How often do you find that there are not only things you know you have to do, but things you want to do and somehow never get around to doing them? Do you find yourself procrastinating over and over and you can’t figure out why?
Hi everyone! This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast, and today I want to talk about resistance. We’re going to explore what resistance is, why you resist or procrastinate, and how to begin to heal resistance.
When your ego wounded self is in charge, you might get trapped in resistance. Many people hate to be controlled – whether it’s by yourself, someone else, or even your higher power. Sometimes resistance shows up as forgetting or procrastinating, or it can show up in relationships by doing the opposite of what someone wants you to do, or doing something but doing it badly, and these forms of resistance are often called passive aggressive behavior.
Resistance often comes from an inner power struggle between two parts of your wounded self. You might have an authoritarian part, a part that might sound like the parental voice of one of your parents or other caregivers, saying things like, “You have to get up early this morning and work out and, we have to eat well today,” or “You need to get that report done NOW!” or “It’s time to clean up this clutter. You’re such a mess. What’s the matter with you?” or “Today we need to be on time for our meeting.” Often, this is an adolescent aspect of your wounded self who learned to be just like one or both of your controlling parents, siblings, teachers, or others who might have tried to control you.
But then there is a resistant part of you that might have been developed quite early in your life. Sometimes children learn to resist their parents by doing things that their parents have no control over, such as withholding their bowels, or not eating, or eating only junk food, or not learning and not doing homework, or dawdling and making their parents late, or even things like being anorexic or grossly overweight.
This resistant part of you is saying to the controlling part of you, or to anyone who is trying to control you, “You’re not the boss of me. You can’t tell me what to do. I’ll do whatever I want.” When I work with clients who complain of procrastination, they always have these inner power struggles going on where one aspect of their wounded self is trying to control them, and the other aspect is going into resistance to being controlled.
This is often the result of being brought up with one or two parents or siblings or other people in your life who were very controlling. You might have learned to comply in some areas and learned to resist in others. If you tend to be resistant in some areas of your life – such as being late, or being a clutterer or messy, or doing things the last minute, or not listening to your partner, or trying to get away with as little work as possible, or eating badly, or not exercising, or drinking too much or smoking too much pot, or going to bed late and not getting enough sleep, or not showering or brushing your teeth, or not seeing a doctor when you are not well, or not getting your teeth cleaned regularly, or being a couch potato, or saying you will do something and not doing it, or making plans and then often cancelling them, or being closed to suggestions – this might indicate that you’ve absorbed the controlling parental voice of a parent, grandparent, or others in your life who were controlling with you.
Did you learn go along in some ways then resist in other ways to not completely, give yourself up to a controlling person?
My parents were very controlling, but instead of resisting them, I became a very compliant child, a very good girl, doing whatever they wanted me to do. I become a people-pleaser as my coping mechanism and my way of trying to control how they treated me. And often, those of us who are caretakers end up in a relationship with a resistant person, which is what happened with me in my long marriage.
As I said, this pattern of resistance can get started really early. If you had a parent that was, for example, harsh and controlling regarding bedtime, you might have gotten in bed, but you wouldn’t sleep. Or if you had a parent who was controlling and harsh around grades, you might have started to do poorly in school, or maybe you would dawdle a lot, which would make your parents feel nuts around time. It’s like your saying, “at least that’s something I can have control over.” So, it’s an early pattern that gets established when there’s a controlling parent or more than one controlling parent. And as a child you learned various ways to not lose yourself completely.
This might have been a good coping mechanism when you were growing up because, it did prevent you from feeling like you were completely controlled. It may have prevented you from feeling like, you were being completely invaded and engulfed. But now the problem is that you might continue to do this in response to yourself or in response to a partner or in response to your higher power. And this might be immobilizing you in your life. It’s certainly not a healthy pattern when there’s something that you want to do, and you’re not doing it because some part of you is saying, “You’re not the boss of me. I don’t want to be controlled by you and I don’t have to do what you say I have to do.” I often have clients who tell me that they want to be on time, or clean up their space, or eat well and exercise, or stop eating sugar or drinking or smoking cigarettes or pot, or get work done on time, or get in an application for a new job, but they don’t. They procrastinate even with things they want to do. So it’s important to deal with this pattern which might be keeping you stuck in your life in many ways.
