Where Core Beliefs come from

Your belief system gives you a framework that helps you interpret and understand the experiences you face in life. A belief is something you accept as true, without question. That means you can expect that every day it will seem just as true as it was the day before. Your beliefs are deeply embedded in you.

You live your life around them, without thinking about them, questioning them or even being aware of them. You and your team of inner protector characters (sub personalities or inner protector characters (sub personalities or inner selves)) just go about their daily work, protecting you in the same repetitive patters they always do. They base their reactions around your core beliefs, but they don't stop for a moment to question whether the core belief itself might no longer be accurate.

For example, as part of your overall belief system you may, as a small child, have developed unbalanced or negative beliefs about yourself, that actually helped you ‘fit in’ with your family environment by making sense of things that happened to you, things that would otherwise be very hard for you to live with. For example if, a small child is constantly ignored or neglected, one of his or her beliefs might become ‘I am not really good enough for people to bother with me. I am not worthwhile’.

If such a belief helped that child fit into a negative and unbalanced family situation then it was what the child needed to believe, even if it was not true. Without false beliefs like these, the child may well have been neglected even more. However, once the child takes on the false negative belief they find they adapt by setting up inner personality patterns (known as inner protector characters or inner protector characters (sub personalities or inner selves)) that match the belief. For example they may stop expecting or wanting to have their needs met. (Is this familiar?) These patterns seem as though they help that child because they now appear to ‘fit in’ better in their family. The result reinforces the original belief and makes it seem even more ‘true’. The more the patterns do this the more true the belief will seem.

The beliefs that helped you survive and fit into your childhood will have been quite unique for you and different from mine (unless the toughest things you and I had to cope with were very similar). If in childhood I was told I would always fail, a core belief might be ‘I can’t do it’. This helps me because it gives me a framework around which to survive, a ‘map of the world’ that helps me cope with life and plan my future. Now I know what to expect in life and I can start learning how best to ’fit into’ my unbalanced family system by acting as helpless and needy. The family's acceptance of this pattern in me helps reinforce my belief that 'I can't do it.'

So our core beliefs as they took root in our first few years became a kind of summary of the most basic convictions we make up about our self-worth, the kind of person we are, or the kind of person we are not, what will become of us as a result, our place in the family and the world and how we can expect others to treat us all our life.

Core beliefs like these are supported by your primary inner protection system. This means they grow stronger rather than weaker. One of the ways they often grow is by helping make sense of our worst childhood experiences in the only way a small child can, by telling us that what went wrong was essentially our fault. Even though this assumption was based on the false beliefs or false understandings set up in early childhood, it becomes more firmly established as you grow up. Today it may still shape and guide much of your life and the way you react to those around you. It also provides you with an unusual ‘gift’ in the way it motivates you to move away from your natural personality and continue to change and adapt to become more like the person others want you to be.

These beliefs about yourself, which you hold on to so strongly also reflect your deepest vulnerability and pain and help to keep these locked within you.

Core beliefs resonate through your whole life

Your strongest inner protector characters (sub personalities or inner selves), the polarised one-above ones, were created to help you live with your core beliefs but unfortunately while they were helping you live with a negative core belief these same selves in conjunction with your supporting beliefs were also making it seem as if that belief really must have been true.

Your locked in automatic repetitive behaviour patterns set up by your polarised selves certainly helped you cope with the pain of your unbalanced beliefs but they also created a binding situation. Learning to live with and constantly find better ways to cope with these false beliefs gave you no opportunity to discover ways to question them or to change them.

Instead what you and I learned for most of our life (so far) was simply how to "channel all our energy and resources towards dealing with these negative beliefs." (Nikki Nemerouf)

"Money, time, relationships, professional skills, family, everything has been reorganised so that it can be better used to distance me from my pain, my vulnerability and my fear of my negative beliefs getting any worse than they already are. In so doing I also distance myself from the love that I am so desperately seeking". (Nikki Nemerouf)

Your senses are so tied up, bound and distorted by the false belief that you literally cannot see the positive reality in front of you. You may even fight it when someone else tries to show you that these beliefs have a positive side, until you begin the process called balancing and transformation, as explained at the end of this section.

Almost every unbalanced or negative belief seems to be connected in some way with your deepest thoughts or feelings about being:

• not good enough (incompetent)

• not good enough (unlovable)

• unwanted, different

• defective, imperfect, bad

• powerless, one-below

• in danger, not safe

• don’t know, wrong

Within that broad belief pattern, however, are many different variations.

Whatever your unbalanced beliefs are, they help to define your unique and individual core issues and these in turn control the way your inner protector characters (sub personalities or inner selves) react when those issues are triggered. It's often been said that whatever your most negative core belief about yourself might be, that's the one your selves will tend most to "dance around".

There are hundreds of core issues and core beliefs, so you can expect that yours may be quite different from those held by the person next to you. Let’s look at four people who at first appear to have very similar issues and see how differently they react.

If ‘A’ has a not good enough belief ‘It’s always my fault’ then whenever ‘A’ thinks she has made a mistake she will react by doing too many favours for other people to ‘make up’ for it.

On the other hand, ‘B’ has a not good enough belief ‘I can’t get it right’. For B this may mean failing to make decisions out of fear of making a wrong one or doing nothing as the only sure way of avoiding rocking the boat.

Meanwhile ‘C’ has a not good enough belief ‘I am wrong’. He or she might become a ‘one-above’ school teacher or police officer so that they can spend their days correcting others who are wrong while avoiding looking at his or her own issues.

