Saturday, April 08, 2006

Saturday, April 8: Secondary Gain

There’s an interesting book out there: Why People Don’t Heal. It’s about the subtle and powerful pull of the gains some of us get from our “issues.” Here’s how I see what goes on when someone is in a long term trouble situation.

One, the patterns in the brain aren’t working to really get the person the outcomes, the movement, the life they want. Feldenkrais can take care of that.

Two, they might be adding fuel to their fire with all sorts of internal negative remarks: I’m such a loser. This isn’t fair. When am I going to be well. What’s taking so long. This is proof that life sucks. And so on. The way out of this is to do the Work of Byron Katie.

Three, they are getting the goodies from their ailments. They get attention. They get people to do things for them. They get to be weak and have other people take care of them, or rearrange things for them, or wait for them, or stop everything while they have a crisis. And so on. Tempting stuff, to be a baby again, to have helplessness give us the power to control the universe, or so it seems.

What’s the way out of this? Friends who say, No. A sense of humor about our wish to control the world. Doing the Katie work when we start to think others aren’t “supporting” us enough, or aren’t “compassionate” enough. Being present and looking around and seeing: Wow, what a sly dog I’m trying to be. Is this really how I want to live?

And actually, another kind of false secondary gain can go on. An imagined punishment to whomever we think was bad to us in the past. So and so (often long dead) will feel really guilty when they see what sorry shape they’ve put me in. To get out of this hole, everything would help. Feldenkrais to get into fun and learning and the present. Coming into the moment to realize so and so is dead or not here. Doing the work on the always mistaken notion that some They is causing our pain, and coming back to the freedom of realizing that in our own mind, we are doing the hatchet job.


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