Only Attracted To Those Who Won’t Reciprocate Your Feelings?

Only Attracted To Those Who Won't Reciprocate Your Feelings?

If, as children, we grew up with parents who we perceived as not reciprocating our love we may, as adults, come to equate love with the feeling of a desperate longing for what we believe we ‘know’ (at least on an unconscious level) we will never receive (i.e. unconditional love for who we fundamentally are).

In this situation, the opposite also often holds true : we are not interested in a relationship with someone who will love, want and need us – we may even feel repelled by such an individual. Woody Allen summed up this attitude when he said, in terms of his perspective on relationships, ‘I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member’.

Only Attracted To Those Who Won't Reciprocate Your Feelings?

To us, a simple relationship in which we are loved back lacks colour and drama; it seems dull and devoid of any real passion, even. Such a relationship singularly fails to recreate the intense inner pain and drama generated by our childhood relationships with our rejecting parents and therefore also fails to fulfill a deep-seated need to play out, and attempt to repair (on a symbolic level) our dysfunctional early life relationships.

When, as children, we are rejected, neglected and abused we create an erroneous, yet psychologically sustaining, hope that our relationship with our parents is within our power to rectify; we achieve this by misattributing the source of the relationship’s dysfunction to ourselves ; and, by so doing, we can falsely convince ourselves that our parents will love us if only we were a ‘better’ person in some (stubbornly elusive) way. The alternative – i.e. accepting the reality that our parents can’t love us due to their own deficits – is a ‘truth too far’ that we simply cannot permit to permeate our conscious awareness.

Attraction To Those Who Will Inevitably Reject Us And The Repetition Compulsion :

As adults, in the unconscious drive to repeat and repair our painful childhood relationship with our parents that I referred to above (what Freud called the repetition compulsion), we find ourselves perpetually, inexplicably and futilely drawn to attempting to form relationships with unsuitable, inappropriate, emotionally unavailable partners who tend to match our own level of arrested/stunted emotional development and carry their own deep, psychological wounds.

Our desperation, perhaps leading to frantic, and, even, hysterical attempts to avoid rejection from such unsuitable individuals, of course, only serves, paradoxically, to ensure the inevitability of the very rejection we fear (as, in fact, our unconscious mind demands) and, in so doing, satisfies our unconscious need to reexperience our early life feelings of desolation, despair and abandonment. If we repeat this process enough times, our unconscious mind reasons, we will eventually master it and finally free ourselves from our emotional pain.

Insight into the historic causes of our repetition compulsion must form the primary foundation of our recovery.

Resources:

Only Attracted To Those Who Won't Reciprocate Your Feelings?Overcome Fear Of Abandonment. Click here for more information.

Only Attracted To Those Who Won't Reciprocate Your Feelings?Move On From Unrequited Love.

 

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So-Called ‘Psychopathic Traits’ In Adolescents Often Symptoms Of Intense Emotional Distress

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnessedition 5 (DSMV), psychopathy is listed under antisocial personality disorders and it is currently hypothesized that the disorder is rooted significantly in genetic determinants and involves chemical abnormalities in the brain. In other words, the condition is thought to be substantially determined by biological factors.
 What Is A Psychopath?
Typically, a psychopath
ignores the rights of others
highly egoistical / narcissistic
bold
disinhibited / impulsive / problems delaying gratification
 
– lacks empathy
 
– is callous, cold and unfeeling
 
– disregards the law (although many psychopaths never break the law)
 
– is prone to violence (though, again, many psychopaths are not)
 
– have little or no conscience / do not feel remorse or guilt
 
– do not fear punishment
 
The Study :
 
The study referred to in the first paragraph involved 150 participants (both male and female) residing in juvenile detention centers.
All of the participants were aged from 11-years-old to 17-years-old.
All the participants had been classified as :
callous
– unemotional
– extremely, behaviourally antisocial
– incipiently psychopathic
 So-Called 'Psychopathic Traits' In Adolescents Often Symptoms Of Intense Emotional Distress
What Did The Study Find?
Using more sensitive and sophisticated means of testing (especially with regard to examining personality traits) than is usually used to investigate psychopathy and psychopathic characteristics it was found that although, superficially, the young people appeared callous, unemotional and pre-psychopathic their actual diagnosis (according to the more accurate and appropriare tests used), in the main, was that they were :

severely depressed

– severely anxious

– in a state of high emotionality

(In other words, they were not psychopathic but suffering from intense emotional distress).

