Co-dependency

What else does a relationship need besides connecting love? Essential is a mutual respect, common view of life, harmonic sexual life, same attitude to financial management and a stable empirical emotional intelligence. These are the basic pillars, without them the relationship is going to collapse, since they are pillars. Most of the people think the relationship collapses when a pair gets separated. However get separated is just the closing. The relationship already has started to collapse when our partner hasn’t been feeling good since a while, desires other things. Desires other partner, different or separated programs, other topics of talk, other rules or other atmosphere.

Why is it so difficult to find a right partner?

To choose the right partner is one of the most difficult life task because our needs change within years and our personality continuously changes as well. Our childhood examples, patterns, traumas and experiences are crucial in a partner choosing process because they determine considerable our behaviour in a relationships. For instance if we “learnt” – saw – in our family as child that “I must take everything” or “I must stay in silence” obviously we are going to follow (not always but most of the times) the same pattern in our relationship as well, like choosing subconsciously an abusive partner following the “learnt” subjugation.

The reason of emotional collapsing in a relationship is mainly that the partners don’t even know themselves and don’t improve their own personality. Therefore they don’t know each other as well and don’t know how to get the partner’s respect, appreciation and love.

What is co-dependency?

We do a lot of things to make a relationship or a marriage work but wise to know that there are boundaries. Someone with healthy personality never let anyone to pass those boundaries. There are things what we can forgive or condone but there are thing what we can’t or don’t want. Those people who always forgive for everything and over-indulge all the time just to keep their partner next to, they are co-dependent.

To be co-dependent can’t exist alone, always requires another person and this is pa(i)rlour game which makes both sides become disordered.

Co-dependency is a process, starting from its development and its upholding both part’s personality declines and can end in different personality disorders. Co-dependency is part of the group of anxieties. Its traits are need of solicitude, sticking to the partner and the fear of loneliness. The co-dependent person is always in a constant mental unsatisfied condition, when his/her own needs are just but doesn’t use or doesn’t even know those methods what with would be able to easy the fear of loneliness and gain some courage to withdraw a bit from the partner onto a healthy level. Both of them would be able to breath and the suffocating ambiance of the relationship would be stopped. This person never makes any decision alone, he/she always needs a kind of a parent who does.

The most common example: Julie has a just expectation that Joe doesn’t cheat on her. If he did, Julie would lost trust in Joe and her feeling of being safe. But to cope with (facing with what this relationship is missing) moves to the direction of forgiveness without reparation. Why? Because Julie is so terrified of something (terrified of being alone, losing status, other people’s opinion or being a single mother) and that’s why she keeps Joe next to her doesn’t matter what it costs. Cognitive dissonancy appears in her, but to release the internal tension of dissonancy Julie uses self-justification to explain to herself what she did and why.

Like:

1. I love so much Joe, I can forgive everything to him.

2. I must keep the family together because this is the best for our children.

3. What’s going to happen with our properties, summer vacations or social status?

So Julie forgives to Joe, that’s how she calls it. Actually she compromises without reparation, exchanging her self-esteem for status or properties and this happens usually without even saying a word. The marital infidelity remains a secret most of the time. They don’t face with the existing serious problems in their relationship and they don’t work on to repair it.

Development of co-dependency

The co-dependent person is mostly from a dysfunctional family. If the parent dominated over the child (misinterpretation – bringing up strictly) most likely the child wouldn’t have been able to develop an independent personality (self) and in adulthood also will need the state of subordination. Will depend on his/her partner or if there is no partner will depend on other people because to solve everything alone is so difficult.

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Often becomes co-dependent a child whose parents set up strict, inflexible and austere codes of morals and forced the child to keep them even with using abuse. The basic pattern of co-dependency after all is the child-mother relationship. Those mothers’ children become co-dependent whose attitude is all about to please other people. Those who are self-sacrificing, serving others without expectations and whom deny their own needs and must serve other people’s well-being. Kind of a mental obligation to sacrifice own needs for the family members and serve them physically and mentally as well.

A child who grows up with a self-sacrificing mother is going to develop a low frustration tolerance, incapacity of waiting and unstable self-esteem. Usually this child estimates himself/herself very low, has the incapacity of recognizing and expressing own needs and doesn’t go for his/her own ideas or needs. Becoming a passive, receptive adult who waits for care and help. That help usually comes but mainly from a partner who is abusive. This is the pattern which repeats itself subconsciously, the need of being subjugated.

