Secret Payoffs Holding Things Up?

secret-payoffIn one of the forums I lead we discussed how unconscious payoffs serve as ties to limiting thoughts and behaviors that we profess to want to drop.

After writing about it, I looked at the clock and wondered if I should go look for my missing cell phone before my next client call. After all, my boyfriend has looked for it, my ex-boyfriend (whose phone it actually is) has also looked for it, and I’m leaving town this weekend to speak at a coaches convention in Chicago, so it might be nice to have.

But it’s been missing for over a week and still hasn’t turned up!

I have to admit, though, I’ve taken more than a little pleasure in being a person without a cell phone.

I like the simplicity of it, the traveling light feeling, and the freedom from thinking I should be charging it or checking messages. (I rarely do either, but occasionally think I “should.”)

So as I thought about officially manifesting it back into service, I recognized I was getting a nice payoff from creating it as “missing.” A payoff that may be strong enough to thwart my apparent efforts to locate it.

I share this because my clients (and some of you, I gather) do this same thing with money all the time –  although not always as consciously.

They say they want a big savings cushion, but it never happens. They claim to want a higher paying job, but the promotion eludes them. Or my favorite: they’ll declare war against their credit card debt, but never actually stop using it.

If someone didn’t know better, they’d think it was either crazy behavior or really lousy manifesting.

But what’s sometimes happening behind the scenes is that we’re getting a hidden benefit (or payoff) from the condition we say we want to change – that until we recognize and clean up, our efforts to change remain handicapped.

What sort of payoffs would a person get from remaining in financial struggle? Good question. Here are some I’ve seen personally:

A college friend was continually sabotaging her career advancement. After hearing about another missed promotion, I asked what this allowed her to continue doing or keep her from having to do. (She was savvy enough to take responsibility that she’d created her career standstill, not perceiving herself as a victim in the situation.) In considering the question she realized that by not making more money, she was ensuring her husband wouldn’t (or couldn’t) quit his job.

She recognized a (seemingly ludicrous) fear that if she made significantly more money, he would want to quit his job and stay home with the kids while she became the primary income earner, which was a responsibility she wasn’t interested in.

How insightful (and liberating) to see how we sometimes let an unconscious payoff hold up a manifestation!

Or take the case of another friend who is continually scraping by financially, always by the seat of his pants. When I asked him what this behavior allows him to continue doing or keep him from having to do, he told me to go to hell. Not in exactly those words, but he didn’t appreciate the insinuation that he was responsible for his lack of financial abundance.

In his situation, I have to admit I don’t think he has a payoff as much as he has a setpoint. (Setpoint being a financial level that we’re used to, that we somehow always find a way to maintain – even though it looks like external circumstances are responsible for it.)

But a different friend who has created a very similar situation of barely getting by each month, I suspect her payoff from financial struggle is that it allows her to continue living with her aunt & uncle rent-free. It’s not the free rent she appreciates so much, I suspect, but rather the connection with family that she thrives on.

If she were interested in changing her financial situation, I’d suggest she stop connecting money struggles with family connections. As she lets herself enjoy family connections in other ways, she no longer has to hold money at bay to continue this particular connection. Or hey, maybe she could just come clean and say, “I really like living here and I hope no matter what my income level is I can always stay with you.” Maybe, huh?!

That’s me doing armchair analysis, which is pointless other than to offer examples of how we sometimes say we want something but get a payoff from lack of it that keeps our professed desire from manifesting.

My time might be better served to leave my friends alone and work on shifting my own beliefs about what it means to have a cell phone – so I can let that puppy come out from hiding and still enjoy freedom and lightness.

I’d love to hear your answers to the question “What does this allow me to continue doing or keep me from having to do?” in regards to slow manifestations!

