It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going – Brian Tracy

“Every behavior has a positive intention, even if the behavior isn’t positive”

“Unfortunately this rule also applies to bad or nonproductive behavior. With bad behavior, the positive intention behind it, called secondary gain, is obscured. Secondary gain is the benefit someone gets unconsciously from a particular behavior that’s normally considered to be dis-empowering or bad.

Live out of your imagination, not your history.

– Stephen Covey

For example, a child may play the clown in class in order to gain acceptance by their peers, even though their teachers and parents find this clowning around quite destructive when they want them to be well behaved.

The youngest of five children, Janet, had suffered from a bad back for as long as she was able to remember, and doctors found no reason for the pain. Janet’s mother was a flighty, self-centred woman who was more interested in partying than her family.

As a child, Janet’s siblings helped her by carrying her books and making sure that Janet was taken care of. The back pain became really bad after Janet’s daughter was born, and so her husband did all the shopping and carrying of, and looking after, the baby. The little girl grew up to become ‘mummy’s little helper’ and was always at her mother’s beck and call.

When Janet finally agreed to see a therapist, she was able to acknowledge that her bad back pain was psychosomatic. She realised that it was her way of getting the love and attention she had craved from her mother but never received. Janet’s behaviour is a brilliant demonstration of this presupposition, because the secondary gain for her was to have her family run around after her, and what she really wanted was to have her craving for love and attention satisfied.

When Janet realized her need, she was also able to recognize that she was already getting massive amounts of love and attention from her husband and daughter. One of the side-effects of the therapy was that Janet was able to understand that her own mother’s behavior was based on her mother’s problems and weren’t Janet’s fault.”