A child who grows up in this kind of malfunctioning mother-child relationship is going to choose a partner whom takes care of him/her, whom with doesn’t need to take so much responsibility, asks more and more and becoming demanding and then becoming frustrated and angry till the partner is becoming more and more active and taking more and more responsibility. Co-dependent person plays games in his/her relationship or marriage. He/she is the one who is too accommodating, who needs help, mainly a defenceless person who tries to set up his/her life on the way not taking too much responsibility. Often uses his/her children to get more help or support because in this way it’s guaranteed to get it. In these kind of relationships don’t exist real intimacy and equality which are essential.

Traits of co-dependency:

  1. The co-dependent person is persuaded of being responsible for the partner’s and children’s emotions, thoughts, actions, choice, decisions, well-being and destiny. Feels tense, regret or sense of guilt if the other has a problem. Believes that relationship is an interfusion where she/he must take over other’s burden of choices and obsessively believes he/she must help to solve problems and give advices.
  2. Low self-esteem: often blames and scourges him/herself but becoming indignant at getting criticized or judged. Refuses compliments and appreciations (but this is just a mask because he/she really yearns for them) becoming depressed and feeling bad and useless if doesn’t get positive feedbacks. Feels guilty when he/she spends money for himself/herself. So much afraid of making mistakes, wants to do everything perfectly. His/her communication and mindset is mainly about “should” and “must” schemas.
  3. Repression (suppression, retorsion): co-dependent person is so much afraid of knowing who he/she really is. The reason of this fear is mainly in his/her childhood was blamed very often (also in adulthood can happen) and established a fear of a self like “I’m bad” or “I’m stupid” The often felt “I’m bad” – sense of guilt elbows out of the positive emotions of the self-image from the mind. Repressing positive emotions because he/she is afraid of retorsion which can come from anywhere.
  4. Compulsive: feels strong worry about other’s problem. Small things can keep him/her disturbed. Continuously controls/verifies others and feels emotional satisfaction when able to catch someone making a mistake. Compulsively (he/she calls: very diligently) works, strictly penny-pinching or spend lavishly not finding the happy medium.
  5. Control: doesn’t let things happen or go on the natural way. Believes he/she knows better than others that how to behave or act. Using several different kind of tools to get control, like make others feeling guilty, forcing, threat, advising, dominancy, manipulation or gaining pity. Cen tell exactly how others should behave (husband, wife, children, grandparents) but incapable to tolerate other kind of behaviors because his/her tolerance threshold is so low. While controlling everybody she/he feels that being controlled by others and circumstances.
  6. Denial: doesn’t recognize problems or pretends that those problems don’t exist. Typical that she/he would like to make it look everything is great and fine rather than showing or communicating the reality. Without any real plan he/she comforts herself/himself like; “It’s not that bad as it seems like”, “There are other worse marriages!” so everything is fine. Closes the eyes to not see, or not perceive others’ need because he/she feels being incapable to satisfy them. Main belief is, if things are not told that means they don’t exist.
  7. Dependency: terrified of refusal, abandonment and being alone that’s why takes also very serious abuses (verbal, physical) as well from those he/she is attached to. Not able to feel self-love, self-acceptance and feels nobody loves her/him being on the way he/she is in real. Doesn’t believe that he/she would be able to stay or live alone, so bears even embarrassing situations till he/she is left or abandoned. Holds on to that person whom he/she depends, doesn’t matter the cost.
  8. Communication disorders: doesn’t say what he/she thinks and doesn’t think what he/she says. Often lies but they are white-lies so this behaviour is not condemnable according to her. Has difficulties to get to the point in talks and often gets confused what exactly he/she wanted to say. Not able to say no and just after others’ stated opinions he/she is able to tell his/hers.
  9. Weak boundaries: often claims that not being able to tolerate the partner’s or child’s expressions anymore but let others offend him/her, takes every insults and in the end at one point explodes and becoming completely intolerant. Can calm down after but it’s a circle, so starts all over again.
  10. Lack of trust: Doesn’t trust himself/herself, own decisions, own emotions, friends or other people if they make him/her to face with some things which are not desirable. Wants to trust those whom are unworthy of trust.
  11. Anger: often feels anger, fright and offense but afraid of own anger because he/she believe if he/she shows it, going to be left or abandoned. Repressed anger.
  12. Sexual problems: having the ward role in bed. Tries to ease own anger and offense in sexuality. Afraid of losing control and tries to keep distance emotionally. Has difficulties to express own needs in sex, often forces himself/herself to have it.
  13. Loyalty problems: coming from a dysfunctional family makes an ambivalent relation to his/her own family. He/she would like to maintain a good relationship with the parents, getting separated from them, accepting what they give but in the same time feels anger about they try to interfere with his/her own life.
  14. Progression: after a while becoming depressed and experiencing isolation in the family. The repressed anger turns into self-aggression. Like over-eating, using drugs or alcohol, looking for new addiction.

