This month we are going to look at Beliefs and how they are formed from your childhood Rules and Messages.

If you have ever visited a House of Mirrors, you may have had some good laughs. There are some mirrors that shape you as tall and skinny with foot long arms and hands, other mirrors that make you look round like a balloon, and still others where you resemble something entirely different. All of these are distortions of what you really look like. Imagine if you never had the opportunity to see yourself as you really are; you might believe that the image you saw really reflected what you look like.

Think of beliefs as a house of mirrors.  The family rules and messages shape how you see yourself, your abilities, other people and life. If you are told something over and over again during your early development, you begin to believe it; this is true of both positive and negative things. You see things in terms of your experience.

RULES AND MESSAGES (the first link in the Life Experience Chain):

Unhealthy rules and messages attack your importance as a person, your abilities, and life which includes your view of other people. These attacks may have taken many forms:

  • abandonment, neglect, ostracizing
  • shaming, humiliating, belittling
  • joking about, laughing at, teasing
  • criticizing, inflicting guilt
  • manipulating, tricking, deceiving
  • intimidating, threatening, overpowering.
Here are some examples of attacking your importance as a person
 You don’t have any rights

-You’re not important

-I don’t have time for you

-I’m the boss

-I’m sacrificing myself for you

-Don’t think/ feel that way

You don’t belong

-You’re a burden

-You should have been a (boy/girl)

-You were an accident

-If it weren’t for you …

-You’ll never be good/smart/important enough



Here are some examples of attacking your abilities
You’re a disappointment/failure because:

-Lazy, selfish, stupid, bad, fat …..

-Not as smart, pretty, well behaved as ….

-Can’t do anything right, well enough

-Not carrying your weight around here.

-Should be better at ….

You’re responsible for (your fault, you caused):

-Making me sick, crazy, drink, upset

-Being the death of me

-Marriage breakup

-Keeping me happy, miserable, sober



Here are some examples of attacking others/life
People can’t be trusted because:

-No one understands/ believes/ wants to be bothered

-You have to stand on your own two feet

-Don’t air your dirty laundry in public

-Eventually people fail you

-(S)he’s a different culture, religion, colour

Life is the pits because:

-Life’s a bitch and then you die

-You get what you deserve (usually bad)

-Winning is what’s important

-Don’t expect too much so you won’t be disappointed

-Children “owe it” to their parents


BELIEF SYSTEM (the next link in the Life Experience Chain):

These rules and messages will formulate your belief system in the same areas: yourself, your abilities, what other people are like and what you can expect from them and perceptions and expectations of life. If the rules and messages were unhealthy and dishonouring, your beliefs will naturally be irrational and damaging.

Note ~~ The difference between a belief and a thought is a belief is a system whereas a thought comes out of that system. I’ll discuss that further when we get to the THOUGHTS link.

Let’s have a look at some examples of unhealthy rules and messages and see how they form a belief. Remember you bring your own meaning to the things you have learned.

Area targetedRule or messageResulting belief
Importance as a personDon’t be angry/afraid,/sadFeelings are bad.

Never show your feelings.
About abilitiesYou’re useless (dumb, etc).There is no room for failure.

You are valued by what you can do.
About other peopleDon’t air your dirty laundry in public.Some things are shameful.

Mustn’t talk about problems to anyone.
About lifeBad things don’t happen to good people.A person deserves whatever happens.

Sets up judgments on people and situations.

If you remember some rules and messages from your own childhood, you can look at what belief was formed from them, or vice versa, take a belief and see if you can trace it back to a rule/message.

Now, if you have already started to look at the old rules and messages and are making changes (see January 2017 blog), your belief system will also start to change as a result. If you haven’t, I encourage you to start. You’ll see how everything links together as we travel up the Life Experience Chain each month and look at all the links in the chain. (see November 2016 blog)

Choose today to start making changes in your beliefs. Change will occur as you continue to:

  • Recognize irrational and damaging beliefs
  • Replace them with rational healing ones.
  • Start to implement these new beliefs in your life.


Old belief:       There is no room for failure.      

New belief:     People are not perfect. Everybody has limitations.


Old belief:       A person deserves whatever happens.

New belief:     Not everything has a cause/effect relationship

As a child, you were not responsible for knowing whether they were irrational and damaging beliefs. There was no choice about those beliefs formed at that time. You do have a choice as an adult about what beliefs you continue to have. You have the right to change them to rational and healing beliefs that validate and empower.

irrational, damaging


rational, healing

unhealthy, dishonouring

given to me as a CHILD



healthy, trustworthy

created by me as an ADULT


Judith S. Carscadden