Originally Posted by WillYouStopDave
So, a person (often) eventually comes to a self-imposed impasse that must be resolved in some fashion. And generally, the only way out of it is whatever that person has been avoiding through their own "code".
I think this all boils down to our ability to predict the pain associated with an outcome. If we predict that doing X will lead to increased pain, we avoid doing X. This is why people get trapped in SA. You can tell people that acting in spite of their SA will lead to a reduction of pain overall, but they don't actually
believe it. They believe that being independent, being gainfully employed, being in a relationship, having a social network are all good things in the abstract
, and that those kinds of things can help a person avoid disaster down the road (being eaten by cats), but when they add up all those benefits and compare them to the amount of pain they expect to experience while forcing themselves through those tens of thousands of social interactions they (largely unconsciously) say "Nope," and just don't change. Nobody goes through 10,000 (estimated) units of pain for 1,000 (estimated) units of pleasure.
This is actually rational
behavior. It makes perfect sense to avoid behaviors (eg. social interactions) that will increase your pain more than they will reduce your pain. What can be questioned, and challenged through therapy, is the accuracy of your predictions. Will it actually
be as painful to socialize as you think it is? It's not so much that many people with disorders are irrational but that they're bad predictors. And I think it's the bad predictors who overestimate how painful an experience will be who are the ones who can be "cured" with therapy (which is the great hope of CBT, ACT, etc.). If you happen to avoid social interactions because they are
as painful as you think they are, though, your prognosis is not good. This ties back to what you were saying before about willpower. You run out of steam because the costs > benefits. If the benefits > costs, you would not need willpower, because the actions would lead directly to an increase in pleasure/reduction in pain and you would have to stop
yourself from acting on them (just like people currently have to stop themselves from overeating or watching too much TV or whatever it is a person has trouble with). (Ftr, I don't believe in willpower.)
To bring this back to the topic of the thread, I believe that "acceptance" happens when your predictions change: when you suddenly predict it will be less
painful to give up some cherished goal than keep it. I don't think this is something that anyone can do voluntarily; I think it's something that happens when you bang your head against the wall a certain number of times, or when you paint yourself into a corner (the "self-imposed impasse"). The more important the goal, the more pain you have to experience before you give it up. (Which is why it's generally easy to accept things that make little difference to you, and very difficult to accept things that are very important to you.)