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Co-dependency is a personality disorder, mainly develops in women because they are more susceptible to falling into the background by their social education, often their independency also influenced by external circumstances. Co-dependency becomes a personality trait, a role and even an identity in the frame of socialization of the family. Its development starts in the origin family and continues with choosing a partner. Our society is success and achievement orientated. Our dual-earner model requires a minimum capacity which is an autonomously working and living man and women, doesn’t support co-dependent relationships. The co-dependent person after not a long time becoming a burden to the partner, whom after in something else or in someone else will look for joyful and energetic recover possibilities.

One of the family members’ strongly controlling behaviour is a stress source for the whole family which “forces” the others to escape or counter-attack (coping styles). That’s why there are so much tense in a family which has a co-dependent member. Another family member revolt but they can’t break out from the “I am here for you!” trap. “How can you leave me? I’m sacrificing everything for you?”

After these typical co-dependent sentences the members struggle and get stick in the relationship. They learn how to adapt the controller and his/her behaviour. “Family is the most non-dangerous place to release repressed anger by controlling others for adults.”

Therapy: self-knowledge and personal development is essential technique for changing a co-dependent relationship. The learnt helplessness which is from the childhood can be changed just if the co-dependent person can believe that being able to change to be true and willing to learn new coping mechanisms.

Picture: centroapi.com.mx

Self-esteem and relationship

Often we hear an approach whereas we should set up a strong, stable and permanent self-esteem because (if we can!), and from that moment it doesn’t matter what people say or how they act with us, it won’t affect our personality negatively. The other approach is the opposite, that is when someone completely surrenders him-or herself to his/her surroundings and his/her mood wavers according to other’s opinion or appreciation (or lack of appreciation). This behaviour is called co-dependency which makes an equality based relationship impossible. Sometimes these kind of people use their partner as a self-definition which is very adverse if their partner doesn’t have a stable and healthy personality. Noticeable that people with damaged self-esteem or being co-dependent usually don’t have a partner with healthy self-esteem or healthy personality. They have a partner with the same problem or the opposite.

We can find the truth somewhere between those two extremes behaviour. The happy medium as always!

I think that person who states that; we can have a stable self-esteem in a relationship where she/he (or his/her opinion, emotions, decisions) is neglected, abused or reviled, or kept in suspense where she/he must be anxious about if the other wants or doesn’t want him/her; is wrong.

Namely to respect my own feelings, my values, my time and my body is also part of building and keeping a healthy self-esteem. If our partner cancel a program in the last moment using petty excuses and expect us to conform to him/her all the time; or after months still doesn’t undertake our relationship in public; or perhaps threatens us to leave when we express our needs which are out of his/her comfort zone and after all how can we state that all these things don’t influence our self-esteem? Usually we are reacting like “this is our problem” after undertaking our negative feelings relating to the relationship which is a kind of denial. More painful to see the reality than to wop it under carpet using self-justifications.

Clients with seriously damaged self-esteem often ask themselves that “What if I give the reason for him/her to behave with me like that?” or “What if I provoke him/her?”  “What if I’m really a difficult person to live with?” “What if I should feel grateful because she/he is with me?” – when they experience unacceptable behaviour from their partner.

(If seriously self-esteem damaged people have a self-centered partner (very often, more than we think), usually the answer is – “Yes, you are, I’m treating you like this because you give me reason to do it.”- self-centered people always find a reason to do it.)

They continuously think about how could they understand their partner’s behaviour (which is necessary to handle it) at the same time the most important question is missing (maybe because already existing trauma from childhood): Do I let him/her to treat me like this?

