"Even when it no longer makes sense,we may step up our efforts
to save a relationship or a career which is yielding diminishing returns.
Not knowing when to cut our losses,we continue to pour money into an aging
automobile, a risky investment or a doubtful poker hand. Caught in traps
of our own devising we can only climb out by understanding how they work".
By: Jeffrey Z. Ruben
You place a phone call and are put on hold.
You wait. And then you wait some more. Should you hang up? Perhaps. After
all why waste another second of your valuable time? On the other hand if
you do hang up you'll only have to call again to accomplish whatever business
put you on the phone in the first place. Anyway, you have already spent
all of this time on hold so why give up now? You wait some more. At some
point you finally resign yourself to the likelihood you have been put on
hold forever. Even as you hang up however, your ear remains glued to the
receiver hoping to the bitter end you did not spend all of your time waiting
Almost all of us have spent too much time caught in little traps. Even
when it no longer makes sense some of us continue to spend money on a failing
automobile or washing machine, a risky stock investment or a dubious relationship.
Some of us simply do not know when to cut our losses and get out. The same
goes for more serious situations. Some of us remain longer then we should
in a marriage or love relationship, a job or career, or a therapy which
is yielding diminishing returns. On a larger scale, entrapment is part
of the dynamics in political controversies: Iran-Contra, Watergate, the
Meech Lake Accord.
A common set of psychological issues and motivations underlies all such
situations. A process of entrapment which shares many of the characteristics
of animal traps and con games has been studied in a variety of laboratory
and natural settings. As researchers we are attempting to describe the
properties of psychological traps; what they have in common, where they
lurk, whom they tend to snare and how they can be avoided.
To grasp psychological entrapment we must first comprehend the simplest
traps of all physical traps for animals. Animal traps are ingenious devices
devilishly clever and efficient, and utterly sinister in their effect on
their victims. What properties then make animal traps work?
First of all an effective animal trap must be able to lure or to distract
the quarry into behaving in ways which threaten its self-preservation.
Second, an effective animal trap permits traffic in one direction only.
Third, an effective trap is often engineered so the quarry's very efforts
to escape entrap it all the more. Finally, an effective trap must be suited
to the particular attributes of the quarry it is designed to capture.
Some types of personal interactions are psychological traps for capturing
people; they are remarkably similar to self-entrapment. Like animal traps,
their effectiveness lies in the trapper's ability to lure the quarry into
a course of action that leads to entrapment. The human motives leading
to entrapment include greed, excessive ambition and the need to save face
or to punish an adversary. Similarly, when our personal or professional
life disappoints us and our efforts to achieve a turn-around do not pay
off quickly enough, we may decide to justify the high cost by renewing
our commitment and remain on the treadmill.
|In summary, the following are forms of advice on how to avoid entrapment:
Set limits on your involvement and commitment in advance.
Once you have set a limit, stick with it.
Avoid looking to other people to see what you should do.
Beware of your need to impress others.
Remind yourself of the costs involved.
One sure-fire way to avoid entrapment is to comprehend you may never obtain
something without retribution. For every gift received, some will pay tenfold
more than what they believe. The amount of psychological stress we endure
whilst floating through conundrum circumstances can infrequently be revitalized.
But, this defunct energy if used constructively, and if one knows exactly
how to use this seemingly wasted energy, could reap great psychological
profits in self-satisfaction and self-respect at a later period in time.
After we distinguish which of the emotions we are aggravating during actual
conflict situations, we should cover our losses by retreating. Retreating
allows our minds to rejuvenate and creates a new mental energy level which
is needed to proceed in future rational thought processes. Few people like
another who quits every time the going gets rough, but at the same time
very few enjoy socializing with those who are gluttons for punishment.
One of the essential rules to remember is never allow ourselves to lose
our independence and become a puppet on another's string. Allowing another
to control our thoughts, ideas or decisions interferes with our natural
creativity. If our creativity is hampered, subsequently we cannot complete
our ongoing projects or associations. It would be comprehensible than to
acknowledge that our inability to deal with external emotions could be
the cause of our downfalls.
Throughout the ages mankind has been forced to make decisions: some rational;
some spontaneous; some intuitive; and, some logical. How do we make decisions?
