Becoming More Informed about this Direct Link
Did you know that your desire to reach true fulfillment, love, contentment and purpose in life is thwarted on a regular basis by any deficiency story you believe about yourself? Let me state it another way: If you are trying to be successful in relationships, spiritual or self improvement, career, life or anything, that success will be blocked and stunted in various ways, over and over, until you no longer identify with deficiency stories. Sorry to be the bringer of bad news. I didn’t want to accept it either, until the evidence became overwhelming. As far as I’m concerned the verdict is in. Self-sabotage is a necessary extension of every deficiency story. I’ve now seen it so many times in the over 10,000 sessions I’ve done that I have no doubt anymore about this direct link.
This link has been recognized in psychology for years. See this article by Ellen Hendrickson. Therapists and counselors often have real difficulty:
1) Helping people dissolve and let go completely of deficiency stories and
2) helping clients stop engaging in the self-sabotaging behavior that is linked to those stories.
Had the Western clinical field found the answer about how to solve those two issues, this article would not need to be written. It needs to be written because of a couple of basic misunderstandings.
People, whether they realize it or not, falsely believe that deficiency stories are such an integral part of their identity that they cannot imagine living life without such stories.
Many therapists I’ve met actually believe this lie. Therefore, there is often a resistance to even examining or engaging in any method that might dissolve the story. A second misunderstanding is around self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is not some lone mechanism in the mind operating all by itself. It is directly linked to the extent to which you identify with deficiency stories. So a big mistake people make is focusing on trying to fix the self-sabotage without dealing with its root – the deficiency story. And so they are destined for a life of more suffering, more frustration as they reach for what they want but come up short because the link between the deficiency story and self-sabotage hasn’t been broken.
What Are Deficiency Stories?
First of all, let’s define deficiency stories. These are stories in our minds that center on identity (who we are). The focus of these stories is a deep sense of lack, as if we were born fundamentally flawed and cannot be fixed. Examples of deficiency stories are (this is not an exhaustive list whatsoever):
I’m not good enough, I’m invalid, I’m imperfect, I’m unlovable, I’m unsupported, I’m unheard, I’m disconnected, I’m unsafe, I’m a victim, I’m ashamed and have to hide, I’m not enough, I’m powerless, etc.
From the first time I learned about my own deficiency story (I’m unlovable) I also knew that this story was like a linchpin that was holding together the sense of feeling separate from others and from life (all enlightenment traditions state that the feeling of separation is the cause of all suffering). It was such an important part of my identity that the majority of my suffering could be traced back to one or more deficiency stories. As I began to work with others, I saw the same thing. People were coming to me because they wanted to be enlightened or awakened. But instead of helping them chase these things into the future, I merely developed an inquiry called UI – the Unfindable Inquiry – and began guiding people through a process where they would come to see for themselves that their deficiency stories are not who they are and that underneath these false scripts is a true nature (presence, awareness) that has no desire for self-sabotage.
Once they would see this fully and completely, the chase towards future would stop immediately. Why would it stop? Well . . . A deficiency story is a time-based story in the mind, with a past and a future. The past aspect of the story tells you that you are deficient. The future version of the story forces you to ENDLESSLY keep seeking things and people in the world (outside yourself) to fix the gaping hole of deficiency that you feel inside. But, once people would see through that deficient identity through inquiry (actually see that it is not who they are), the projection towards a better future would fall away. This would leave them living from and within the peace, contentment, and flow of the present moment, which is really the very definition of awakening.
Before discussing self-sabotage, it is important to address the issues of resistance and bypassing. We sometimes resist doing deep work on these deficiency stories because such work can be scary, even bringing up panicky feelings as if one is about to die when the story is almost gone. Of course, when the story is gone, we don’t die. We can finally start to live fully then because we don’t have this self-defeating identity being carried around like a 500 lb gorilla. Bypassing is the phenomenon of wanting to become enlightened, happy, successful or content without ever having to deal with any really messy human stuff. That misunderstanding can create many years of additional suffering simply because our really messy human stuff doesn’t just all go away, even if we awaken. Some of it leaves. Some stays around. So people, even after an awakening, will turn a blind’s eye towards how they are bypassing these core deficiency stories. Why turn a blind’s eye? Again, fear of death. But they bypass also because deficiency stories, although painful, are familiar to us. They feel like who we are. So letting go of who we are puts us into this strange sense of “what will I be like without this story that has been running my life for so long?” They are scared. That’s all. But never – not even once – did a client express regret after a session where I guided him or her to see through a deficiency story. Clients are always grateful once they have moved past the fear and lack and are feeling the effects of real freedom.
What Is Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotage is an unconscious pattern of behavior found in a person that actually slows down and in many cases stops the person’s chances of getting better, becoming more successful, finding love, becoming awakened, improving themselves, etc.
