Thursday, March 25, 2010

"A Response to 'Sabotaging Success, But to What End?'"

"A Response to 'Sabotaging Success, But to What End?'"*
by A.B. Curtiss

Several days ago I posted an article titled "Sabotaging Success, But to What End?" A.B. Curtiss, a board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist, was kind enough to post a thought provoking, dissenting response to the article. - CP

"I would like to comment on the article. To me it is typical 20th century psychobabble which seldom can get itself to the core of a person's problem other than attaching labels to it such as, self-destructive behavior, or self-sabotaging or role playing, or (this one is the most ridiculous) fear of success.

The writer's solution that the person's motivation was: "she felt morally superior to everyone she felt had mistreated her. This was a role she had no intention of giving up." is simply incorrect. The fact that the woman justifies her position of feeling morally superior because the other person is doing her wrong is her mind trick that allows her distraction. Her role of superiority is not her main motivation. Her main motivation is blaming the other person so she can avoid the pain of her own fear. None of these psychobabble labels, being in themselves simply names of overt behavior, give any clue to the poor person as to what in the heck they are doing wrong. Feeling morally superior is not the error. The error is distracting yourself from your own fear.

People who are not successful in life are truly unaware that the reason they are unsuccessful and "always victimized" is because they are weak and afraid. Not being aware that they are afraid, they can do nothing to call up their courage. This does not mean that these people are not intelligent, or even successful in some ways. But their lives, despite their various successes, do not work for them. Because they do not call up their courage they are, ipso facto, cowards and make all their decisions out of fear of something rather than love of something. Because nothing good comes from fear, nothing in their life gives them a deep sense of satisfaction.

The only way out of this is for the person to experience their own fear in such a way as they can recognize it, and have the option to call up their courage. I suggest to people all the time that they take a course in public speaking via Toastmasters International because most people are afraid to speak in public, and this is one way people can experience their own fear, as well as vicariously experiencing the fear of others who are struggling with their microphones.

The only way a person can call up their courage is to first recognize they are afraid. It is a very painful thing to confront your own fear. It feels like you are dying, but of course, it is not you that is dying, it is your fear. It is so painful that people distract themselves from their own fear with blaming- it's the fault of my mother, my husband, racists, the economy, bad luck, bad therapists, childhood abuse, etc. As long as they can expend their mental energy and focus their attention (we have only one attention) on what is being done TO them, they are distracted from what they are FEELING (FEAR). But you can't get someone to see their own blaming until they can see their own fear. Once a person confronts their own repressed fear, allows it to finish, they have no need of blaming and see other's abuse of them in terms of the other person's weakness. They themselves have lost all interest in blame since it no longer serves any purpose.

Blaming is the way we avoid our own fear. If you want to know how afraid you are, how much repressed fear you have, check out to see if you blame anyone for anything."

A. B. Curtiss, board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist. Please visit her websites: