my space tracker

Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: 67 Beliefs about Getting Help (Know Yourself or Not: About Addiction, Affairs and Civil Wars of the Psyche)

Monday, November 16, 2009

67 Beliefs about Getting Help (Know Yourself or Not: About Addiction, Affairs and Civil Wars of the Psyche)

"I speak truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." ~Michel de Montaigne, translated

I have long been a student of motivation. I love to study stuckness and ambivalence and sort through, talk through the deep beliefs, reasons, ideas, why we don't or can't move forward. I love to understand deeply what our actions communicate to others, to ourselves. What kind of statements they make. What is obvious, and what is subtle. And what keeps us from really being curious about why we do what we do, or why we don't. What makes us willing to learn more, to get sober, to get help? What keeps us stuck?

I am deeply familiar with civil wars of the psyche. With the debating, ignoring, struggling with what to do, how, why to try to make some movement when you have done something, are doing something that seems to gratify in one way, and kick like hell in another. So below I bring you the following list of beliefs (Excuses, Ideas, Reasons), toward unpacking whats in the way of willingness, and whats in the way of taking steps that may help us to understand ourselves better, and maybe make changes for the good.

They can be applied to understanding what we may think/feel/believe regarding the wide range of human vices and needs, and controversial behavior, or situations with side effects (addictions, affairs, habits, obsessions, compulsions...) and why taking action toward change is often so very difficult. They are often the answer to the questions: Why don't you go to therapy, or a 12 step meeting or get help? In some instances they are the top layer of the onion, and in others, the very core. Please feel free to add any that I have missed:

I don't believe it will help

I should not have to do this

Its not that bad

I am entitled to have my ... food, wine, fun, secret sex life, spending spree...etc.

I earned it

I work hard

I am a professional

My life is great

I look fine

I don't mind dying young

I did not cause this

Everyone should accept and love me the way I am

S/he is not perfect either

I don't need a good sex life

I am too old to change

I am too young to change

I already know what "they" will say

I don't want to be judged

Its too expensive

I don't have time

Its too far away

It won't help

S/he, they, will judge me

S/he, they won't understand

I will have to change

You can't teach an old dog new tricks

I already know what to do

I already know why I do this

Its not my mother's fault

It is my mother's fault but so what

I don't want to talk about my past

It has nothing to do with being angry at my spouse/mother/father/partner/children/boss...

I am not that unhappy

I am not that uncomfortable

What s/he, they don't know won't hurt them

I am only hurting myself so who cares

I am not worth the trouble

S/he, they won't change or work on themselves, so why should I?

I will do it soon

I am good at everything else

This is only a small part of me

My job is not affected

My spouse/parents/kids/boss/partner doesn't care

I should know how to do this on my own

I feel like an idiot

I have no idea where to begin

I hate being new

I hate not knowing what to do

I am used to being the expert

I should know better

I like my, drug, drink, fun,....

I can't live without it

Its my only pleasure

I am not capable of stopping

Its chemical anyway

I can stop anytime I want

I need this

Its better than telling him/her the truth or expressing my feelings directly

Its my only vice

S/he they did it (or do it)

Everyone does it

I will only do it until I find something better

I am functioning just fine

Its the only way to get my message across

I forgot. Its that simple

I don't know what got into me, came over me

I am a complete screw up

I am a loser

My life is stupid

They will only ask more of me if I take care of this

I don't care about the risks

I don't mind if I am all alone with my food, drink, cards, drug......

I can't stand the loneliness

I'd rather be alone

I hate feeling dependant

I didn't mean to hurt him/her

It just happened

There is nothing more to it

Its so much bigger than me

It works for others, but they are not me

I know a lot of people it does not work for

Anger has nothing to do with this

It has nothing to do with my past

I hate public meetings

I am afraid

I don't want to give my spouse, parent....the satisfaction

They won't care

I won't be able to keep up

I like myself this way

I don't know why, I just don't want to

Its not up to me

What about what I need?

