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Chapter 3


Do you have a Complex?



Associated images and frozen memories of traumatic moments…are buried deep in the subconscious.



Have you ever felt like you have “some kind of complex? Maybe your sensitivity level is higher regarding certain issues. You hear people bring up issues which disturb your inner peace and you are forced to confront  them if only in your own mind. Possibly you have buttons that certain  people know how to push and set you into a downward emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual spiral.


Don’t Push My Buttons

Ralph, a friend of mine, told me once about a lady that he was good  friends with and even dated at one time. They got along marvelously well except on particular occasions. She would say or do something that more or less “set him off and made him angry. He often said to me, “She really knows how to push my buttons.”


She would begin to talk about men who were a bit controlling over their  spouses or significant other. Much of the time, she would mildly  mention  something  that  remotely  resembled  a  criticism about men acting this way.


Ralph said, It was like she would have to ruin my day by starting all  that.  I  thought  that  she  did  it  on  purpose  and  sadistically enjoyed getting me ticked off.”

Have you ever injured your body in a certain place only too bump into that very place over and over again, re-injuring yourself and making  it  even  worse?  From  our  experiences  and  through  the history of our lives, we  have emotional places which have never really healed completely. We  sometimes describe them as “sore spots.” We hear someone on television say something that reminds us of our “sore spot” and it changes our mood, maybe causing us to feel depressed or simply irritated.


The renowned psychiatrist and a founder of analytical psychology, Carl  Jung, described these “sore spots as complexes. In fact, Jung’s  writings  are  where  we  get  this  word  when  describing someone who,  for instance, has an inferiority complex. These are weaknesses in our  internal world that have likely been put there by trauma that weve experienced on some level.


Suzanne had been in several relationships and could never seem to stay  in  one  longer  than  a  few  months.  She  was  a  successful attorney, always  drove a new European luxury sedan, lived in a million dollar plus home,  ate in the finest restaurants, and took exotic vacations. She showed up one day for counseling and right away, let me know exactly “what she thought  of men.” Men, in Suzanne’s                         opinion,  were       unreliable,      untrustworthy,       and womanizing users. The way she  described it to me was, Every man Ive ever known or have been with, is the same.”


Suzanne saw men through her own filter and enlarged that filter through  her ongoing experiences with men. As Ive said often, When things are  not right in your life and the same event is repeated over and over again, at some point, if you are going to get free of the reoccurrence of that undesirable experience, you must take   responsibility Yo mus recogniz tha the   common denominator in these events is YOU.”


Now, if I just hit a sore spot with you, my friend and beloved reader, please, stay with me. Prepare yourself to get free of having to continue  repeating negative events, such as the one Ive just described. I’m here to  help, not to hurt. You can rid yourself of these sore spots permanently.


Come on. Say out loud, “Michael Murphy is my friend and wants to help  me get better in my life. Now, don’t you feel better?

(Seriously, I really do want to help you; that is why Ive written this book.)


You Are Not Alone


I heard a guy repeat a Biblical quotation once with a little bit of a twist. He said, I know that the truth will set me free, but before freedom arrives, it always seems to first make me miserable. This is the case when facing things that push your buttons or what Jung described as complexes.


First, let’s ask the question, “Does everyone on the planet have these same (or similar) events happening in their lives? Do others have crap that happens to them which causes them the same pain that I feel and which it seems they can never get free from? The answer, of course, is “Yes, they  do.” Maybe not with the exact same intensity or through the same kind  of situations. But our hurts,   mistakes,   and   wrong   decisions,   are   common   human experiences.


Yes, trauma is common among all of humankind; however, you may have something specific to you that seems to haunt you over and over again. So  let’s recognize that not everyone experiences the same obstacles that you may in exactly the same way as you. Nonetheless, the common ground we experience is much the same.

Second, let’s face the reality that whatever it is that you deal with over and over again, is something that brings you enough pain that you want to get rid of it and move on with your life. Friend, let me say  something  here.   Chronic   pain  is  miserable  to  live  with. Whether it is physical, mental or emotional, pain is not fun. You need to take the attitude that you are going to do whatever it takes to get rid of it.


Take a moment, right now, and let yourself focus on your desire to get rid of your emotional pain. Let your inner will open up to at least getting  better in whatever area you feel that certain “sore spot.”


Imagine your life without it. How would it feel to be able to not experience the pain that youve felt in the past? Now, start to imagine how it would feel to be free from it, on a deeper level. Let it soak in and even marinate your emotions. How would you view things differently if you were free from those negative emotions?

I’m not saying that you are going to be completely free the very first time you do what I’ve just led you in doing. I am saying that as you continue to  give yourself some relief and quit torturing yourself with things that have happened in the past, you will move closer and closer to being free of the intense hurt that you’ve felt.


Beth had an extremely traumatic upbringing. Her father left when she  was   eight  months  old.  He  never  came  back  or  even acknowledged that he had a daughter until Beth reunited with him after becoming an adult.


