What goes on just after you take up residence on the Sticky Triangle? Awareness can allow you to take a time-out, breathe, and catch yourself so you don't go there. This is where your belief that there is enough in the universe is severely challenged. Be kind to yourself, then offer that kindness to someone else. Stepping off the persecutor position can have some amazing results. By letting go of your demands and shifting your focus to creating your own abundance, you allow the universe to send money and abundance to you from other sources. Haggling over a drawn-out divorce and child support are classic examples of the oscillation between the persecutor and victim positions on the Sticky Triangle. I have heard numerous stories from both men and women of letting go their demands for more money or visitation rights, then turning and loving themselves and their children, and focusing on creating their own abundance. Within a year or two they have twice the money and abundance as the disputed amount. It came from a different source from their original focus. Is your breathing shallow? Where is my mind? Notice what you're thinking about. Is it positive or negative? Where's my body? How is your posture? Are you clenching your jaw? Are you holding your muscles tight? Where is your pain? Do you even have any pain at this moment?

Also there might be some question as to whether absence of psychological discomfort or tension is synonymous with adjustment. Hogan (87) has made a significant theoretical contribution to the definition of defensiveness. He sees defensiveness as a form of behavior which follows upon the perception of threat to the configuration of the self. We shall consider his thinking at greater length when we take up the subject of a theory of personality. At this point it is necessary only to mention that his work provided the operational definitions of several types of defensive behavior for use in an objective study made by Haigh (76). This study, based on ten cases, is complex, and not too clear-cut in its findings. Much additional work needs to be done in this field before we can state with assurance the changes which occur in defensive behavior. Within the limitations of this first study, however, it may be said that in the group of cases in which defensive behavior decreases (a group which includes the cases judged most successful by other criteria) a significant pattern of change occurs. The decrease in defensiveness is noted in a decrease in defensive behavior as it is reported in the interviews, but also, and perhaps more significantly, as it is exhibited in the interviews. Along with these changes is an increase in the degree to which the client is aware of his defensiveness. They now experience more love with their money. I've also heard a couple of stories where years later the person who was resisting has a huge change of heart and everyone benefits from the increased love and money flow. The former resistor now pays for everyone to come and enjoy time together and covers all the costs. It all began when the person occupying the persecutor position let go, began to refocus energy, and forgive . Money talks. Forgiveness speaks even louder. Give it a try. Stepping Off the Triangle You begin to dissolve the stickiness of your position on the Sticky Triangle just by realizing you are playing the game. Take some deep breaths.

Don't look for pain, stress, or negativity. Just notice your breath, mind, and body. The brain begins to rewire its thoughts as you notice things about yourself--it's a bit like an autocorrect program. It generally takes six weeks to create the neural plasticity of habituation. As I mentioned before, I use the silly sound on my iPhone that makes me laugh, which creates serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. Who wouldn't want that nice boost of chemicals every time they try to create a good habit? Shining a Positive Light Good for: chronic pain, headaches, joint pain, nerve pain, stress relief Joan Borysenko, an inspirational author, wrote about awfulizing--focusing on the worst possible outcomes. We all awfulize things and Google helps us get there. Such changes are not characteristic of the group of cases, presumably less successful, in which defensiveness increased. Haigh's study is significant not only for thus indicating that a behavioral change takes place in some instances in the direction of lessened defensiveness. His study also indicated that in at least one client defensive behavior actually increased -- an indication of negative progress -- even though some of the other measures of process -- insights, attitudes toward self, reported behavior -- show a positive direction. Careful study of this contradiction has, we feel, enriched the general theory which will be stated at the conclusion of this article. Limiting our consideration for the moment to the process which occurs when therapy is effective, we may say that the work of Hogan and Haigh suggests that defensive behaviors -- the self-protecting distortions of reality and the behaviors which are in accord with those distortions -- decrease in therapy. They are not exhibited so frequently, they are not reported so frequently, and the client is more aware of them as defensive when he is reporting or exhibiting them. The hypothesis investigated by Thetford (213), in a new type of study, was as follows: If therapy enables an individual to reorient his life pattern, or at least to reduce the tension and anxiety he feels regarding his personal problems, the manner in which he responds to a stress situation, as indicated by measurements of his autonomic nervous system, should be significantly altered by this therapy. This was the first attempt to answer the question, Does client-centered therapy affect the client deeply enough so that it alters his physiological functioning? Specifically, does it produce changes in the functioning of his autonomic nervous system when he is faced by situations involving frustration? Thetford's study was simple and sound in its experimental design.

Give yourself some space to realize and resonate with your position on the triangle. Experience the emotions underneath your persona and role and part in this game. Notice which of your personas steps into which position. Now wonder about how you are contributing to your complaint and how you are keeping the game going. Any of a number of steps can be the first one that begins to dissolve the glue: Once you have realized you are on the Sticky Triangle, you then are able to move to the space outside the triangle. From this place you can release your body holding patterns and your grip on the complaints or challenges. Only after you have let go of the game can you move creatively and spend some time in addressing new solutions to the situation at hand. Now it's possible to approach a financial challenge from a new angle. Maybe you'll focus on altering your spending habits, pursuing a more favorable loan or mortgage rate, creating more income flow, or just setting up a schedule to reduce your debt load. But one way to change negative thoughts is through reframing them with humor or helpful answers. This involves writing down the stressful event and then trying to see it differently, in a positive light. Let's begin. Here you'll write down your terrible pain stories and obsessive worry. For example: On the left: My hip is bone-on-bone. I'm going to have to stop walking and I'm going to gain 50 pounds. On the right: My friend had her hip replaced and now she's hiking around Europe. Or I have heard that hip replacements are easy now, and that might get rid of my pain. In this case, you're basically playing the role of your own reassuring friend, helping yourself turn your awfulizing into positive thinking.

Nineteen individuals who were about to undergo individual or group therapy (or both) were subjected to a standardized situation of frustration involving failure in repetition of digits. Previous to, while undergoing, and immediately after this frustration, various physiological measurements were taken on the Behavior Research Photopolygraph designed by Darrow. Shortly after this experimental frustration these clients began their therapeutic interviews. At the conclusion of the series of therapeutic contacts they were again subjected to the experimental frustration and the same type of measurements taken again. Meanwhile a control group of seventeen individuals was subjected to the frustration experience in the same way, and this was repeated after a length of time comparable to that of the experimental group. In a recovery quotient and the reaction-recovery quotient, both measures based upon the galvanic skin response, and both indicative of the rapidity with which the individual recovers his previous state of physiological balance, the experimental group showed a significant difference from the controls. An index of the variation in heart rate also discriminated significantly between the two groups. In other physiological measurements the differences were not statistically significant, but were consistent in their direction. In general, the group which had undergone therapy developed a higher frustration threshold during their series of therapeutic interviews, and a more rapid recovery of homeostatic balance following frustration. These results were not found in the control group. You begin to move forward only when you focus your own energy on the things you can do to shift the challenge into a gift. For many people this is a totally new thought, and the territory may seem to be fraught with dangers. In the middle of a new idea, some people race back to their former position on the Sticky Triangle. If this happens to you, simply reengage the list of steps to get off the triangle once again. Treat it like a game. At some point in playing with these ideas and steps, you may call the game on yourself. Then you can laugh and realize that everyone gets caught waltzing on the Sticky Triangle several times a month. How long you spend waltzing around is up to you: It may be only a few minutes, or it may be days or months. Expand your willingness and your abundance, and allow your good friends, your partner, and colleagues to laugh and play as well. Action Step