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Solutions for Emotions, Moods & Identity
Recovery from Trauma & Abuse Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching & Counseling for Emotional Intelligence

Few recovery programs work. The effects of recovery programs rarely last. Changing thoughts and behaviors is is not enough. Willpower, hypnotic programming and prayer rarely provide lasting results, and psychoactive drugs often only delay a relapse.

Who is the "I" that is you?

Many emotional outbursts, compulsions and other problematic habits indicate identity loss, in which people lose their sense of self, or lose access to important talents or qualities, following some sort of abuse or trauma. Thereafter, those people may habitually act and react in robot-like ways, as if some parts of themselves were not present ... or preoccupied with something else ...

I help people manage emotions and improve relationship skills. I help people manage identity loss, codependence, etc ... and recover their sense of life.

Identity Loss, Mood Disorders & Emotions

Although moods are part of life, mood extremes are associated with delusions, psychosis and hallucinations. For many years, doctors have assumed that medications can manage mood disorders (such as manic-depression), although medications normalize only 25% of people with mood disorders.

By moods, I refer to lasting emotional states. Moods can last a few hours, while emotions generally last a few seconds to a few minutes. As part of my work, I notice the expression of inappropriate emotions and the lack of appropriate emotions.

In our systemic diagnosis (which has nothing to do with DSM), bonds refer to deep beliefs and emotions that bond people together. Identification refers to the unconscious acceptance of a dominant personality (think - possessed). By lost identity I refer to severe chronic dissociation (imagine a physics professor solving a complex problem) and identity conflict refers to chronic mood swings (think - classic ideas of split personality).

Indications of identity loss include chronic emotional expressions, chronic conflict, chronic dissociation and chronic age regression (behaves like emotional children). But other factors can trigger strong emotions, including:

  1. Stress, fatigue & overwork
  2. Drugs, medications, food sensitivities & allergies
  3. Loss, or threat of loss, of important relationships or possessions
  4. Untreated diseases or physiology changes (e.g. weight gain or loss)

How do you maintain relationships with volatile people? Emotional outbursts often trigger emotional reactions in other people. The most common emotional responses seem to indicate threat avoidance, denial and personality identification.

1) Threats

  1. Ego: One's value or contributions are belittled or minimized
  2. Imminent: Perceived imminent danger in the immediate environment
  3. Environment: Risk of being displaced or removed from one's environment
  4. Success: If a success seems somehow dangerous, sabotage own success
  5. Loss: Something may be lost: relationships, things, power, title, recognition, etc
  6. Position: Membership of an important group (family or team etc) is threatened

2) Denial

  1. Denial: Pretending that problems do not exist
  2. Generalizing: Avoiding specific parts of problems
  3. Flight: Physically or emotionally distancing from problems
  4. Minimizing: Acknowledging problems but not their severity
  5. Attacking: Becoming irritable or aggressive to avoid discussions
  6. Excusing: Recognizing a problem but denying responsibility for it
  7. Blaming: Recognizing problems but ascribing responsibility to others
  8. Avoiding: Changing discussion or thoughts to avoid threatening topics

3) Personality Identification

Personality identification seems to follow systemic rules and symptoms of identification can be easily perceived, once you become aware of them. A person who has identified with a victim is generally angry and suspicious and may annoy or torment people. A person who has identified with a dead person is usually sad or melancholic, and may obsess about death; and a person who has identified with a perceived hero is generally fearful or anxious and may avoid any type of change.

Do you feel that something or somebody is in or around or close to you that somehow
directs your behavior and may feel protective? Do you feel a sense of guidance
and protection - or do you feel an invading entity?

An identified person feels most intensely when expressing the unexpressed emotions of a role model. These emotional expressions may come as a massive relief, although perhaps with awareness of unpleasant consequences to come. An identified person may describe being "right in a wrong world".

You said that my symptoms indicated that I might have identified with a dead person
... yes, my dead grandpa felt totally "me" - he felt more me than myself.

4) Identity Conflict

Many people act as if they have inner conflict. People who can manage many tasks simultaneously are praised for this ability. Yet a person with identity conflict may feel normal, just and right, even when switching between two personalities. This deep conflict seems to be how a person (usually as a child) makes sense of two powerful but conflicting influences - usually conflicting parents.

I would often make decisions or promises in one mood,
and then forget, deny or rescind my decisions or promises.

If you have symptoms of identity conflict, you may ...

  • not focus on one thing for more than a few minutes
  • forget promises or deny decisions made yesterday or last week
  • have profound mood swings (that other people notice more than you)

These symptoms are so common that they may be difficult to notice. If more severe, these mood swings (between two sides or parts of a conflicted person) may be diagnosed as bipolar disorder (manic-depression) or as intermittent anxiety disorders. See my transcript: Complex Conflict

5) Lost Identity

Do you feel empty, hollow and devoid of emotion? Do your work and family life
feel empty or robotic? Do you set your own goals, or do you only follow directions
of other people, or of "voice-like" thoughts?

  • You have little or no internal motivation
  • You cannot define your own goals or outcomes
  • You express few or no emotions and feel dissociated (very distracted)

If you look for these behaviors, they can become easy to perceive. You probably know some people who are so preoccupied with their daydreams that they have trouble making practical decisions.

6) Many Limiting Beliefs are Relationship Bonds

Many limiting beliefs bond or motivate people to stay in relationships. Weaker relationship bonds include shared memories. Stronger bonds are shared beliefs and values, and the strongest bonds seem to share identity. As relationship bonds motivate impulsive behavior, obsessions and compulsions, such bonds are often substitutes for identity. (For more, see bonds.)

We help people change negative emotions, limiting beliefs and unwanted habits.
Contact us to change emotions, manage moods and improve relationships

Online Life Coaching, Counseling & Training

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright 2001-2018
by Martyn Carruthers. All rights reserved.

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email