20 thoughts on “Why Some People Can’t Change

  • September 11, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Dr Webb your book is really bringing change! Although it hurts bad let me explain my father was controling demanding and very abusive pysically emotionally.He screamed and yelled all the time.So growing up any one that yelled at me the fight was on!!! So after adulthood started i still had walls erected to protect my heart.I thought!!! But after years loseing jobs because a bosses that yelled at me.I had to make a change.But until this year i never really did.I just made myself believe i had.So now i have a boss that cusses and yells and i am still friends with him i wish i could say it still doesnt hurt at times but it does but less frequint and not as deep and able to regain peace !!! We all get together after work and fellowship and of cource he still is the charactor he is but we laugh and joke and i am not mad.Am i growing or changing and tearing this wall down how do u know when the walls are coming down?Ithink his father did the same to him his father was a state trooper!!!

    • September 12, 2016 at 10:17 am

      That’s wonderful E! Keep up the good work. It sounds like your walls are indeed coming down.

  • September 11, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    So veru well said, I’m sharing it. People in my family look at me like I am lucky or have had some kind of help to be where I am in life. I try to follow your steps above and expect growth in my life for as long as my mind allows. My past brought me too many life threatening and changing events in my 53 yrs but I still manage to manage. They avoid me like the plague and it’s hard to take. I refuse to get into their bad news regurgitation or diarrhea and so we have little to talk about. I share and encourage good news and supportive gossip only. They do not celebrate my success nor show care about my struggle. I am working on building a newer and better family that includes both blood and non blood humans. Any volunteers? 😉

  • September 11, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    It has been difficult to achieve new goals, new responsibilities due to a debilitating fear at times of making a mistake, incurring conflict or having someone get angry with me. Anger, sadness, emotional distress was all handled the same way when I was a child and adolescent—- that is— silence and dismissal/avoidance to the point that our extended family structure was and is destroyed

  • September 11, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    My family also handled issues and conflicts with avoidance and silence but when they were vocal they made it a point to blame others. Usually me as the scapegoat. Leaving my unhealthy family and goof no contact almost instantly brought clarity into my life and my brain fog cleared up. I was able to define, plan and navigate the path from broken and angry to having self love and confidence. Having the support of a few close and understanding people was also critical in the early stages. Leaving a family is looked down upon and being shamed by the public can further damage a person with CEN. I learned how to be gentle with myself and change my self talk and I no longer beat myself up or even judge myself for my thoughts, emotions or decisions. Learning these new skills has also helped me to be a better wife, mother and friend. Thank you for your work in this area. You are truly changing lives!

    • September 12, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Dear Lmatos, it takes great courage to distance yourself from a family that harms you over and over. You are right about how much society can judge you for taking a necessary and healthy step. I wish you all the best moving forward.

    • September 18, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      Yes. Avoidance and silence. I find myself doing that when faced with an emotionally charged conflict with someone. I feel “getting into it” with them to try to solve the issue would be emotionally overwhelming… I just can’t go there.. I would rather end the relationship with that person than face the emotionally overcharged problem.

      • October 29, 2016 at 2:51 pm


        I can relate to what you feel. My friend whom I adore and connect to very much just would not show his emotions to me. At times he would show it then back off. He said he trusts me and all that and have feelings for me. But seems to need a lot of space. At timea he told me ge loves me but when I told him I love him he either dont response or ask me why. He is such a good guy and I wish he will let me in. Be and his dad had bad relationship nd he is divorced twice. But I just really care for him.

  • September 12, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Guilt is the real beast on that list. It comes unbidden, has profound effects on your life, and doesn’t release even when recognized.

  • September 12, 2016 at 10:29 am

    How can you move forward when you can’t see a way out?

  • September 12, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I think 1-3 are all connected somehow. Since you’re walled off (#2) but SAFE you feel comfortably uncomfortable (#3), leading to not being able to see the path (#1). I’m now actively trying to overcome my avoidant mentality, and I think the first step is to open up. But how do I do that? There’s only one person I feel safe around who I can open up to. But I know I need a bigger support network. I can’t just go making connections out of thin air when most of my friendships are very very superficial. That’d be something from nothing, and there’s not really anyone I’m interested in being friends wit anyway.
    I guess I should just take small steps, and be more open with my friend and stop repressing/rationalizing my feelings. I feel better since I told my friend I have intimacy issues, but we didn’t talk about it as much as I would’ve liked. How do I bring it up again without sounding needy/whiny? And how do I tell the difference between whining and seeking support?

    Whoo, that was all over the place. I’m sorry.

    • September 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      I’m always looking for connections with others. It’s difficult having conversations with people who haven’t experienced what we have. You can email me at [email protected]. You’re not being whiney, you’re looking for answers. Be gentle with yourself and take care of yourself. You WILL get through this.

      • September 18, 2016 at 9:04 pm

        Sorry, I saw this reply in my email but thought it was to someone else. Whoops! Anyway, I think I will. Thank you and have a nice day 🙂

    • September 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      I too relate to asking for help as being needy/whiny and somehow that has always been perceived as a negative thing. I have spent my entire life helping others and find there is no one for me to go to for help….

    • September 20, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      I have struggled with intimacy in most of my relationships. But I think one important factor is determining to be a good friend to others. That means honest, open relationships that you are invested in, caring about them regardless of what they feel for you.