 

Implications Of Study :

Due to these findings, the researchers pointed out that young people displaying behavioural problems such as those in this study should not be unthinkingly labelled as incipient psychopaths, punished and stigmatized but, instead, be given appropriate support and treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and help controlling their intense and volatile emotions.

 

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The Emotional Regulation System And Its Three Subsystems

The Emotional Regulation System And Its Three Subsystems

Our emotional regulation system determines how well we are able to control our emotions and neuroscientific studies strongly suggest that there are three subsystems in the brain that comprise this system ; these three systems are as follows :

The Three Subsystems That Make Up The Brain’s Emotional Regulation System :

  • THE THREAT SYSTEM
  • THE DRIVE SYSTEM
  • THE SOOTHING SYSTEM

Let’s look at each of these in turn:

1. THE THREAT SYSTEM :

Our threat system has evolved because it is crucial to our survival. When it is activated, we may respond in one of four ways : fight/flight/fear/fawn. It initially evolved to protect us from predators/attackers (wild animals or competing members of our own species).

Of the three subsystems, it is our ‘default setting.’ If we experienced a significant amount of fear and anxiety as children, or had a dysfunctional with our primary carer, particularly in our very early years, it can become hypersensitive (especially in relation to perceived – i.e. real or imagined – social ‘threats’, such as rejection) and cause us a high degree of unnecessary distress in the form of images, cognitions (thoughts), physical reactions (such as rapid, shallow breathing/hyperventilation) and emotions (most commonly anxiety, anger and disgust).

The threat system works according to the maxim that it is ‘better to be safe than sorry’ which inevitably means that much of what we perceive as threatening or dangerous actually isn’t – the principle of ‘better safe than sorry’ that the system acts on partly explains why, as a species, we are prone to :

– overestimating threat

– dwelling on things we believe may harm us

– allow our fears and concerns to take precedence in our minds over positive thoughts

(Remember, our genes ‘program’ us for survival ; they are indifferent to the painful feelings we may experience if such feelings help to ensure this survival.)

The Emotional Regulation System And Its Three Subsystems

2. THE DRIVE SYSTEM :

In order to help ensure our survival we also have strong motivations or drives – three fundamentally drives are to attain :

– food

– shelter / safety

– sexual partners

The drive system ‘rewards’ us when we achieve goals by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain – this acts to reinforce our desire to keep achieving our goals. The hit/buzz/high we obtain from achieving goals is ephemeral and transient so, like a drug addict, we have a constant need to achieve more goals (by ‘goal’ I mean anything that increases dopamine availability in the brain and thus makes us feel good, be it eating ice-cream, getting a work promotion or buying a big house). The continual (and, some might argue, ultimately futile) formation and temporary fulfilment of needs goes on and on, endlessly.

Examples Of Problems People May Develop In Connection With Their ‘Drive System :

One problem relating to the drive system is that some individuals experience drives so intensely that they develop impulse control disorders (the inability to prevent oneself behaving in such a way that harm is caused to oneself or others, e.g. gambling).

Another problem is that we can become very frustrated and distressed if we :

– unable to achieve our goals

– we set ourselves goals that are unrealistic

– become so preoccupied and obsessed by the perceived allure of achieving our goals that it spoils our quality of life (often an intense need for high achievement is a symptom of inner feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability).

3. THE SOOTHING SYSTEM :

When this system becomes activated the threat and drive systems become deactivated. In terms of neurobiology, chemicals called endorphins are produced in the brain when the soothing system is operational – these chemicals produce a sense of calm, safety, peacefulness and contentment (self-hypnosis can be used to switch this system on).

As infants, a strong and dependable relationship/bond/attachment with our mother/primary carer is crucial to the healthy development of the soothing system. Indeed, if this early relationship is in some way significantly dysfunctional we are very likely to develop into individuals who find it extremely difficult to calm / self-regulate negative emotions like anxiety anger.