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Typical symptom of damaged self-esteem in relationship that clients very often experience helplessness. “I would like to have more or better – but do I deserve another?” “I would like to express my needs but are they just?” These people struggle on this duality, sometimes for a long time, like years.

There are two choices; one is to admit that I’m not treated well, it hurts so I must do something for myself (change); or claiming that I’m bad and it’s understandable I’m treated like that (doesn’t require change). You can guess which one what people choose statistically more often.

First step of healing damaged self-esteem is to resolve our denials and other own lies what with we protect our relationship and excuse our partner from treating us badly. Which means “Yes, what is happening with me is destructive!”

After that we have several options, but this first one can’t be skipped. The whole status quo remains as long as we use several different kind of self-justifications, excuses and lies. We can lie but the fact is not changed; we are in a destructive relationship and it’s undermining our self-esteem.

To recognize having a destructive relationship is very difficult for people who are co-dependent for instance. They just can’t imagine that they can exist without their partner even if they are treated badly now. They rather crucify their own well being than change.

To recognize damaged self-esteem and its roots is not so easy, usually requires professional help. Sometimes those roots are buried so deep and very difficult to identify and change them.

Good news is self-esteem is improvable after finding the destructive effects’ origin. If you feel that your self-esteem is vanished, please don’t hesitate to ask an appointment and start your mental training with me.

“That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretence. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act – and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.”

― Jim Morrison

Picture: Kate Swaffer

Parental perfectionism

Every parents want to raise their child or children perfectly but what happens if they go too far?

First of all nowadays one thing is scientifically clear and proved; perfectionists are made and not were born. The occurrence of perfectionism is growing. One of the reason is those parents look for their own status in their children’s achievements and its pressure on children just grows. They can take this pressure as a critic for their mistakes. A lot of parents believe if their children have difficulties in school or his/her performance is not satisfactory (according to them), it means they do something wrong, they are not enough good parents and what the other parents will think. I often can see that; parents identify their parental ability with the performance of children in school or in other part of life. “If my child is not a good student, I am not a good parent or if my child is an excellent student I give a good parental care.”  Honestly, they are not even connected to each other. Perfectionism is one of the type of parental control. Nowadays parents not just take part in their children’s life inordinately but also expect perfect performance from them. One thing is striving for perfectionism and another one is to demand it.

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Perfectionism can be a model for children, anxious parents so often raise (create-make) similar child like them. Those children who deal with high perfectionism experience their own mistakes as a personal failure – they are characterized with high depression and anxiety. In the same way characterized those children as well whom feel their parents overrate them. Perfectionist parents’ children feel if they do not perform on the level which was expected, that will decrease love, respect and recognition what they can get. The problem most of the time is the perfectionist’s level is not 100% of performance, it is 120% which can be unachievable for a child. Perfectionist parents actually do not consider children’s individual abilities and capacities because it is not about their children; it is all about themselves as parents.

How does a perfectionist parent control a child?

Parental perfectionism directs the psychological world of children. Two sources had been identified. One source is the parent own perfectionism that is exaggerated worry about general parental mistakes. Perfectionist parents accept their children just if they perform above the average. I must highlight that it is not just about performance in school, perfectionism presented in all parts of daily life. They use hidden and indirect techniques to maintain their psychological control and use them to encourage their own children to use substantial self-criticism. For instance a technique like sigh, silence or raised eyebrows. Directly they don’t discipline them but clearly make children feel their dislike.

The other source of psychological control is the parents’ fear of detachment from children. Perfectionist parents are over-attached to their children and they worry about their growing autonomy and their children continuous growth threats them with emotional and physical detachment.

Perfectionist parents excite a feeling which is a sense of guilt and they approve their children’s behaviour if they remain emotionally close to them. They are susceptible to keep children in a dependent situation if their adult relationships don’t satisfy their emotional expectations or needs. We can state that; perfectionist parents whom use psychological control on their children (doesn’t matter why – fear of loss or demand of status) are focus on their own needs instead of their children’s needs and personalities.

Striving for perfectionism forces children into an illusion. Perfectionism destroys the real self. Actually instead of creating harmony and self-satisfaction, it creates self-destruction. The continuous feeling of failure (not being able to fill up the parents expectations) destroys children’s self-confidence and often they feel worthless. In children’s mind being loved by existence gets confused with an idea-feeling of being loved because of action; “I am able to be loved if I am doing things perfectly or if I am able to satisfy my parents.

