Skip to main content

15 reasons why we suffer

From a Self-Coaching perspective, if you suffer from emotional struggle, it’s probably because you’re trying to over-control life, which is an attempt, although misguided, to protect you from perceived vulnerability. Controlling life isn’t the answer, it’s the problem. Here are 15 reasons why?

1.) Yes, buts.

“Yes, I didn’t get the job finished, but I couldn’t help getting sick..” A yes-but strategy allows you to side-step accountability by first feigning responsibility and then qualifying it with a “but.”

2.) Have-tos.

“I have to be the best.” Have-tos are compulsive strategies designed to help you control yourself, others and life.

3.)  Worrying or “what-iffing.”

 “What if I fail?” Worry is an attempt to eliminate doubt by trying to know what’s coming before it arrives.

4.) Can’ts.

“I can’t relax.” When you say, “I can’t…” you’re giving up and excusing yourself in order to feel less out of control.

5.) Guilts.

 “I have to go, she’ll be mad if I don’t.” Guilt is a powerful emotion that tries to help you avoid impulsivity and feeling that you did something wrong.

6.)  Black & White thinking.

Black-and-white thinking is all-or-none thinking. If you can convince yourself that something is either black or white, you’re done. Case closed. No more discussion. In control.

7.) Doubts.

“Maybe I shouldn’t call her? Maybe she’ll be mad at me?” Doubts act as a brake trying to postpone, avoid, or somehow protect you from perceived danger.

8.) Shoulds.

Shoulds are similar to have-tos. Both are compulsive strategies attempting to control life. Shoulds are more closely related to guilt and societal expectations.

9.) Name Calling.

“I’m such a idiot!”  Putting yourself down is a cheap way of excusing yourself from conflict. After all, you can’t really expect an “idiot” to handle life.

10.) Not caring.

 “I don’t care if I upset her.” Not caring is a form of denial. If you can insulate yourself with callousness, then you can remain in control, even if you mess up.

11.) Hostility.

 “As far as I’m concerned you can go straight to hell.” Hostility repels. By pushing someone away, you create an insulation between you and them. Insulation is control.

12.)  Lying.

Why take any responsibility when you can control others by lying. If one reality doesn’t suit you, create another with lies.

13.) Manipulating.

People are malleable—a little white lie here, a bit of coercion there, and perhaps some feigned hysterics—these are all useful tools if you’re trying to twist someone to your will. If you can manipulate others, you control them and the situation.       

14.) Mountain-out-of-molehill generalizing.

Generalizing is an attempt to prepare for the worst. If something is catastrophic and you anticipate it, then you’re not going to be unprepared. It’s all about not being caught off guard and unawares.

15.) Fatalistic thinking/doom and gloom. With mountain-out-of-molehill thinking, you’re at least trying to prepare for and defend yourself from adversity. With fatalistic thinking, you’ve already thrown in the towel and given yourself permission to retreat.

Stay in the know with Dr. Joe
subscribe to our newsletter:

The Self-Coaching newsletter is filled with tips and advice for dealing with all of life's challenges: emotional struggle, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, as well as the psychology of weight loss and lifelong weight mastery