Saturday, July 25, 2009

Age Regression

Have you ever gone home to visit your family and suddenly you feel small when your mom asks you probing questions or gives you advice? If you answered yes then you were experiencing Age regression. You instantly reverted to a childhood emotional state which may be triggered by a look or comment, a memory, a visual cue, a feeling, a sound, or even a smell. Instantaneously, one finds oneself five or seven or ten years old again: childhood feelings, thoughts, and perspectives overtake the mind. Helplessness may explode in a rush of rage; abandonment may pool into a flood of paralyzing grief. In these highly charged moments, the ability to discern, think clearly, analyze, and respond to present circumstances is blinded by raw emotion. One may feel powerless, attacked, unloved, neglected, or ashamed, etc. When age regression occurs, one's feelings and reactions are uncontrollable, exaggerated, and often inappropriate to the present situation. One falls back into the behaviors, mind-sets, coping strategies, and defense mechanisms formed at a very young age, such as becoming defensive, withdrawing, retreating, hiding, shutting down, controlling, or numbing out. These reactions feel perfectly normal and justifiable to the person in the midst of this emotional state, but may leave him or her confused and frustrated once the adult state of consciousness has returned.

When an individual regresses to a younger version of himself, he is tapping very deep unresolved wells of childhood emotion. Growing up, a child's internal emotional environment is sculpted by the reactions, beliefs, emotions, and messages of parents, siblings, teachers, close family members, classmates, and friends. If, for example, a child grows up being shamed, criticized, teased, or invalidated, he may unquestioningly accept these judgments as truth and conclude at a deep level that he is unlovable and not good enough, that he doesn't belong. As a result, other people's beliefs about him (projections of their own low self-worth) become his uncontested beliefs about himself. These negative views and painful raw emotions eventually comprise part of the child's subconscious landscape, remaining alive deep within the mind. It is these holding tanks of unresolved low self-esteem and pain that get re-experienced later in life when, as an adult, some trigger reactivates the deeply stored pain.

In addition to the intense, unresolved emotions that are re-experienced during age regression, one also taps into subconscious parts of the mind that were created to cope with the original childhood distress. According to The UN Method a results-based belief change technology, the mind is comprised of a multitude of such subconscious parts, each formed during childhood to help, protect, and serve us. Each part has its own age and belief systems, emotional and behavioral patterns, and coping strategies. For instance, a person who grew up in a highly critical environment may have a part dedicated to dissociating her feelings from her body whenever emotional pain becomes too intense. Another part may have the job of being a chameleon to fulfill other people's expectations to attain love and acceptance. Or, she may have developed a part that uses harsh self-denigration in an attempt to soften the blow of any further external criticism. Regardless of the success or failure of these coping strategies, they have become parts of her subconscious makeup. If this person grew into adulthood without resolving these subconscious feelings and protective reactions, any external criticism may trigger the release of her unresolved childhood feelings.

The UN Method has excellent success resolving age regression. Through a gentle yet powerful process, a practitioner can guide a person to consciously reconnect to the subconscious parts of him or herself that are in pain, in order to heal at the deepest level. When subconscious pain is resolved, the deep childhood emotional void is made whole. This results in the person's ability to respond effortlessly to the circumstances that once triggered him or her, as emotional development has been freed and enabled to progress healthfully.

According to one's level of self-awareness, age regression can last for a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days. Indeed, some people live their lives in a perpetually age regressed state. When these emotional backslides are treated at the subconscious level, where they originate, emotional parts of the mind that have remained frozen in time at a younger age can be healed, chronologically updated, and integrated with the conscious mind. As a result, one lives empowered, self-confident, and able to choose how to respond to any given situation.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Demanding: When Wants Become Needs

When we set inflexible rules and we turn desires into needs we cause ourselves and others unnecessary emotional pain. When preferences become musts, guidelines become unbending rules and should we are turning wants into needs is this is called demanding.

What Is Demanding?
Demanding is a way of thinking - with two variations: ‘moralizing’ and ‘must’ing.