  • July 16, 2009
  • Sue says:

    I had so many moments of clarity while reading this that I had to write them all down! head is spinning..
    Something that really resonated with me personally is I’ve been struggling to lose weight. Growing up my parents went through periods of either extreme wealth or extreme poverty. And something I have always found myself doing with my own husband is stockpiling groceries. I buy SO much food. and I made the realization that I was doing that because of a fear of extreme poverty that I went through as a child.
    And in regards to the weight loss, someone wrote “I give away this but I gain more in return.” And I got chills from reading this. I made the connection that the reason I have had issues with weight (well one of them anyway) was from my childhood. What if I starved? And I connected a feeling of lack with stockpiling food to compensate for it. And I don’t need to do that anymore. I don’t “need” to overeat. And I don’t “need” to pack my fridge full.
    Thank you..all of you for your insights…they truly helped. :O)

  • Judiesjuice says:

    Dana, thank YOU for sharing that. Most times when I reply on this blog, I am writing from my heart but don’t feel like I am contributing anything (or as much as others). It felt great to hear that you found my post helpful.
    I remind myself that life is a journey. We are all learning new things each day. When I get frustrated (like I am right now), I remind myself that I am learning and to go with the flow. Everything is unfolding as it should.

  • Dana - Your Inspired Coach says:

    Judiesjuice – holy cow, I had loud bells go off reading your comment, Sweetie! Thank you.
    I guess intuitively I have always wondered if there was something in ME that keeps me from being married – my BIG goal in life. LOL! I have people ask me why I want to be married so darn bad. It’s funny, isn’t it? I guess family is one of my biggest values and I feel that’s the big bell ringer for me. Anyway, I’m still manifesting it…I’ve been engaged before, but to the wrong guys…yes, multiple times. So I started to ask myself “Ok why do you get this close but with the WRONG person?” I never answered myself, but I wondered if it was something I was doing on purpose.
    Now I have the right guy, the best guy, the guy I’d give my right arm to marry. I have no doubt it’s on its way and it’s all happening in the background, however, it hasn’t manifested yet.
    Reading your comment made me wonder what it is that’s keeping it just out of reach, other than the “needing it so much” that I already worked on taking the charge off of quite successfully.
    I think it might be what you’re saying…maybe I’m subconsciously thinking, “Well, shit, if I get that…then what?! It’s like I’m done, I won, game over.” Sooooo silly, because we all know that the walk down the isle isn’t the end result, but the beginning.
    The other thing that I think may be going on and is hard for me to admit is that I wonder if I connect not being married to the ability to do what I want and pursue my dreams. But I have this huge counter-intention flowing as a catch 22…I think I hold my dream manifestations somewhat at bay, including my financial ones, because somehow I think that will make me unable to marry or unavailable to marry or unattractive as a potential spouse. See, the guy I want to marry (both literally and figuratively) is traditional, so he provides. I love that…and at the same time I love having my own passion and outlet, which he supports. All of this is in my head.
    Tia, I’m off to the beach too! 😀
    Thanks Jeannette, for the post and thank you everyone else for getting my thinking cap heated up.

  • Took a bit of time to really sink in, but the money = power thing rings true (just as, for a lot of us, food = love, but that’s another topic).
    This is very subtle and goes very deep for me. I was raised in a highly dysfunctional family by very screwed up people, and I learned early on that having any power (even the most basic of personal power) was likely to get me punished, sometimes quite severely. I learned how to subvert (passive-aggressive manipulation, for example) and how to hide (doing things I wanted to do behind my parents’ back) and a lot of other dysfunctional things because, well, what else was I going to learn in that kind of environment?
    Anyway, the notion that having power, or at least, showing I had power, using my power, would get me punished slowly became apparent to me. I’m afraid to be too powerful, too rich, too much in the line of fire, because the Wounded Child in me knows that doing this is a sure way to get abused.
    How very twisted that is. Sad, and sick, and twisted. 🙁
    Ah, well. Now that it’s out in the open (and that, by the way, is the reason I commented here instead of keeping it in a more private journal), it will dissolve in the light of consciousness (and just plain common sense).
    Oh, just in case any other survivor of abuse happens along here, I also used to have a problem with succeeding because if I were to thrive, it would give my parents the ability to say, “See? You’re fine! We were great parents!” So I made sure I was a wreck in order to show them just how hurtful they’d been and on and on and on…

  • Michel says:

    Oh boy! Bulls eye. I’m so glad I can see it now. Bye-Bye old story.

  • MSNikki says:

    WOW! What a perspective that probably rings true for many folks!

