Feeling trapped or stuck is one of the most depressing and anxiety-provoking states we can be in. It’s the feeling of loss of freedom and free will, of not having a choice. In this video, we explore what causes this feeling, how it’s actually an illusion, and what you can do to feel free again.
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Full transcript (unedited)
Welcome back to BROJO online. Today we’re going to talk about feeling trapped, and what to do about it.
So quite often we feel trapped, we, some of us feel trapped all the time. Some it’s just occasionally in uncertain circumstances, feeling trapped as soon solely the sensation accompanied with narratives in your head, that you are not free to choose that there are no good options that your hand is forced your next move is, there’s no free will to or no autonomy to it. The move has been decided for you. The options have been taken away from you, and lots of other things in that category. I think the best and most useful way to put it is the illusion of not having a choice. You know, when we move forward with this video, let’s think of trapped has been defined as the illusion of not having a choice. And I do mean illusion, we’re going to come into that later. It often affects people with an avoidant attachment style, especially socially, but even beyond that can affect them in terms of their job where they live everything, this idea of feeling obligated to stick with something and feel like the choice was something new has been taken away, the choice to leave has been taken away. But it can also affect anxious attachment with people and that they can’t walk away from something like being in a relationship or a friendship with someone who’s wrong for them. And yet, they feel like they have to stay, they feel obligated and loyal, and they can’t walk away. So why do we feel trapped? Well, it’s about seeing things as a permanent commitment, isn’t it? It’s about seeing like the next few steps, perhaps even into the indefinite future, it has been predetermined, you just have to ride it out, there’s nothing you can do about it. Like if you imagine being stuck in a queue, and there’s six people in front of you, and it’s taking a really long time, like you’re at the bank or the DMV or something. And there’s just no way that you can jump ahead in the queue, you need to get your driver’s license, and you have to get it today. So you can leave the queue, there’s a sensation like me waiting to get to the end of the queue and then dealing with the hassle is predetermined, I don’t have a choice here, I have to go through all of that I have to I must write that’s what we see is feeling trapped. So the why is to look at a situation and come to the conclusion, I must endure this through to the end. And in the worst case scenario for veiling trapped is I don’t even know if there’s going to be an end or I don’t know when the end is going to be. So understand. If we take that example of being stuck in the queue, you can actually walk out, right physically, there’s nothing stopping you from just walking away from the queue, walking away from getting your driver’s license, you could do it. But you don’t and you feel trapped. So in reality, what really trips you is dismissing the option of freedom and narrowing down your options to just one. So when I say the illusion of not having a choice, what I mean is there are choices, but you’ve dismissed them, you’ve said that they’re an appropriate, you haven’t even considered them, you might not even know about them, or whatever it is, they’re not on the list. They’re not on the table, they’re not available. And that story in your head, I can’t do those things I must do this thing is really the cause of feeling trapped that suffocating, tense, agitated feeling that what causes that, partly, it can also be this fear of quitting. They can come from social stigma or fear of missing out, or this kind of sunk cost fallacy where you’re waiting for a return on your investment. This idea like now that I’m in it, I can’t get out, I’ve got to see it through to the bitter end, whatever it is, maybe it’s a relationship, maybe it’s financial investment. Maybe it’s waiting in a queue. Maybe it’s being stuck in traffic. It’s this thing like now that I’ve invested into this thing, I can’t quit. So there’s no permission to quit, that contributes to feeling trapped. I mean, in most situations, we feel trapped nearly all of them. There’s a quitting option technically available. You can just go fuck this and bail, you can do it. Now. There’ll be consequences, certainly. And in some situations, you’re right about those consequences. I feel like I can’t be bothered with traffic. I’m just going home. I’m not going to show up to work. Your boss is going to have something to say about that. And then there’s other times where you think there’ll be consequences for quitting, but this is just shame. It’s just conditioning in your head. It’s actually fine to quit. You will be glad to give up that bad relationship. That’s no good view. Even though your parents like oh my god, people who broke up losers or whatever it is they say that you know conditioned you to think you have to stick with a relationship even though it sucks. But either way whether the quitting has genuine consequences or those adjustable Losing or shame based or