Moralizing: refers to the way humans turn guidelines (which may be perfectly reasonable and helpful) into absolute demands and requirements. When we say that something ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to be a certain way, it implies that there is a ‘Law ‘which humans should never fail to observe and that there is only one way for people to behave ,think or act. Moralizing often leads to people-rating and criticizing; when we or others do not behave as we ‘ought to’, this means we label ourselves or others as flawed, bad, immoral ,wrong or evil.

“Must”ing: is taking a want or desire and turning it into an absolute need or must. We think that because we want to be liked, therefore we must be liked; or because we want to avoid pain, therefore we must avoid it at all costs. Awfulizing usually goes along with musts - we erroneously believe that it would be awful or intolerable if our ‘needs’ were not met.

Demands Are Exaggerated Preferences
Rules and wants are an everyday fact of life. They can be helpful or unhelpful, reasonable or unreasonable. A particular ‘rule for living’ may be relevant to our current circumstances - or it may be outdated and no longer relevant or useful. A want is a preference; it can be achievable, or impossible. Whether or not our rules and wants are appropriate they are unlikely to cause us any problems.

Problems arise when we inflate our preferences into needs just because we want/demand the world/people to be and behave a certain way and we beleive that it “should be” so and we demand it. This distortion comes from the idea that If we desire something, then we must have it. This is the heart of demanding - the exaggeration of a preference into a necessity.

The Cost of Demanding
In the real world things often are different than how we would like them to be. By turning our wants into demands, we set ourselves up to be frustrated by reality. In fact, demanding is the underlying cause of many human problems.
Take anxiety. We often catastrophize about what will happen if a need is not met or a rule is broken. We tend to try to over control . We get anxious by demanding rigid standards - especially when we think we might feel guilty or put ourselves down if we do not match up. Performance demands can make us so uptight, our achievement level drops. We set ourselves up for failure.

Demanding can lead to obsessive or compulsive behaviors - reading a boring book right through, finishing a meal when already full, over-checking the locks at night to ensure security, washing one’s hands all the time to avoid infection, vacuuming the house twice a day, and the like. People often keep on with things that are not in their interests because they think they have no choice.

Demanding is the main cause of hostile anger. We get angry when our ‘needs’ are not met, or when people do not behave as we think they ‘should’. One can often turn this anger on ourselves and become depressed. Because "shoulds" conflict with wants, we can find it hard to make decisions, ask others for what we want or act on our own wishes. We might do things we dislike out of a sense of duty, but still feel frustrated or resentful.
If we think that we need love, sex, attention, consideration and affection, our demands can turn people off. We can also get resentful or jealous when others do not behave as they ‘ought to’, or when they treat us ‘unfairly’.

Why Do We Demand?
Given that demanding is so unhelpful, why do we do it? To begin with, we are taught to. From our earliest days we are surrounded by "shoulds" and should nots. Most people communicate with others in these terms.Demanding may serve subconscious purposes. It can be a convenient way to justify our wants. Vincent, for instance, found it easier to tell himself and others that he ‘needed’ sex - rather than just admit he wanted it. This also enabled him to put pressure on his wife: ‘I need it so you should give it to me.’ It’s tempting to deny responsibility for our own wants and demand that others give to us because they ‘should’ or it’s their ‘duty’.

Demanding Is A Way To Avoid Thinking.
Instead of working out for ourselves why we might want things to be a certain way, it’s simpler to fall back on: ‘It should be that way.’ We can also use this to push our values on to other people without having to justify them. You cannot argue with a law of the universe.

Demanding may arise from fear. As we saw in the previous chapter, human beings desire physical and emotional comfort. This is fine if we just prefer it. Unfortunately, though, we often tell ourselves that discomfort is awful and intolerable; so, to avoid it, certain things must or must not happen. In effect, we are afraid of our own feelings.

