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Exploring The Life Traps That Prevent Us From Living In The Fullness of Christ By: Kelly Johnson, MA, LPC www.centerforhealingandchange.com.

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Presentation on theme: "Exploring The Life Traps That Prevent Us From Living In The Fullness of Christ By: Kelly Johnson, MA, LPC www.centerforhealingandchange.com."— Presentation transcript:

1 Exploring The Life Traps That Prevent Us From Living In The Fullness of Christ By: Kelly Johnson, MA, LPC

2 Anybody struggle with believing the truth of who we are in Christ? John 1:12I am God's child. John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1I have been justified. 1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God. 1 Corinthians 12:27I am a member of Christ's body. Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

3 Our Identity is in Christ…  However, often times we struggle with emotions such as inadequacy, shame, self hatred, loneliness, abandonment, fear, etc. Where is the JOY, CONTENTMENT, SECURITY?

4 Wounds and Life Traps  When our needs in childhood are not met, we don’t thrive as children and we develop life traps that hinder us from functioning in a healthy manner.  The reality is everybody has life traps and there are no perfect parents either!  Eliminate ALL or NOTHING thinking in your perspective of your parents and also of yourself as a parent!

5 Basic Needs of a Child  Security and Safety  Connection to Others  Independent Functioning  Self Esteem  Self Expression  Limit Setting

6 Life Traps 101  When our basic needs are not met in childhood we develop a life trap.  Life Traps are patterns that start in childhood and recreate themselves through out our whole lives.  life traps are very resistant to change and we view the world through our Life Traps

7 THE ELEVEN LIFE TRAPS Basic Safety 1. abandonment 2. mistrust and abuse Connection to others 3. Emotional Deprivation 4. Social Exclusion Autonomy 5. Dependence 6. Vulnerability to harm or illness

8 THE ELEVEN LIFE TRAPS Self Esteem 7. Defectiveness /Shame 8. Failure Self Expression 9. Subjugation 10. Unrelenting Standards Realistic Limits 11. Entitlement/Narcissism

9 ABANDONMENT / INSTABILITY The perceived unreliability of those available for support and connection. Involves the sense that significant others will not be able to continue providing emotional support, connection, strength, or practical protection because they are emotionally unstable and unpredictable (e.g., angry outbursts), unreliable, or erratically present; because they will die imminently; or because they will abandon the patient in favor of someone better. MISTRUST / ABUSE The expectation that others will hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie, manipulate, or take advantage. Usually involves the perception that the harm is intentional or the result of unjustified and extreme negligence. May include the sense that one always ends up being cheated relative to others or "getting the short end of the stick.

10 EMOTIONAL DEPRIVATION Expectation that one's desire for a normal degree of emotional support will not be adequately met by others. The three major forms of deprivation are: A. Deprivation of Nurturance: Absence of attention, affection, warmth, or companionship. B. Deprivation of Empathy: Absence of understanding, listening, self-disclosure, or mutual sharing of feelings from others. C. Deprivation of Protection: Absence of strength, direction, or guidance from others. DEFECTIVENESS / SHAME The feeling that one is defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or that one would be unlovable to significant others if exposed. May involve hypersensitivity to criticism, rejection, and blame; self-consciousness, comparisons, and insecurity around others; or a sense of shame regarding one's perceived flaws

11 SOCIAL EXCLUSION The feeling that one is isolated from the rest of the world, different from other people, and/or not part of any group or community. DEPENDENCE / INCOMPETENCE Belief that one is unable to handle one's everyday responsibilities in a competent manner, without considerable help from others (e.g., take care of oneself, solve daily problems, exercise good judgment, tackle new tasks, make good decisions). VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it. Fears focus on one or more of the following: (A) Medical Catastrophes, (B) Emotional Catastrophes: e.g., going crazy; (C): External Catastrophes: e.g., elevators collapsing, victimized by criminals, airplane crashes, earthquakes.

12 FAILURE The belief that one has failed, will inevitably fail, or is fundamentally inadequate relative to one's peers, in areas of achievement (school, career, sports, etc.). Often involves beliefs that one is stupid, inept, untalented, ignorant, lower in status, less successful than others, etc. ENTITLEMENT / GRANDIOSITY The belief that one is superior to other people, these people are typically selfish, narcissistic, struggle with empathy, and resist admitting wrongs or apologizing.

