Why are you stuck and keep self-sabotaging yourself?
Anger management and anxiety counselling aren’t just about changing behaviour, it’s about finding the deeper cause. The root that’s keeping you stuck, angry, frustrated, anxious and unhappy. But when shifted makes life easier, less reactive and brings calm.
What is that deeper cause?… A Negative Core Belief
This Negative Core Belief runs like a program or pattern that keeps bringing the same old results. And those critical thoughts about yourself and others that crop up are connected to that Negative Core Belief.
What is a Negative Core Belief?
The unconscious story made up at a young age that is the foundation of how you live and see others in your life. Unconscious decisions are made automatically without awareness. So these old beliefs/stories are controlling you and driving your behaviour.
Your Negative Core Belief is like building your life on a weak and shaky foundation. Hence the common feeling of ‘no matter what I do it fails or isn’t enough.’
Anytime your negative core belief is triggered you’ll be fighting and struggling to overcome a weakened personal foundation.
A simple experience of a negative situation becomes repeated and encoded in your experience. In order to never feel the rejection or shame again, you’ll avoid and hold yourself back.
Sounds simple, but there’s a hitch.
The hitch is…. these Negative Core Beliefs that drive anger, stress, and anxiety are not obvious to us. You might deal with the symptom like trying to change the words you use with your spouse to avoid an argument. But that’s not the core issue. You’ll be more familiar with the symptoms of yelling, blaming, judgment, resentment, jealousy, anxiety, perfectionism, and conflictual behaviour but it’s not the REAL problem.
Stop the fight!
The ego defenses of fighting or hiding (fight, flight or freeze) are protection from hurt and pain. When you heal that hurt and pain by correcting the story that created it you gain clarity and have no need for defensive behaviour. Your anger, anxiety, and stress will lessen easily.
So your first job is to recognize that your defensive ego responses are your responsibility…. it’s an inside job.
Rather than battling with the outside person or situation about who or what’s right or wrong, shift your focus inside.
Write out all the behaviours that you recognize that are part of your ego defense.
- Anxiety and Stress
- Sensitivity—taking things personally eg. feeling disrespected
- Critical and Judgmental—better than or lesser than thinking
- Addictions or escape behaviour—Avoidance
- Passive Aggressive—indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.
- Avoiding social activities
The only long-term relief will come from looking at your own experience and what’s driving it. It’s an inside job.
Start by reminding yourself regularly “it’s not about ______(the thing or person you’re blaming for your upset)” anytime you’re feeling hurt, angry or righteous. For example, if you’re fighting in your relationship then you’d say “it’s not about the money/children/chores etc.”
How to start the shift in perspective
Learn to recognize the situations and types of people that particularly trigger you to be able to shift and correct a mistaken belief about yourself.
For example, Someone shoots down an idea you’ve just been excited about. The first triggered response is to fire back at them that they don’t know what they’re talking about and how they’ve never had a good idea in their life. Alternatively, you might just shut down and seethe, quietly wounded or dismiss them as____ (insert judgment eg. stupid, uncaring, a failure).
Either way, you’re taking their words personally triggering an automatic behaviour (fight, flight or freeze) which ultimately just re-enforces your negative core belief.
For freedom and ease to connect to any person or any experience requires correcting that core belief. Simply telling yourself you’re worthy, good enough or loved isn’t enough. You HAVE TO believe it.
First, though you need to recognize when you’re Negative Core Belief is triggered, in order to shift your perspective and perception.
Liz Coleman, RTC, is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor based in Surrey, BC. She specializes in anxiety, anger, insecurity, and relationship problems. If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Ms. Coleman at (604) 809-8947 or use the convenient form on her Contact page.