Having good, warm, dependable and supportive relationships with others continues to be very important throughout life if our soothing system is to operate effectively.

Therapies :

Therapies that can help us regulate our emotions in a healthy and appropriate way include :

dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

selfhypnosis

compassion focused therapy (CFT)

 

RESOURCES :

The Emotional Regulation System And Its Three SubsystemsSTOP FEELING THREATENED AND FEEL SAFE NOW : SELF-HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADABLE MP3/CD – click here for further information.

– Article on Compassion Focused Therapy – click here

– Article on Self-Soothing – click here

The Emotional Regulation System And Its Three SubsystemsCONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS : SELF-HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADABLE MP3/CD – click here for further information.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

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Childhood Trauma : The Manipulative Parent

 

Childhood Trauma : The Manipulative Parent

There are many ways in which the parent may manipulate their offspring, including: 

– emotional blackmail

– threats (explicit or implicit)

– deceit

– control through money/material goods

– positive reinforcement of a behaviour which is damaging to the child

– coercion

Because parental manipulation can take on very subtle guises, when we were young we may not have been aware that we were being manipulated; we may only come to realize it, in retrospect, with the extra knowledge we have gained as adults.

POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF PARENTAL MANIPULATION :

If we have been significantly manipulated, it can give rise to various negative feelings such as :

self-doubt

– resentment/anger

shame/guilt

– a deep and painful sense of having been betrayed

EXAMPLES OF PARENTAL MANIPULATION :

– causing the child to believe that s/he will only be loved by complying with the parent’s wishes at all times; in other words, there is an ABSENCE of unconditional love.

– causing the child to feel excessive guilt for failing to live up to the parent’s expectations/demands

– with-holding love as a form of punishment to cause emotional distress

– direct or implied threats of physical punishment

– physical punishment

– making the child feel s/he is ‘intrinsically bad’ for not always bending to the parent’s will

– spoiling the child and then accusing him/her of ingratitude

– making the child believe s/he is ‘uncaring’ for not fully meeting the parent’s needs

Childhood Trauma : The Manipulative Parent

 

WHY DO SOME PARENTS BEHAVE MANIPULATIVELY?

The reasons a parent manipulates his/her offspring are often subtle and complex. However, explanations may include

– the parent is narcissistic

– the parent has a grandiose self-view (often linked to above)

– the parent has low self-esteem/feelings of inadequacy and so abuses the power they do have as a form of overcompensation for own shortcomings

– failure of the parent to view the child as a separate, distinct and unique individual, but, rather, to view him/her as an ‘extension of themselves’ so that the child feels responsible for the parent and becomes ‘enmeshed’ in the relationship.

Childhood Trauma : The Manipulative Parent

SOLUTIONS :

The effects of having been significantly manipulated by a parent in early life can have serious negative consequences in terms of our emotional development ; these consequences may be very long -lasting.

As adults, if we are still in contact with the parent, it is likely that the relationship remains problematic. We may have pointed out their propensity to manipulate, but to no avail – indeed, perhaps only making things worse.

So, what is the best way to cope with the manipulative relationship?

Essentially, we are less likely to be manipulated if we :

– develop good self-esteem (click here)

– develop a strong self-concept/sense of identity (click here)

– developing strong assertiveness skills (click here)

– being confident enough to refuse to do what we don’t want to do

– being confident enough to ask for what we do want

– have the confidence to act according to our own values and convictions

 

 DEALING WITH THE ANGRY BULLY | HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS CLICK HERE

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

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Emotional Shutdown And Its Link To Childhood Trauma

 

Emotional Shutdown And Its Link To Childhood Trauma

 

 

Do you ever feel you have entered a state of ’emotional shutdown’?

How we were treated as children by our parents/primary carers will inevitably, of course, have given rise to powerful emotions. For those who experienced a stable and affectionate upbringing, most of these emotions will be positive, the most obvious being love.

However, for those of us who experienced difficult, painful and troubled childhoods, many of the emotions triggered in us as a consequence of our traumatic experience will be negative. At some point, because these emotions became so painful in their intensity, many of us may have buried them – a psychological defense mechanism also known as REPRESSION.

