CDs & the Unconscious (Part 3)

what’s been hidden all these years!

PREVIOUS: CS & the Conscious (#2)


1. THINKING  (cont)
. The UNCONSCIOUS (2. Emotions in Part 4)

bThe CONSCIOUS (cont)

• Consider the entry into the unconscious as a lens aperture.  It’s only natural that the wider the opening, the easier it is to let light in! We know that old info will try to keep out any new info that’s going to cancel it out!
So we need to use Recovery tools to become more receptive in this ‘adversarial’ situation, since too much tension closes us off to anything contradictory to our earliest training

When we begin to replace mental distortions (CDs) with positives, we may consciously say:
• “I’ve studied as much as I can & I’m not stupid.
• I’ve done well in the past, so I believe I’ll do well this time too.
• No matter what the outcome, I’ll be OK”

But because of unconscious programming,
at first we can expect :
💨 TO feel uncomfortable, because the statements don’t agree with the fear we’re experiencing at the moment
💨 TO have the PP tell us we’re ridiculous “Who do you think you are?”
💨 THE WIC to absolutely not believe you. Only the PP’s voice carries weight – until the UNIT is strong enough to takes over

• When we think: ”Oh no, what if I fail this test / I’ll never remember everything I read / I’m such a flake….” — we will feel anxious. This causes various physical reactions (tight stomach, heart pounding, headache….), which can add to the fear.

This is to be expected!  Remember from INFO & the Brain: introducing new facts – contrary to what’s stored about a topic – will automatically be discounted. The unconscious is very good at maintaining the status quo.  As a built-in skill of the brain, it’s not a bad thing, as it helps retain consistency

• We can see how important it is for our minds to be stable & predictable when considering how crazy-making double-messages are! ACoAs got so many conflicting & confusing messages growing up that we end up convinced we’re crazy! But it’s not us.

add a positive ✓ One way to have access to the unconscious is to be physically & mentally relaxed. Also – liking something makes it more accessible.
Some ACoAs think it’s deceptive or arrogant to tell ourselves before an exam or interview: “….no matter what the outcome, I’m OK”.

So, instead, try : “I LIKE the idea of being ok, no matter what the outcome is…”,  which will dilate the aperture of the unconscious enough to slip in the rest: “… and I know that tomorrow I’ll remember what I read!”

• We don’t have to replace old beliefs – just add positive, healthy ones, creating different chemical pathways, which then take precedence as new mental habits.
The old routes will be less used, get weaker, & so not as easily fallen back into (regression). They’ll become a little like abandoned buildings – still there, but no longer lived in. This is good news for ACoAs who assume we have to get rid of all bad ideas before we’re ‘better’.

✓ The best time to substitute a subconscious thought pattern is when it’s currently playing in the mind, causing us anxiety.  Even though that’s when we “feel” least like doing it – replacing the thought right then will be most effective.

EXP: Picture being in a dive with a jukebox – if we push D4 (an event), a specific record will play (a CD) but this one is scratchy & annoying (painful emotions). That’s when it’s the exact time to put a new record on, to get rid of the grating noise!
But it doesn’t FEEL right (we refuse, as if it were illegal, and Mac-the-Knife is glowering at us — so it seems impossible.)

Yet, if we push thru the lead curtain of resistance, & “Rinse & Repeat” each time the old messages surface, it WILL get easier. Eventually we won’t have to work so hard to step on that old 45 & see it crack apart.
TIP: decide on a phrase or two that counters the Bad Voice (PP), & then practice them until they become automatic.

NEXT:   CDs & the Unconscious (#4)

CDs & the Unconscious (Part 2)


it’s been running my life & I didn’t even know it!



1. THINKING  (cont)
. The UNCONSCIOUS (2. Emotions in Part 4)

bThe CONSCIOUS mind is abstract, creative & aware, about such things as —
— thinking about what we’ve heard, seen or written
— what is intelligent & purposeful (having choices)

It doesn’t know what’s in the unconscious & doesn’t even want to acknowledge it, because it considers it too ‘simple & concrete’.  In spite of that ‘prejudice’, our conscious part only has about 15% control over forming experiences, while the subconscious is in charge of the other 85%, as the result of conditioning!

In general, Thoughts are latent but measurable forms of electro-magnetic energy, an important natural activity we produce!  Changes in thoughts change our biochemistry, hormones & brainwave patterns. Thoughts vibrate at different rates of oscillation, spreading out from the body like pond ripples. The speed & distance they travel depend on the frequency that generated them, so the way we think definitely has an effect on our environment

Negative Thinking (CDs) assumes only difficulties & failures. negative thoughtsIt make us feel bad & decreases brain function, creating the same physical responses that any actual physical experience which would trigger anger or fear (blood pressure rise, cold sweats, hand tremors & flushed face, light-headedness & muscle weakness, rapid heart beat, shallow breathing, stomach knots….)

Thoughts are stored:
i. EITHER by mechanical repetition (like hours of reciting multiplication tables, practicing musical scales, rote prayers….)

ii. OR by pairing a thought or experience with an intense emotion.
When emotions connected to an event are too intense (painful), the whole thing will be repressed, especially if the distress is long-term or particularly traumatic, like most of our childhood, an abusive marriage, a severe illness….
✓ Think of your very earliest memory. Whether it was a pleasant event or not, it was anchored in your mind by a strong feeling!

• Any often-repeated thought becomes so automatic that after a while we don’t even notice it. It’s now unconscious, out of awareness, but like Google, a complete record of our life.
It includes all our experiences & emotions: disappointments, delights, habits, joys, losses, pleasures, successes, traumas….. PLUS a collection of ‘beliefs & perceptions’. It’s all there – waiting to be discovered!

