Updated: Sep 9
Feeling confused can have four reasons, but before describing them, I want to highlight the importance of reading the introductory blog The Methodology of Healing from
Negative Emotions. If this is the first post you see, please hit that link before continuing here. It gives essential information for the reader to make sense of the theory of
healing from feelings described in this series. If you read it before and
remember the methodology, please skip it.
Feeling confused can simply mean you don't understand something. But, as you know from my blog, we also use emotions for a purpose.
The purpose of feeling confused from an Adlerian perspective.
Confusion can be used to show a lack of understanding.
While working with internationals in Zurich, I've come to question the Culture Shock theory and created my own hypostesis named Cultural Grief. I learned that during the integration phase, many expatriates had difficulties understanding the Swiss culture. The time between moving to a new country and feeling at home there can be emotionally difficult. I encouraged my clients not to push themselves too far out of their comfort zone with socializing to avoid feeling alone. Because when we are not truly ready to do something but still do it because we feel we should be ready, we ignore our momentary capacities. Consequently, we can become very defensive and adverse; in that state, we don't have the space to embrace information objectively and therefore refuse to understand.
To show a lack of understanding is probably something each of us has experienced when a person we dislike is attempting to convey information. Generally speaking, we don't hear properly when we are not open to listening.
Confusion can be used to avoid an expectation.
It's a manipulative means to discourage the other just to avoid the task. You can repeat the message, but the other would again respond with, "I'm still confused." You could feel exasperated and give up. The other avoided the task by defeating you.
Confusion as a mobbing strategy:
In some extreme manipulative cases, confusion can be used to undermine someone's place in a group. For example, in a work environment, confusion is sometimes the beginning stage of mobbing. The initiator of mobbing (person A) can start the dynamics by showing confusion here and there towards what person B is saying. Person A would then pull others into their intention to isolate person B by creating subtle gossip about person B' way of expression. The door for the next stages of separating person B opens if others get influenced and engage in gossip. A next step could, for example, be to question B's competence or isolate them through racism or discrimination.
Suppose others don't engage or even stand up for person B. In that case, A uses the excuse of simply not understanding B well to sweep the intention under the carpet and to avoid getting caught in their plan so they don't become the persona non grata.
Confusion can have the purpose of avoiding a decision.
I believe we all have faced difficult decisions and feared letting one of the options go. Sometimes, it takes time until we are ready to deal with the consequences of our final decision. When we are ready for it, the decision feels right.
But, chronic confusion impacts our emotional well-being, cognitive functioning, and independence. It's disempowering; sooner or later, either life or the others will decide for them.
Confusion and self-confidence are correlated.
When working with clients, I take the strategy of helping them remember past events where they made decisions that turned out well. I work with the power of encouragement to build confidence in their decision-making abilities.
Very often, the use of confusion originates from times when everything was perceived to go wrong, and the person may still somehow be in an unaware state of slight shock.
These are also people who have difficulties in tuning in to their intuition.
The strategy I learned for myself works very well, and I see it working for all clients too.
Exercise to end confusion with your intuition:
Find a quiet place, turn off the devices, and make sure you have 15 minutes of uninterrupted time for yourself and a glass of water near you.
Set the intention to listen to your intuition.
Sit comfortably and imagine decision 1. Imagine all you can and as vividly as you can. See yourself, what you do, how you do things, the surroundings, senses, vibes, the situation, and stay in that imaginative state for a few minutes. While there, sense how you feel without judgment.
Come out of the imagination and let it all go. Drink some sips of water, and take some deep breaths. Stand up quickly and sit again comfortably to imagine decision 2.
Repeat imagining all you can and as vividly as you can. And at the end, sense how you feel without judgment.
Now that you have two scenarios, you can choose the one that feels better. It's the right one.
Set the intention to trust your gut feeling.
If the need to dwell arises, acknowledge it and repeat to yourself that you want to go with the decision that felt right.
This exercise also works very well for people with difficulty in saying no. They have said yes so often that they lost touch with their own needs.
I hope this helped.
The last post of The Methodology of Dealing with Negative Emotions is why
My best wishes,