOCK HOLMES APPROACH
To finally unlock the mystery do what Sherlock Holmes does!
Find all the clues and pieces, put them in order, solve them and then the case ends up being solved. This is basic problem solving.
Of course, you'd want to develop the knowledge base and facts necessary to understand the problem and solve it. Accordingly, you would read the relevant pieces on this site to help provide the additional understanding and awareness relevant to whatever condition/emotion/problem you're having, as much as is needed to free you up from the current problem/confusion.
A DIGRESSION ON WHAT THE BRAIN DOES
The definition of Mental Confusion is "the inability to think clearly and quickly; put simply, thinking that "things just are not right." When confused, one has difficulty paying attention and may feel dizzy, especially when there is fear present, such as in "oh, I'll never solve this" or "what's wrong with me, not being able to solve this?!".
The emotions resulting from one's thoughts around confusion interferes with one's ability to make decisions clearly and correctly.
Yes, this does occur here, as it does in any situation where you are reacting to believed danger - the resources of your body go toward handling the danger quickly and to do that the unnecessary parts are shut down to allow the key parts to function more strongly.
A side note here: At this point in my understanding of confusion and of thoughts and emotions, I do not experience hardly any emotion around confusion. I "know" (tell myself with certainty) that I can fill in what is necessary to get things "un-mixed-up", so I don't add fear of danger nor any disempowering (untrue) statements about myself.
DO THIS TO SOLVE IT
1. Consider the confusion solely to be a signal that something should be solved. Don't add negative meaning to it. It is just something to be solved, period.
2. Clear your head by deep breathing, relaxing, or some other method of taking Time Out, as a confused brain is not a brain that can solve things.
3. Write down all of your thoughts about what is going on, usually in one column, leaving a second column for answering the thoughts. Note particularly any fear thoughts.
4. Answer those thoughts, adding to the first column as your brain prompts you to think of more of the thoughts that you might have forgotten but which did occur to cause the confusion.
5. Get assistance from someone who is objective and knowledgeable and centered psychologically.
MASTER PROBLEM SOLVING TOOLS!
Use the Problem Solving tools! Become excellent at problem solving, as it is a tool that is requisite to having few problems or only having little ones (if you solve them before they become big ones!).
It is also a means to creating happiness. It not only solves the unhappiness thinking, but in addressing that thinking one comes up with the opposite thoughts - and it is those thoughts that, when recurring, create underlying happiness.