social. Again, you’re not allowed to, or you’ve not allowed yourself to. So that creates a trapped feeling pressure to get something right on the first go, that often creates a trap suffocating feeling. It’s kind of like being pushed to the edge of the high diving board when you’re not really this idea, like I’ve got to jump and land without like busting an air drum or whatever. And I don’t even know what I’m doing. And I can’t go back. Because I’ve already started, I’ve already made people aware that I’m into this thing or whatever this perfectionism, doesn’t it perfectionism, that ironic term, where nobody actually ever does anything perfectly, but feels a lot of pressure. That can create a trapped feeling as well as idea this has to go well, it has to go well, right out of the gate, I can’t have any failures. On my record, I have to be undefeated, all the way through to the end. Fear Of Missing Out, I think I already mentioned that. But that’s a classic fear that traps people as well. A great example of Fear Of Missing Out in the modern world is somebody who won’t quit a dating app, you know, they’re swiping away, swiping away, it’s never worked out for them. Maybe they’ve had a few dates, but they’ve been all for most of the dream going to match whatever. Like it’s just clearly a really low success system for them. But this thing, man, what if I just, you know, if I quit now, what are the next ones like my ideal person? What if I miss out so they say they stay stuck on the app. And that way, that constant like it might be the next one, I don’t want to miss out, that can trap us as well call it being unable to walk away from a bad investment. So the first thing you’ve always got to recognize is that it’s an illusion, you are not physically restrained in most situations, right? Unless you’ve been taken to prison, or you’ve been tied to a chair by kidnapper, well, there’s a gun to your head. In most cases, physically, there’s going to be no consequences for fraud for you to walk away for you to take the quitting option for you to take the option where you don’t win where you give up on your investment and cut your losses, you know, that option is nearly always available, the sense of being trapped comes from you dismissing that option. Now, if that option is available, if you’ve always got permission to quit something that’s not working out for you, then you’ll never feel trapped, you’ll only feel trapped when you’re literally physically restrained. But even then, if I think of someone being taken to prison, they can either walk with the gods, or they can struggle against them. Now, if they struggle against them, they’ll feel very trapped. But if they lie, or I guess we’re walking this way, then they won’t feel trapped. You’re gonna say we’re always physically limited, right? There’s a reason you’re not flying around gravity. There’s a reason you get older over time, decay, entropy, we it’s so controlled and so restricted by our physical circumstances, you know, we are glued to the ground. You know, and our genetics determine most of what happens to us physically, right now, our conditioning, everything that happened to us as a childhood determines most of what happens to us socially in other areas, you know, we’re so restricted, I don’t know a free will exists. But I know our decision making autonomy, wherever that comes from, works in a tiny space of availability, you know, the ability to choose between options is about all we’ve got, those options are already predetermined, the limits of our options are predetermined. So the ability to choose between a and b is about always got, we’re all really very restricted. So we should feel trapped all the time, but we don’t, because being trapped is not about physical limitation. It’s about focusing on physical limitation, it’s about creating a scenario where you’ve limited your options and you’ve taken away b and you’re only left with a right that’s you doing that the physical worlds always restrained you there’s not actually a problem. You restraining yourself as what really makes you feel trapped. So that really get it clear. If you feel trapped, either you’re focused on something you can’t control, or you’re refusing to take an option that is available. Right, you’re focused on something you can’t control. So this is an awareness problem, you’re not aware that the thing you’re looking at is not your problem is not your business, you know, say someone else’s behavior and decisions, for example, or the traffic on the road, there’s nothing you can do about the stuff, right?
