The self-fulfilling prophecy trap

It’s the same as if each time we carried an umbrella it actually increased the chance of a storm.

NOTE: A core belief is always an "I" statement as in "I am unlovable"  The thought   "Nobody loves me" is called a 'supporting belief', a prediction or forecast about what others will do or have done to you. This is where the selves get confused. If they hadn't accepted the core belief they may have been more ready to accept love and have been loved more often. Instead, accepting an untrue core belief  as true (even unconsciously) then helps set up other people's reactions and these reaction in turn give the core belief the 'appearance' of being true. (A self fulfilling prophecy.)            

Latest news - it is 2008 and the notes here which go back to around 2000 are still valid but we now have a much more up to date website devoted just to Core belief work and Core belief balancing. There you will find all these pages (updated) plus many more new articles, new worksheets and more explanations and it is being up dated every week. Go to http://core-beliefs-balance.com/          Hit Counter

Everyone needs to construct a belief system (a map of the world) which helps:

1. Prepare them for what might happen in the future
2. Protect them from unexpected outcomes or actions by other people
3. Interpret other people’s motives and the meanings behind other people’s actions

If your map of the world around you (your belief system) is based on well balanced, accurate and positive beliefs then your predictions about the future should be fairly accurate. However, if a belief system is based on unbalanced or negative beliefs, the forecasts, predictions and prophecies will also be unbalanced, and inaccurate and will lead to misinterpretations, misunderstandings and self-fulfilling predictions.

Unbalanced core beliefs can be responsible for some awfully bad forecasts about what is going to happen especially if your belief map is upside down! When two human beings (with opposite core beliefs) start to feel vulnerable about each other, their inner selves immediately gear up for trouble, each predicting dire consequences and issuing storm warnings about what the other person is thinking, feeling and what the other person is going to do next that could cause trouble. Even if these predictions are incorrect, as they usually are, the effect of the negative energy generated is to increase the chance of trouble. The bad reaction that the selves predicted comes true, but it probably would not have happened at all if the selves had not reacted to the prediction! (as illustrated in the two case studies below )

This is the selves' way of preparing you for trouble, but often their kind of protection then triggers  the other person's own negative core  beliefs and their reaction ends up actually helping bring about the very result our selves predicted. The ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ trap is much the same as if each time we carried an umbrella to protect us from rain  it actually increased the chance of a storm.

When two human beings (with opposite core beliefs) start to feel vulnerable about each other, their two belief systems immediately gear up for trouble, each predicting dire consequences and issuing storm warnings about what the other person is thinking, feeling and what the other person is going to do next that could cause trouble. Even if these predictions are incorrect, as they usually are, the effect of the negative energy generated is to increase the chance of trouble. The bad reaction that was forecast comes true, but it probably would not have happened at all if it were not for the prediction!

Note that in the following case studies I am not looking at the core belief itself, but rather what Person A’s expectations and supporting beliefs predict about Person B’s thoughts, feelings, motives and their expectations that whatever B is going to do next is going to cause Person A to feel pain and vulnerability.

Everyone needs to construct a belief system (a map of the world) which helps:

1. Prepare them for what might happen in the future
2. Protect them from unexpected outcomes or actions by other people
3. Interpret other people’s motives and the meanings behind other people’s actions

If your map of the world around you (your belief system) is based on well balanced, accurate and positive beliefs then your predictions about the future should be fairly accurate. However, if a belief system is based on unbalanced or negative beliefs, the forecasts, predictions and prophecies will also be unbalanced, and inaccurate and will lead to misinterpretations, misunderstandings and self-fulfilling predictions like Jack’s, Jill’s and Clive’s in these two cases. Take care, unbalanced core beliefs can be responsible for some awfully bad forecasts about what is going to happen especially if your map of the world is upside down!

Case A - Jack and Jill

Jill has a core issue about losing control. Her supporting beliefs tell her ‘You have to fight to avoid being controlled by others’. Jill’s new partner Jack has a core issue about trust and an expectation that ‘You cannot trust people who have secrets. You’re vulnerable unless you know everything that is going on’. Jack notices that Jill seems worried about something, but when he asks, she insists there is ‘nothing wrong’. Jack’s worries about ‘secrets’ ignites one of his medium strength controlling selves that tries to get her to explain but the more he increases the pressure the less she feels like talking to him.

