Day 8… Extinction Bursting…

I was going to discuss the beginnings of creating change in the deeper mind, but sometimes this blog will change course based on what I’m experiencing in the moment. Some of the keys I’m focusing on are understanding self-worth, confidence, etc. As I apply the techniques I’m working on, I find my psyche fighting change. It apparently wants to stay where it is. This sounds neurotic but is actually par for the course for human experience.

© Yaroslav Pavlov

One reason change is difficult is at some level what we do serves our needs. An alcoholic drinks to cover deep pain. Unless the pain is dealt with, the drinker who stops drinking will expose the pain and suffer terribly. This usually leads to dropping back into addiction. This is where extinction bursts come in… the last ditch effort of an addicted mind to hold onto addiction when it knows it’s about to lose the addiction for good. The Ted Talk ‘Everything you Know About Addiction is Wrong’ is an excellent discussion on the true nature of addiction and why criminalizing it is such a mistake.

The thing is, extinction bursts are not just for addiction. Suppose we believe that we’re bad at math. The majority of people who are bad at math simply had some experience in the past, a bad teacher, a parent who didn’t understand, anxiety, etc. that created a starkly limiting self image. When the person says, “Hey, I want to be good at math.” They will find a wall of self doubt. This self doubt may seem toxic, but it actually offers certainty, which is gained by saying, “I’m not good at something.” If we believe we’re not good, we have an out when we fail, in fact, we don’t even have to try any more. Yet, if we say to ourselves, “You know what, I’m going to give it my all to get good at math,” we suddenly find ourselves at the base of a trail that stretches up the fin of a mountain ridge, and we have to start climbing, which can become cold, lonely, dangerous, and terribly difficult. We find ourselves face to face with fear and potential failure, and our minds say… “Nope… I’m bad at math, go back into the valley and sit down in the nice warm safe mud. No growth for you.”

Well, one key area I am struggling in is feeling confident with dating. I should by all rights be very confident. I’m a great guy. Quite a catch, but based on the experiences of my past, the messaging I received about sexuality and love from a young age on were toxic. My ex wife fed right into those messages, until I woke up and stood against them, which destroyed my marriage as she refused to be challenged or work on improving our communication. Well, one key to my success in this area is to FULLY forgive her, have compassion for the toxic story and experiences she grew up with, and let her go… COMPLETELY. Yet, as I’ve gone through today, the anger I so want to let go of for her has grown and grown into a near rage, and I KNOW it’s my mind trying to hold onto the hurt. It can’t seem to allow improvements in self worth until it has total resolution with her, but I never will… never. She won’t allow it. So what do I do? Does the rage serve me? Not at all. It traps me in the thing that I want to escape. It’s an extinction burst. I’m just on the verge of breaking free and my mind wants to hold on so tightly to what she did… but all it does is make me sick.

The next few days are going to be quite a challenge. I MUST keep going with the thought processes I know will end this. When I get my mind to turn this corner, I will finally be able to move forward in other areas that will serve my success.

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