What impact do these negative beliefs/misperceptionshave on our life?
Once we believe that the reason we are treated badly is because we are bad or worthless, these thoughts get imprinted onto our brains. In other words, once we believe these negative beliefs about ourselves because we were abused/neglected, we will still believe them long after the experience is over. In fact, even when we try to talk ourselves out of beleieving them, can't.
In fact, even when we try to talk ourselves out of believing them-we can'’t. For instance, a grown man, we will call “'Jerry',” feels unimportant and that there is something wrong with him. As a child his older brother was good at everything he did, sports, school etc., and Jerry didn’t do as well in those areas. He believes he i’s not important and that something is wrong with him. As an adult, Jerry is successful at his job and well-liked, but when someone at work does something well, Jerry experiences feelings of being unimportant and like something is wrong with him. Even at home if he can’t do something perfectly these feelings come up. He finds himself in a trap of working more and harder to avoid these feelings. No matter how hard Jerry works or how much his wife and boss say they appreciate him, the feelings are just under the surface. Furthermore, the way that he protects himself, through work, is leading him to feel empty and alone.
Not only do we re-experience the old emotions over and over, we re-experience the old ways we coped with those painful situations. In other words, we revert back to a child-like way of coping with our current problems. An adult with a belief that she is worthless, will feel this feeling every time her children don’t listen to what she tells them to do. As a result, she will deal with the current situation much like she did as a child and feel overwhelmed and unable to correct her children. On top of that she may try to cover up these worthless and helpless feelings by yelling or hitting to ‘make’ her children do what she wants them to do. Only later, she will feel guilty for abusing them.
We can tell we are reacting out of our misperceptions and negative beliefs when we have a reaction that is bigger than the current situation warrants or we feel paralyzed to do anything about it. This paralysis comes from the fact that we learned these negative beliefs as a child when things were too big or more than we could handle