Jill is understandably triggered by Jack’s insistence and since her top reaction patterns are there to fight control by others, out comes one of her rebel selves who helps her ‘clam up’ even more. That, in turn, triggers Jack’s vulnerability, as his one-below selves become even more sure that Jill must have a ‘secret’ she won’t talk about and Jack panics. He becomes quite obsessive in trying to get Jill to confess her ‘secret’ but with no success.

The outcome is a massive negative bonding pattern (in ordinary terms a really bad fight). Jill packs her bags and leaves, to escape Jack’s control. She has the ‘concrete evidence’ her beliefs predicted for her that Jack would turn out to be another obsessive controller like all her previous partners. Jack, meanwhile will be absolutely certain that Jill’s leaving proves she cannot be trusted just as his belief warned him. Both Jack and Jill have had their beliefs ‘come true’ just as predicted, but can you see how their polarised selves working with the supporting beliefs were behind much of the triggered behaviour. In reality, Jill can usually be trusted (she didn’t even have a secret - she was just very tired) and Jack has lost the chance to have a happy relationship with her that wouldn’t have required him to control her at all.

Case B - Uninteresting Clive

Clive is a maths teacher, with an unbalanced belief from childhood that his ideas are dull and uninteresting. His compensating skills (I’m going to make myself interesting) helped him to become a teacher, but to be honest his maths lectures are still a bit boring. What triggers Clive, more than anything else are students who say they ‘just can’t get interested’ in maths so whenever he hears the trigger word ‘uninteresting’ he gets agitated.  His beliefs also tell him that how interesting he really is will be decided by other people, not by him. So whenever he is triggered he argues with the students and tries to get ‘better’ answers from them that would tell him he is becoming more interesting.

As Nikki Nemerouf describes it - what Clive is desperately seeking, he is also preventing himself from having. At the same time as he is blaming his students for the problem, he is trying to get them to give him a better answer about his teaching.

Clive’s automatic intention which includes trying to help hide the pain of his core belief is actually making the pain worse. Fewer and fewer students give him feedback on the uninteresting aspects of his lectures, so he misses the chance to make improvements. He puts less effort in to preparing for classes so as time goes by they become even more boring.

In the end his negative prediction is brought to reality by the behaviour he believed would stop the prediction coming true!

Warning! - Fighting about ‘truth’ or ‘reality’
An out of balance negative  belief system can also result in an increase in the number of ‘disempowering selves’ which support information or events that ‘fit in’ with an unbalanced or negative core belief while rejecting data to the contrary. A self-fulfilling prophecy just adds to the chance of this happening, by providing supporting evidence that ‘proves’ the unbalanced belief must be true.

Don’t fight about reality while ‘under the influence’ of an unbalanced belief
In a situation like this, you might think and feel that you are in touch with reality but your observations will be based on the unreliable data. The false unbalanced beliefs and their supporting polarised selves are not known for presenting accurate information. The only thing you can be sure of, in this situation, is that once you have been triggered you are likely to be out of polarity and out of touch with your reality. Not only will your view of the world, and others in it, be distorted but to make matters worse you will be unable to see that distortion.

Until you have identified your negative beliefs and balanced them with positive ones, just try to tread very carefully in terms of arguments with others about the ‘truth’ or get into a discussion about who triggered whom, what they really said or felt or what you really said or did to them. The chances of either of you being able to make an accurate assessment of the actual situation is very small, but the chance of triggering each other into a worse bonding pattern is extremely high.

How do you use voice dialogue and inner self work and voice dialogue to help understand your core beliefs?

See:  voice dialogue helps You balance Your Belief System and regain Control of your life

For introductory explanation about Core beliefs see:

Negative Core Beliefs - and how they control the selves and your life

Examples of typical negative core beliefs


Feedback - please e-mail  me John Bligh Nutting -   at   nutting@growingaware.com


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