Why Are Deficiency Stories and Self-Sabotage Intrinsically Linked Together?
This is a simple question to answer because it is based on simple logic. Deficiency stories, by their very nature, seek to confirm themselves constantly. All of this happens below the radar of our awareness. We aren’t out living in the world consciously choosing to feel bad about ourselves and we aren’t consciously thwarting our attempts at happiness. It’s all hidden from view. So instead of being aware fully of the pattern, here’s what actually happens:
Joe wants desperately to find love. But he has a strong “I’m unlovable” deficiency story. Therefore, he unconsciously picks partners who will not reciprocate the love he desires. THAT IS THE SELF-SABOTAGE RIGHT THERE!!! This, although painful, helps to reinforce his “I’m unlovable” identity. He gains a benefit (or utility) from the rejection. And the benefit is that he gets to confirm his identity. He gets to stay within the safety of the familiar pain he has always known. And he gets to avoid letting go of that story, which could feel like dying.
That’s really all that these deficient identities seek to do - to reinforce themselves. What better way to reinforce a story of being unlovable than to pick people who won’t love you.
But don’t think for a moment that it’s only the “I’m unlovable” story that self-sabotages people’s lives. Every deficiency story involves a strong element of self-sabotage for this one important reason: if you were to go out into the world and actually find love, happiness, awakening, success, the deficiency story would still be running your operating system behind the scenes (because it is your conditioning). The story looks for ways to thwart your chance of finding what you are searching for. The future aspect of the deficiency story has to keep itself in place as a central part of your identity. So finding love, happiness, etc would destroy the future part of that story completely, thereby threatening and destroying the entire story. That’s scary and leads us to resist addressing this story and its pattern of self-sabotage.
You Can’t Talk or Think Your Way Out of Deficiency Stories and Self-Sabotaging
Why isn’t it possible to just read this article and start trying to actively believe or act in ways that are contrary to sabotage? Why isn’t it possible just to read this article and start trying to believe more positive thoughts about yourself?
Believing more positive thoughts might not be a bad start. But it probably won’t take you very far in uprooting deficiency stories because they are so wedded to your identity.
Before I try to convince you that it’s not possible to think yourself out of deficiency stories and self-sabotage, try it out for a few weeks. If it doesn’t work to truly transform you or your deficiency story and its self-sabotaging component, then you don’t need me to convince you. It becomes your experience. Once you see that it doesn’t work, the invitation is to try our Kiloby Inquiries, which were designed to dissolve these stubborn patterns of our conditioning.
It’s not possible for most people to talk or think away these stories and patterns because much of the pain of these stories is held in the body (this is why many people go to talk therapy for 20 years and come out of therapy with the deficiency story barely weakened, if at all). Talking and thinking happens in the mind. Plus, our deepest core emotional wounds are held within a different part of the brain than where our ability to rationalize resides. The part of the brain that holds all that pain comes up during a trigger and takes over completely, putting you into a state of being triggered so that your rational defense mechanisms and coping strategies are often thwarted.
Even if you gain some minimal relief from the story and its patterns by using your mind only, it is likely that the transformation has not gone deep enough to sustain itself. Deficiency stories fight back fiercely because they are identities. They don’t die easily. And the way they stay alive is through self-sabotaging your life when you start to move towards a positive goal or even get close to finding the love, success or awakening or whatever you are looking for in the future. Re-read this section again please. It’s so important to understand if you want to live a life more liberated. You cannot just trust me. Verify all of what I’m saying for yourself. Find out first hand that the deficiency story or stories you are carrying around have resulted in a pattern of your not being able to fully manifest your true wants and desires here on earth.
What’s the Answer to Breaking the Link Between Deficiency Stories and its Self-Sabotaging Pattern?
The answer is simple: The Kiloby Inquiries! With the development of the Kiloby Inquiries at the Kiloby Center for Recovery, we have trained facilitators who know how to break this link between deficiency stories and self-sabotage. We focus mainly on dismantling the false belief that you are deficient. We do this through undoing what we call the Velcro Effect. This is the experience of thoughts being stuck to bodily sensations and emotions. Thoughts feel more true and real and cause more suffering when there is this velcroed connection between mind and body. With the inquiries, we don’t do talk therapy or any kind of therapy or counseling recognized by the West (U.S., Europe, etc). Our work comes from the East. And this is why we feel it is so potent. Eastern traditions have dealt with these issues for hundreds of years. There is a vast library of wisdom and insight from these traditions that help inform us how to skillfully deal with even the most stubborn aspects of ego conditioning. Whereas many western therapies (not all) try to improve the ego or even coddle or sooth it or get you to believe the opposite by simply pointing out good traits and positive things about you, we feel this doesn’t go deep enough. It still leaves an ego in tact and egos are held together at the very foundation by deficiency stories. Often when a therapist is trying to get a client to believe positive things about themselves or help a client “reframe” the past instead of focusing on the deficiency story, it doesn’t work. This is because deeply held deficiency stories lie at the very core of our ego conditioning. Again, they are the linchpin that holds the ego together. So coddling, compassionate listening, identifying the problem, trying to convince clients to reframe their thinking into more positive thoughts may make a client feel temporarily better. But it will likely only be temporary because, as I’ve said before, deficiency stories fight for survival because they are connected to strategies we developed in childhood and earlier years. They aren’t going to just vanish that easily.