  • Mitch says:

    I suppose a person could view not having enough money as a way to remain a victim of the world and circumstances, thereby giving up control. Perhaps that person is afraid of having total control because he or she was taught early on in life that real wishes usually don’t come true, and so letting others decide what is best has become the less intimidating norm.
    Not having any money (power) really supports that line of thinking.
    And that, ladies and gentleman, is a story about someone else. 😀

  • Well, nothing happens by chance, does it? I just said to my husband this morning (who is doing the Money Mojo Magic course with me) that I think I had a setback – a revisit to one of my old stories – one that I had forgotten to throw into the Old Story Pot (you can be sure I’m posting it this morning!). While it has been obvious to me that I’ve been blocking myself from “having it all” (I actually have a lot of my perfect life) until this moment I never considered that I was getting a secret payoff for maintaining the status quo – a recurring cycle of financial abundance followed by not-so-much. The “not-so-much” cycle dominates my vibration and I feel poor. (I learned this at my mother’s knee, but that’s not important). I’m not poor, by the way, and neither was my mother!)
    I’m into the Louise Hay interpretation of the body speaking your truth to you so I’m very aware that I have been “afraid to move forward” and that I have a underlying belief that the “other shoe is going to drop” so don’t get too comfortable with everything wonderful in your life. And then I find the magnificient Jeanette’s post on “secret payoffs that hold things up” and it all became crystal clear. I realized that I am terrified (okay, maybe just really afraid) of leaving my sweet little life on my farm, surrounded by friends, human and 4-legged), a supportive community, creative things that feed my soul, etc. for the bigger life that awaits me – My husband and I have been planning to spend a month or two on the road, seeing the country, kind of vision-questing, seeing what we might want to add to our lives, etc. He definitely wants to live part-time in the west or southwest or northern California or France (where he was born) or a place we’ve yet to discover. I do, too, but it became obvious this morning, after reading this post this morning that I’m afraid I’d be losing the life I love (except for the cycles of financial limitation) for the new, great unknown life. Yep, I’m afraid of jumping empty handed into the void, alright. Thanks, Jeannette! (I hope you get your 10%!)
    PS Loved the image of Catepillar Woman’s lazy husband! Thanks for the laugh!

  • elizabeth says:

    I was thinking about this earlier, wondering if I had a payoff for thinking that money comes only from a job (being employed by someone else). It occurred to me that it’s an easy way to keep myself from following my dream because what if I do, and I fail. Then I realized it wasn’t so much the failing (following my dream and failing) part that was the problem, it was the perfectionist in me who wants to do everything perfectly so can’t stand the idea of failing. Especially because it would be failing at something big. Wow. I had an emotional response when that hit me. So glad this came up! Can’t wait to do some more exploring on this ..

  • Manifest Success says:

    This is a great post, every day people is just focus on what they lost, I lost my this, I lost my that, we have to change our thought, I give away this but I gain more in return!

  • I was talking to my husband about this. It seems that he has a strange belief that if he has a lot of money, he won’t do anything but sit around all day and surf the net and “be lazy”. We had a big talk about that.
    Firstly, what’s wrong with “being lazy” and secondly, he’s lazy now (other than going to work faithfully), so what could be different about having money?
    I, on the other hand, have a fear/belief that if I have a lot of money, and therefore a lot more opportunities, I’ll have too many obligations and too many things I’m “supposed to do” that I don’t really WANT to do…
    I hope there’s a bottom to this rabbit hole.

  • MissyB says:

    I’m never going to get a long term committed bloke in my life when I continue to think how I love my life being free from all commitments in relationships !

  • Kimberly Gauthier says:

    This is a great post. It really made me take a second look at the stalled manifesting in a couple of areas of my life and I immediately saw that I was comfortable in a spot, which was postponing what I want.
    What I was getting was protection from disappointment. I think deep down I would tell myself that something wouldn’t work or that I didn’t really want something, because I didn’t want to experience the disappointment when I failed.
    As I’ve come to understand how it all works and have experienced regular success, I always ask myself – why not? – and move forward. Everytime I do this, I manage another leap forward towards a dream.
    It’s been a fun ride. Great post!

