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No. 29 – Demands Automatically Lead to Resistance

June 1, 2011

When you provide guidance for radiation safety, you probably expect your workers to comply, or else! Your workers actually have two choices, either to submit or to rebel. If your demand carries enough real or perceived threat, then your workers will probably submit, but inside they are rebelling. In fact rebellion is a natural reaction stemming from childhood experiences, such as parental demands to eat an unwanted food, like green beans.

When you demand that your child eat his green beans and threaten punishment, your child’s natural reaction is to rebel. He does this to protect himself from an invasion of his person. He believes that if he submits he will lose his identity. He fears being taken over and reacts with resistance. In the process, he also develops images based on this experience which he files away for future reference.

The Automatic Cycle

The dinner table scene, and others of similar nature, leaves their mark on persons. Later in life, when they are confronted with a request with which they do not wish to comply, or which appears threatening, they will react in order to preserve their identity. The request may be quite reasonable, and even in harmony with their best interests, but when filtered through their past experience and images, they will automatically resist. The request takes them immediately back to that early scene at the dinner table, when a parent was forcing them to do something which they did not want to do and which made no sense at that time.

A Contest of Wills

Parental demands come from fear, which leads to anxiety and threat. After all, eating green beans is not a life and death matter. Other foods will provide the same benefits. What the parents and the child are engaged in is a contest of wills. The issue, therefore, is not about food, but about control. Also, if parents want to control a child’s eating habits, perhaps they also want to control them in other ways. The repetition of such control puts children on the defensive and forces them to battle for survival of their identity. Once this defensiveness has become a part of a child’s coping practices, it is forever installed as an automatic reaction. Whenever the child (and later as an adult) feels threatened, he will automatically recreate the early scenes and images (and his reactions to them) and will react in the same way today.

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