There are other reasons, too, why many of us who suffered significant childhood trauma may, as adults, bury/repress our feelings and emotions. For example, we may have been ridiculed, derided and belittled for demonstrating our feelings. Or we may have been punished for showing strong emotional reactions.

We may, too, have been so profoundly hurt by our parents/primary carers that we started to make a deliberate effort to NOT feel things, to protect ourselves from intolerable mental suffering. In this way, we might have adopted a kind of ‘couldn’t care less about anything, including myself’  attitude. For instance, I remember after I came downstairs on my thirteenth birthday, and was entirely ignored by both my divorced, single-parent mother and older brother; walking to school after suffering this deeply humiliating slight, I remember thinking birthdays were no big deal anyway and that I’d never care about them again.

Related to this, we may, too, bury/repress our emotions and enter a state of emotional shutdown as a way of trying to communicate to our parents/primary caregivers that they no longer have power over us and that they can no longer hurt us (whether or not this is actually the case); we attempt, in this manner, to render them impotent and simultaneously empower ourselves.

If, due to our childhood experiences, we have shut our feelings and emotions down in this as a means of self-preservation, we may well find, as adults, that we are unable to ‘switch them back on’. If, indeed, we do find ourselves in this situation, we may (falsely) believe that we are now incapable of feeling anything and conclude we have simply become a ‘cold’ person and that the feelings we once had are now permanently numbed or deadened.

Worse still, we may negatively judge ourselves for this, perhaps believing we have become ‘callous’. In fact, in many ways, the opposite is true – it is likely to be because we used to be, in fact, intensely sensitive and felt things too deeply, that we now find ourselves to be unemotional. The pain of feeling emotions became too unbearably strong.

The overwhelming likelihood is, however, that we have not lost our ability to feel but, rather, have deeply buried our emotions. Indeed, we may have buried them so deeply that we would require professional therapy to help us to gently get in touch with them again.

If we do decide to seek therapy to help us to reconnect with our emotions and escape our state of emotional shutdown, there is, however, a significant chance that, because we may discover very painful, hitherto repressed feelings ( such as anger, despair and mourning for our lost childhood) we may well feel worse before we start to feel better.

Emotional Shutdown And Its Link To Childhood Trauma

Above : The view of Sigmund Freud on repressed emotions.

Indeed, Sigmund Freud (pictured above) took the view that repressed emotions were potentially very dangerous and were the primary cause of many mental disturbances. However, it also should be stated that Freud is a somewhat controversial figure in the eyes of many present-day psychologists, despite his widely acknowledged genius.

This is why, when contemplating such therapy, it is important to realise it is not at all a ‘quick-fix’, requires a highly skilled and experienced therapist, may initially cause a worsening of symptoms and, as no therapy is guaranteed, may not be effective in the long-term.

It is because of this that many therapists these days prefer to make use of therapies that address ‘the here and now’ (such as cognitive behavioural therapy – click here to read my article on this) rather than those therapies that focus on the past.

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Posttraumatic Growth : Achieving Maslow’s ‘Self- Actualization’

Posttraumatic Growth : Achieving Maslow's 'Self- Actualization'

The concept of posttraumatic growth hinges on the idea that, although suffering trauma can be devastating, some individuals not only merely survive their traumatic experiences, but go on to achieve a higher level of personal development than they would have been able to obtain had these traumatic experiences not occurred in their lives.

Posttraumatic Growth : Achieving Maslow's 'Self- Actualization'

Above : Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs

According to the psychologist Maslow (famous for his theory concerning the human hierarchy of needs), the highest level of human psychological need, and the hardest to attain, is what Maslow refers to as SELF-ACTUALIZATION. Below, I outline what he meant by this :

MASLOW’S CONCEPT OF SELF-ACTUALIZATION :

According to Maslow, very few individuals achieve ‘selfactualization’, but the characteristics of those who do are as follows :

People who have attained self-actualization are, according to Maslow, those who 

– feel grateful for things many may take for granted

– view problems as challenges

– make independent judgments based upon own experience rather than due to culture / societal trends

