Many people resist doing change work because they believe that their old behaviors somehow serve them, comfort them or bring them safety and protection.


I talked with a client about doing Mental and Emotional Release® (MER) on an issue related to anger. He said to me, “I’m not sure if I should let go of my anger. My anger protects my family.” That’s called a secondary gain.


Secondary gain is getting some benefit—real or imagined—by holding onto a pattern or baggage. People with a secondary gain sometimes see its benefit as worth the pain of the negative pattern.


Becoming aware of the secondary gain helps you regain your power to find another way to get the exact same benefit without the problem—or in some cases, to recognize what you thought was a benefit really isn’t one at all.


With my client who thought his “anger protected his family,” I asked a few questions.


“When you get into road rage while driving your kids to school, are they safer or more at risk because of your anger?” He had to admit that they were more at risk.


“When you got furious that a pipe burst and flooded the kitchen, were you more or less effective in handling the situation for your family?” He had to admit he was less effective because he was so angry, he couldn’t think straight.


We went through a few more questions, then talked about how all martial artists know that you are most effective in defending yourself (and others) when you are calm and collected.


Finally, my client said, “I see absolutely no benefit now in keeping this anger. Let’s release it!” We went through the MER process and did just that.


If a secondary gain prevents you from making the change you want to make, check and see if the benefit you think you’re getting from that secondary gain is really a benefit at all!


Dr. Matt



Empowerment, Inc. is the leading authority on NLP, Huna, Mental and Emotional Release®, and Hypnosis.


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