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My Way or the Highway    

My Way or the Highway

Our unconscious minds are poorly defended compared to our conscious minds, and this is exactly where the evil inclination has a field day


Recently, I spoke to someone, let's call her Margie, who told me that 30 years ago, at the very beginning of her married life, she'd already decided that her husband was a lost cause, and that her marriage had no potential. It's a long story as to why she decided to stick around anyway, but in a nutshell, her husband had tried to confide to his wife about some of his insecurities and issues, and what would help him to grow and thrive in the marriage, and instead of supporting him, she gave him an ultimatum.


Margie told her new husband: "If you don't want to be with me, go and get lost. I'm going to continue on being who I am and believing in what I do, and I'm not going to change for anyone." Remember, this happened very soon after the wedding ceremony! So what did Margie’s husband experience? Instead of having a loving friend and confidante, he felt like he's just married an enemy, or an adversary.  He began telling himself: "This isn't someone who loves me! It's more important for my wife to be near her family, and her career path is more important, and what she wants to do is more important... than me!"


The husband knew that he also had some problems that he needed to work on - who doesn't? But he was trying to involve his wife in the process of finding solutions to them, and asking her for some reassurance that she'd love him, regardless. But what did he get back? As soon as he said anything to her, Margie started telling him: "That's it! It’s my way or the highway!"


You don't have to be a psychotherapist to see that this is one of the most damaging ways anyone could start their married life. Why did Margie react the way she did? Probably, she was caught up in a very negative pattern of behavior that was being driven by her unconscious mind. Anytime that a person is caught up in an interpersonal pattern that is dysfunctional or unproductive, you can nearly always trace it back to something that’s going on in the unconscious mind that the person is clueless about. Our unconscious minds are poorly defended compared to our conscious minds, and this is where the Evil One has a field day. Just like a snake, he's so wound up in our unconscious decision- making process, that our waking selves have no idea what's really going on, and just how compromised we actually are.


I don't know exactly what Margie was telling herself unconsciously. It may have been: "You can't trust men.” Or it may have been: “You have to be for yourself.'' Or: “It's better to not have any needs”. And then, all of a sudden, she has a new husband who starts expressing a lot of his needs, and Margie doesn't know how to handle that, so she starts devaluing her husband's needs, and telling herself that she can't be bothered with this “needy” person.


The key point here is that whatever that initial, unconscious decision was, it does not have to be a permanent one.  It can be uprooted and upgraded. How? By bringing all those unconscious decisions out into the light, and then making conscious decisions about what beliefs and ideas we really want to hold on to. A person who starts to make an effort to turn unconscious choices into conscious ones, suddenly has a lot more choice, and a lot more room for positive change, and growth. Instead of our decisions controlling us, we start to control our decisions.



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We invite you to visit Dr. Zev Ballen's popular daily web journal Spiritual Coaching.

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  How to turn our unconscious choices into conscious ones?
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