What keeps us in our head

  If you have survived by trying to please others, figuring out what they want you to say and how they want you to act – and then doing so with as much skill and originality as possible, your approval/disapproval syndrome is highly active. Approval or disapproval received from others has no doubt become your own and, without conscious realization on your part, is dictating and critiquing the way you do things, creating robotlike behavior in you with almost total loss of any insight. You are not only prevented from having a direct experience, but also blind to what a direct experience is. The approval/disapproval syndrome will monitor behavior if allowed to do so. Watch it working on you when you are having guests for dinner, meeting people, or in a new situation. Observe the roles and cover-ups in you and those around you, shown by attitudes and what comes out of every mouth: hostility, envy, competitiveness, put-downs, resentment, sarcasm, you name it! What we verbalize as our own are the controls that tie and bind, keeping us earthbound and the victim.                                     — VIOLA SPOLIN