The question has been asked throughout the centuries. The answer to the
question can be described as such; every decision, no matter how crucial
or frivolous is based on a combination of personal emotions.
Personal emotions contribute to each and every decision we are obligated
to make. Detractors will state this is not so, chiefly when decisions are
allegedly based on logical information. Yet do we truly grasp on what logical
information is based? Consider for a moment that logical information is
derived from the input of another¹s thoughts, ideas or the collection
of another¹s mental data. The accumulated information is then compiled
by the organizers of the information who knowingly or not place their own
perceptive ideas into the final physical conclusions.
To fully comprehend the aforementioned we must try to accept the theory
that even logical decisions are assuredly the emotional decision of the
individual who is interpreting the logical material. The final decision
rests with the authoritative figure who is intuitively responsible for
the final observation of the intuitively enhanced material. As well, we
must recognize that a good majority of the logical information could possibly
be wrong or incomplete. The actual decision lies therefore on the intuition
of the decision maker.
Some of us cannot always place total faith in logical information received
because of the possibility of unintentional errors within the supposed
logical data. With the possibility of potential errors in mind, we cannot
dispute the fact that some other force plays a role in the formation of
decisions. Doctor Wilder Penfield cited this force as spirit. The spirit
force is none other than our own personal emotional states. We either agree
with the data or dispute it. The ultimate end-results rely on our ability
to interpret the data. Interpreting the data can be explained by simply
asking what our emotional feelings were at the time an intrinsic question
was asked. We may then presume all decisions that each one of us make are
therefore interpretations of our internal personal feelings about the data.
To simplify the above, quite frankly logical information is only as good
as the emotional and psychological make-up of the individual who compiled
the logical information. Even calculations can be considered in this evaluation.
Emotional upheavals can cause another to inadvertently transpose numbers
and ultimately emotionally unstable individuals are prone to error.
What are emotions? How do they affect our decisions? What are their purposes?
How do they affect our life? Even questions such as those can only be answered
by our internal or subconscious emotional beliefs. Emotions are as much
a part of us as seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling, the five
known senses of existence. The sixth and most often down played sense is
Some have called this sixth sense intuition and as we will ascertain this
is partially the truth. Before interpreting the true definitions of both
emotions and intuition it is primarily necessary to understand exactly
what triggers emotional feelings within each of us.
Some of us are often contaminated by information which is invalid or manipulated.
How many times have we found ourselves in positions where we knew full
well we were reacting to certain situations against our normal behavior
patterns, yet we proceeded to follow invalid or manipulated patterns knowing
we were feeling uncomfortable? Invalid or manipulated patterns are called
psychological traps: traps which lead us down the proverbial garden path
and eventually distract us from making the proper decisions.
Psychological traps are common experiences for those who are easily manipulated
by others. The actual manipulators are usually in control. Our downfall
begins when we feel manipulating individuals are being wronged as we believe
we may have been wronged in the past. Temporarily we find ourselves accustomed
to attempting to protect them. The coined definition of the protective
event is called the "Florence Nightingale Syndrome". For example; let us
assume on one occasion or the other our life has been disrupted by a certain
emotional upheaval. The turmoil is embedded within our conscious mind.
If at a later time we find ourselves subject to another's equally similar
experience, technically paralleling our past negative or positive emotions,
we will surely take a position of either supporting their position or pretending
it doesn't exist.
Our emotional feelings are learned from our previous experiences, be they
positive or negative. Our decisions will therefore be based on the outcome
of past observations or feelings. Although one may try to present a positive
outlook during confusing occurrences, there is a tendency to forget the
purpose of life is to assuredly base all our decisions on the positive
emotions retained from our past experiences and not base our decisions
on the retained negative emotions of life.
In Esoteric teachings, the message mankind receives is to live our life
in a true spiritual and positive manner. We all know however that at times
some of us have a tendency to lose emotional control. To control our emotional
responses we sometimes may feel as if we are having our teeth pulled without
pain killers. May we then conclude Esoteric teachings also consist of lessons
and knowledge of emotional pain killers?
Emotional pain killers are our natural abilities to deal with stress. But,
what exactly is stress? Stress simply is the inability to make a decision.
