PREVIOUS: Procrastination – past reasons (Part 1)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
QUOTE: “If it weren’t for the last-minute, nothing would get done.” R M Brown
The HARD Stuff (cont.)
1. PAST causes (previous post)
2. PRESENT Causes of Procrastination
a. Internal - FEAR of :
• not doing everything Perfectly (a form of S-H)
• not knowing how to do something (even tho we’re actually very
smart, clever, creative, knowledgeable)
• not knowing what to say when challenged or attacked
• looking weak, needy, incompetent, lazy, stupid…..
• having to stand up for ourselves
• making the ‘wrong’ choice, when having several options, or many demands on us at the same time
• having to feel the loneliness & pain of our original abandonment
b. External – FEAR of:
• disappointing, hurting or angering someone
• being judged harshly (the way we do to ourselves)
• asking for help when we really need it
• being interrupted & lose our train of thought or activity
• having to deal with difficult people
• having to make everyone else happy (not be in pain) but resenting it
The GOOD Stuff (must sabotage when things get too good!)
a. fear of success, as that would disobey basic Toxic Rules, and we’d have a lot of responsibility which the WIC believes it can not handle – even tho our adult can/could
b. not allowed to be happy, based on the belief that life is hard, exclusively, AND that we aren’t worthy of having good things anyway
c. stay loyal to the family by not out-doing them – we must also be a failure, don’t show them up, stay in the family mobile, don’t rock the boat….
d. we really didn’t want to go somewhere, don’t feel well, want to do something else, or nothing at all…. even if it’s potentially pleasurable or valuable. But since we aren’t allowed to say NO to the inner Pressure-er, (“what will they think if I don’t show up? / what if I miss out on something / Maybe this will have the perfect answer to all my problems?….”), instead of firmly deciding a Yes or No, we dither & obsess, do nothing & then hate ourselves
e. are never supposed to say NO to what someone else suggests, offers, wants – especially if it’s good for us. Besides “Why do they want to be with me? Why are they being so nice?” So for those times we don’t rush to people-please, we make promises we eventually flake out on, make excuses or just lie, until people get angry &/or give up on us.
– That comes both as a relief – of pressure, and a big pain – of yet again feeling ‘abandoned’! Trapped in our own no-win game, we blame others
BOTTOM LINE: “WHY BOTHER?” underlies all our indecision & procrastination. We don’t take true care of ourselves, no matter how busy or cocky we seem to others. On a deep level we’re paralyzed by:
a. Not knowing or having access to our healthy True Self, so we believe we don’t know what we want or like, nor what our rights are!
b. Not allowed to be our own internal motivator – so our only reason to take actions has to come from outside. We have to use family, a boss, teacher, a cause, religion, a career, friends & lover relationships, AND ultimately our terror of abandonment & punishment to push ourselves. Left to our own devices, we just collapse inward
c. Our Internal Conflicts, between:
• losing someone, being hurt or punished vs. feeling ‘safe’ (even it that safety is an illusion or self-destructive)
• WIC & PP vs. the Healthy UNIT
• obeying vs. disobeying the Toxic Rules
• what we want vs. what we’re ‘supposed’ to be, do, think, feel
• old patterns vs. new ways of doing things
d. Double messages, originally forced on us by one or more adults, we had no choice but to internalize the resulting Double Binds* (simultaneous but opposing demands, with a penalty for whichever one we can’t fulfill). EXP:
• As kids they expected us to do for them (which may still be going on with an elderly parent), taking advantage of us to be their parent substitute – using hints, guilt, shaming, manipulation, demands, threats…. AND were angry / abusive if we did nothing (the penalty)
• BUT THEN were totally dissatisfied with & critical of (the penalty) whatever we did do for them, no matter how much effort we put in, what it cost us, what we had to sacrifice, how clever we were at it….
*EITHER WAY we were/are punished. If they’re still live we compulsively keep trying – to please them, over & over. If they’re not around anymore we often find some other needy, critical person to satisfy – always with the same impossible, painful results! YES, we’re addicted to the rejection, while maintaining the illusion that we have the power to change them, if only we try hard enough, long enough!
Ultimately, we stopped trying – but only for ourselves, because:
• we’re still waiting for them to approve of us
• to give us permission to have a life of our own life
• we’re convinced that if we failed with them (the family, also school, religion), then it’s inevitably that we’ll fail with everything & everyone else, so there’s no point in trying
• we’re waiting for someone – anyone – to come & rescue us so we don’t ever have to be our own parent!
REVIEW “Putting things off” post, for ways to change
NEXT: Enneagram Basics