Children pay a very high price for perfectionism. The main problem with perfectionism might be that; it covers the real beauty and joy of life. People do not become stronger by making them perfectionist but let them to be passionate about something what they are interested in.

Self-justification II.

In my previous post you could have seen that how easy to cheat ourselves sometimes. We can say that self-justification is a kind of excuse or comfortable lie in a contradiction to uncomfortable truth. If people commit themselves to an attitude a communicator can cause dissonancy and to decrease this tense condition the best way is to distort proofs or refuse them. The more we are committed ourselves to an attitude all the more we are willing to refuse every counter-arguments. It can show that to decrease dissonancy also drives us to a distortion of objective world because generally people do not like to see or hear things which are contrast with their own core believes or wishes.

Dissonancy and rational behaviour

Very often dissonancy deduction behaviour is very irrational. Because often this means wrong adaptation and can prevent someone from cognizance of important facts or finding real solutions for a problem. In the other hand it has a rational function as well which is protection the self, the ego; through it we can maintain our positive self-image which is we are good, smart and man of merit. We can look at this self-defence mechanism as very useful but sometimes can cause fatal consequences. (Generally people especially nowadays are willing to choose a comfortable lie rather than the painful truth even if it is still a lie.) Several studies prove the illogicality of dissonancy deduction. (Jones, E. – Kohler, R. 1959). Well it is always comforting us if all of the wise people are on our side and all of the stupid are on the other (which is not real but that is how we want to see and believe it).  We do not process information on an objective and impartial way. Quite the contrary, we distort them onto a way they fit into our previous conceptions. (Lord, C. – Ross, L. – Lepper, M. 1979) We all can point out in our behaviour that we can behave rationally and irrationally as well. There are people who are able to handle dissonancy better than others depending on circumstances.

Dissonancy like a consequence of decision

After making a decision nearly always people experience dissonancy – especially after a decision which required a lot of time, money or effort. It is because the chosen alternative hardly completely positive and the rejected is never completely negative. After a difficult decision people like to get enough calming about the rightness of their decision so they are looking for information which can confirm it. After a decision making people highlight the positive side of the chosen option and decrease negative ones of the refused and the opposite.

External and internal justification

Several times happen that people say the opposite of what they think or they believe. For instance; Christina and Maria are not too close friends but they are shopping together. Maria is trying a dress on and asking Christina’s opinion. Christina’s first thought is this dress looks awful but since she doesn’t want to hurt Maria’s feeling she says that; “This dress fits you well, you look so pretty!” Theoretically, Christina’s content of consciousness about herself is like she is an honest person is not compatible what she just said. To release the dissonancy she needs a new content of consciousness which can be that it is important not to hurt people’s feeling. “I lied not to hurt someone!” It’s an effective way of dissonancy deduction  and it was determined by a situation. It’s called external justification. First we always look for external justifications and if we don’t find any we try to find internal ones which means changing our own attitudes which fit what we said. Like “That dress did not look as bad on her”.

Where from we get our core believes? Do we get them? Some part of it yes from our parents and from our closed environment and society by socialization and some part of it through our own experiences.

According to Charles Darwin, the key of survival depends on the ability of adaptation. What if someone is not open-minded and has strong core believes (incorrect or outmoded way of thinking) without flexibility? Well, there is only one thing constant in life which is the change. Our world is changing daily and we are forced to adapt those changes. If we are not opened for new information or ideologies and having lack of flexibility, we can experience cognitive dissonancy over and over again almost daily. So how we can avoid to face with frequent dissonancy? A common solution is isolation. Information and social isolation. Easier to put our head into sand as a denial than looking for dissonancy deduction solutions all the time. Inflexible people do it so often. They look for friends who are almost the same, same ideology same view, same culture, same classes of society, same education or religion and they avoid social interactions with other people which can create an opportunity for dissonancy to appear by talking about several topics with those who are different. Inflexible and closed-minded people are mainly who judge others, continuously defending themselves and their point of view and believe they are always right. Do you know a person like that? I am sure you do!

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These kind of people actually live in a bubble which is their own prison.