– are creative and original

– have just a few close / intense friendships rather than many relatively superficial relationships

– are comfortable being alone

– have an acute sense of humour (though not the type of humour that hurts others)

– are interested and curious about a wide range of things

– are democratic

–  are nondiscriminating / nonprejudice / accepting of other people’s differences

– are compassionate towards fellow members of society

– are spontaneous

– have the ability to derive child-like pleasure from becoming engrossed in simple activities

– are self-accepting (including accepting their weaknesses and faults – therefore not defensive and not in need of presenting and hiding behind false social image of being artificial / superficial)

– are authentic / true to oneself (as opposed to being unthinkingly and unreflectively conformist) / ability to resist and not be manipulated by social pressure

– have a strong sense of reality

– possess humanity

– possess humility

– have strong sense of purpose

– do not expend useless energy worrying about relatively trivial problems

– are focused upon personal growth and self – development rather than conventional and often hollow achievements such as wealth and status

Resource :

Downloadable self-hypnosis MP3/CD : Meet Your Human Needs.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE( FAHE)

 

 

 

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Linehan’s Biological Vulnerability Model Of BPD

Linehan's Biological Vulnerability Model Of BPD

 

 

 

Linehan (1993) proposes that various biological aberrations contribute to borderline personality disorder (BPD) which causes sufferers great difficulty controlling (regulating) their emotions. Linehan described this impaired ability to regulate emotions as consisting of three key factors :

Three Key Factors Contributing To Impaired Self-Regulation Of Emotions :

1) Heightened emotional sensitivity (particularly in relation to experiences that give rise to negative emotions, according to research by Jacob et al., 2008)

2) Inability to regulate intense emotional responses (again, particularly in relation to negative emotions)

3) Slow return to emotional baseline (ie. once emotionally upset, the BPD sufferer finds it very hard to calm down again)

Is Being Highly Sensitive A Bad Thing?

Linehan points out that, in fact, being highly sensitive, per se, should be seen as neither a good thing nor a bad thing, but, rather, it should be viewed in neutral terms ; whilst those with BPD frequently find their high level of sensitivity causes them immense mental turmoil and suffering, such individuals can learn to make their sensitivity work for them rather than against them with help from a skilled and experienced therapist.

Linehan's Biological Vulnerability Model Of BPD

Biology Of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – The Limbic System:

As stated above, Linehan proposed that individuals who develop BPD may have a biological predisposition to do so (such as abnormalities in the brain’s limbic system) and, whether these individuals develop BPD or not, will depend upon the environment in which they grow up. Childhood environments that are especially likely to lead to the development of BPD, according to Linehan, are those which are INVALIDATING (invalidating environments are ones in which the parents significantly inhibit the child’s healthy expression of emotions).

Other Biological Factors Thought To Be Associated With BPD :

Since Linehan first proposed her theory of how biological vulnerability and BPD may be interlinked, far more research has been conducted on the topic. From this research, it has been found that sufferers of BPD tend to have :

amydalae (see notes below) that are of smaller than average volume

hippocampi (see notes below) that are of smaller than average volume

– underactive prefrontal cortices (see notes below)

– lower than average levels of serotonin (see notes below)

It has also been hypothesized that the activity of the neurotransmitter, dopamine (see notes below), and the hormone, vasopressin (see notes below) , may be disrupted in individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD).

NOTES :

Amygdala – a region of the brain involved in various emotional processes

Hippocampus – a region of the brain involved in the consolidation of new memories

Prefrontal Cortex – functions of this brain region include discerning right from wrong, repressing unacceptable social behaviour, planning and other complex processes. It is also crucially involved with the development of the personality.

 – Serotonin – is a neurotransmitter that has been described as ‘a natural mood stabilizer’ and is involved in sleep and the regulation of anxiety (amongst other processes). Many experts subscribe to the theory that low levels of serotonin in the blood (and it is supposed, therefore, but not proven, in the brain) are associated with depression.

Dopamine – this neurotransmitter is involved in motivation, reinforcement of behaviour through reward, arousal, sexual gratification, control of the body and executive function (including problem solving, planning, reasoning and inhibitory control).

