This is a topic one of my readers asked me to discuss. She informed me that according to Lance Dodes, a psychiatrist, all addictions are psychological compulsions rooted in feelings of helplessness. So you know, I haven’t read any of his work. While I’m not an expert on addictions, his statement resonates with me. It rings true.
Usually feelings of helplessness start at a young age. Perhaps someone had a parent who wasn’t present, worked a lot or had their own addiction. That can lead a young child to feel they don’t have a parent or anyone to protect and care for them, which can cause feelings of helplessness. As an adult, they never truly learn to help themselves. One way that can show up is not taking good care of yourself. When we are addicted to something, no matter what it is, we’re not taking good care of ourselves. Instead, we’re letting the addiction run our life.
When we think of addictions we usually think of the “big” ones like gambling, sex, alcohol, drugs or food. We can be addicted to anything. These days it’s common to be addicted to our phones, Facebook or the internet. While you may think those are harmless addictions, think again. If it consumes a lot of your time, if you can’t stop checking it, that isn’t helping you be productive. Even if you don’t work, I’m sure you have other things you need to be doing. Keep in mind I’m not saying if you’re addicted to Facebook it’s because you feel helpless. It might be, it might not. Only you would know. I’m just pointing out that that is an addiction we often overlook.
It’s a Belief
Helplessness is a belief. We believe we are helpless, for whatever reason. Limiting beliefs are those that limit us or hold us back. Helplessness is one of them. It doesn’t benefit us to be helpless, therefore it holds us back.
Now that you know it’s a belief, how do you overcome it?
As I said, I’m not an expert in addictions. There’s letting go of beliefs and there’s tackling your addictions. I’m not the expert on the latter but I can help you with beliefs. If you can conquer your belief, that will go a long way to get rid of the addiction.
Do You Have It?
There are many ways to shift beliefs. Many. First, do some self-exploration to see if you think you may feel helpless at your core. Think back to your childhood. Did you have a situation that could’ve led you to feel helpless? Like no one was around (even if they were physically there) to help you. Or if you parents didn’t instill confidence in you or tore you down all the time. That can also lead to helplessness because you feel you can’t do anything.
These days we can pretty much do anything. Thinking you can’t, is a myth. There are so many resources available today to learn how to do just about anything. Do you agree with that? If you can see that, then you can bust the myth, the second step to get rid of a limiting belief.
Let’s say you’re a man and your wife has a constant honey-do list for you. You don’t feel like a handy person (aka you believe you can’t do it) so you avoid doing what she asks. We’re not all handy, I get it. But these days just about anyone can be handy thanks to Youtube and Google.
One time something was wrong with our washer machine. My husband is handy but even he didn’t know what was wrong or how to fix it. Youtube was still fairly new then so I suggested go there and see what you can find. He did and he fixed it. It was a pretty easy fix as I recall so even I probably could’ve done it! That’s what I mean. I don’t consider myself very handy but I can watch a youtube video and figure it out. I’ve done many things I didn’t think I could do and I bet you have too.
You CAN Do it!
My point is if you’re confronted with a task that you’re not sure about, there are so many resources, and many free, that we can do just about anything. No need to feel helpless if you can just search Google for answers.
Whatever you’re feeling helpless about, do things to prove to yourself that you’re not. Beliefs are just thoughts we’ve had for a while. That’s it. Just because we believe it, doesn’t mean it’s true. So, prove to yourself that it’s not true. Step three. The more you can prove to yourself that you’re not helpless, the more you can let go of the belief.
Every time you hear yourself saying anything that sounds remotely like helplessness, swat it like you would an irritating fly. It could be something like, “I could never do that!” or “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do that!” Listen for things like that. Whenever you catch yourself saying it, hit the delete key in your mind. Stop it right then and there. Step four.
Now, how to actually get rid of it? There are many ways and none of them are a quick fix. You’ve had the belief for a long time so it doesn’t go away overnight. That’s a fallacy in the healing arena. People often think they get one healing session and then they’re cured, healed, “one and done.” No, not usually.
Visualization is a very powerful tool that many often discount. Put the belief in a balloon in your imagination, then pop the balloon or watch it float up into the sky so that it disappears. Keep doing that every time you catch yourself saying helpless things, put it in that balloon again.
Any variation on this theme can be used. See the belief getting burned up or shredded or locked away. Or even flushed down the toilet. Whatever feels right to you.
Another way is to write the belief down, then burn it. Some people like the finiteness of this or they just like to burn things.
Another way is inner child work. See your inner child when she felt helpless. Then see your adult self come to her, put her on your lap or hug her and reassure her that everything is ok. Tell her that she is safe now and you are here to always help and protect her.
There are many other ways to belief bust but the bottom line is it will take repetition to let that belief go. It’s a big one and one that you’ve had for years. Those don’t go away overnight. Be patient. Keep working with the belief. Every time it pops up in your mind or you have the urge to go back to your addiction, delete it in your head. Then choose your belief busting method and keep repeating it.
As I said, I’m not an expert on addiction. They are multi-layered and tricky. If you are struggling with one, particularly a very destructive one, please seek professional help. However, you can work with the belief to identify it, then let it go.
Remember that Disney song from the movie, Frozen, “Let it go, let it go!” Keep that tune in your head when you want to let go of your belief and let it go!