Fixations & Limiting Beliefs © Martyn Carruthers 2005
Part 3: Change Relationship Bonds & Beliefs
Although businesses spend fortunes to influence your shopping behavior, their influence is minor compared to that of your parents, teachers and doctors. (Some businesses spend fortunes to motivate those people to influence you.)
Your beliefs – your answers to “What feels true or right?“ – are largely determined by your relationships. If your parents were unhappy, you may have unhappy beliefs about yourself and your world, often leading to obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors.
Did your parents enjoy life and commit to happiness?
Or did they distract themselves from life?
Do you still copy them?
When I help couples enjoy better partnership, I often find that one or both are bonded to parents, past partners or mentors, and that a fixed idea (a mind virus) from those relationships may motivate failure, self-sabotage and separation.
Most relational bonds seem to originate in relationship disappointments during childhood (e.g. betrayal, neglect or family separation). These disturbances may be single intense experiences, or less intense experiences repeated over time.
People who are bonded to parents, ex-partners etc often behave in inappropriate yet predictable ways. I help people find solutions for obsessions and compulsions. A key is helping people define “What is normal?”
Whose drama are you repeating?
People who are bonded to both conflicting parents may experience deep conflict as they act out both sides of their parent’s conflicts. Such people may even be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, especially if one parent was often motivated while the other was often depressed.
Signs of Fixations
Fixated people often show obsessions, compulsions, obsessive-compulsive behavior and psychosomatic symptoms. Bonded people are often obsessively responsible or obsessively irresponsible, either in some context (e.g. at work or at home) or in all parts of their lives. Consider these habits:
|Must be responsible||Must be irresponsible|
Bonded people rarely realize that their behavior is so predictable. If anyone, even trusted friends, point out their obsessive/compulsive behavior, bonded people usually respond with justifications, excuses or complaints.
Characteristics of Bonded People
Bonded people may damage or destroy themselves, their family, their work, their relationships and/or their environment to fulfill their emotional beliefs. Some common characteristics of bonded or fixated people are …
- They may say that suffering is normal.
- They may say they feel special or chosen.
- They may criticize or ridicule healthy behavior.
- They may be accused of having weak boundaries.
- They may endlessly criticize themselves and others.
- They may have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.
- They may seek counterfeit love through fantasies or affairs.
- They may display their certificates, collections, awards or trophies.
Is a First Step to Health to Suffer?
Suffering is often a first step to resolving bonds and fixations. The depression or pain of loneliness, or of asking “Is this all there is?” can motivate searches for solutions. Yet many people avoid solutions. When they come face-to-face with their issues, they often respond with denial, distractions or emotional explosions. (Repeatedly denying your emotions may precipitate psychosomatic symptoms).
Suffering often precipitates conflicts which may become stronger and more frequent when people feel emotions and pain that they have long avoided. A useful question is, “Have you suffered enough to sort this out?”
Tips for Counselors & Therapists
Helping Bonded or Fixated Adults
Few people are aware of their darker relationship bonds, and even fewer will connect their difficult emotions or self-sabotage with their relationship history. Bonds are terra incognita for most people – and terror incognita for some.
Note: Incompetent therapy can damage people’s ability to bond!
- Gently explore and expose bonded behavior and the underlying beliefs. (Bonded people need time to recognize the consequences of their bonds or fixed ideas, and they often need more time to assimilate and/or atone for their past actions).
- This sequence works well for motivated adults and supports lasting benefits:
a) Define life and relationship goals
b) Assess past and present relationships
c) Dissolve objections, resistance and conflicts
d) Recover one’s own identity / true identity / true self …
e) And only then – replace deep taboo beliefs and bonds
- When helping bonded adults:
- a) If you lose trust, they will withdraw or reject you
- b) Remind people that they are neither unique nor alone
- c) Expect suspicion, unfair criticism and emotional outburst
- d) If in doubt, refer bonded clients to experienced professionals
- e) Don’t expect much credit for your work – expect people to forget it
Do you believe things that you know are not true?
Do you want to resolve your emotions and change limiting beliefs?