He/she they need more help than I do

Don't tell me what to do

I wouldn't know what to do with myself

Those places are for losers

My spouse hardly ever has sex with me anyway

If s/he paid more attention to me, I would not have to do this

Knowing/saying how I really feel is worse than what I am doing

Its my body

This is just the way I am

I don't want to hear other people's stories

I want this more than I want that

Its as bad as it seems, but so what

Its not as bad as it seems

I don't really mind it

My insanity is still acceptable to me

Others should learn to live it

S/he, they should not pay so much attention to me

It does not effect them that much

I put up with their stuff

They deserve it

Its better than hurting them directly

I can't face the truth about myself

I can't not do it

If I don't do this..or use this...or have this...I will be nothing...

The void will be too big

I will fail at this too

I am already a failure, so who cares

Its too deep to fix

Talking about it won't help

Talking about it will be too painful

It won't be fast enough

It will be too fast

It will be too slow

Its still the only way I can get through

I don't want to grow up

I don't want to be the parent, spouse, adult, sane one

I don't want to know

I don't want to, that's why

I am ashamed

If I start to know myself, I will have to change things

There might be too much pain

I couldn't face it

I am scared

Okay, so there may not be exactly 67, and there may be some repeats, but I could go on and on...Here's how I see it: It does sometimes hurt to start....but I know, I believe, I really really do...that its worth it. Small steps. Easy does it. Next right thing.


Sara said...

Wow! I could hear myself saying almost everything on that list...they usually run through my mind when I'm meditating. More and more I can see them as resistance, and not buy into them.

"Why me?" is one of my more popular resistance phrases. I used to pour scorn on myself for saying this - 'Why not me?' I'd think - but then I just allowed to feel the pain that goes along with 'Why me?' and that allowed my feelings to shift a little.

I'm learing to incorporate the resistance phrases into my practice - not just reject and dismiss them.

Great blog - thanks. I'm going through a tough time at the moment and reading this helped.

Lisa said...

Wow is right. I have been so stuck the past 6-8 weeks dancing around a very hard topic for me to talk about. I've used many of those statements to deflect... I wonder if I went back and looked at my blogs over the past 8 weeks if you would actually see any of those sayings.

This is helpful in identifying what is triggering me into saying one of these 67 statements. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa -

Thought I'd pop in and see how things were going over here. I see you're continuing to do great work!

I agree - there have to be at least 67 reasons why people put off going to therapy!

I hope the Thanksgiving holidays have been good for you and yours.

Cheers -


Kathy Broady, LCSW

Angela said...

There are so many things on that list that I have said or am still saying to myself. "I deserve it" is a big one for me. I'm really working on telling myself that I am worth recovery and a happy life, and that my past does not make up who I am now. Awesome post. Keep sharing your knowledge. It is so important!

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Emma, yes, resistance is the word! And of course.."Why Me?" belongs on the list!

Feeling the pain does go along way toward helping things to shift. Thank you for pointing that out.
Hope you will stop by again!


Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Lisa Marie,
I think sometimes we need to deflect, to protect ourselves. Sometimes the time has to be right for us to go deeper and get unstuck.

Glad as always to have your thougths

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Hi Kathy,

So glad you stopped by... yes, I am still blogging and very happy to be doing so.

I stopped by your blog and website and see that you are doing some very exciting and great things...I think your members forum is a wonderful and much needed place! These kinds of connections and a place to talk is so healing and progressive!
Hope your Thanksgiving was good as well!

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Hi Angela,

Thanks for your good words and for stopping by. And yes, I agree, the past does not have to define us, though I think it really does shape us.


isabella mori said...

textbook material !


Shen said...

For me, right now, the reason I am not moving forward with a specific issue is fear. I saw this in your list of excuses under "I will be judged" but it is also "I'm afraid no one will understand this, that it will further set me apart from what is "normal".

I wonder if you would consider submiting this article to the first (upcoming)SteppersWisdom blog carnival? this would be a great addition. You can find the link on my website if you're interested.