13 SUBJUGATION Excessive surrendering of control to others because one feels coerced usually to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment. The two major forms of subjugation are: A. Subjugation of Needs: Suppression of one's preferences, decisions, and desires. B. Subjugation of Emotions: Suppression of emotional expression, especially anger. Usually involves the perception that one's own desires, opinions, and feelings are not valid or important to others. Frequently presents as excessive compliance, combined with hypersensitivity to feeling trapped. UNRELENTING STANDARDS / HYPERCRITICALNESS The underlying belief that one must strive to meet very high internalized standards of behavior and performance, usually to avoid criticism. Typically results in feelings of pressure or difficulty slowing down; and in hypocriticalness toward oneself and others.

14 HEALING THE LIFE TRAP  1. Identify your top Life Traps and pick one life trap you would like to work on.  2. Understand the Childhood Origins of Your Life Trap.  3. Write letters to the parent, sibling, or peer who helped caused your life trap. (no need to mail )  4. Examine your life trap pattern in DETAIL in the present!  5. Create Flash Cards  6. Start Pattern Breaking in your Thoughts and Behaviors

15 Thoughts and Behaviors  All Behaviors and Thoughts either:  HEAL THE LIFE TRAP (MAKE IT SMALLER!) Or  REINFORCE THE LIFE TRAP (MAKE IT BIGGER!)  Example- if my life trap is social isolation, the more I isolate from other people, the more different I feel and my fear of people grows. When I conquer my fears, connect with others, go to events, and calm the bully in my head that tells me how different I am, I am healing my life trap.  Self awareness is power, be AWARE!

16 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Abandonment) (Remedies used with the permission of Dr. John Barletta)  Utilize flash cards to help when life trap gets activated (see example)  learn to stop catastrophizing about temporary separation from others  use cognitive strategies focus on altering the unrealistic expectation that others should be endlessly available and totally consistent  learn to accept that other people have the right to set limits and establish separate space  stop pushing partners away with behaviors that are too jealous, clinging, angry or controlling  Gradually learn to tolerate being alone and walk away from unstable relationships quickly, and become more comfortable in stable relationships.

17 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Mistrust and Abuse)  learn to recognize a spectrum of trustworthiness  alter your view of worthlessness/self blame—stop making excuses for the abuser; place blame where it belongs  venting anger is of primary importance  gradually learn to trust honest people—share the secrets and memories with a partner or friend  join a support group  choose non-abusive partners—stop mistreating others and set limits with abusive people  be less punitive when other people make mistakes  allow people to get close and get intimate  stop gathering evidence and keeping score about the things people have done to hurt you

18 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Emotional Deprivation)  antidote to the deprivation is a warm, empathic, and protective environment where you can get many of your emotional needs met  choose good quality partners and friends, identify your own needs, and ask to have these needs met in appropriate ways  change exaggerated sense that others are acting selfishly or depriving you  choose nurturing partners and friends and actively seek intimacy  stop responding with excessive anger to mild levels of deprivation, or withdrawing or isolating when you feel neglected by others.

19 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Defectiveness and Shame)  highlight your assets and reduce the significance assigned to your flaws  rather than being inherent, flaws are behaviors learned in childhood that can be changed or they are not flaws at all, but over-criticalness  reattribute feelings of defectiveness to the criticalness of significant others  flash cards listing good qualities are very helpful  work on choosing others who are supportive rather than critical—select partners who love and accept you  learn to stop over-reacting to criticism—when it is valid criticism accept it and try to change; when it is not valid, simply state your point of view and affirm internally that the criticism is false  self-disclose more to significant others whom you trust—the more you share and are accepted, the more you will overcome your life trap

20 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Social Exclusion and Isolation)  group therapy may be useful, especially if you avoid friendships  you are not as different from other people as you think— you share many qualities with all people, and some of the qualities you regard as distinguishing you are in fact universal  focus on your similarities with other people as well as your differences—learn to identify subgroups of people who are like you  challenge automatic negative thoughts that block you from joining groups and connecting to people  anxiety management can help you cope with social anxiety  social skills training can assist you to learn important interpersonal and group skills.

21 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Dependence/Incompetance)  there is a need to alter the view that you need constant assistance to function  use flash cards, problem solving to make decisions and challenge negative thoughts  explore the view that depending on others is a desirable way to live  excessive dependence on others has a cost i.e., unfulfilled autonomy and self-expression  learn relaxation, meditation, or other anxiety- reducing techniques  there is need to confront anxiety-arousing situations via graded tasks e.g., rehearsals, rewards.

