Self Fulfilling Prophecy
Hi folks sorry about the delay between posts, I’ve had lots to do that absorbed my energies away from writing for a little while.
Welcome to Mindphukers 6th post. In this instalment we will be looking at injunctions, the powerful don’t messages founded on the childish fears of our parents.
In the last post we introduced the concepts of Drivers, Programs and Injunctions. These concepts are hidden in code format within the early messages passed to us by our parents.
Parents Childish Fears
The injunction, and probably the most corrosive element that is past to us within a message is the childish fear of the parent giving the message.
Injunctions are mainly passed to us non-verbally, and many will be established at a pre verbal age in our development. These injunctions will however be reinforced through out our lives, via body language and other non verbal communications from the people around us.
The earlier the injunction is established the more potency it is likely to hold in our psyche.
Self Fulfilling Prophecy
I want to discuss my thoughts on injunctions a bit further in this post because of the potential damage that can ensue in a person’s life as a result of these self fulfilling prophecy type messages.
I think in all the self development goals I have set myself in my life injunctions have proven to be the most difficult “things” to change or alter, but when I have succeeded in this process I have taken the greatest leaps forward as a direct result.
These forward leaps can be very dramatic at times, where you feel to your very core like a different person, sometimes over the course of a single day.
This involves a deep re-decision in the depths of your unconscious mind of who you are or how you are going to be. I have noted occasions where the effect has been so profound that people around me have literally commented, “You are like a different person compared to who we saw a few hours ago”.
This may seem like nonsense but I have in fact felt completely different within myself within a very short period of time. Even the most corrosive and deeply held injunction can be altered, even if only slightly, and can produce immense difference in the quality of your life.
Injunctions then, are powerful “don’t” messages passed to us by our parents. The most potent of which are passed at a very early age, normally pre verbal stages of life, before we have and understand words.
The injunction message will be passed via eye contact and the power of the parents gaze, or by touch like roughness in handling, pulling away from the child or pushing the child away.
Children are very intuitive and pick these messages up easily and will then try and figure out what the message is supposed to mean. From the view point of the infant their very survival depends upon pleasing and understanding the giants responsible for their care.
Every injunction will have a certain feel and texture which we associate to it in our own individual subjective perceptions. So in naming injunctions we have to kind of boil them down to a closest match.
12 Basic Injunctions
There are 12 basic injunctions that people would seem to hold in their psyche. This list of injunctions came from the work of Bob and Mary Goulding after this process of boiling down the meanings of the “stuff” their clients brought to work with in therapy.
• Don’t Exist
• Don’t be you
• Don’t be a child
• Don’t grow up
• Don’t feel
• Don’t succeed
• Don’t be well
• Don’t (do anything)
• Don’t belong
• Don’t be important
• Don’t think
• Don’t be close
This list is not set down in any particular order of significance except in maybe the positioning of “don’t exist”. This injunction is possibly the most potent injunction of them all as it can affect us on an existential level and great care needs to be taken when working or lifting the lid on this injunction.
To attempt to describe this in my own personal experience it is like touching a great void that provokes such powerful feelings of despair in the very core of your being, you just don’t want to exist at that moment of contact with “voidness”.
If you can now try and imagine just how devastating an effect this feeling of raw despair could have in your life you can maybe get a glimpse of understanding why people will do anything to avoid “being” or experiencing this state.
They may take alcohol or drugs or do any other number of things not to have to face this unbearable state. They will even accept a less potent injunction to cover up having to face “don’t exist”.
This might be something like I can exist as long as I “don’t be well”. As long as I suffer it’s ok to live, or as long as I “don’t be important” and don’t be a burden on my parents it’s ok to live. As long as I go crazy it’s ok to live.
These are a few examples of how one injunction may be accepted as a way of covering up or lessening the impact of a more powerful injunction. If this covering up is not made what’s the alternative?
Injunctions of all kinds however, can be dissolved and changed. It takes a combination of care, time and technique to get us to a point where we can acknowledge the injunction and re-decide a new meaning to the message.
We can decide we have a right to live and prosper; we have a right to succeed and be important, that we are in fact “ok” as we are, with all our faults, and understand that if we wish to change we can change in a multitude of ways with the correct help and support.
Sometimes this support may require the services of a counsellor or therapist, it may be in the shape of a good honest friend or even a stranger who has the vision to see beyond our current state of imposed limitations, or it may simply be in the way of any number of self help systems that we can gain access to.
The vehicle of change is not the important factor; it’s “believing” that we are worth it, that we are worth whatever effort it takes to change our destiny. Very often we will make effort on behalf of the needs of others, but then sit back and think;
“Oh, it’s just me I can do without, it doesn’t matter”
Well I’m here to tell you “it does matter” you must be prepared to make effort for your own needs, whatever this may be. The effort of putting yourself through night school or college to get better qualified to get a better job or the effort to go and get the proper health care you may need.
Even the simple effort of spending some time pampering yourself in any way says a lot of how you view yourself. This has to be about pleasing you however and not pleasing someone else.
If you don’t view yourself in a positive worth it way it is very unlikely other people will, because you will project your unworthiness out into the world for other people to act on.
You can however, begin making positive changes today. This can be as simple as changing the internal dialog going on your head. Instead of brutally criticising self for a mistake, accept that hey, I’ve made a mistake. This is the reality after all.
Decide to learn from mistakes, not criticise self, and when you successfully complete the slightest task praise yourself for it. Praise yourself for getting up in the morning, for getting washed, for everything you do.
Become a young child once more and receive praise for your efforts. Even if this experience was denied you when you were a child you now have the opportunity to redress this through your self dialog. It begins here!
More Next Time
Reference: The works of Eric Berne and Transactional Analysis