In this post, we cover everything you need to know about Secondary gains & the “benefits” they give people for NOT overcoming a problem.
What is a secondary gain?
A secondary gain is something that someone stands to lose if they no longer suffer from their problem.
Alice Boyes in her recent book “The Anxiety Toolkit” explains secondary gains as the benefits an individual gets from not rising to a particular challenge or an advantage one gains for failing to overcome a problem.
A secondary gain creates a comfort zone for the person involved.
A secondary gain keeps you from facing your challenges and solving your problems.
Do you know what that means?
It means you remain stuck in your current state.
Given that progress in life gives you a sense of achievement and happiness you don’t get to enjoy all that.
Any idea what the worst part of it all is?
The unfortunate consequence of a secondary gain is that the person involved is not even consciously aware that they are experiencing it.
What situations might someone experience secondary gains?
When an individual uses depression as an explanation as to why they cannot do something their partner wants, while they most likely wouldn’t do it or would find difficulty in doing it even if they were not undergoing depression.
Their partner withdraws when the individual cites depression as the reason for their actions or behaviour.
Attributing their problems or behaviour reinforces depression.
When you are scared of letting people into your life and being close to them.
You, therefore, push them away acting protective. Consequently, they withdraw from you.
Acting protective is therefore reinforced.
When you find the pressure of your work and achieving is so overwhelming, you tend to be scared of recovering fast and returning to work to meet the imposed high expectations.
Staying sick seems to be the better option for you, it is therefore reinforced.
The above are examples of secondary gains one might be holding.
So, what do you need to know about “secondary gains.”?
The secondary gain trap status is not a shameful condition.
It is a behavioural mechanism that almost everyone has remained caught up in at some point in their life.
It is therefore not a reflection of one’s personality.
Secondary gain only means that there are advantages attached to a problem one is facing.
It does not mean that the involved party is enjoying the problem or the challenge they are facing is positive
Secondary gain does not mean that a person is faking.
Secondary gains tend to fuel feuds between parties, workmates, friends and loved ones especially when either side does not understand the concept.
Why do you need to understand Secondary gain?
- Secondary gain traps all parties that are involved
- You get to learn alternative coping strategies rather than remaining stuck
- As mentioned secondary gain traps all involved parties, By learning how to deal with being stuck other parties become less vulnerable while you gain self-respect
- The involved parties get to understand that one is only stuck, they are not faking or trying to be manipulative
Therapy will always come in handy to ensure you can deal with the challenges associated with secondary gains!
How do you conduct a psychological challenge on yourself? (DIY)
Identify a persistent problem or challenge, evaluate whether your response to the challenge matches that of a reasonable person.
How would a completely reasonable person solve the problem or address the challenge?
Are there any advantages you are getting from staying stuck?
These could be in the form of; diminished expectations and reduced commitments.
Move out of your comfort zone to solve your problems because happiness in life comes from progressing, advancing and getting better.