What makes change so difficult?
Things that are learned early in life are the hardest to change or unlearn. Early conceptions of the world, even if lost to consciousness, remain a part of our memory and may influence our behaviors in some very interesting ways.
Children attempt to explain and make sense of their world in terms of their experience. By the very nature of their limited number of years, their experience is not very wide or deep. Their interpretations of the world, why things happen, is extremely limited and often very inaccurate. Nevertheless, these early interpretations are often the groundwork upon which later, more accurate and sophisticated explanations are based.
Exposed to poor or destructive parenting, a child is likely to explain the mistreatment as being deserved due to some lack, deficit or badness within him/herself. In other words, if someone has to be the bad or undeserving, the child is inclined to take the negative self-view on him/herself. In this way a child protects his parents; they are kept perfect. It is not that the child has bad parents; instead he or she becomes the bad child who gets just what he or she deserves.
People seem to have a need to repeat unrewarding situations in the present that are remarkably similar to unhappy situations and relationships that occurred in their childhood. It is as if they are trying, over an over again, to recreate a painful experience from childhood, but, this time, have it work out better. The attempt is to undo a painful history by redoing it successfully in the present.
While one part of the personality seems to be actively engaged in trying to redo the past in a more favorable or successful manner, another part seems determined to make sure that the present turns out exactly the same as the past. This is certainly a more difficult motive to understand since it seems designed to continue a painful, frustrating, even self-defeating situation.
Who we are, our sense of self is a product of all the experiences that have impinged upon us. Every time we say "I am good at writing, " or "I can 't play tennis, " or "I am not very good at arithmetic, " or "Athletics are really my great strength " we are making a statement about some aspect or ourself, our identity.