One of the things that many people resist is self-care, both physically and emotionally. A lot of people find that, even though they might know what to do, even though they might know that they need to eat well and exercise and get enough sleep and so on, they resist taking care of themselves. Even if you’ve learned Inner Bonding and you know that practicing Inner Bonding is going to make you feel a whole lot better, you might be resisting spending the time to do so. So why do you resist doing the very things that you know you need to do to feel good? What else might be going on beside the inner power struggle?
There’s a bunch of reasons why people have sort of unconsciously decided that they don’t want to take care of themselves. And one of them is that a lot of people believe that somebody else can do it better. The wounded self might believe that “Somebody can take care of me better than I can. Why should I have to do it? I had to do it when I was younger so why should I have to do it now? It’s not my job. It’s somebody else’s job. Somebody owes it to me,” or “Someone always did it for me when I was growing up and someone is still supposed to do it for me.”
The wounded self might be saying, “Well, if I do it for myself, then nobody will ever take care of me. And that’s what feels good to me. It’s not going to feel good to me if I do it for myself.” and this is is a major false belief. Others doing it for us feels good in the moment, but it’s like a piece of candy – it satisfies for the moment but then we need more and more, whereas loving ourselves and learning to fill ourselves up with love is deeply satisfying and fulfilling. And the thing that actually feels the best is sharing love, not getting love, and we can’t share love when we haven’t learned to love ourselves and fill ourselves up with love to share. But many people are locked into the belief that the only thing that really feels good is somebody else taking responsibility for you and giving you the love that you are not giving to yourself. If you have any of these false beliefs, then you are likely in resistance to doing it for yourself.
Another false belief of the wounded self might be that you can’t do it. You might be telling yourself, “I can’t do it. I’m going to fail at it. I’m not going to do it well enough or do it right.” But not many people say that to themselves when they have a baby, if they wanted the baby. If they want a child, they don’t say to themselves, “Well, I can’t do this. I don’t want to take care of this child. I’m going to adopt the child out and get somebody else to do it.” They don’t do that if they wanted the baby. If they didn’t want the baby, then of course, that’s exactly what they would do. But those who do want the child don’t say, “I can’t do it well enough. So I’m going to get somebody else to do it and adopt this child out.”
If you wanted to be a loving parent, that’s not what you did, but that’s what you might be doing on the inner level if you are resistant to learning to love yourself.
Another reason why people resist self-care is if you grew up with parents who you’re angry at because they were abusive to you in one way or another, you might feel like you don’t want your parents to think that they were good parents. And so you might be punishing your parents by resisting, by not taking care of yourself, messing up, procrastinating, doing all the things that people do in resistance. You can’t stand the thought of doing well and of being happy because you don’t want your parents patting themselves on the back and saying, “see, I did a good job.” Would you actually rather be miserable than for your parents to think that they did a good job as parents?
We cannot take care of ourselves from our wounded self, which is the part of us that wants to be in control and doesn’t want to be controlled, and so might go into resistance. The wounded self isn’t a part of us capable of loving ourselves or others. In order to take care of ourselves, we have to have access to our higher selves, our spiritual guidance, whatever that is for you. We have to have access to a source of love and a source of wisdom about what loving action is. We can’t do it from the wounded self because the wounded self operates from fear, which creates a low frequency, making it impossible to connect with your guidance when we are operating from our wounded self. While the wounded might believe in God, it doesn’t have any connection to a higher source at all, so it doesn’t have the ability to take care of ourselves. When you hear yourself saying, “I can’t do it,” that’s your wounded self being honest that it can’t do it. But you are not your wounded self, and resistance goes away when you operate from your loving adult with an intent to learn about loving yourself. This is what heals resistance – shifting your intent from controlling and not being controlled, to learning to love yourself. This changes everything and is the way to get unstuck from the trap of resistance.
