When I asked Kelli what she thought she wanted to do about Greg, she looked startled and exclaimed, "I have no idea!" Kelli was unsure about her feelings and interests regarding her new beau and, we discovered, had asked everybody what she should do … except herself! Kelli and I agreed that the real problem was less 'what to do about Greg,' than understanding why she seemed unable (or even unwilling) to figure this out for herself.
Kelli, like so many individuals struggling to make important life-decisions, did not have much faith in her ability to make sound, reliable choices and decisions, especially of a personal nature. Raised by parents who valued obedience, compliance, and passivity, rather than independence, autonomy, and assertiveness, Kelli was criticized, often mercilessly, and developed into a person who magnified her own limitations and believed herself to be inferior to others. Procrastination, indecisiveness, and self-doubt are common consequences of an emotional climate like the one Kelli grew up in.