Ask Us – Core Beliefs and Life Scripts

In this post we will briefly answer a question that was asked by one of our clients. Here is today’s question:

“I thought I had made progress, and had really moved on from my partner’s betrayal. In fact, I woke up this morning feeling great; but then something triggered me, and I was back in that horrible stuck place again.

Why does this keep on happening to me? I wish I could be free, and move on with my life.”

It’s so distressing when something like that happens. It can feel as if the past is hijacking the present … And, we fear it will hijack our future, too.  

Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.

When we find ourselves experiencing extreme emotions, it usually points to unhealed pain from our past.

1. Let’s start with the most obvious thing here (related to unhealed pain from our past).

Experiencing betrayal is a devastating experience. Its effects are far-reaching and profound.  

However, after the initial shock wears off, we usually try to process the most obvious losses – loss of trust; loss of safety and security; loss of the life we thought we had; loss of self-worth and self-esteem, and so on.

Working through those losses takes a lot of time and effort. It is extremely painful, and a roller coaster ride. There are unexpected triggers everywhere you turn.  

(From your comment it sounds as if you might have already done a lot of this healing work.)

2. Thus, what I think you might be referring to above goes beyond dealing with the devastation of betrayal. What I think could be happening is that triggers are tapping into other unhealed traumas and repressed memories. Let me explain …

What usually occurs, as we go through life, is we start to put together a narrative about how others see us; how they’re likely to treat us; and what we can expect for ourselves, and our life.

One thing to bear in mind is that painful, negative events have a particularly potent effect on our beliefs. Also, the negative beliefs tend to accumulate more, and are more strongly reinforced when something painful happens.

These beliefs greatly influence the person’s life script. The story I tell myself about myself. Often, we can’t even remember how we formed these basic views. In fact, we may not even know that we have these core beliefs.

What is the significance of this?

When we find that we are triggered, the intense over-reaction often doesn’t just relate to what is happening right now. Instead, it’s likely activated by a painful core belief that is part of the narrative we’ve formed about ourselves. Usually, this be something like the following:

No-one really cares about me. Others don’t think that I matter.”

“What I want, or how I feel, is irrelevant to others.”

No-one treats me well. I’m the kind of person who gets abused, mistreated, abandoned and rejected.”

I will never be wanted, or be genuinely loved.”

You can see how very painful these core beliefs are.

They are damaging and toxic.

And they’re also not true.

But we can see how, and why, they’ve developed, over time.

The solution?

To move forward, we need to look at all the negative events that have led to their formation, and have caused them to take root. Then, we want to challenge these beliefs so that our narrative is healthy, and we’re living out a story that is life-giving and healed.

This is the work of therapy.

18 thoughts on “Ask Us – Core Beliefs and Life Scripts

    • I guess we get the sense that we’re starting to heal when the triggers are fewer, and happen less frequently.
      Also, when we are able to talk about our experience with a degree of sadness, rather than with the intensity of emotion we experienced in the first few years.
      But it all depends on how traumatized we were at the time, and whether we have had a history of trauma and insecurity.
      It also depends on the level of understanding and support we’ve received.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. One thing I’ve learned about trauma is it’s more like a hurricane than a tornado. Difficult life circumstances are rarely a “one and done” phenomenon. The wind howls, it rains sideways and stuff is blowing everywhere, but then it gets dead calm. You think it’s over. But no, you’re simply in the eye of the storm—there is more howling wind, sideways rain and stuff blowing everywhere to come.

    It’s been 20 years since the biggest trauma of my life (to date), yet there are still occasions (triggers) when the wind, rain and flying stuff returns. Thank God, it’s more like a tropical storm these days—rather than the Cat 4 hurricane it was. My point? There is no life “reset” button that puts us back to pre-trauma “factory settings.” However, there is a life “restart” button that allows us to begin anew—if we REALLY want to.

    Thank you for your blog ministry. Your post always make me think, and then crystallize my thoughts about my own life experiences. Blessings.

    Liked by 4 people

    • This is such a great description of life after trauma, Your different storm metaphors are really helpful, David. Thanks for adding your thoughts to the post, and sharing from your own experience..
      Like you, I really wish we could press a “factory reset button”, and I wish there was a way of permanently dealing with all the triggers we have to deal with – but I’m not sure that is possible, This is reality.
      But, yes, we can make tremendous progress if we are able to work, and work, and work.
      Thank you for your ministry too. Have a great week!

      Liked by 4 people

  2. There are so many layers to get to the foundational traumas, aren’t there? . I think we need to go so patiently with our healing.. it takes a lot of time and unearthing of old beliefs and to get to core wounds.. sometimes we are too hard on ourselves..<3

    Liked by 2 people

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