Or there is the option available at freedom but you’ve dismissed it the option of walking away the kind of third option when you’re just stuck in their false dichotomy and think there’s only a and b you know, do I go to the gym or not go to the gym or have I go for a run there’s a third option there. You know, a lot of people don’t see the third option or they see the option they go for whatever is not not allowed to take There we go, the social conditioning, I’m not allowed to quit, and allowed to dump some I’m not allowed to be honest and hurt someone’s feelings. You know, I’m not allowed to move to another city, I’m not allowed to try something that my friends make fun of, you know, you’re not allowed options is what makes you feel trapped. But there’s really nothing stopping you. Other people are taking those options just fine. Right? You only know the options exist because other people take it, you know, you could travel because other people travel, you know, you could be honest, because you’ve seen people doing it, you know, you can be brave, because you’ve seen people doing it. So there’s nothing fundamentally different about you to stop you taking those options other than you’ve decided that you’re not allowed to take them, we really have to tackle obligation and loyalty here. These are not good values. In my opinion, loyalty is about sticking to a decision that a past self made, which is like sticking to an obligation that somebody else made for you. Like if I think of something that my 25 year old self described loyalty to I’m out, I don’t want to be part of some 25 year olds decision, he didn’t know shit back then. Whatever he was loyal, loyal to back then was a stupid thing to be loyal to. Why should I be held to account for that? You know, I’ve got this idea like, well, you’ve committed to something, you got to stick with it? No, I didn’t commit to my past self did. And he was a fucking idiot. And I’m not going to do what he says. Now, if he committed something good, great, that was a smart move, I’ll keep with it, I’ll stick with it. It’s like looking at everything you’ve ever decided everything you’ve ever committed to or obliged yourself to, or, or stuck loyalty to, with this perspective of having just been dropped into your life, and all these loyalties and commitments were done without your permission, they were done without your consultation, which is true, your current self was not consulted by your past self. Because your current self didn’t exist back then. Your past self made this decision without us like how most of the laws that you’re currently following were written before you were born. But you didn’t have a say in it. And did you follow them blindly? Why do you still think they’re good laws, you know, so these commitments and obligations you’ve made in the past, there’s really no reason why you have to stick with them. Other than social conditioning, I used to work with a lot of gang members in the standard gang for 10 years. And you know, after a few years, and again, you start to realize that the whole brotherhood thing’s bullshit. And then they’re just gonna use you and abuse you and discard you, when they’ve had enough of you, you’re just an asset to them, they don’t give a shit about you personally. Right. And so I had so many gang members that would realize that and like the second or third year of being patched up, but they’re still there. 1020 years later, my dude, you don’t have to stick with that obligation that your past self made, like just bail. You know, they love or loyalty men, that’s about respect. Like you’re not respecting yourself by staying loyal to a stupid low to a stupid decision. Right? You have no responsibility, the choices you made in the past? You don’t, they weren’t your choices, they were your past selves choice. And if nothing else, that person was less wise than you. So do you have to stick with a decision that a less wise person made? I certainly don’t think so. So try a new method where you wake up every day and look at everything you’ve committed to your job, your relationship, where you live, what you do as hobbies, or what you don’t do what you’ve decided you’re not allowed to do, or you refuse to partake in the foods that you won’t eat again, and so on. And go, you know, what,
if I had a fresh slate, if I was just dropped into this life wouldn’t be happy with that choice. I often use this one for people who feel trapped in relationships. If you meet your partner right now, today, you didn’t have this whole history with them. But they treated you the way they currently do. Would you keep going on with them? And in a bad relationship? The answer is always no. Right? Like, the way they treat me now is awful. I would never stay with someone who started like this. So well, they’ve ended like that. Right? They might not have started like this, but they are that now. That’s who you’re in a relationship with not the person you signed up with? You’re in a relationship with a new awful person. Now. You want to stay in that relationship? Would you sign up to that one? If the answer’s no then bail. And this is actually a good way to feel safe and a good relationship as well. You know, commitment can often kill a relationship that’s actually good. The avoidant attachment guy gets all panicky, like, Oh, I’m never gonna sleep with anyone else again, or whatever. And they just bail on and perfectly good partners did away. Can we go and look, I could leave today. I’m free to leave any day that I want. Doesn’t matter what I said at the wedding bells. Doesn’t matter what I promised when we were dating. I am always free to leave now. Do I want to leave today? Is this person somebody I’ve had enough of? Really? Am I sick of this? Is it better to be single? Because