The Emotional Trap Door

Our emotions are a bellwether of what is going on subconsciously in our minds.

Mar 4th, 2019

Israel Ellis Headshot

Israel Ellis

The Emotional Trap Door

4 minute Read

Our emotions are a bellwether of what is going on subconsciously in our minds. They affect how we see things or interact with other people. They can also have a physiological effect on us; for example in a negative situation, our emotional state may manifest in physical reactions such as heat rising in our chest, sweating, etc.

Negative emotions can leave us feeling angry, upset, sad, etc., whilst positive emotions can leave us feeling high and happy – like maybe doing a “singing in the rain” number with Gene Kelly.

Of course, most of us would prefer to feel positive emotions all day long. When we are feeling positive, we are likely in an intuitively healthy place where we are making decisions that bode well for us and attracting relationships that are good for us. But this is not always the case. Sometimes negative emotions can overtake us with or without cause.

Negative emotions “with cause” are those that occur as a result of a negative event, such as an act by another person that you perceive as directed against you, that in turn spurs an emotional defensive response. The impetus can be something as minor as someone stealing a parking space from you or something more serious like being victimized in an abusive interaction. The result is a feeling of disempowerment that leaves you feeling reactive.

Negative emotions “without cause” do not arise as a result of anything in particular.

“I am feeling sad for no apparent reason.”

I am not talking about clinical depression here, but rather being overcome with negative feelings of anger, sadness, etc., that color how you see the world at that moment and thereby affect your intuitive health.

Our emotions are a byproduct of what is going on within the hidden cortex of our minds. They are our subconscious motivators coming out in a conscious form – our feelings. In Moving Through Walls (MTW) I often refer back to Bergler’s notion of taking pleasure in pain and how this creates a subconscious-to-conscious response to the inputs in everyday life (MTW page 8). How much we are influenced by these psycho-masochistic tendencies, which are the result of deeply buried feelings that come from developmental needs not being properly met or trauma experienced, may vary from mild to extreme. I am not going to get into how we go about uncovering those specific needs or traumas – that is a topic for another day. But I will give you a simple antidote to confront and change negative emotional responses – because, as I said before, most of us would prefer to be in a positive space.

Practical Tools:

The most powerful thing you can do, especially when in a negative emotional state “with cause,” is,

MTW Practice Alert:

Consciously depersonalize the situation. Openly recognize that what is happening is not about you.

This is part of the forgiveness process I talk about in MTW’s chapter five. Once you remove you from the situation, you can take back your power and get back into control.

When you are dealing with a negative emotional state that is “without cause,” practice an immediate prayer of gratefulness (MTW, Chapter 4: Visualize Your Future, page 71).

MTW Practice Alert:

Announce out loud the people and things in your life that you are grateful for. Spend a few minutes recounting the details of what you are grateful for in your life, even the challenges you face.

I assure you that when you speak out loud about your blessings, whatever dark cloud you are under will start to lift and you will see the road in front with more clarity and positivity.

One lasting tool that you can use to counteract negative emotions is to be accountable for your subconscious motivators. You do not need to spend time and energy uncovering the details of what motivates you to access this most powerful psychotherapeutic practice.

MTW Practice Alert:

Take responsibility: admit to yourself that you enjoy these negative emotional feelings as they serve some inner injustice-collecting need you have.

I don’t know why I take pleasure in these emotions, but they are my emotions and I am feeling this way so I must be taking pleasure in them.

By observing this practice you will immediately experience bringing forward, consciously, that you are acting in a way that seems counter-intuitive to your survival and growth. It certainly does not make sense that you would take pleasure in doing something that causes you pain. And I can, therefore, understand if you have a knee-jerk reaction to this idea. But that is just the point. You are confronting something within you that is hidden and by taking responsibility for it you will immediately disarm the cause behind the negative emotions you are feeling.

You can be your greatest self all the time and move through any wall! Thank you for making me a part of your journey. Let me know how it’s coming along.


In Moving Through Walls I have narrowed the answers to four foundational principles. These ideas are tools to achieve the life you want to live. Embrace them and make them your own.

– Israel Ellis


I wrote Moving Through Walls out of a purpose to share what I have learned.

If you have a deep desire to find that road less travelled to your greatest self. Then you have likely come to the right place.

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derive pleasure from the anxieties and unhappiness we experience, and that is why we keep putting ourselves in situations and behaving in ways that cause us pain, continually feeding a destructive cycle of our own making. In plain English, we derive unconscious (emotional) pleasure from our own pain...

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