Psychological Programming (For Good Or Ill)

“Programming” is a psychology term that became popular in the 1990’s when Pluto was in Scorpio. It was used to describe the affects of extreme brainwashing suffered by survivors of ritual abuse.

The idea was that people had triggers embedded in their psyches. These triggers were put in place with malevolent intent, so they could be tripped at a later date, causing the person to act in accord with the program.

This describes a fanatical and punishing example of what is a common psychological phenomena. In other words, I think we are all psychologically programmed to an extent. This can be for good or ill.

As an example of common programing, what if someone told you that you were ugly all your life? When someone tells you that you’re pretty, you’re likely to doubt them. You hit this trigger and your programming kicks in.

People talk about religious programming, which is also valid. If you have been strongly taught that X is right and Y is wrong, it’s fair to say, when you come up against these things in your life, you’re going to react to what is deep within you.

What’s we don’t talk about in regards to “programming” is the upside which I think is as vast and endless as the downside. For example, you can be programmed for success as easy as you can be programmed to fail.

What if your parents filled you with encouragement? What if they told you taught you, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” And due to this, when you hit a rough patch, you persevere and ultimately thrive?

Religious teaching can benefit you as well. For example, if you have been taught that marriage is “Till death do we part”, you may hit a rough patch in your marriage, but the “programming” keeps you there. Twenty or thirty years later, you look back with relief and gratitude for what had been instilled in you, because in the scheme of things, that rough patch was nothing. But there is another, higher level point I want to make.

I am someone who got back together with (and married) my boyfriend from my teenage years. Via this experience, I learned that I have numerous “triggers” that will run a variety of life-affirming “programs”.

If you are in a real love relationship, trigger points are created along the way. If you’re aware of this, it’s possible to tap them during crisis and bring the love that’s between you to the front. I have gone as far as to recommend that people deliberately create this programming in their relationships. Before you flip out – check this:

My husband and I used to sit cross-legged on the bed and eat pizza as teens. We were young and happy and sexy and laughing.

So if we are having an enormous fight today… if we get a pizza and bring it into the bedroom, what do you think is going to happen? We start feeling those old feelings. We really can’t help this. It takes us back in quickly as you can snap your fingers.

When I look at that picture in this post, I imagine the man just told his wife the same crap that made her laugh when she was sixteen. I may be right about that.

Can you identify some of your damaging programming? How about something positive?

23 thoughts on “Psychological Programming (For Good Or Ill)”

  1. Interesting…It hadn’t occurred to until I read this, but you’re right.

    Damaging: Sex is a commodity. You can get anything using sex as currency. Sex is what men want from women.

    You are fragile, you are a crybaby.

    Men are destroyers.

    Positive: Think for yourself. Don’t accept what you hear, read, or are taught as truth without researching it. People have their agendas.

    Good habits that have become automatic will streamline your life.

    Reading can be your healthy escape.

    1. Yes, brizo – relating to your comment. There is a background of conditioning in our culture/s – and We Can Think for Ourselves! What we have to remain aware of is that through a variety of circumstances, poverty, sometimes wealth which can be equally debilitating, abuse, a maelstrom of adverse conditions meeting in a moment – people can be overwhelmed by the conditioning.

  2. So true, I have a voice inside saying ‘You might be brilliant, but you’ll never be able to use your gifts’, inherited from my father who along with his siblings got it from their mother and she from way back, too.

    All gifted artists who escaped into marriage and never unfolded their creative potential, they did get loads of children, though, while often seething with anger for their unlived lives.

    Being gay, I havent been able to use that escape, but I have managed to get a major venereal disease every time thing have been going really well.

    The great challenge is finding a way not to feel the fear, hear the voice, say hello to it and carry on, instead of escaping into poor me, it’ll never work, let me go out and have some wild quickly gratifying sex, with Mars in Scorpio, that is so easy…

    1. I note your phrase ‘seething rage’ – seems a function of mars square saturn in my own chart – and Mars is in this transit today. I contemplate how beautiful are the lives of some of my relatives who love being grandparents. I am at odds with my desire to go ‘beyond’ that simple beauty and allow my creativity to flourish. Seems like a betrayal of my son somehow. I hope through my meditation work to overcome this and allow both to live in me. Thank you for your comments Mads.

  3. I can identify both positive and negative. I tend to cut off relations with people who reiterate the negative. This happened recently–someone said something to me that my mother used to. The person said it in anger and frustration with me (as my mother would) and it was like a switch was flipped. I cannot–will not–allow it into my life. This refusal is (funny enough) is an expression of the positive programming: refuse to be treated poorly. I had a lot of mixed messages growing up, as befits my chart’s heavy 10th/4th emphasis.

  4. “Don’t trust men. They are cheaters.”

    “You don’t need to learn household duties. Men don’t respect housewives. Be an independent woman –be a success in your career.”

    “You can only be acceptable if you are beautiful, smart, and successful. If you are less than this, you are wholly unlovable.”

    “Always have your best face on. At all times. People won’t like you otherwise.”

    “People always have underlying motivations. Don’t trust anybody.”

    “Don’t talk about your problems. They are a source of shame and embarrass your family.”

    “Daughters don’t do their fathers proud. ONLY sons can do that.”