Beth, her mother, two older sisters, and one older brother struggled for  almost two decades. They lived on food stamps. Sometimes they were forced to sleep in their car and in homeless shelters. Her mother was determined to survive and she succeeded.


Beth eventually went to college and ultimately earned a Masters degree in sociology. Beth longed to have a happy relationship with a man but could  never get past what her father had done to her family.


When Beth decided to seek help and attempted to get past what had happened earlier in her life, she came to see me. Her epiphany came two  years after her father had died. Her “Ah-ha!” moment came when she  faced the reality that she had let a live human being  dictate  her  early  trauma  in  life.  Now  she  was  allowing someone who was dead to  continue to adversely affect her own happiness.


On that wonderful day, Beth rose up out of her chair and said, My God, I’m letting a DEAD MAN control my happiness. How weird is that?! For the  next two weeks, Beth would call me and say, “Michael, do you realize  that  I have allowed a DEAD MAN to control my moods, how I feel  about myself, how I feel about others, and almost completely control my happiness?”


She learned to let it go and make the change that was within her power to make, when she realized the true nature of what she was doing. That day, Beth’s life started turning around. She learned to allow her emotional scars to be completely healed and got started on a new life.


I know. You want to know the rest of the story of Beth. She did meet the man of her dreams and from the last contact I had with her, she is living a successful, highly productive, and very happy life with her husband and two children of her own.


Third, as I mentioned earlier, get brutally honest with yourself. Recognize that the problem is not someone else’s problem. It is your problem and only you can take the steps necessary to fix it. You can fix it. In fact, only you can fix it.


Martin L. (Lenny) Skutnik III was a 28-year-old office worker for a federal agency who acted heroically following the crash of Air Florida Flight 90  on January 13, 1982. Seventy-eight people lost their lives in the disaster, but five survived due to heroic actions such  as  those  of Lenny  Skutnik.  He  was  commended  by U.S. President Ronald Reagan during his State  of  the Union speech later that month.


Skutnik,  apparently  a  humble  man,  was  quoted  as  saying,  "I couldn't just stand there and do nothing to help. Someone had to do  something.  No  one  else  was  doing  anything  or  couldn’t.  I could. I did. What else could I do?"


See yourself  standing  there.  Maybe  you’re  watching  your  life spiral down or going nowhere. All the time you are longing to be, do, and have all that youve envisioned. You know that the dream is deep inside and if you can only find the key, you can achieve the success  youve  always  desired.  You  have  to  do  something  or nothing is going to change. No one else is going to walk into your life and do what only you can do for yourself.


Now, I want you to imagine that there are concepts in your mind that have been introduced into your life and which you have built upon through repetition of thought. Think about when you learned the alphabet. You  cleared out a place in your mind and filled it with your learning of the  alphabet. You built a structure in your mind that you can go back and retrieve by the mere mention of it here and now. If you learned the alphabet back in preschool, you put it in the exact same place that you go back and retrieve it from as an adult.


Just as you learned the alphabet and are able to retrieve it from the very  location in your  brain  where you  put  it many years  ago, likewise, you have places in your brain where trauma and negative events occurred and were stored.

In the foregoing example, I learned later that Suzanne, the attorney with the poor opinion of men, had experienced the trauma of her father walking out on her family when she was just eleven years old. She never saw him again.

Through that event, which she had no control over as a child, together with the constant reinforcement of her mother telling her how bad men  were  and regularly reminding the family of what her father did’, Suzanne had built a complex in her brain that men are not to be trusted.”


You might think that Suzanne should be smart enough to know why she  repeated the negative experiences with men throughout her adult life when she considered what her father did. You might think it is obvious that this is why she couldn’t get along with men and all of her relationships ended up in disaster.


Most people, no matter what their intelligence level or status in life, do not recognize such things until someone else points them out.  We  may  b academically  intelligent  but  not  necessarily emotionally or relationally intelligent.


Those words and remembrances were located in a particular place in her mind. She had to go back and clean out that place and replace it with something that was going to move her forward in her life.


How you ended up with a Complex

Complexes are built and fed by the conscious mind taking the initiative to relive and replay certain events and dialogues. When something  negative  happens in your life, it doesn’t happen just once. If you replay the event over and over again, your negative experienc happen severa times.   Your   subconscious   mind doesn’t know the difference if the negative event is communicated to it through your eyes or through the  memory of the pictures, dialogues, and emotional impressions that are attached to it. Even a certain feeling attached to a negative event can  come over a person and cause them to feel depressed and yet be unable  to understand why they are feeling that way.


If negative events happened once and then it was over with, we wouldn’t  build the complexes in our minds which cause us so much pain. Research scientists have shown that a network is built up in our brains, which is comprised of individual elements of the details   of   negative   events.   They   call   these   neural   nets” (networks).


As soon as a negative event is experienced, the brain makes room or finds a place to store that event. As the event is relived over and over again through memory recall, more room is needed and the neural net becomes bigger and stronger. It is fed by certain brain chemicals that strengthen  and  enlarge  it.  These  networks  are  what  Jung  called “complexes.