  • MSNikki says:

    Muchas gracias for a much needed post that everyone seemingly needs to hear at this time!
    What comes to mind for me is healthy eating. I have a health concern and was advised by my physician to make significant changes to my diet and lifestyle. I was not the happiest and shiniest of people after hearing the advisement. Instead of following her suggestions, I did the opposite and indulged even more. I initially made excuses such as eating healthier food would be too exorbitant or time consuming to prepare, making the necessary changes would be to drastic,etc. Then it dawned on me the real reason or payoff! No, it wasn’t deprivation. It was the feeling of being controlled. Yep. I won’t go into it here but suffice to say that wasn’t a pleasant feeling to have in the least! Once I came to that realization, I saw things crystal clear.
    Something strange happened after that. I released a lot of negative emotions and was finally able to align with my goals of healthy eating. I don’t struggle with it at all and am quite proud of myself! I cannot remember the last time I went all out on unhealthy foods… Even during this stressful time! So, if I can only apply that to the financial!

  • Judiesjuice says:

    Yet another great post Jeannette. Thank you. As you know, I have been perplexed at why a certain goal has not yet manifested. Turning it over and over in my head, doing the “work” to get clear and in alignment. Just the other day, I asked- am I scared of something? And I thought- well, once I get this goal, what will my next goal be? OK, this may not seem funny to you but it is very funny to me. Specifically, I want to get published in certain magazines and it is not in my reality yet. Intellectually, I KNOW I will always have future goals and aspirations, other magazines that I will want to get published in, etc..I guess, in a way, I am enjoying this process too of waiting for my goal to manifest. And I am so open and ready for this goal to manifest!!

  • Laura says:

    One more thing…guess the real payoff not only instant gratification, but somehow feeling like I was being smart and creative when in actuality, I was being irresponsible and foolish!

  • Laura says:

    Wow Jeannette, I had such an “aha” on the call yesterday when you first discussed this topic and then reading about the financial is all coming together.
    I used to pride myself (privately, of course since I would be way to embarrassed to let anyone know my real situation) that I was able to just squeek by in paying bills. I was brilliant at figuring out how to pay for something that I really wanted whether it be a trip, an item of clothing, rent. I mean, we are talking bottom of the barrel! It was kind of an adreneline rush to first figure out how to do it and then seeing how I could get by and still have the thing I wanted. There are times that it would hit me and I felt like a fraud. I really couldn’t afford to do/have these things, so I always gave the appearance of someone who had it all. I remember Suzy Orman talking about that in one of her books….
    I did realize that was a very unhealthy “rush” that I would create and not to mention irresponsible and needlessly causing stress. This is way before I learned about LOA so of course, now my consciousness has been raised!
    The other thing that I can raise my hand and say “me too” is the financial setpoint. I guess many times we find ourselves in a comfort zone and do what we can to stay there – whether it be in relationships, a job, or money. I was comfortable having a certain amount of money to handle and was never aware of what I was doing. I’m sure part of it comes from feeling deserving or worthy…but that is not such a prevalent feeling. I am raising my setpoint (or removing it altogether!) and allowing unlimited abundance and money into my life!!!!
    I have to say that this (and the other question I wrote in to you) is really the first time I have discussed my “former” issues with money. It was something I have always been ashamed of and it feels so great to get it out (once and for all!) and talk about it with other people and get such great support, so I thank you immensely – Jeannette for providing this!

  • Iyabo Asani, The Inner Genius Coach says:

    Jeanette, I think I should be the one that you are writing this about.
    I have never quite figured the payoff for my own stuff!
    It is easy to see it in other people, isn’t it.
    Really, if you do not see it for yourself, it is time to hire a coach or be around those girlfriends that you know have your back and will tell you the truth no matter what.
    Usually these thoughts are pretty sneaky and do not surface without any prodding.
    It does take some finnesse or skill to surface them.
    Keep at it.
    Just like the vibe rules, the manifestation is a language that speaks to us.
    Thanks Goodvibe coach.

  • I figured out a while back that I can use having “no money” as an excuse for pretty much anything I want to avoid doing. If you “can’t afford it right now”, then you don’t have to do it! Ta da!
    Of course, there’s a bunch of other stuff that you probably can’t do or which is much more difficult to achieve, but, hey, so long as you’ve got the excuse about not being able to afford it, you don’t have to do stuff you don’t want to do… *sigh*
    I’ve known about this for a while. I don’t know quite how to go about fixing it. Other than being aware of it, seeing that it’s self-defeating and pretty damned silly, I don’t know what to do to change it. Usually, just becoming aware of it and releasing it does the trick, but so far I seem to be hanging on to this one…

  • Tiffany says:

    By the way, Jeannette, you never fail to be brilliant beacon of knowledge in all our journeys! Much love.