Finally there is ‘D’ whose not good enough belief is ‘I am a mistake’. Whichever way ‘D’ tries to deal with that false belief, will be connected to D’s deep seated feelings of shame. One way for the selves to block D’s shameful feelings is for them to help ‘D’ become very analytical or perhaps develop a strong ‘knower’ self that can argue convincingly to help prove that ‘D’ is never ‘mistaken’ about anything.

A second possibility is that ‘D’ turns to drugs or alcohol to hide the shame of being a mistake. Of course that only helps ‘D’ feel more of a mistake as explained in a special page about addictive cycles.

One individual that I met some years ago actually combined all the above strategies. He often drank heavily while on duty as a prison officer and whether drunk or sober could argue powerfully, logically and analytically that while everyone else had problems, his life was happy, functional and healthy! In private life the same person worked obsessively long hours as a voluntary and unpaid executive for a welfare group, while ignoring the needs of his own family.

The good news is that of course not one of the beliefs in these examples were true. But each person acted just act as if they were.

See Examples of typical negative core beliefs

What can we do about this?

See: Balance Your Belief System and regain Control of your life.

What is it that triggers your overreaction?

If you work through the activity pages in the core belief balancing workbook you will develop a much greater awareness of your core issue and your core beliefs and what it is exactly that triggers your overreaction.

For more information on triggering go to What Triggers you?

You also become aware of the way your automatic protector selves react to triggers and as a result how they control your life and play havoc with your relationships.

Growing awareness means that each time you are triggered you can use your grown-up awareness to hold back those automatic reactions and instead choose your own reaction at the time.

You will also discover how to use your adult boundaries (energetic shields) to help you deal with the pain that comes from being triggered in more functional ways. From that point it is also easier to re-balance your negative core beliefs, so they no longer bind you into the old automatic reactions.

Using inner self work to help understand your core beliefs

There are some very clear links with your core issue and the roles played by your inner protector characters (inner selves). Most disempowering polarised selves, high intensity patterns and addictions are directly linked to your core belief-adaption bind. Adult awareness frees us from these patterns as it unlocks the bind.

As soon as you have identified your core issue and one or more unbalanced beliefs, you or aware of the inner protector characters who are working to protect you from the pain of those beliefs. This helps extend your awareness of what triggers each of them into action and how they then over-react as they attempt to protect you.

Later, as you start on the process of balancing your old negative core beliefs with a new positive ones, you will find it helps to dialogue with the beliefs themselves and with your inner gifts.

I have found that this particular kind of dialogue usually provides the key to a really positive and successful transformation process.

by e-mail

Would you like to :

1. Discover your own hidden troublemakers and identify your own hidden negative core beliefs?

2. Identify the problems that your individual core beliefs are causing you and that you want to fix

3. Discover why identifying your own negative core beliefs and accepting them and not trying to change them is a positive and self-empowering step forward.

4. Find out how to balance your negative beliefs with positive ones. This begins to work as soon as you know why you need to balance them (and why you must not try to get rid of them altogether)

5. Avoid getting triggered again as you have in the past

To order and for more information on the content of the workbooks (over 60 pages in total) go to Core Belief Workbooks by e-mail. Also available on a CD but extra costs apply for mailing

Feedback - please e-mail me John Bligh Nutting - at bligh3@growingaware.com

Acknowledgments -
I gratefully acknowledge the valuable help and understanding I received while writing about Belief Systems, firstly from Nikki Nemerouf and Jeffrey Young and also from John Falcon for his guidance and valuable additions. I emphasise that the following pages do not follow precisely the core belief, core schema or core profile models as taught by any one of these outstanding teachers. However, many of the ideas on this website are clearly based on their original work and the training I did with them.

From that point I have introduced some alternate concepts, in particular the connection between core belief work and the psychology of the inner selves (voice dialogue) as taught by Dr. Hal and Dr. Sidra Stone. I have found that dialoguing with the beliefs themselves as "characters" inside us is one of the most useful skills (often the critical factor) in clarifying, and balancing old core beliefs.

I thank Earl Cass and Anthony Nutting for their support and expert suggestions and my thanks to my ex-wife and friend Rozz Nutting for permitting me to include extracts from her own book on the core belief process.

With appreciation - John Nutting

Copyright John Nutting 1996 - - 2012 and GROWING AWARENESS All rights reserved World Wide LAST UPDATE Friday, 28 September 2012 09:57

Don't worry about these copyright notices at the foot of each page. It just means I want to hang on to legal ownership of what I write for use in future books. Until that day, please feel free to copy and even adapt them for your own use and for friends as long as you acknowledge me as the author and owner of the copyright and you don't charge anyone for them. If you want to use them professionally or commercially (charge a fee for them) or for clients, each sheet you hand out must include full acknowledgment of copyright ownership as above and if you are benefiting as a result, I would appreciate an appropriate sharing.


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What is a negative Core belief?

Why it is not easy to recognise your Core beliefs

Examples of negative core beliefs - is yours on this list

Typical over-reactions - the 'F' patterns

Fable - The case of the stolen self-esteem

Where did they come from?

Where did they come from?

The self-fulfilling prophecy trap

Why you react when a core belief is triggered
More about core beliefs - Resonance

Why you cannot remove or change or alter or engineer a core belief

Five Gifts from Your Old negative core belief

Core belief Counselling in Queensland