Continuously defending ourselves and refusing new things, facts or others’ point of view take so much energy, make us unhappy and living in a world which can be far from the reality. Living like surrounded by great walls made by us (fears, misbelieves) not just defends us also prevents to develop and experience good things as well. We all have a strong ego defence system but we must see, understand and experience there is nothing wrong with us, if we are or have been wrong or have been thinking on a not correct way. From time to time people learn from their mistakes and able to improve and develop. In ideal case we are able to say that “Yes, I was wrong.” “What kind of lesson can be drawn from it?”

How can we reach that?

  1. Recognize, acknowledge and understand our own defence and dissonancy deduction tendencies.
  2. Realize even if we did something silly or unmoral thing that still doesn’t mean we are silly and unmoral people for good.
  3. We develop enough self-strength to take our own mistakes.
  4. We evolve that capacity to perceive that comprehension of our mistakes are useful and fruitful in terms of growth and learning.

I know it is easier to write down than work on it. If you had found some misbelieves which hinder you from being confident, happy and harmonious with yourself and with others you always can look for help to achieve them. As a therapist I can assure you it is possible to become open-minded and peaceful with yourself and with others just by improving your self-knowledge. If you want to be delivered from your wrong misbelieves, set free from your own prison; contact me and I can show you it is possible.

  A very good friend of mine told me once: Living with refusal just you will be poor.

 

Source:

Aronson, E.: The Social Animal (1999)

Forgas, J.P.: Interpersonal Behaviour. The Psychology of Social Interactions (1985)

Self-justification I.

A last weekend event inspired me to pick up and write about this topic. It was a discussion about eating vegetarian-vegan. Meat-eating people started to explain how plant based eating is not that much healthy and how meat-eating is so beneficial. I was sitting there and recognized how their self-justifications were so strong necessary (it was not) and how their cognitive dissonancy with passive aggression created an argument.

What does exactly self-justification mean?

People generally are motivated to justify their own actions, thoughts, ideologies and emotions, trying to convince others about what he/she has done or did is logical and rational. Like in the example above. Even tough someone knows (proved by science) that eating too much meat and saturated fat (also not eating vegetables) is unhealthy he must justify his own behaviour of believes. It can be done by several ways. To have two incompatible contents of consciousness cause cognitive dissonancy.

Cognitive dissonancy

It is a kind of tense condition, which appears all the time when the person has two contents of consciousness (thought, attitude, view or opinion) but incompatible with each other psychologically. Differently if we consider each of them by itself then an opposite of one follows from another. Since cognitive dissonancy is an uncomfortable feeling people are motivated to decrease it. To keep on two conflicting views means is absurd so those two contents of consciousness or at least one of them must be changed like preferably compatible, consonance or like insert new contents of consciousness which will bridge over the gap between the original contents. Most of the people think that own believes and attitudes must be consistent with their behaviour so when they act contrary to their previous and existent attitudes, they feel motivated to explain and/or justify own behaviour.

How can cognitive dissonancy be released?

Using the example above, there is one person who eats a lot of meat, fried food without eating any vegetables. Once this person is reading a medical study about eating too much meat, fried food and not eating vegetables causes cardio and cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer and obesity. This person will experience dissonancy. The knowledge that he eats on a very unhealthy way is not compatible with that knowledge this way of eating causes for instance cancer. The most radical way to release this dissonancy would be to change the way of eating (but we all know, to make a change in our life, especially major a change, is so difficult) because after that change those two knowledges become compatible with each other. Imagine that, this person will try to change his way of eating but does not succeed. So what else can he do to release the dissonancy? Certainly he is going to do something with the other knowledge which is eating too much meat causes cancer. Like he tries to doubt facts about the relationship between eating too much meat and cancer. He makes himself believe that the experimental proofs are not convincible or he can mention someone who eats on the same way but without any health problems therefore if that person has no any disease he will not have either. Eventually to decrease the absurd characteristic of his behaviour he can identify himself with new contents of consciousness which are more compatible with eating unhealthy. So he might attach more important meaning to eating unhealthy. Like eating so much meat without vegetable is healthy and important and part of his personality. Like “I might not live that long but I enjoy it.” These kind of behaviours decrease dissonancy because they decrease the absurd nature of it. This person justifies his behaviour cognitive thus decreased the danger or exaggerated the importance of his action. Ultimately he succeeded to interiorize an attitude or change an existing one.

What kind of self-justifications can you recognize in your life? How do they influence your life or your self-control? Are you an open-minded person or chained to own core believes?

To be continued….

Source: Aronson, E.: The Social Animal