Our Unconscious Influences are our attitudes, biases, habitual thought and reactive patterns, and the inner beliefs that we unknowingly erected from past experiences, what we witnessed, and/or appropriated from others that are now part of our emotional makeup.

Our Unconscious Influences can have a

positive effect on our lives and perceptions, or a negative one,

And they act upon us without our consent.

If our Unconscious Influences are negative, they may cause us to misperceive things, others, or situations and trigger us to think and act in automatic, habitual, aggressive, or protective ways.

When our Unconscious Influences hold false perceptions, we develop needs to try to uphold them and strategies to defend them.  We project these onto others or different situations in many ways.

See below for the link to my companion post “Worksheet: Connecting the Dots …”

A Few Examples of how Our Unconscious Influences May Play Out

If our early life was characterized by an impoverished background and powerlessness, we may…

🔸Have constructed attitudes and belief systems to avoid being poor so that we do not feel disempowered in our in life. These may manifest as a strong need to be successful in life – no matter what … and

🔸Push everyone in our lives aside.

🔸We may align only with successful people or those we deem can help us get ahead.

🔸We may marry for money. Although many of us may have dreamt of marrying for money—after all having an easy lifestyle is very appealing, most of us don’t fall into that trap.


If a sense of victimization typified our early life experience as a result of having maybe, an abusive parent, we may …

?Have become controlling or overly aggressive to avoid being hurt or becoming a victim in life.

?When overly aggressive, we cause conflict in our relationships.

?If our innate character is quiet we may have internalized these earlier hurtful emotions and become passive-aggressive as a protective strategy. Further internalizing new hurts and pains, we become more disempowered in life.


This post is based in concepts in my books,

Your Journey to Peace  …, and Why We Are the Way We Are 

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Here’s a Personal Example

My mother was a 1950s housewife who was unhappy, distant, and morose. She alienated herself from life and didn’t find joy in anything.

Because my father was an aggressive, loud bully, she fell into a poor-me, passive, victim mentality. (She actually had many medical issues, including an unrelated thyroid all her life that affected her, but I didn’t know that when growing up. I was hurt by her being emotionally distant, and I hated her morose, poor-me attitudes.

So, when I married at nineteen and had my first child just as I turned twenty-three, I decided there was NO WAY I was going to be a meek housewife; I associated this with being weak and a victim of one’s circumstances. While that was a common viewpoint for my generation, I was also wary of any implication that would leave me seemingly vulnerable.

I went back to work shortly after my first son was born and subsequently resumed part-time studies as well. I tried to be a superwoman and do everything at once – like many of my generation.

However, in doing so, I lost opportunities to enjoy being a young mother—all to avoid following in my mother’s footsteps – instead of simply enjoying the benefits of marrying a decent man who worked hard to provide for his family.

I took every innuendo to mean that he was going to get ahead, leave me behind, and hold the power he would gain as he moved up the ladder to wield over me – just as my father had on my mother.

The truth was – I did not feel empowered. I did not know how to effectively ask for what I wanted, or that I even should.

Being brought up by a bullying parent that shushed me and whose beliefs proclaimed desires a sin caused me to think and act like what I wanted didn’t matter. I didn’t feel loved – or that I deserved being loved.

However, Spirit is strong within us so our desires do surface, but the conflict within me caused me to be ineffective at making many of them come about. My frustrations led me to also become a bully. I pushed against life, rather than appreciate and work with what was being offered to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I di enjoy many aspects of life. I did fun things. I took up dance, and I went out with my girlfriends.

My pushing allowed me to insist on what I wanted to do. I enjoyed my family life – except for when I pushed and bullied and no one heeded me.  I was always frustrated and angry, and could not find real joy in what I was doing because it always felt like pushing or taking.

What I didn’t realize – because I was never shown, is that

joy is not only an option, it is our raison d’etre.

Too much of the time I was caught up in fear and could not perceive my situation as it really was, and so I was incapable of being appreciative for what I did have. I lost opportunities to enjoy many of the good parts of life that were in front of me. Too often, I was unable to focus on the positive.

And not only could I rarely tap into pure joy—I didn’t even know at that time that joy was what we should be striving for in life.

Except for the beautiful and fun times with my children, I wasn’t able to truly experience joy—for the sake of joy!

My projection of past experiences onto my then-current life affected how I felt, my attitudes, how I behaved and responded to others, and therefore how my life played out – and my Unconscious Influences were at play big time and were running my life: I was often angry, frustrated, and blamed everyone else for my unhappiness.

Negative Unconscious Influences and  their Misperceptions and Projections

Negative Unconscious Influences bring misperceptions of past experiences into our interactions with others and situations.

Any echo of a past hurt can cause us to go into fear – fear that we might be lured into a  hurtful situation again. This creates a distorted reality of what is currently happening and causes our protective and defensive devices to go up.

Coming from this place of distorted reality, we also generate biases and judgments to uphold what we believe are truths—and necessary for us to feel safe and be who we think we need to be and what we think we need to do to be happy and feel in control of our lives. We create many how-it-should-bes to uphold these.

Even though our Unconscious Influences were created to protect us, any attitudes, reactions, or behaviors that are fear-based and result from misperceptions and the how-it-should-bes are still based on false realities. They come from our created Self—not from our True Self.

Our fear-based feeble attempts to get what we think

we need are ineffective in bringing what ultimately will make us happy.

When our negative Unconscious Influences play out, they distance us from our True Self and the power it holds – thwarting our ability to become our Best Self and able to take advantage of the sense of empowerment it holds for us.

This distancing creates further frustration and we thus become caught in a cycle of wanting and reaching, while our false perceptions and the limitations they create keep what we want beyond our grasp.

As we start to recognize the triggers of our Unconscious Influences and work to overcome them, we become more self-aware.  We start to realize how we may have been responding in inappropriate and unhelpful ways.

We are then able to clearly see what others are trying to impart to us and recognize situations for what they really are.

Once we gain this clarity of vision, we can respond appropriately to others and situations – without projecting echoes of the past that create conflict and confusion in our lives and relationships. We no longer see – or react to life from a distorted reality.

We can positively affect the quality of our life

by understanding the relationship between our perceptions of others and 

situations – and any projections we make based on misperceptions!

– Rosemary McCarthy©, Sept 24th, 2021, updated Feb 2022, Oct 2023.

My Companion Post: Worksheet: Connecting the Dots to My Inner – and Outer Reactions and their Root Cause

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Original copyright © Rosemary McCarthy Sept 24, 2021, updated Feb 2022 Oct 2023. All rights Reserved. To copy, share, or distribute this post simply ensure the content is copied in its entirety, is unaltered, and is distributed freely and for no monetary or personal gain, and that this copyright notice and the link for the article and the website: www.spiritedfawnpublications.com/ are included. You can contact me at:rosemary@yourjourneytopeace.comBlessings and thank you kindly. Rosemary.?