Many times throughout our life all of us are forced to make decisions.
When we are faced with decisions we are not emotionally prepared to make
then our decision making capabilities are thwarted.
Learning to overcome stress-related decisions requires the ability to first
conclude which emotions we are experiencing at the time of indecision,
which emotions are stopping us from making decisions, and which emotion
is required to overcome our procrastinations.
Once we have understood which emotions are governing our indecision we
can then overcome problematic situations.
But, what constitutes a problem? We all encounter difficult situations.
When we find ourselves in situations which are emotionally trying, some
of us tend to procrastinate. Thus continuous interaction potentially produces
further procrastination. As we learn to rule all of our emotions within
our natural boundaries of observation, we can accurately decide the proper
path to follow.
However, what actually causes our emotional upheavals? Our interactions
with other human beings bring emotions to the forefront. Depending on the
circumstances, emotions can either be buried deep within our conscious
minds or totally denied. Once we have experienced certain personal emotions,
instead of heeding the emotional internal advice attributed to past experience,
some of us tend to relate to anothers emotional situation thereby denying
our own true feelings . To clarify the point, if one does undergo a traumatic
experience there could be a tendency to try and block the emotional ramifications
of that experience and, without being aware, the person will operate in
the same negative mode in the future in similar circumstances.
Let us suppose that the experience is satisfactory. One should then be
retaining the experience for future recall. Needless to say however, retaining
memorable experiences is rarely adhered to. We all have a tendency to remember
the bad times; very rarely do we remember all our good experiences.
The questions raised must be answered. To find out the answers we must
first discern what emotions are and what are their ramifications. Establishing
balance in our learning experiences and utilizing each and every emotion
may sometimes lead us down that garden path toward destruction, especially
if we are not prepared or we do not understand how important emotions are
to our life. We all have a tendency to be emotional, yet if we can conceive
we are the masters of our own realities and all problems are of our own
making, we will be able to overcome all barriers and live a more constructive
The lessons to be ascertained are momentous. We seek out problems to understand
how to overcome them. Therefore we may then conclude that problems lead
us to the principal question of how are our decisions based on emotions?
Consider for a moment a major decision one might encounter. What was the
emotional reaction? Was it positive or negative? Was there agitation by
the outcome or a feeling of being uninjured about what happened? Did they
walk away feeling guilty or did they perceive another negative emotion?
It is mandatory to define our feelings in relationship to the outcome.
How many times have we considered what is paramount to us? Have we ever
placed ourselves above others? Have we ever considered ourselves to be
equal to our peers? If the answer is a "no" to any of the above questions
than we are presently allowing ourselves to make decisions based on our
negative emotions and not our positive emotions.
The next question to ask is, "What are emotions?" Do we comprehend or have
we ever experienced all the emotions which we force upon ourselves? Do
we chronologically experience emotions of which we are not aware? The answer
is a "yes" to all of the above. Yes, we do experience emotions which we
tend to isolate. Yes, we do understand and seek out emotions which we wish
to learn. Yes, we know what each and every emotion is but we have a tendency
to block one or more of the emotions from our conscious minds. The above
actions normally give us the excuse that others are responsible for our
We are all unique individuals, but we are all emotionally equal.. We all
experience multiple emotions at any given time. Combinations of both positive
and negative emotions interact with our decisions. Decisions are the culmination
of all learning experiences. Devising the right decision allows each and
every one of us to function in a constructive and viable manner. An improper
or negative decision brings the puss of our emotional sores to the surface
and festers in a manner which brings on infections or emotional stress.
Intuitively we know what is right and what is wrong. Knowing when to make
a decision or when not to is formulated by our intuition. To remedy our
personal self-made problems, we must start trusting our intuitive feelings.
THE 21 EMOTIONS EXERCISE
Library No EGC-2-811992-B
Copyright © Earl Gordon Curley 1981.
All rights reserved. The use of any part of this publication
reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system,
without prior consent of the author is an infringement of the copyright
law and will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.
FIRST EDITION August 1981.
This incredible web site was created and is maintained
7257 Delmonte Cresent, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L4T
Tel: (905) 673-0656
Copyright © 1995-1997 web.design.ca