June 19, 2019

Life in the Gap (Part 3): Hell Hath No Fury Like an Ego Scorned

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a four-part series of job search and career transition articles. Parts one, two, and four are also online.

What we’re up against in the Gap is “ego.” By that, I mean what makes us who we are – the dynamic organizing principle that gives our lives psychic shape and physical expression, that creates and sustains who we are, what we do, and what we have.

Ego accounts for how we make decisions, our likes and dislikes, our areas of competence and ignorance. It draws reality into orbit around itself, defines what’s normal and what’s not, what’s safe and possible and predictable, and what isn’t.

Ego was formed when we were young, to make us feel safe in a scary world. It gives us our sense of self, creates boundaries that differentiate us from others. It’s the summation of the beliefs and behaviors that shapes our habitual experience of life.

Ego is why we resist change – even the change we want. Ego blocks new ideas not on their merits but as a matter of policy, because it has created – on a deep, subconscious level we’re probably not in touch with – beliefs that some things are possible for ourselves and some things aren’t. When we challenge those beliefs, they resist us, and until we root them out, they’re going to prevent us.

The Gap comes into existence when we dare to defy those beliefs by moving toward what we want. The Resistance we meet in the Gap is ego shuddering in the face of our passionate commitment to change. The bigger the change, the greater the threat, and the fiercer ego’s resistance. Ego began as a normal part of psychological and social development when we were kids. Now it turns on us. What was once our friend and teacher and bodyguard is now our Resistance.

Ego can’t create the new, but it can and will sabotage our efforts to do so. Either we break ego’s control over us or we go back where we came. The Gap is where we settle the issue.

And hell hath no fury like an ego scorned.

[to be continued]

Kevin Rhodes left a successful 20+ years career in private practice to pursue a creative dream. Now, he writes screenplays and nonfiction and leads workshops on change for a variety of groups, including the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. His latest workshop, Work With Passion: Find Your Fire and Fuel It!, was held January 10, 2012. Watch for a follow-up program this spring.
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  1. Hi Kevin,
    Nothing like adversity and change to make us more introspective – not a bad thing I think. I think your Gap is just the uncertainty of our lives – all of our lives, even if we’re not accustomed to paying attention to the uncertainty. Therein lies a big chunk of the pain. Ego is the coping mechanism, the reaction to that uncertainty. It is part of who we are but limits us unnecessarily. It is the ego’s beliefs we are defying, but ego, like mind, is only a tool. It is not consciousness. Keep up the great questions and comments!

  2. Kevin Rhodes says:

    Thanks for your wonderful comments, Barb! Yes, yes, and yes! Kevin


  1. […] This is the first in a four-part series of job search and career transition articles. Part two and part three are also […]

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