 – Vasopressin – this is a hormone that can be released directly into the brain and there exists a growing body of research that suggests it may be involved in sexual motivation, pair bonding and social behaviour.

 

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Fear Of Success Stemming From Having Envious Parents

Fear Of Success Stemming From Having Envious Parents

 

 

When I was sixteen and received my O-level (the formal exams most school children took at this age in the UK in the 1980s) results (which were good though by no means outstanding) I remember informing my mother of my these results, possibly with some trepidatious excitement and an uncertain, tentative sense of pride, only to meet with a stony-faced, tight-lipped response and the single, indifferent, bored, monosyllabic utterance : ‘Oh?’

There was no ‘congratulations’ card. No suggestion of celebrating with a meal. A small spongecake, perhaps? Out of the question. Perhaps partially as a result of this and not altogether dissimilar experiences, when I gained my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, I attended neither graduation ceremony. But why do I suggest the two things may be linked?

THE POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF THE ENVIOUS PARENT – FEAR OF SUCCESS :

An envious parent resents his/her child’s successes, achievements and accomplishments and may even feel disdain for this child’s expressions of pride; this envy may be unconscious and the parent may rationalize it by telling him/herself that s/he does not encourage the child’s feelings of mastery in order to prevent him/her from becoming arrogant or conceited. S/he may express this envy through overt and withering comments such as : ‘Oh, you think you’re such a big shot!’, or in more subtle ways such as making a point of not sharing in the child’s joy when s/he is successful.

The underlying cause of such envy is usually the parent’s own sense of inadequacy and failure together with a narcissistic resentment of having the limelight shifted away from him/her in favour of the child.

Also, if the parent is possessive, s/he may view the child’s successes as steps towards independence and and freedom from dependency which instils in the parent feelings of anxiety in relation to being no longer needed and, potentially, abandoned.

Indeed, the relationship between parent and child may be enmeshed whereby the parent is unable to distinguish the child’s individual and separate needs from his/her (the parent’s) own and therefore feels bitter about the child having successes of which s/he (the parent) has been deprived.

Such negative reactions by the parent in response to the child’s successes can have an insidious and cumulative effect culminating in the child coming to fear success. Similarly, the child may come to feel embarrassed by even small successes and desperately try to play them down (not to be confused with false modesty which is something different, of course) or, when s/he achieves success, feel strongly that s/he does not deserve it or that absolutely anyone could easily have accomplished the same.

In the individual’s mind, success has become strongly associated with rejection and, thus, must be avoided at all costs, lest it lead to shame and confusion.

Fear Of Success Stemming From Having Envious Parents

COGNITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH FEAR OF SUCCESS :

We may rationalize our deep-rooted fear of success in various ways. A study conducted by Deeter-Schmelz and Ramsey (2001) found that those who feared success tended to have thoughts such as :

  • once at the top there follows a desperate struggle to maintain your position
  • others see successful people as aloof and arrogant
  • people who become successful change for the worse
  • the cost of success outweighs its rewards

Whereas those NOT afraid of success tend to have thoughts such as :

  • others look up to you when you’re at the top
  • achievement commands respect
  • success opens up many new doors

IMPOSTOR SYNDROME :

Linked to fear of successes, there is also a phenomenon known as IMPOSTOR SYNDROME, first described by Clance and Imes (1978) .  This occurs when we achieve some success but feel we don’t deserve it; therefore, we feel like a fraud or impostor – as if we shouldn’t inhabit the position we do.

Those who experience impostor syndrome tend to have thoughts such as:

  • my success is mainly due to luck
  • talking about my success makes me feel silly and embarrasses me
  • when I compare myself to others with similar achievements, I feel they deserve theirs but I don’t
  • I worry people will soon see through me and I’ll be exposed as the idiot I truly am
  • when people praise me, I feel like I’m being given something I have not earned and it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable
  • in the scheme of things, my so-called achievements mean nothing
  • my success will come to an abrupt end anytime now

When the fear of success reaches phobic proportions, positive visualization exercises, hypnotherapy, or a combination of the two can prove effective.

Resources :

Self-hypnosis MP3/CD : Overcome Fear Of Success – click here for details.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

 

 

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