Ever been stuck in your life?
You know, ‘stuck’, as in, ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t’ sort of stuck.
Maybe you had to make a decision about something but all the options seemed stressful and unacceptable to you on some level or another.
When we’re in a quandary because all of the available options that we come up with seem unacceptable to us because they cause us more anxiety, fear, shame, etc.—then we are officially ‘stuck’.
And here’s the very practical, very real problem with being stuck in a particular situation like this: We might find ourselves acting out in order to get out of being stuck, thus making the situation worse.
So, for example, if I have a financial problem but every solution engenders fear or anxiety in me (like discussing it with my wife, for example), then I might just blow all the rest of the money, or somehow make myself too sick to work, or I might even get myself fired—all of which which will make things much worse.
Some people might act out sexually by having an affair, or with drugs or alcohol, or with bad business decisions or procrastination.
Whatever the method we use, the acting out process represents our subconscious mind ‘solving’ the ‘unsolvable problem’ for us, albeit in a destructive way.
So the bottom line is, if we don’t consciously come up with some acceptable solution to the problem making us feel ‘stuck’, or get some help doing so, then our subconscious will ‘solve’ it for us, and not in a productive way.
Going back to our first example, if a couple is having financial problems but say the husband is worried or fearful about sharing this with his wife and feels increasingly stuck and alone, one thing that can happen is that his subconscious mind might lead him to decide to have an affair.
Now, of course, problem solved!—No marriage, no problem!!
Or if a wife is completely stressed out but continues to try to hold it all together for fear of disappointing or upsetting her husband but then finds herself increasingly alone in her struggle and her suffering, what can happen? Addictive behaviors, angry acting out at work or with the kids, ‘retail therapy’, affairs, etc., are all possibilities.
So the key is to begin to recognize when we are feeling stuck, which means recognizing when a problem seems ‘unsolvable’ to us.
The next step is the get some help.
Talk it out with someone, because, more often than not, there is a solution and it’s often one we haven’t come up with because of the strong emotional load the problem holds for us that it may not hold for the person we’re talking to about it.
This way we can get a clearer, more objective view of the possibilities for a healthy resolution to our problem or situation.
Anthony Ferraioli, M.D.
Author, Don’t Get Married! (Unless You Understand A Few Things First)
Cobwebs and Ugly Wallpaper