Elizabeth reported to her support group that she had noticed her new friend expected her to only do what he felt like doing. She proudly announced that she had asked him to do what she wanted to do instead of automatically following his lead. They negotiated successfully, and had a wonderful time together.

She then confessed, “Sometimes I feel so afraid I am going to turn back into the scared little girl I used to be. I’m afraid the positive changes I’ve made in my life will disappear and I’m afraid that dwelling on my fear will cause something bad to happen.”

Others in her support group admitted to similar fears. They too worried about whether their positive changes would remain in times of stress. They discussed the difference between the changes they had made that seemed stable and lasting and those that were short lived — like their New Year’s resolutions, forgotten by January 15.

Their New Year’s resolutions were generally based on a promise to do better because they thought they should (Adapted Child), while their true selves (Natural Child), really didn’t want to go to the trouble of doing something different. They noticed too, that changes that seemed stable had the agreement of all parts of themselves. Their Parent(s) thought it was the right thing to do, their Child ego state wanted the result, and their Adult(s) knew the change was possible and how to accomplish it.

Elizabeth examined her change by asking herself;

  • Parent: Do I think this is right for me? (Yes, it keeps me out of painful, addictive relationships.)
  • Child: Do I want the result (Yes, I like to get to do the things I want to do.)
  • Adult: Do you know how to manage this change? (Yes, I can be alert to every invitation to consider someone else’s desires instead of my own — both are really important to me.)

She felt reassured that her change was probably stable.

Members of her support group also reminded Elizabeth that although children believe that thinking about bad things may cause something bad to happen, it isn’t really true. It is a myth that thoughts are dangerous; thoughts, like feelings, are neither “good” nor “bad”, they just are.

They discussed how thoughts and feelings don’t affect anything that goes on outside yourself unless you express or act on them in some way. Focusing on negative thoughts can bring negative results, but only by influencing your behavior. They all agreed that it is necessary to say something or perform some action, (or withhold some action) in order to have an impact on the world.

Elizabeth was greatly relieved that she had confessed her fears. Examining the problem helped to build the firm foundation she desired instead of precipitating the things she feared.

[tags]Personal Growth, Emotional Problems, Self Help, Self-Improvement, CoDependency, Inner Child, Relationships, Transactional Analysis[/tags]