EXP: Growing up you were neglected & abused at home & bullied at school, with no one to protect or defend you. Now, any time you consider attending a group – no matter how innocuous – you have palpitations.
You think it’s only because you’re an Introvert & shy, but it’s more likely to be from unconscious CDs formed by early stresses – like Over-generalizing, Disqualifying the Positive, Unrealistic Comparisons, Projection….

Hidden : even though information is out of our awareness, continual thinking is still going on. When an emotionally upset ACoAs is asked: “What are you thinking or believing about this situation?”, most will answer : “I’m not”, or “I don’t know”, insisting they’re ‘just upset’

• Strong emotional reactions are always driven by automatic thoughts. With some encouragement & digging, the harmful thinking can be uncovered:
— coming from self-hate beating us down
— repeating insensitive or cruel things others have said to us
projecting dire outcomes about something….

Automatic thinking can be either helpful or harmful:
as a +,  it makes it easier to respond to life’s many tasks & situations without having to stop each time to figure them out – whether driving a car, doing our job, or raising children

as a -, it causes problems when there’s flawed reasoning in the unconscious. Since we’re not aware of what we’re ‘saying’ to ourselves, we don’t know it is creating the emotional pain (anxiety, hopelessness, rage, unbearable loneliness….)
Instead, we blame the distress on something in our environment, which is only a trigger

EXP: 2 people are called in to see the boss. One goes in calmly, curious but confident. The other becomes more & more agitated while waiting his turn.  The difference is not the upcoming ‘talk’ but what each person is automatically, unconsciously thinking / believing about what’s going to happen.

NEXT: CDs & the UNCONSCIOUS (Part 2)

CDs & the Unconscious (Part 1)

cds & thoughts

I can give birth to new thinking

PREVIOUS: CDs & the Unconscious (#1)

AA saying: “Alcoholics dig themselves into a rut, & then decorate it!”

1. THINKING  (2. Emotions in Part 4)
 The UNCONSCIOUS mind is ‘just’ the result of patterning, conditioning & habit – therefore it’s basic – very B & W, not thinking, intelligent or creative, totally literal with no sense of humor! From our birth it absorbs info & experience without insight or good judgment.  So our early years provide the basis for all future learning, as the mind filters out inconsistencies.

NOTE: ‘Unconscious’ is the part of mind holding information we’ve gathered – which isn’t available just by wanting to access it, & can only be retrieved by special techniques or triggering events.

Subconscious’ is the level where unconscious memories drive our emotional reactions & behavior, without realizing it, like:
— seeing food suddenly making us hungry
— a deep-seated but untreated childhood trauma distorting our ability to make safe, rational decisions…..

• In the Cognitive Therapy model, distorted information-processing results in anxiety symptoms, such as catastrophizing, the excessive focus on negative outcomes leading to false alarms, hyper-vigilance, loss of objectivity, no tolerance for uncertainty, & ‘lack of habituation’ (not desensitized to a stressor -air travel- even with repeated exposure).

• This is familiar to ACoAs, who grew up in emotionally tense & physically dangerous environments, at home & outside, & now react with “fight, flight, freeze or appeasing“. Originally —
Fight would have been with siblings, neighborhood kids, school peers, hurting animals or possessions, & sometimes self-harm
Flight was more common. As long as we were too young to leave home we escaped into books, friends, school work, sports & of course fantasy. And for some – attempted suicide.
Freeze was & still can be when our mind blanks out from fear, & we can’t think at all, called dissociation
Appease was / is people-pleasing, agreeing with anyone who scared us, being over-solicitous, over-giving….. anything to ‘placate the monster’

MODIFYING the Unconscious
• While there are people & situations we DO need to get away from – it’s always self Qsgood to check our point of view first. This is not a blame or a judgement. There’s a big difference between what the WIC ‘feels’ or that the PP is telling us about ourselves & others – vs – how the Healthy Adult / Loving Parent sees things.

• So in terms of CDs, if we assume our pain is ONLY caused by something outside of ourselves, we waste a lot of energy trying to change the wrong things – another person, a job, a location…. rather than our frame of reference & inner beliefs. This endless wild-goose-chase leaves us feeling frustrated, out of control & hopeless. It reinforces our Victim role, keeping us convinced we can’t take care of ourselves

• A major purpose of some therapy styles is to bring up from the unconscious as much accumulated pain & distorted thinking as possible, so we can actively process emotions (Es) & correct False beliefs (Ts), which then gradually changes our behavior! (As) When we consistently, deliberately think in new ways, we add a 10-fold power to our conscious mind

FYI: Counseling, Coaching & some Therapies focus on current actions & thinking, NOT on the past & childhood programming – when most of our ACoA damage was formed!

Psychiatry & Psychoanalysis is deliberately structured so psychiatrythere’s almost NO feedback from the therapist. This has proven harmful for many ACoAs, because:
i. it’s a repeat of – no one responding to us as kids – leaving us yet again terribly alone with someone who’s supposed to be helpful!
ii. it doesn’t interfere with or correct our S-H & other distorted thinking, which we desperately need

iii. it ignores positive mirroring, also desperately needed – a healthy voice feeding back to us what we’re denying AND all of our wonderful native characteristics & accomplishments
iv. it doesn’t provide good role-model to emulate – caring, sensitivity & kindness, good boundaries, sane thinking….

✶ The most useful one-to-one therapy for most ACoAs is ‘family of origin’ work (FoO), based on a good understanding of family systems & addiction. It works best when it includes lots of well-boundaried interaction – and humor!

NEXT: CDs & The Unconscious (Part 3) Making changes