The Witness Syndrome”

The  phenomenon  which  has  become  known  as  the  “witness syndrome also proves that these memories are often distorted by numerous  replays of the event. When an accident or traumatic event is witnessed by several different people, invariably, they will remember the event  differently. This happens as quickly as the memory itself is stored in the brain. The more the event is replayed by the brain, the more distortion it  creates in the memory of the actual events which happened.


Not only do we replay and thus relive these events over and over, we also distort the memory and the brain begins to see and believe and accept the distortions as reality. So now we have neural nets (complexes) which are  not true representations of reality but are comprised of distortions of reality.


Stop for a moment and let me give you a very strong piece of advice:


Not only is it extremely detrimental to your future state of  mind  to  replay  the  events  immediately  after  the event  happened, but, more so, when these events are distorted  and  mixed  with  emotions,  which  are  also stored  in  the  neural   nets,  it  becomes  even  more devastating and damaging to your state of mind.


So, not only is the repetitive replaying of events detrimental to your future state of mind, but also the interpretation of the events can have an equally devastating effect. The most powerful way to interpret traumatic events that Ive ever heard of or experienced is to see every event as  something that will ultimately take you to your desired goal.

Think  about  a  time  in  your  life  when  something  seemingly devastating occurred. Think of how you may have felt like you wouldn’t get through the event at the time. How many such events have taken place in our lives that we can look back upon and see that it really wasnt that big of a deal?


I don’t agree with the old adage, Time heals all wounds.” It isn’t time that heals, but it is perspective that brings healing and better ability to deal with those wounds. The perspective that you choose can strongly affect the  number of times you replay a negative event and the subsequent long term effect it can have on you.


Your Goal to Get Better

Your goals are to:


(1)  Stop  reliving  traumatic,  limiting  events,  memories,  and emotions   that  do  not  propel  you  towards  a  more  fulfilling, satisfying, and successful life


(2) Recognize the distortion which takes place in your memory of the event and how damaging that is to your life and


(3) Realize the truth in the perspective that “what doesn’t kill you, can and will make you stronger.”


Imagine that there are literal structures constructed in your brain which  represent negative or traumatic experiences in your life. These  psychological strongholds taunt you and cause you to be depressed or experience some level of pain.


They also encourage you to create ongoing repetitions of these same events. The old proverb that says, As you think, so you become and so you are,”  is  validated by the actions that we repeat due to the presence of these neural net strongholds that have been erected in our brains.


The Power of a Decision—Now

I want you to recognize a very powerful ability that you possess right now. One which will allow you to begin to take the wrecking ball of your mind and tear down these strongholds that are holding you back from success. Success that you deserve in every area of your life.

The power that you possess, at this very moment, is the awesome power of decision. As you make the decision to first acknowledge the  presence  of  these  strongholds  in  your  brain  and  second, disassemble their structure. Your subconscious mind immediately begins to stop feeding this complex  and begins the process of tearing it down.


The key is your incredible power to acknowledge and decide that this thing is coming apart and it is up to you to begin the process. After  you  begin  to  consciously  tear  down  this  complex,  your subconscious goes into action to fulfill what your conscious mind demands.


Two things which determine what life gives you

As Ive shared with you already in this book, there are two things which determine your success or failure in every endeavor of your life. These two things are (1) thought and (2) action. Begin to shift your thought through your internal dialogues. Begin to take back your power over your own mind and do not allow these complexes to continue to sabotage your success and happiness.


Begin to consciously take the action of thinking positive thoughts about  what you want in your life. Make your case against the force of these complexes to continue to haunt and sabotage your life. Change your internal dialogues and start the process towards personal  transformation.  As  you  begin  this  process,  you  will immediately  begin  to  feel  their  power  over  your  life  start  to diminish.


Adopt and Adapt New Ways of Thinking


I love to think of it this way. I will adopt and adapt new thinking patterns that are working for my good and for my happiness and success.” Adopting and adapting.


Make a choice and a decision now, and then put it into action. Like anything  else in your life, the more you feed yourself positive, constructive, loving and progressive thoughts and information, the more    of    the   desirable emotions of    love,           happiness,                 and accomplishment you will feel. The complex got there the same way that you are going to destroy it. Through thoughts and internal dialogue, you will dismantle these demons of your mind and life.

第三章   你有情结吗?

相关图像和固化的记忆深深地埋藏在潜意识内。 卡尔-古斯塔夫-荣格






































































翻译心得:本人在翻译第三章的时候对一些单词进行了推敲,replay一词,我理解的意思是(一些不愉快的经历在头脑中)重复闪现。 networks我理解的意思是(头脑中的)网络记号,neural nets一词组本人理解的意思是“神经网络记号”。还有第三章中关于学习字母表时记忆过程的细节,本人做了简化处理,就是小时候对字母表学习所形成的记忆,成年以后也忘不掉。其他的一些生词通过查字典可以解决。

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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