The struggle to break free

Does your life feel like one long struggle to break free?  Do you feel as if you’ve been wrestling with the same issue… forever?  You’ve done everything you can think of to try and tear away from this raging anger, these fearful feelings of anxiety… but they just bite harder.

It’s so frustrating, isn’t it?  And it’s completely normal to feel exhausted by the struggle, as your body is stuck in a vicious cycle of stress, leaving your system flooded with adrenaline and cortisol.  (All of which would be very helpful if you really did need to flee from a sabre-toothed tiger.  On an average day – not so much.)

Struggle to break free | A young man looks concerned as his fingers are held in a Finger TrapDid you ever play with one of these?  It’s a Finger Trap, an ingenious tube of woven material, that will allow you to put your finger in with ease.

But just try to pull your finger out!  It will grip hard and tighten even further as it stretches.  Fiendishly simple and painfully clever… and very like your struggle to break free of your uncomfortable emotions.

Don’t spend the rest of your life wearing the Finger Trap…

The only way to set yourself free is to stop pulling and struggling.  To understand the mechanism that’s keeping the grip going and to apply pressure in a different way – one that may feel counter-intuitive!  To remove the Finger Trap, you need to push the tube so that it expands enough for you to be able to slide it off your poor digit with ease.

Dealing with your painful stuck emotions works in a similar way.

First, you need to stop the struggle to escape.  Only then can you begin to understand the mechanisms that underpin your distress.  Lean into the situation instead of pulling away – listen to the feelings, where they come from and why they are still gripping you.

Are you filled with anger?  Perhaps your boundaries have been breached by someone else’s hurtful words or behaviour and this angry part may still be guarding the small and vulnerable bit that’s in pain?

Are you constantly anxious?  Did you need to spot danger signals and thus learned to live with all your antennae on full alert?  Perhaps you learned to be hyper-vigilant about your own behaviour in case you accidentally offended someone and brought trouble down on your head but now you can’t switch that off?

Look with self-compassion and what you see changes. 

Struggle to break free | A butterfly rests on open handsIs your anger or your anxiety simply working overtime to keep you safe from further pain?  What would life be like if you could release the self-criticism and judgements that have kept all this crushed up inside you?  Or if you let yourself off the hook of unrealistic expectations of an instant, total fix?  Rather than berating yourself, can you begin to cultivate some self-compassion and hold those sore emotions as gently and carefully as if they were the most delicate of creatures?

If that sounds too difficult to do alone, help is available.

  • Explore the roots of the discomfort, in a safe space and in ways that don’t re-traumatise you.
  • If a specific memory or memories are involved, there are ways to shift how you feel about that, using either NLP, EFT or Matrix Reimprinting techniques.
  • And alongside this work, it’s important to learn some simple ways to support yourself when trouble strikes – just knowing that you have something useful up your sleeve is empowering.

And remember your secret weapons of love and acceptance of you, just as you are, in all your folly and your glory.

Struggle to break free | Open hands, ready to receiveIronic, huh?  But, if you can relinquish the struggle to break free from those difficult parts and bring yourself to embrace them as the valuable, vulnerable, brave or careful aspects that they are, they will begin to soften and shift.

And that creates the space for something new and kinder to arrive.

Have you ever felt trapped like this?  Your voice is the only thing missing from this post, so do share your experience below – it may be just what someone else needs to read…  and if you think I may be able to support your leaning in, you can contact me here for a no-obligation chat about your issue.

Photo credit: JeepersMedia via / CC BY
Photo credit: jorgempf via / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Artotem via / CC BY

PS If you’ve enjoyed this post or found it helpful, please consider sharing it via the buttons below – thank you! ♥


  1. Jane on December 6, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Such a helpful article… thank you, Lizzie! X

    • Lizzie on December 7, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Lovely to see you here, Jane, and so glad it was helpful.

  2. Yvette Jane on December 6, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I love the secret weapon of love and acceptance in all our folly and glory!

    • Lizzie on December 7, 2016 at 8:36 am

      🙂 Thanks, Yvette!

Leave a Comment