  • Tiffany says:

    I’m right in line with Tia on this one! I say I want a relationship…the only thing throwing me off is this “what if” feeling.
    What if I miss out on all the fun of dating?
    What if I miss the chance of having my pick? (Which is ridiculous because the LOA says I always have, and get, my favorite pick.)
    What if we can’t handle a distance dilemma?
    What if I’m not ready for ANY of this and I suck at being in a relationship?
    As you can see, my payoff in staying single is my care-free attitude and lack of worry. It stinks because all of our internal knowledge tells us the opposite and that we are ready. It’s the believing that gets a little tough. I may have to ponder this on the beach too… 😛

  • Patricia, I got goosebumps too!! What happened next! Amy, been there done that too (drama rel’s) sooo not happ anymore. Phew.

  • Jenny says:

    Wow! This is really good. The examples above really helped me.
    If I make more money in my new career (I quit my job to do something new, and I was the household breadwinner), I’m afraid that my husband won’t make more money doing what he does (he works hard, doesn’t make much, and I feel burdened with the money-making responsibility.) I feel the pull both ways: If I am successful, then I’m back in the seat with the burden of responsibility; if I’m not, then we might not have enough to live on and I don’t like that, either. This is ugly!
    I’ll have to ponder other examples of this…

  • I don’t know about anyone else, but I got goose bumps reading that, Patricia!
    Very cool experience to share here. THANK YOU for it!

  • Patricia says:

    Years ago I focused on why I was not manifesting a loving relationship when I was so sure that I wanted one. Looking at many different aspects of my dilemma, I was up to the part about the kind of men I was attracted to when I watched the movie “The Doors” with Val Kilmer and had an amazing moment of clarity. It was stunning in that it was swift and complete in an instant: I realized that I was attracted to men who were willing to express the anger that I would not admit I had.
    This was a startling, freeing and life changing realization. At that point I got busy and focused on my relationship with myself . . . it has been, and continues to be, an amazing journey.

  • When we see what’s flowing, Zoe, it’s a perfect opportunity to get straight with ourselves and our true desires!
    Thanks for offering another really good example of how this sometimes plays out in life.
    And thanks to all of you for being so brave in sharing your stories!

  • Zoe says:

    This really resonated with me.
    I keep declaring a desire to be financially independant, but while I’m not I have a definately way to keep my daughter’s father in my life.
    As much as I don’t want him back for purely financial reasons I still hope…
    God i’m f*ckwit.

  • Tia, I love the sense of humor you bring to this task! lol
    Thanks for keeping it light! ha
    And kudos to your insight on yourself – that removes so much potential frustration, doesn’t it? When we’re not getting what we (said we) want? Hugely illuminating to realize what’s at work behind the scenes!
    Thanks for contributing to the conversation, girlfriend.

  • Sure thing.
    I just blogged about something similar recently – how I asked for a flatmate but secretly wanted to be on my own so didn’t get one untill I was ready (years ago)..
    How when I say I want to be in THE relationship yet I’m secretly worried about committing to one person forever – OR losing them.. so the payoff is avoiding loss.
    Ok, tell me about this one: When I say I want a fab summer of dating, amazing guys start crawling out of the woodwork in the first 2 weeks and then suddenly.. the flow trickles down to people I’m not interested in.
    Would it have anything to do with me getting overwhelmed and wanting to just not meet anyone after all? LOL. No really, can someone see a payoff here that I haven’t already identified?
    Right, off I go to the beach to ponder all this and more.

  • Oh, I can relate to that old habitual payoff, Amy! Oh my. Yes, that wasn’t much fun as I remember it either.
    Good for you for seeing it and changing it!
    Thanks for sharing such a perfect example of it here.

  • Amy says:

    Wow – this is so illuminating!!
    I used to have a payoff from having drama-filled relationships (and drama-filled single periods) that related to being able to talk about my “poor me” life to all of my friends. It was great to be so close to my friends and having juicy conversations, but luckily I realized that the payoff wasn’t as good as actually having a great relationship would be!
    Now I’m in the process of that manifestation, and an interesting side effect is my lack of patience with any poor-me dating stories from bitter single friends. I’ve been working hard at surrounding myself with happy people in relationships instead.

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