Healing resistance is about our intention. As long as controlling and not being controlled is your highest priority, you will resist. The intention of the wounded self in resisting is to protect against losing yourself, to protect against being controlled by another person, or being controlled by yourself, or being controlled by spirit. As long as your highest priority is to have control over not being controlled, you will find yourself in resistance.
When you develop a loving adult self, which is what Inner Bonding is all about – developing your spiritually connected loving adult who is more interested in what is truly in your highest good than in whether or not you’re going to be controlled in some way, then whether or not you’re controlled becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t matter to the loving adult whether somebody is trying to control you or thinks they are controlling you, or thinks they were a good parent. A loving adult doesn’t care about that. The only thing the loving adult cares about is “Am I being loving with myself and others? Am I filling myself with love? Am I supporting my own highest good and the highest good of all? Am I doing all that I need to do so that I feel happy and safe and fulfilled inside?” Whereas the wounded self is going to constantly be concerned about whether or not you’re being controlled. So is it more important to you to not be controlled, or is it more important to you to be loving to yourself and share your love with others? Is it more important to have control over not being controlled or to be loving to yourself?
In relationships, in order to stop resisting and let go of the fear of being controlled by a partner and take loving care of yourself, you need to be willing to lose the other person rather than lose yourself. Because a big fear of wounded self is of being controlled by a partner and losing yourself. Without a loving adult, if you open to caring about somebody, you could very well give yourself up in order not to lose that person. And that’s scary to a lot of people. This is where the fear of intimacy comes from. The wounded self thinks, “ Oh my God, if I let myself open and love someone, that person’s going to be so important to me that I’m going to give myself up. I’m going to lose self. I can’t let that happen.” So in order to feel safe enough to give up the resistance, you need to know that you would rather lose the other person than lose yourself. You need to know that nothing is going to make you give yourself a up, no matter how much you care about somebody, how much you love somebody. Once you’re willing to lose the other person rather than lose yourself, then you will feel safe to open your heart to loving yourself and a partner.
The other thing that creates a sense of safety regarding opening your heart to love is that, as a loving adult, you need to know how to speak your truth and set limits against being controlled by a partner – that you’re going to set limits rather than either give in or resist. So it’s vitally important to develop your spiritually connected, loving adult, which, if course, is what happens when you consistently practice Inner Bonding.
Like exercise for developing your muscles, Inner Bonding is the exercise for developing the loving adult. The more you practice Inner Bonding, the stronger the muscle of the loving adult gets. If you want to get beyond your resistance, you’re going to need to practice Inner Bonding and develop your loving adult self so that you no longer either resist or give in.
And part of what you develop when you practice Inner Bonding is developing your ability to access your guidance for what’s in your highest good.
For example, let’s say that your partner says, “Please go mow the lawn.” If your wounded self is in charge, you might give in, thinking “I better mow the lawn, or he or she will be angry with me.” Or, your wounded self might go into resistance, thinking, “I don’t want to be controlled, so I’m just going to say no, or I’ll nod yes and then procrastinate and not do it.” All the wounded self knows to do is either give in or resist. But what the loving adult does is go to guidance and say, “Is it loving to me? What is in my highest good and the highest good of my partner? Is it loving to me to mow the lawn?” Or, with other issues, like having sex, the loving adult would ask, “Is it loving to me to have sex with my partner?” or “Is it loving to me to spend time with this person?” You would be asking if it’s loving to you do whatever it is your partner or others want you to do. As a loving adult, you would open to learning with your higher guidance about what’s loving to you rather than either give in or resist. Unless you have developed your loving adult with the intention to learn and you can go to your guidance and ask for what is in your highest good, you’re stuck with your wounded self, you’re stuck either giving in or resisting, which creates big problems in relationships.
So I hope you can see that the way out of resistance is to practice Inner Bonding and develop your spiritually connected loving adult.
I often work with resistant clients who are also depressed, and sometimes depression is a symptom of resistance. Depression is your inner child – your feeling soul self – letting you know that your wounded self is in charge with the intent to have control over not being controlled, and you’re abandoning yourself. Resistance, which is a form of self-abandonment, can also create anxiety, as well as shame, because most people who resist and procrastinate end up judging themselves for feeling trapped again in a relationship, or stuck in their life, and self-judgment causes the feeling of shame.
