In families in which parents are overbearing, rigid, and strict, children grow up with fear and anxiety. The threat of guilt, punishment, the withdrawal of love and approval, and, in some cases, abandonment, force children to suppress their own needs to try things out and to make their own mistakes. Instead, they are left with constant doubts about themselves, insecurities, and unwillingness to trust their own feelings. They feel they have no choice and as we have shown, for many, they incorporate the standards and values of their parents and become little parental copies. They follow the prescribed behavior suppressing their individuality and their own creative potentials. After all, criticism is the enemy of creativity. It is a long, hard road away from such repressive and repetitive behavior. The problem is that many of us obtain more gains out of main- taining the status quo than out of changing. We know, we feel, we want to change. We don’t like the way things are, but the prospect of upsetting the stable and the familiar is too frightening. We ob- tain “secondary gains” to our pain and we cannot risk giving them up. I am reminded of a conference I attended on hypnosis. An el- derly couple was presented. The woman walked with a walker and her husband of many years held her arm as she walked. There was nothing physically wrong with her legs or her body to explain her in- ability to walk. The teacher, an experienced expert in psychiatry and hypnosis, attempted to hypnotize her. She entered a trance state and he offered his suggestions that she would be able to walk. But to no avail. When she emerged from the trance, she still could not, would not, walk. The explanation was that there were too many gains to be had by having her husband cater to her, take care of her, do her bidding. Many people use infirmities to perpetuate relationships even at the expense of freedom and autonomy. Satisfactions are derived by being limited and crippled physically or psychologically. This is often one of the greatest deterrents to progress in psychotherapy. It is unconscious, but more gratification is derived by perpetuating this state of affairs than by giving them up. Beatrice, for all of her unhappiness, was fearful of relinquishing her place in the family. She felt needed, and she felt threatened by the thought of achieving anything 30 The Self-Sabotage Cycle that would have contributed to a greater sense of independence and self. The risks were too great, the loss of the known and familiar was too frightening. Residing in all of us is a child who wants to experiment with the new and the different, a child who has a healthy curiosity about the world around him, who wants to learn and to create. In all of us are needs for security, certainty, and stability. Ideally, there develops a balance between the two types of needs. The base of security is present and serves as a foundation which allows the exploration of new ideas and new learning and experimenting. But all too often, the security and dependency needs outweigh the freedom to explore and we stifle, even snuff out, the creative urges, the fantasy, the child in us. We seek the sources that fill our dependency and security needs at the expense of the curious, imaginative child. There are those who take too many risks, who take too many chances and lose, to the detriment of all concerned. But there are others who are risk-averse and do little with their talents and abilities for fear of having to change their view of themselves as being the child, the dependent one, the protected one. Autonomy, independence, success are scary because they mean we can no longer justify our needs to be protected. Success to these people does not breed success. Suc- cess breeds more work, more dependence, more reason to give up the rationales for moving on, away from, and exploring the new and the different.