I can take that option ANYTIME I LIKE. And if you give yourself permission to quit you often want it’s when you don’t have them shouldn’t quit, that you get all the pressure and you go back doesn’t you bail on something that’s actually good. You bail on the development of a skill or a relationship or a good job or whatever. Because you feel like you can leave or when you know you’re allowed to leave at any second, then you’re constantly reassessing on a present position you’re going do I like it right now? If the answer’s yes, like, alright, well, one more day, then a small commitment. I’ll see it through till tomorrow. And then I’ll ask myself again. And this is a great way to ride out the kind of lows that come from any sort of long term pursuit. Let’s say you’re working in a school and a new skill, and you’ve kind of plateaued in this go, Look, do I want to see it through one more day? Yeah. Okay, one more day. You just keep doing that. And you often get through the valley that way. But if you’re like, oh, man, I fucking suck. Do I really want to put up with this rest of my life? The answer is always fuck, no, I’m out. But you’re not really committed to the rest of your life. Just one more day, it’s not that big a deal. You got to understand you actually choose everything. He knows how you have to wear clothes, we know you have to put gas in your car. Actually, no, you don’t. You could walk out of the house naked, you could drive your car and break down on the motorway if you wanted to. So actually, everything is a choice, there is no mas do you don’t even have to eat, you don’t even have to live. I’m not condoning suicide here. What I’m saying here is if you aren’t committing suicide, you’re choosing to live and you’re choosing everything else that you do. You could always starve to death, that option is available to you. So you notice that you don’t compete. You don’t complain about having to wear clothes, you might complain a bit about having to put gas in your car, but you’re not unmotivated about you don’t feel trapped by it. Because you made your peace with it, you understand, you know, something’s got to be done. So why don’t you do that with anything else you feel trapped by either it’s got to be done, or you don’t want to do it, chose to do it or don’t do it. It’s up to you. You don’t have to do anything. Finally, I finish off with a bullet interpretation for you. If you feel trapped, because you’re too afraid. The reframe is you’re not willing to be courageous, you’re not willing to get uncomfortable. You’re choosing comfort, being too afraid, is really choosing comfort. So you could ask yourself, Am I okay with the choice of choosing comfort, because I could choose to be uncomfortable and do a brave thing. Or I can say I’m too afraid, which really means is I’m going to prefer comfort, and what the consequence of their comfort, you know, if I’m too afraid to quit, and I’m really choosing a shirt job to stay comfortable, right, you’re choosing, you’re not too afraid, fear doesn’t stop you. It’s not willing to be afraid that stops you. And that’s a choice. So you’re trapped because you don’t know what to do. What you’re really saying is you choose not to explore not to learn not to get advice not to get help, not to try random things and fail, you know, trial and error not to fail not to take risks. Those are choices, that choosing not to do this huge range of options are so many options, when you’re unsure of yourself of what you could do next. And you’re saying no to all of them, you’re saying you know, I’d rather not develop my brain,
I’d rather not take the risk that I can’t find the answer quickly. So I’m just gonna stick with being all confused and frustrated, it’s a choice. And lastly, you know, I can’t win that classic trap when I often get it from Nice guys or relationships, I can’t win. What you’re really saying is I’m focused on things I can’t control. Or, and or I’m not willing to do the courageous thing that is under my control. So quite often, when you’re focused on what you can control, it’s because you’ve dismissed where you can like being honest, that’s available to because you dismissed it. Now you’re trying to control the emotion of your partner without honesty, good luck to you. So count when means focused on what you can’t control. Again, that focus is a choice, you can focus on something else, you can put energy towards something else. Look, we all feel trapped, I feel it. Right. Now I’ve got a family, I’ve got a little daughter sometimes I’m like in a situation where I can’t do what I want, and I feel trapped by. But you’re not saying I could bail on my family. Or go fuck them, I’ll go for a pack of cigarettes, I could do that whole thing, you know, and never see them again and deal with the consequences, you know, the shame and the blame. And I think my business would take a fear of as a kind of guy. So I could do that it’s available to me. But I don’t want to. That’s it. I don’t want to hurt my daughter that way. I don’t want her out of my life. Same with my partner. I like this family of created I prefer that to not having this family. So whatever hardships that come with it I’ve chosen I’ve signed up for that even if I don’t know what I’ve signed up for when it comes up in my ear while I still want to have this family so I guess I’m in so I’m not trapped. I’ve decided to stay. I’m free. I’m always free. Can always die. Choose not to let go of feeling trapped. It’s just an illusion. Just victimhood is just talking shit out of your ass. You don’t have to do Of course if you want help to become someone who feels more free and thinks more freely, please get in touch Dan@brojo.org We can talk about coaching or just have a chat in general, and see if I can help you out. Cheers