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It's a Trap Pt1

One of my favorite Star Wars movie lines is, “It’s a trap!” Do life circumstances sometimes make you feel trapped?

We've all felt trapped at one time or another. All too often a trap can lead to imprisonment and you don’t see a way out. But how can you see a way out if you don’t know you’re imprisoned? Kathy Gottberg ( tells us there are 7 traps that lead us to imprisonment much in the same way a speed trap for high speed can land you in jail. The realization doesn’t hit you until you hear the door to your cell close behind you.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share these traps that can lead to your imprisonment. If you feel trapped or imprisoned by one or more of these, this may be very helpful to you.

Let’s begin with number 7 and work our way to number one.

#7 Blaming others, refusing to forgive, or feelings of guilt.

These negative actions are toxic and leave us feeling victimized and powerless. They each bind us to the past with the mistaken belief that others are responsible for our happiness or our misery.

Unfortunately, this is a common theme and a source of hurt and pain for many people I’ve worked with over the years in therapy and more recently coaching. When people are imprisoned by their past they deal with their hurt and pain by superimposing their past onto the present. Wives become mothers, husbands become fathers and tragedies long past become something to be avoided at all cost, even when there’s no indications avoidance is needed in the present. All of these can leave you scared, angry and guilty.

This is the trap. Believing something is real in the present because it happened to you before in the past. Like the wife who fears her husband will cheat on her because her last husband did. Or like a man who gets angry at others, and believes he's defending himself against an attack because he was abused as a child. The trap then becomes the prison.

Recognizing what has happened in the past no longer exists, and it's the emotions from the past that influence the present, is the first step in recognizing your trap. Believing what you feel in the present or not determines imprisonment. The difference is recreating your past, or recognizing people for who they are, free of your past, that frees you and them. Wouldn't that make the quality of life and relationships better?

Many people are able to sort through this on their own with success. Others turn to psychotherapy to resolve and bring closure to the past. Coaching can certainly be a resource when the past is resolved, but blocks to success remain. This takes us to #6 that'll be the next addition.

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