Sometimes my clients tell me that they really want to set aside time to exercise or meditate but they keep not doing it. They find themselves resistant to it. This what Kaylee told me in one of my webinars. She said, “I think about how I want to develop a morning practice of exercise and meditation, yet I never do it. I have the time and I know it would be good for me, but I’m resistant to it, and I don’t know why.” I asked Kaylee to go inside and see whether she’s trying to make herself do a form of exercise or meditation that she doesn’t like. She might have decided that she should do these things, but they might not be things that her inner child likes doing. And as it turned out, her inner child didn’t at all like the form of exercise or meditation she felt she should do. Her wounded self was telling her what she should do without checking in with what she actually wanted.
I found out many years ago that I love to walk in nature, and the form of meditation I do is Inner Bonding while I walk. I’m not a sitting meditator. I’ve never been able to just sit. That’s not me and I don’t like it. And I love inner bonding as a meditation. So I walk up and down hills every morning and I do my Inner Bonding work. I love this. My whole being loves it. My child loves it. My adult loves it. And so there’s no resistance because I love doing it. But if I were to force myself to do something that I don’t love to do, that would create a problem for me. I would likely go into resistance if I didn’t love doing it.
Arthur was raised by a mother who tried to program his every thought. There were rules for everything, from the right way to speak to her to the right way to hold a pencil. The moment Arthur did not do things her way, his mother withdrew her love, becoming a block of ice. Because Arthur’s father was not around much, his mother was all he had. He needed her to survive. So Arthur capitulated. He gave himself up in order to get her love. He did everything her way, allowing her to control him and take over his life until almost nothing of the real Arthur was left.
But a tiny part of him refused to give in. He found little ways to resist, to keep him safe from being completely consumed. One of these was dawdling. Not only would Arthur dawdle, but when he finally did what his mother wanted, he did it badly, always making some mistake that drove her crazy.
Now, as an adult, Arthur finds himself procrastinating, even over things he wants to do, such as connecting with his spiritual guidance, which he says is very important to him, and taking any loving action that he does hear from his guidance. The moment Arthur hears anything from his higher guidance, he finds himself procrastinating. He puts off taking loving action. He just doesn’t get around to it. He dawdles. When he does get around to taking action, he makes mistakes. And because Arthur doesn’t understand why he procrastinates and makes so many mistakes, he can’t change his behavior. He is stuck.
Arthur is stuck because he is resisting being controlled by his guidance in the same way he learned to resist being totally controlled by his mother.
When we are small, our parents are God to us. As we grow up, many of us project onto God our experience of our parents. If our parents were too busy for us, then we may think God is too busy. If our parents were judgmental, then perhaps we believe that God is judgmental. If our parents were controlling, then we may think that God is also controlling. Therefore, anything other than unconditional love from our parents may have eventually resulted in a disconnection from God. As a result of Arthur’s controlling mother, he unconsciously finds himself resisting God.
Whenever his higher power speaks to him, Arthur hears his mother’s voice and automatically resists. His mother’s need to dominate him – which came from her wounded self – left Arthur with a terror of being consumed by anything or anyone, including God. His resistance is so pervasive that he also resists himself. He is stuck in an inner power struggle between his wounded self who is like his mother and wants control, and his wounded self who doesn’t want to be controlled. What he actually wants gets lost in this inner power struggle.
People who resist learned early on that resisting was the only way to maintain their integrity in the face of invasive, controlling parents or other caregivers. This may have been true when they were children, but it’s not true now. In fact, when you are driven to resist out of fear of being controlled, you are not free to make your own choices. You are not even free to do the things you know are best for you. Paradoxically, you are actually controlled by your resistance. What used to safeguard your integrity now cheats you out of your personal freedom and sabotages your ability to grow and change.
I hope you learn and practice Inner Bonding, which will move you out of being stuck in resistance and into your personal power and personal freedom.
I hope you join me in my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”
My recent books will also be a big help to you: The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance, Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection, and 6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process.
And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.
I’m sending you my love and my blessings.