Many people believe that demanding helps motivate them. They use self-talk like: ‘I should get up earlier in the morning’; ‘I must get that project finished tonight’; or ‘I have to make a good job,’ thinking that this will help them get moving. The trouble is it often has the opposite effect. It’s as though one part of you says ‘I should do this,’ but another part says: ‘I will not be bossed around!’ As a result, you resist your own should. Trying to motivate other people with demands often has the same effect - it turns them off.

From Demands to Preferences
You do not need the pain that demanding creates. There is a solution. The first step is to understand what needs are and what are not.
While there are many things we might want, there are, in reality, few things that are absolute necessities. We need air, food, clothing and shelter. We do not ‘need’ success, love, approval, or friends - no matter how much we may want them. Our lives will be better if we have these things, but we can survive without.
You do not have to give up your values
To get rid of your demands does not mean giving up what is important to you. Hold onto your ideas and values - but hold them as preferences.
Stop moralizing about what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Take a more practical approach.

Focus On The Outcomes Of Rules, Behaviors, or Decisions.
Ask yourself questions like the following:
•Is this behavior/rule helpful or unhelpful - and in what ways?
•Will it advance or hinder me in achieving my goals?
•Does it create emotions I can handle? Or does it leave me distressed and immobilized?
•Does it promote my own and other’s aims and survival? Or does it lead me to act in harmful ways?
•Does this belief help me keep in touch with the real world? Or does it contain misinterpretations, catastrophizing, demands, or self/other-ratings?
•Is it flexible - does it allow for exceptions when appropriate?

We are not suggesting an attitude of ‘I don't care.’ Guidelines are important. To check out those you took on as a child, and review them as circumstances change, is to show respect for the importance of guiding principles in your life.
Also, a flexible, preferring philosophy is not a self-centered one. It is in your own long-term interests to consider the goals, wants, and concerns of other people (in other words, their preferences) along with your own.

Having Choice
A helpful value is one you have chosen to adopt. It serves some useful purposes. It helps you and others achieve what is important to you both. Above all, it’s a preference rather than a must.


Holding preferences instead of demands means accepting yourself, others, and the world around you. People often misunderstand the idea of acceptance. They think that to accept something means one has to agree with it and give up trying to change it.
But that is not what it means at all. To accept something is to recognize two things: (a) that it exists, and (b) that there is no universal law which says it should not exist. You may not like it. You might want to do something to change it (and perhaps plan to). But you avoid demanding that it not be as it is.
This is important for several reasons. First, if you tell yourself that something should not be the way it is, you are really saying that reality should not exist! Have you ever heard, for instance, people say: ‘You cannot do that’ about something which someone has already done?
Second, it’s helpful to say that you do not like something and would prefer to change it. This can motivate you to take action. But demanding a reality not exist is more likely to create disabling feelings such as despair or hostile anger.
Finally, if you avoid hurting yourself over current realities, you will be better equipped to start changing them.
Getting Demands Back To Preferences
Get those ‘musts’ back into perspective. Here are some examples of demands turned into preferences:

Demand vs Preference
I need to feel good and avoid physical or emotional pain at all times vs I’d prefer to feel good and avoid pain, but demanding this will guarantee that I get uptight!
Everything I do must be to a high standard vsHigh standards are desirable - but not always essential. Making them into musts will only get me anxious (and, probably, inhibit my performance).
Difficulties and handicaps should not exist vs Difficulties and handicaps do exist. Demanding will not make them go away. Better to change them, if possible - otherwise learn to live with them.
I must have love and approval from everyone who is significant to me vs Love and approval are good to have. But they are not essential to my survival. As I will not always get them, better I learn to depend less on them.
If you want something badly enough, then it’s a need vs The ‘need’ exists in my head. If I believe it, though, I will upset myself when my ‘need’ is not met.
Other people must always behave in a correct and right fashion for life to be bearable vs In real life, people do not always behave correctly. There is no reason they should - though many reasons I’d prefer them to.
My circumstances must always be perfect and right for me to be happy vs My circumstances are not always going to suit me. Better to change what I can, otherwise accept what I cannot.