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Are you a Workaholic? What is the connection with childhood trauma?

Work addiction, which need of you is it satisfying and the what about the childhood(trauma) connection???

Gabor Mate, Stephan Gilligan, Robert Dilts, Anthony Robbins and so much more talk about this link.

It does not mean (work)addiction is per se bad it is more what is the energy source where it is originating from and which real need of you does it satisfy?

Almost strangely enough more than 70%- 80% of the workaholics and overachievers who have a need to need to perform better than others, and/or to do more than others is coming from an “negative” energy source as:

feeling not being good enough; sometimes because they were being compared with siblings, or just general never possible to do good enough by their parents. BTW this can originate from a positive intention from the parents as making him/her the best so he/she will never be poor or will be just like their parents successful.

feeling not being part of the group; as being an outsider, most of the times from having a history of looking/being different then the rest of the peer group eg. having glasses, red hair, big, small, tall, little with a result of sometimes bullying or being outcasted.

feeling not being acknowledged; by parents or colleagues,

feeling not being heard; by parents or colleagues.

What they did to overcome this is creating a coping mechanism, creating a quality, creating a strength to deal with this “pain”. The subconsious mechanism behind this is finding it roots in the famous fight-or-flight response (also called hyperarousal, or the acute stress response). The physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.

A great response for those events in our childhood days and also the result now of this can be positive: great career, money, being successful etc…. the flip side of this created strength is that it is more than often noticeable that even how hard they work, how successful they are, they are never satisfied: they keep feeling unfulfilled.

Although it does not have to happen, the result could even be burnout, divorce, and (serious) illnesses.

So why is it that this can lead to these negative outcomes?

The main reason for this is that the real need, feeling good enough, feeling part of (belonging), feeling acknowledged, feeling heard and a real feeling of it is allowed to being yourself is not satisfied with the workaholic over achieving attitude, the applause, money, career does not do it.

When you think about elite athletes ho are also overachievers and workaholics you can find the difference which what I mean what is the energy source it is originating from. Most olympic athletes or soccer-, basketball-, or baseball players start at an early age and the main reason: just because they love to do it. Of course later in life they are motivated by coaches, parents etc. to make a living out of it because they have that talent and passion.

Their energy source is a fun, passion, love for the sport, being successful or being the best is not the main objective when they start that comes later.

So when the originating energy source is fun, joy or happiness, people will fulfill that need of happiness when they do what they love to do.

Here we come to the other part, which need is it fulfilling? When work is fulfilling the need of happiness, joy or fun, a burnout or those kind of things will not happen.

Most people in the workplace don’t have that passion from an early age to do what they do now, but that coping mechanism is still in place so they they keep on doing what worked well in the past, working harder, working more than others. In the hope that this fulfills the needs from the past, and the present can not fulfill the past

How can we get out of this loop?

First what you maybe will notice is that a lot of people will not do it, the fear to really change and to overcome the “pain” from the past is to big to scary or they think they need it to succeed, without it they would not perform.

But just imagine you want to overcome the dragons from the past without seeing the psychologist for the next 2 years :-) what to do?

The first step is becoming aware that you like to compensate the past with the present.

After that you can to stop fighting it and stop compensating or to say better acknowledging and welcoming it. So saying yes to the past and the present, that means integrating the past and the present and make it whole, make it one. Really letting that part of the past be a positive part of you in the present, and coming aware of that it is carrying a positive intention.

Like their cannot be light without darkness, no left without right, no ying without yang.

So you could be grateful that it there because without it you would never have done what you do now.

And from that new being one is redefining what is it I really want to do, what is bringing me a fulfillment? That can still be working more than others but than only from a place of happiness.

I know “the what to do” sounds easy and “the how to do it” makes it in most of the times scary, difficult, unless what I experienced you take the “right” path and steps to the solution.

Whilst I am writing this I am following a 3 week course with Stephan Gilligan and I see from the people we work with how amazing the results are when this happens, I also experienced it by myself how satisfying it is to find your “real you “back, and how amazingly energizing that is.

Like to know more of this, I invite you to visit my website, or visit me for coaching/therapy and/or follow one of the courses I created based on my 25 years of experience, to train therapists, managers, coaches, parents or clients to make this happen:

The Clinical Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy training, where the focus is on learning to become an amazing therapist, coach or manager and have that personal development as a great side effect.

The NLP coach practitioner training where the focus is on creating or expanding that positive mindset and resilience that assist you to expand your coaching, managerial and/or therapeutically repertoire and with unique techniques for interpersonal skills.

The ReMaster Yourself workshop - a true personal Leadership journey - is specially designed to enable you or your team/company to make “the change” happen. This workshop has the focus on personal development/therapy or team/company culture development, and indirect on expanding coaching/therapy tools. This workshop is based on an integration of all the treatment/coaching/development research and techniques that are out in the field now, an integration from the mind (conscious and subconscious), body (psychical and energetic) and the field that connects us all.

Love to hear from you, and don’t forget never let your mind stop you from having a good time.



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