How I stopped being a self-help junky |

How I stopped being a self-help junky

There was a time in my life when I would never ask for help.

Even now, it’s not my first instinct.

I’m used to sorting out my problems by myself.

Call me a self-help specialist, if you will.

Ironic for a therapist, I’d say.

You might say it's independence.

Or some might describe it as stubbornness.

At the heart, though, I think it’s something completely different.

When your reality, as a child, is that help doesn’t come; when you’re awash with your emotions, and a parent is unable to attune to that, but just stay in their own needs, a quiet desperation starts to build.

I’m in this alone. I can’t trust that I will be saved or helped.

Fast forward to your teens and adult years, and that feeling gets cemented.

If at your core, you believe no help will come or be offered, why on earth would you ask?

It doesn’t enter into your thinking.

If you grew up in a narcissistic family or with emotional neglect, that feeling can also be compounded by another experience.

You take the risk, as any child would, of asking for help.

The response that comes back to you is on a spectrum.

From blankness, via stop complaining, to something more extreme. Humiliation, mocking or dismissal. 

A few times of that happening and you stop trying.

Anything to avoid that rejection. The reality that comes with that self-quieting is that you end up rejecting yourself.

Switch back to adulthood and that fear of making yourself vulnerable again is pervasive.

Anything but the humiliation or despair of no help being offered.

Or your need being made fun of.

New ways of seeing old patterns

These days, I’m starting to see a shift in my understanding.

For most of my life, my take on things has been from the 'outside in'.

What I mean by that, is that these external circumstances - disappointments, hurts, neglect, abuse - have defined my experience.

How could I not feel those things, if those experiences hadn’t happened?

Now I’m not denying the reality of those experiences.

Some, if not all, were true.

But what made them true for me, my perception of them as either bad or difficult or a problem, is entirely made from my own thinking. 

Put it another way. The same thing can happen to me twice, and my experience of it is completely different.

How? Well let’s put it to the test.

A thought experiment

I’m sitting in a cafe and someone bumps into me. And then another. And a third time.

I fume internally for the impoliteness or lack of mindfulness.

I get transported into a spiral of thinking about how I’m not seen or treated badly. I feel invisible. Disrespected.

Another day, I’m sitting in a cafe and I get bumped. It doesn’t bother me.

I imagine it was unintentional and unseen. Or thoughtless.​

None of it matters, because I choose not to follow any of that thinking. I get on with my drink un-impacted by the bumps.

What’s the difference between the two experiences? 

My thinking about it.

Our thoughts create our experience. Our awareness brings it to life.

Our thoughts create our experience. Our awareness brings it to life .We can’t choose our thoughts, but we can choose which thoughts to follow or not.

Click to Tweet

We can’t choose our thoughts, but we can choose which thoughts to follow or not.

When our thinking is insecure, the world looks like a bad place.

When our thinking is quiet, the world looks very different.

This new understanding is revolutionary to me.

I see more and more that our experience of the world is created from the inside out.

There is no experience without thought.

So back to my opening question and experience. ‘I have to do it all by myself.’

This is, I see, in part conditioning. Those early experiences led me to habitual thinking that no-one else could or would help.

That might even have been true, then.

But now? That’s only true because I think it so.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a sudden convert to CBT.

This is a deeper truth, about the transient nature of thought.

We may be caught in series of difficult thoughts. Maybe we can choose not to give those thoughts too much power or weight.

When thought quietens, there is space for wisdom, common sense and clarity.

When thought quietens, there is space for wisdom, common sense and clarity.

Click to Tweet

When our thoughts are revved up to a high speed, often insecure feelings come with them. Anxiety, worry , rumination.

With this new understanding, I see that I am the architect of my own experience. How powerful is that?

So what’s your take on this?

Can you see what I’m saying?

If you're a self-help junky...

Sometimes you just need help with this stuff.

A mentor, coach or therapist who can support you step by step. Be alongside you when there are setbacks and difficulties. Because there will be. 

This isn't necessarily easy or pain free. But it is the route to greater freedom. Which is priceless.

Why not get in touch to find out how we might work together?

 I help people just like you overcome the effects of childhood emotional neglect and narcissistic abuse, so they can reclaim their self-esteem and self confidence.

To make an appointment for a free non-obligation chat please click the button below.