    Even with very strong willpower and some professional help, it still took a VERY long time to overcome all of these! I can’t say I had much “good” programming, per se. So I grew up with this huge cloud of crappy values over my head. It’s almost like they worked overtime to instill paranoia.

    Excellent post, Elsa. And thank you! 😀

  5. Negative programming:

    “There is not enough love”

    “Insisting on one’s needs = exclusion”

    “I am not worthy”

    Positive programming:

    “I am always lucky”

    “I am skilled and I can do it”

    “If I trust somebody off course they will treat me with kindness”

    When hitch-hiking as a teenager I am sure the last 3 programs helped and protected me – and gave me a lot of positive experience with people.

    The negativ programming: I didn’t realize it was “mine” before… late. Now I know it is – and it is not just the world that is full of hard, insensitive people 😉

    1. Love it! the reminder which I am only fully coming into now – the best life lesson is learning that it is all my own to deal with regardless how it came. I can bemoan it and I’m learning to be energized by the challenge. (Awaiting a winter blizzard in Labrador, car battery went dead overnight – hoping a friend will be able to give me a boost – to explain all my comments today :P) Definitely in the vise of Mars transit square Saturn which I also have natally. Can be seen negatively – and is a gift once realized.

  6. This resonates heavily with me. Thank you again for the wise words!

    (Of course, electricmind and I possess equal sentiments lol)

  7. ”homosexuality is wrong. they go to hell.”

    Something along the lines of that.

    So it still makes me sad a little when I have sex or am with a man because that thought does linger. But overtime as I’ve been learning to come into my own, I push that thought away and make my own programming.

  8. I feel my negatives, cannot put them in words. I cry when I am angry, cannot express honest anger very well. I am not supposed to feel anger.

    I try to avoid conflict, again and again suppress what I need to keep others happy, until depression hits. Cannot get out of this rut. Was told it was better to pretend to be wrong and agree, than to stand up for something that you believed, but was causing dissent.

    Because of this partially, have a very hard time speaking or writing.

    Positives: I can do whatever I want in this world, always shoot for the top, and if something happens along the way, you are a lot further up than you would have been otherwise.

  9. Negative ~

    Men are the most horrible creatures and will destroy your life.

    Men are going to walk all over you, use you and then leave you with nothing….

    This ‘men are’ list is long. Thanks Mom. That was certainly helpful as I was headed to divorce court more than once. I tolerated nothing. Thank goodness I got her voice out of my head. I am now married for years….no thanks to the programming….

    I too went back and married the person that I should have married in the first place. Our triggers are with music… when I am having the worst day…. my husband plays this song for me…the song that sealed the marriage deal lol…

    He plays it on the guitar… I only adore my Pisces man… I wouldn’t trade him for any other person or thing. I am in this to the end. I am the luckiest woman alive…and I don’t mean to brag but I gotta love….oh do I have a love. He is the best…after all these years he is my sweetheart. I thank god I looked up and noticed him still standing there waiting…

  10. (((scorpioandproud)))

    I’m glad to hear that you’re deeply in love now. I can’t wait until I have that.

    PS. I like Dave Matthews!

  11. This ‘men are’ list is long. Thanks Mom. That was certainly helpful as I was headed to divorce court more than once. I tolerated nothing. Thank goodness I got her voice out of my head. I am now married for years….no thanks to the programming….

    This is where I suspect I am…for the same reasons. I was taught that men were inferior thinkers.

  12. This reminds me of this book:

    Which is, in so many ways, a method of “programming” your child to think, learn, problem solve and to encourage their being competent, self-sufficient and to feel capable and secure in themselves.

    Most of it seems to involve saying: “Timmy, I’m sure you can do it, try another way” “Beth, what a good feeling that must be to get an A in class, aren’t you proud of yourself” etc. etc. etc.

    It strikes me that it can and does work for so many people – empathize with their emotions, encourage them to problem solve.

    And yes, I totally agree we’re programmed, or we’re habitual, or we have patterns. We can conciously RE-program ourselves by focusing on the good, problem solving, etc. etc.


  13. Ditto on marrying my high school sweetheart 18 years after we first got together. I was married 14 years to someone else in between, but he had not married until we got back together. There’s just something that feels like “home” between us, and we tend to grow more, see more, experience “aha” moments more together.

  14. Makes me think of girls who are body shamed, particularly in their formative years. No matter how lovely they are, they don’t believe it, leading to body dysmorphia, eating disorders, etc. I think this body shaming may be at least as prevalent as sexual harassment.

  15. Funny, I’m doing hypnotherapy right now! To try to undo all that. My Xmas treat to myself, to get a session, or a few.

  16. Absolutely !!.Through therapy I realized how I was systematically programmed by my sexual abuser as a child not to tell. It was not an OVERT do not tell but made aware in other ways. Religion along with fear was part of my staying with an abusive husband for way too many years. The word FORGIVENESS planted so much in my brain. Finally learned to forgive myself for not being able to forgive.

  17. Yes yes I am currently de-programming the the” stay ,shh,”and rejoicing in “ I am so happy
    To be here , at this spot in time!!”

  18. Avatar
    the laughing goat

    Great post, very thought provoking…

    “Your work is your worth.”

    “Never rely on anyone.”

    “Your not naturally pretty like she is.”

    Oh I thank The Divine that I no longer believe these untruths – Amen!

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