  • September 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I know I am a coward, I will just sacrifice what I want in order to give others what I think they want…even though it is not good for them. For example, how do I tell someone I don’t love them as an intimate partner? He is a great guy, good friend, but I love someone else. When you are brought up to be responsible for your mother’s happiness it is hard to stop trying to fulfill others…even when you know that you are not being real with them.

    • September 12, 2016 at 2:56 pm


      I’m sorry to hear that you’re in this situation but I think it’s important to remember that not only are you holding yourself back but you’re holding your friend back from being with someone who wants to be with him. I’m not giving advice and I’m not qualified to, I just have my own experiences to speak on. I left the comfort of my marriage, big beautiful home, family and friends to live in alignment with my heart. I really shook things up and while it got bitter and ugly for a short amount of time, it didn’t kill me. In fact it made me stronger and I realized that I COULD stand up for myself and come out ok. I’ve been able to start over and live within my values and haven’t looked back. I’m not suggesting that you create chaos but it sounds like you’re hurting and maybe you need to figure out when you’re going to begin to love yourself. I’ve been where you’re at and I can totally empathize. Reading your post tugged at an old wound and I want you to know that you are worthy of love, but it starts with you giving it to yourself. Big hugs to you!!!!

  • September 12, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    In a way such was the jolt to me in 2008, that there wasn’t any other option than to move…It was a terrifying time.
    No fiscal power or real knowledge of my crippling condition probably apparent to everyone else, yet requiring me to “do” something or spend the rest of my life being a rabbit in the headlights waiting for the usual squish…
    Here is a tool I used with some success…Such was my anger at the unfairness of what had happened it was making me physically ill.
    The protagonists who had caused my CEN/PTSD had long slipped off their mortal coil, so I resorted to synthesis. The poison of unrequited anger into medicine, so to speak.
    Quite hard not to jump up and down and whinge ” Oh poor me” , but that would have meant passing the toxic waste of my experiences onto other peeps, and that would have pushed them away when I needed to learn new connections and just plain use the tools available on the web and books on the subjects.
    Luckily I’m a fair actor and my apparent cool through this period of adversity, which included divorce, covered the foment .
    The turning point came when a new anger issue appeared.
    As my evolving inner calm became calm and my habit of having something to fight became redundant..Then the penny dropped, I wasn’t broken any more. Didn’t need fixing…So it was now stop fighting and just live and let live..
    If it helps I’m now past 70 and a right old happy bunny.
    Lots of nifty life moves, headlamps no problem now…and advancing my communication, social and creative skills…
    Nothing special about me at all, no more than any of you and your specialness in the eyes of the Creator …Just bear that in mind ..Your first step towards happiness will have that very subtle hand guiding you..No one ever walks alone…

  • September 12, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    You forgot problem #7: Other People. (Or, as Sartre would put it, hell.)

    Think of life as some card game. I have no idea how to play, while everyone else not only knows the rules of the game, but they also have varying levels of proficiency at strategy – that is, knowing what to do to win.

    In other words, at present, there is absolutely no way I can win. If I try to join the game (let go of the “walls that are holding me back”), the only thing that’s gonna happen is I’ll repeatedly lose. And I can’t even learn from the defeats, because the root of the problem is that I was conditioned to think I was bad if I won, because that meant that other people had to lose (it was my fault, as the winner, that they ended up without the resources they were competing for and are now starving; it’s not just something that happens.)

    That’s when other people = hell. Because none of them will invite me into the game and then teach me how to play and win. Some of them will just get puzzled with my incomprehensible behavior and walk away, while others will actually take advantage of my being a chronic loser to gain easy victories at my expense.

    All that shrinks ever do is try to get you into the game, with some kind of painkillers to take to withstand the pain of defeat, instead of helping you to become capable of competing and winning. They’ll try to convince you that winning isn’t really all that important, when every time they collect their fee from you they’re winning. I’m getting really, really tired of that.

  • September 14, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    I guess I’ve built walls. I call them my impenetrable shield. I just can’t feel love from people, Sometimes I don’t even want it, like I never want people to feel sorry for me because it makes me feel vulnerable. I was sexually molested as a very young child and it made my mother angry with me for allowing it to happen. I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone because I was threatened by both my mother and the abuser. She may have been angry with the abuser but I never noticed. He stayed living with us so she couldn’t have been too angry. I became numb and knew better than to think people really loved each other. I stopped speaking around strangers and at school, I think it’s called selective mutism. I was terrified to speak out loud but I could do it at home and I could do it at school if everyone was talking together like during prayers or songs. I remember having an accident at school where my mother had to bring in fresh clothes for me, she was very angry. That night she tried to put me in a diaper so that I could wear it at school, luckily it didn’t fit, she said if I was going to wet my pants like a baby than I should be treated like a baby. If I cried, she’d tell me to “stop feeling sorry for myself” so I stopped crying and let my body become numb to anything that might make a person cry. I was also raised by strict Catholic parents so everything girls did was sinful unless it was being wholly submissive and a virgin. I suppose she saw me as a whore for being molested. I still have trouble with that. I say why didn’t I say no, why did I let him do it. I suppose it was because he was a relative and someone I wanted to love me and be my friend. When your four or five you can’t make those decisions. I was also afraid to tell on him because my mother had told me not to let anyone do that but what she neglected to say was that if I did, it would not be my fault. I wish other kids parents would add that on about if it does happen, it’s still not your fault, that would have helped a little. She did other cruel things to me as well but I won’t make my comment so long like that. My shell is still on me and I don’t think it will ever come off.


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