Point blank: The deficiency story and its corresponding self-sabotage is like a movie playing right in front of you in the thoughts, emotions and sensations that appear within your own awareness. With the inquiries, we have developed powerful questions and statements that bring up all the elements of the deficiency story that are hidden in the unconscious. These things are brought up into your awareness so they no longer remain unconscious. We do this mainly through two tools: The Reverse Inquiry and the Utility Inquiry. Once the thoughts, feelings and sensations are brought up from deep within the unconscious, and are fully in awareness, we have a full array of tools to help you unhook from these deficiency stories. And along the way, during a session, we use tools that dissolve the need to self-sabotage. But frankly, once the deficiency story is all but gone, the self-sabotaging disappears with it. Remember, it’s the future projections of the deficiency story that set in motion future self-sabotage. So when one goes, so does the other!
What Is Life Like After the Link Between Deficiency Stories and Self-Sabotage Has Been Broken?
Let me speak from my own experience first. In my twenties I chased straight men (I’m gay) who I knew couldn’t or wouldn’t love me back. This strengthened my “I’m unlovable” story every time I got rejected by one of these men. I had no idea that the self-sabotaging act of picking people who couldn’t love me back carried a utility (purpose) with it. I was getting something in return from each rejection. I was getting a hit off the rejection, like someone going back to a heroin needle over and over because the feeling the heroin gives is familiar (even if abusing heroin is causing great damage to one’s life).
Confirming my identity felt painful but familiar, like an old friend who gets on your nerves but you just can’t let him go. But more than that, the pain drove me to seek love outside myself over and over again, even in the face of extreme heartbreak. And because I had not discovered inquiry yet, that’s exactly what I did. Had I known about inquiry, I would have immediately started inquiring around this issue. But without inquiry, I continued to operate blindly like so many people do. In my case, my blindness involved chasing straight men. I was completely blind to how they would never love me back the way I loved them. I was also completely blind to the fact that “I do it to myself” to quote one of my favorite Radiohead songs. What I mean by “I do it to myself” is that all of this deficiency and self-sabotaging is not out there in the world. It’s in here, in my mind and body. It is was my conditioning that I was projecting over reality. But because it is merely a projection, I eventually learned how to inquire into it and watch it fall away right in front of me.
After my 2007 awakening experience, so much conditioning fell away. But this last strand of deficiency story/self-sabotage (I’m unlovable) was hanging around still (albeit much lighter and less believable than before the awakening).
For quite a while I used the inquiries to dissolve this false deficiency story and guess what happened? I was finally able to find someone whom I loved and who loved me back equally. The self sabotaging stopped. I rarely even see any self-sabotaging in my life now (although it pops up rarely in relationship – and I inquire into it when it does and it falls away quickly once I start inquiring).
Life after breaking this link is so much more fun. It’s like a game, an exploration. Relationships can be taken less seriously and become more harmonized, authentic, compassionate, intimate and honest, without diminishing the love between people. In fact the love in my situation strengthened towards my partner as I worked out these issues. One of the greatest benefits of dissolving the link discussed here is that the result of such work is the capacity to live much more in the present moment, and let go of past and future thoughts. When we are living in the present without a deficiency story, we don’t have to worry about self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is future projection, so as future falls away, so doesn’t the sabotaging. Life flows naturally. What needs to show up will show up. And somehow, in a very mysterious way, we finally begin to live the life we have always wanted – a life that flows naturally without pain and worry – a life that opens doors of opportunity to us because we aren’t constantly closing those doors through our own unconscious self-sabotaging patterns.
This kind of work is not limited to feelings towards romantic interests. We, the Kiloby Inquiries Facilitators, have been trained to work with any ways in which you are self-sabotaging in any area of your life.
To learn more, visit www.kiloby.com. There are facilitators there that can help you. If you believe your deficiency stories and self-sabotage have become so overwhelming that you are having great difficulty functioning in life, please consider coming to the Kiloby Center for a higher level of support and care. Visit www.kilobycenter.com.