22 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Vulnerability to harm or illness)  stay focused on the long-term consequence of living a phobic lifestyle, such as lost opportunities for fun and self-exploration  focus on the positive benefits of moving more freely in the world, such as a richer, fuller life  overcoming anxiety and avoidance are a central focus of treatment  lower your estimation of the probability of catastrophic events & raise your estimation of your capacity to cope  de-catastrophising helps you to manage anxiety symptoms and panic attacks  develop strategies to help give up magical rituals and safety signals, and face situations you fear  explore non-phobic ways of viewing and handling acceptable levels of risk.

23 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Failure)  challenge the view that you are inherently inept and reattribute failure to inadvertently acting to defeat your attempts to succeed (it is the lifetrap that has caused the failure)  highlight your success and skills, and do not ignore your accomplishments and accentuate the failures (Success Journal)  set realistic, long-term goals—lower any unrealistically high expectations  Its healthy to express you anger at others for not recognizing and accepting your strengths and limitations. This is an important part of the process of letting go emotionally of this lifetrap ( this can be done with letter writing or in person if the person is trustworthy)

24 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Entitlement/Narcissism)  remind yourself what the consequences will be if you’re not willing to change your sense of entitlement  working on your interpersonal relationships is very important—you need to develop empathy and concern for others.  Work on your defensiveness, listen to people when their talking or upset with you.  Apologize when you have done wrong, instead of manipulating situations so you are never at fault.  Admit your Flaws in the moment, everybody has them.  you may have spent your life selectively focusing on your assets and minimizing flaws and may not have a realistic view of your strengths and weaknesses, so there is a need to develop a more realistically balanced view of yourself  you have to follow the same rules as everyone else—you do not have special rights

25 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Unrelenting Standards)  learn to view performance as lying on a spectrum from “poor to perfect,” with many gradations in between rather than as an all-or- nothing phenomenon  explore the advantages of lowering your standards—the benefits that would accrue to you health and happiness, all the ways you are suffering as a result of unrelenting standards, and the ways the lifetrap is damaging your enjoyment of life and relationships with others  the cost of the lifetrap is greater than the benefits—this conclusion is the leverage that can motivate you to change  reduce the perceived risks of imperfection—imperfection is not a crime—making mistakes does not have the extreme negative consequences you anticipate design experiments to help rein in the perfectionism—to do less and to do it less well—schedule how much time you are going to spend working versus doing other things, such as playing or connecting to others,

26 Rx: Remedies for Lifetraps (Subjugation)  Realize your negative expectations about the consequences of expressing your needs and feelings to significant others are exaggerated—you need to learn that you are acting in a healthy manner when you express your needs and feelings appropriately  it is vital to select relatively non-controlling partners and friends  assertiveness techniques can help you learn to assert your needs and feelings with others—you can work to individuate from others  you need to identify your natural inclinations and practice acting on them—use imagery and role-play, and then express these preferences for real as a homework assignment.

27 Relationships and Life traps  Life traps cause significant miscommunication and misunderstanding in relationships.  Identify when your life traps are being activated vs. taking it out on your significant other. Also realize that your partners reaction might be based off of you activating their life trap.  Bring defenses down, take feedback and criticism with grace and love when an individual is speaking truth.  Participate in active listening

28 Healing our Life Traps  When we heal our life traps, we can start to believe the truth about who we are in Christ.  We are his daughter  We are his beloved  We sin, we fall short, and we need him. (for the entitlement folks!)  We are worthy  We are valuable, our weaknesses make us need him, they do not make us inadequate.  We belong  We are enough “And The Truth Came to Set You Free!” God really does LOVE us as much as he says he does!

29 Favorite Quotes! “fail your way to success. Failure is not about failing, failure is when we fail and we don’t get back up again afterwards” “Healing is all about taking two steps back and one step forward, but the goal is we are still taking steps moving forward!” Grace, grace, grace!

30 Resources/Works Cited  Reinventing Your Life: How to Break Free from Negative Life Patterns and Feel Good Again. Author: Jeffrey Young  (summaries)  (remedies)  Online Test to identify your schema’s/life traps. Therapy Referrals for further exploration of issues if needed  Redimere Group-DTC  Front Range Counseling Center  Center for Healing and Change (my practice )


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