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Today, I am going to eat a clean diet. And when I get off work, I am going straight to the gym.
At 7 AM Martin needs to prepare his healthy snacks and lunch for the day. He knows this is the right thing to do. Fix the salad, make a protein shake, pack up the chilled lunch bag, then head out.
He doesn’t do that, though. Instead, he says to himself, “I’ll be fine. I’ll find healthy food somewhere. I can even take the short walk to the grocery store on break and get a ready-made salad.”
At noon when its time to take a break, Martin faces the choice of grabbing some junk food off the cart or taking the 15 minute round-trip walk to the grocery store. He stares at the processed delights on the food cart
“Screw it!” he tells himself. “I’ll get back on my eating plan tomorrow. Right now I want a Snickers and a soda.”
Oddly, Martin feels a subtle victory with this attitude, as if he can do as he damn well pleases.
A few sodas later, around quitting time, he’s too tired to make it to the gym. He opts to just head home and order a pizza. He’s pretty discouraged with himself at this point. In fact, he feels downright helpless because he can’t seem to control these simple behaviors.
Today, I am going to treat my son with patience and love. He’s just a kid. I can keep my cool. I’m an adult, after all.
Every day, by around 11 AM, Rhonda launches into her first attack of rage. Her son, Cole, is a tough one, to be sure. But Rhonda knows he doesn’t deserve it. He needs to be taught. Cole needs firmness, not anger.
For a long time, Cole reacted to the emotional onslaught with a sharp look of pain in his eyes, followed by endless wailing. Now, however, Cole is beginning to thrive on the Rhonda’s rage. He smirks as if he secretly enjoys it. Cole even appears to be looking for new ways to push his mother’s buttons.
Rhonda knows she is headed for years of pain if she doesn’t do something. But, she feels so out-of-control, as if a demon takes over her body and unleashes the fury of hell.
In the midst of her rage, she is subtly aware of the damage she is doing, but still can’t stop. It feels strangely like revenge to her, even though she had never admitted that before.
It’s not what you think.
They both have a self-control problem, yes. But this is not the core issue. The lack of self-control is a behavioral issue. They are both compelled to do things that make them miserable and can’t seem to stop.
Martin’s therapist suggested he had a self-esteem issue. If you don’t love yourself enough to take care of your health, then you must have low-self esteem.
Sounds reasonable. Who can argue this point? However, I’m here to tell you that the low self-esteem argument it is a TOTAL farce – a distraction.
There is something else going on….
In fact, the truth is so far removed that, for most of us, it might as well be located outside the known universe. Yet, it’s happening right under your nose.
Both Rhonda and Martin suffer from what we call a control attachment. That is, a psychological attachment to BEING CONTROLLED by someone or something outside yourself. The end result is always frustration, self-criticism and a feeling of utter helplessness.
For Martin, it is junk food. He can’t resist. Even on days when he packs his lunch, he often takes it right back home with him, unopened.
For Rhonda, Cole is the one who controls her emotions. Cole “pushes her buttons.”
Both Rhonda and Martin cannot remember a time in their lives when they didn’t have something overwhelming to deal with. For as long as they can remember, there has always been at least one major problem that is bigger, stronger and more persistent than they are.
They struggle daily to get a handle on things. But in the end, the problem always wins.
I asked Rhonda, “What would it be like to live every day feeling totally emotionally grounded? What if you were in control of your emotions, and nothing could set you off? In other words, there are no buttons for Cole to push.”
She had no idea what that would be like. In fact, she said, “I would have to be someone else.”
This is the nature of psychological attachments. They consume us. It feels like who we are. And who we are always gets expressed in one way or another.
The solution is to massively expand your consciousness to take in an the out-of-this-world truth. When you do so, you give up the defense mechanisms that protect your attachment and keep you stuck.
Everyone that I have met and coached developed attachments at an early age. We learn when we are young to thrive on what makes us miserable. In fact, we have no other choice, do we?
Rhonda’s son Cole is a perfect example. After so long enduring the pain of Rhonda’s rage, Cole is learning to embrace it. He gets a subtle yet irresistible pleasure out of seeing his mom go nuts. Of course, it is also very painful for Cole. Thus, he is learning to blur the line that separates pleasure and pain.
1. It becomes familiar (which is “safe” or all we know).
2. It feels like who we are.
3. We get an odd satisfaction, pleasure, or sense of self-justification out of being the victim.
So, we cling to it and can’t imagine life without it.
If you’ve gotten this far, then do yourself a favor. Discover the solution! Watch our free video on self-sabotage (below). It’s 20 minutes long. And it will blow your mind. The video contains the key to ending this form of irresistible self-sabotage.
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