Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Demand Sensitivity and Demand Resistance

Demand Resistance - Is It Hurting Your Business?

by Mitch Meyerson

Over the last twenty years, I have seen many forms of self-sabotage. The following psychological concept is one of the more common, yet least identified patterns that holds people back from success.

Simply put, demand-resistance is a chronic negative response to obligations or expectations. It is almost always unconscious.

Here are some common examples:

  • You make daily lists of things to do, which you seldom complete.
  • Your stomach tightens when an "authority figure" makes a request of you.
  • Your spouse won't take out the garbage when you ask, but will on their own terms.
  • When someone says you "should" do something, you feel tense or uncomfortable.
  • Your coach suggests an "assignment" to complete one of your goals. Even though you want to accomplish the task, you unconsciously resist because you feel controlled.

Does this sound familiar for you or someone you know? If so, this probably is because you are "reactive" to being told what to do.

Ironically, when we resist requests from others we are usually the only one to suffer. For example, if you don't follow through an assignment from your boss, you may "win the battle" (not feeling controlled) but "lose the war (your job promotion). Still, you resent doing it and often are compelled to resist.

Controlling parents and teachers foster demand-resistance: “Take out the dog, now" "Clean your room.” “Didn’t you hear me? "Don't you listen!”


Demand resistance has its positives. By withholding what another requests of you, you assert your power. Others may stop making the demands and do things for you. You can also avoid doing things you’re afraid to do on principle, and avoid coming face to face with possible failure. In addition, you avoid having to engage in more active types of conflict, such as bluntly saying, “No, I won’t do it.”

“My sister’s like that!” one client told me. “When my mother issues orders like a commandant, I argue with her. My sister just says, “Sure, Mom. Okay, Mom.” But she never does what she promises and it doesn’t bother her.”


The costs of demand-resistance can be tremendous however. You may find yourself setting goals for business development and then sabotaging them, or making demands of yourself and resisting them. You get angry at yourself, but you can’t break the pattern.

You frustrate others and often sabotage personal and business relationships. Even activities you enjoy such as playing tennis or taking a class in jewelry making must be performed outstandingly or given up completely.

There is a solution. The more sure you are of yourself, the more you work on building a strong sense of who you are, the less you’ll feel vulnerable to being overrun by others or need to resist your goals just to prove a point.

Are You Demand-Resistant?

Count the statements that apply to you.

  • When you were younger did you procrastinate or “resist” finishing homework assignments at school?
  • Did your parents constantly tell you what to do and how to do it?
  • When someone asks you to do something, do you feel tense or resentful?
  • Do you have trouble with authority figures?
  • Do you have difficulty finishing tasks that are asked of you?
  • Do you make a to-do list and then never look at it the next day?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, there is an excellent chance that you have aspects of demand resistance.

Understand that you may habitually perceive tasks as demands. It is important to realize that your resistance places you in a reactive rather than proactive position with life.


looking for resources on coping with 'Demand Resistance'

I've found the concept of Demand Resistance very intriguing. A light seems to have gone off in my head regarding how I might start my recovery process from procrastination and compulsive task avoidance through recognising and overcoming D.R.. I'm looking for resources to find out more about how to recover from this. 


1. The hyperlink to the source article by Mitch Meyerson in the title above links to the website which seems to no longer exist. So in case it helps I have found the last know archive duplicate of this webpage here: 

I've also found another article with further info on D.R. - "Getting the Results You Want" by Mitch Meyerson and Laurie Ashner - on the P.A. website here:


2. Meyerson and Ashner have also written the books "When Parents Love Too Much", followed by "When is Enough Enough?" /

Meyerson subseqently wrote "Six Keys to Creating the Life You Desire" & 

(Philosopher Stefan Molyneux makes an interesting podcast connected to the themes of this book here:

It seems the latter two books may look at D.R. in more detail, so I wonder if anyone has read either and might be happy to post a review on the P.A. website?


3. Looking at the comments below on D.R. there is reference to this book by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeannette DeWyze:

Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control  &


Plus I have also come across another website responding to this book and describing D.R. 


I plan to read "Too Perfect" once I've read "The Procrastination Equation" which is another real eye opener! Knowledge and awareness seem to be helping me to reclaim my power ...


The War of Art and Demand Resistance

I've finished reading The Procrastination Equation which has been an absolutely amazing read, and is really helping me get a handle on my compulsive task avoidance and my demand resistance. It seems to have something to do with my pleasure seeking\ pain avoiding brain system 1 the limbic system, and my executive function brain system 2 the pre-frontal cortex which evolved later which seems to be more easily veto-ed by the more primitive brain system 1. I still have crazy procrastination emotional shut downs or avoidance time binges but anyhow I guess knowledge is power. I've order a second P.A. recommended book Too Perfect which I'm still waiting to arrive to find out more about Demand Resistance. 

A friend also recommended The War of Art, which I've just received. I hadn't realised this is a third P.A. recommended book. It's another look at demand resistance that the author calls Resistance, and it is another fascinating read. 

So much food for thought, and then figuring out what works for me and then to implement these techniques. T.P.E. seems to be more scientific and evidence based & I would agree overall the best book on procrastination with its scope; T.P. more looking at emotions and based on psychiatry; and T.A.O.W. more artistic and creativity based look at blockages. Each book tickles a different and equally valid part of me in my quest to recover from my chronic procrastinaton addiction. I am so grateful to P.A., the tools, and the wisdom literature that I have learned about on the website. 


Thank you Jack

Many thanks for posting the results to your Demand Resistance search.  I only came to this concept a couple of weeks ago when I signed up for this site, and it makes so much sense to me.   I shall follow your links now



Solution for demand resistance

Like many others here, I didn't know it was called demand resistance. 

I have over-controlling parents, a big understatement (my blog is full of my rants about them.. lol). And I definitely suffer from demand resistance.

Maybe it isn't really obvious when others tell me what to do. But it IS very obvious when my mother tells me what to do. I get really pissed off. End up arguing and not doing it. And like many of you have said here, it is about control. Usually, it would be stuff that I would have done. Well... at least most of the time. 

I do create lists all the time.. But very rarely complete it. So, I guess I've been sabotaging myself as well.  

Around 6 months back, I asked someone to help me. This was someone I really liked and trusted a lot. And he trusted me back. I asked him to hold me accountable. He would give me the list of stuff I needed to get done and at the end of the day, I'd tell him what I had done. He never asked me whether I completed stuff and I really loved that. I always always give him an honest response and he never doubts what I say (unlike my mom who sneaks around my back and checks my notes and stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if she has hooked up cameras to monitor me). I used to get a lot done because I wanted to please him. At the end of the day I was pleased with myself because even though I started out doing it for him, I did do it myself. I made a lot of progress. Eventually, we shifted it to a standing instruction.. lol. And I only told him if I didn't do stuff. The need had passed (i.e. my exam was over and I passed that one.. lol), so we stopped doing it. And he got really really busy with his family. 

But THAT, that really worked for me. It was awesome. It was like I was a whole other person. So now I know I can do it. 

That's why I'm searching for an accountability partner.

I know I can't always depend on someone but it's just hard to do alone. If anyone else knows any good solutions for demand resistance that have actually worked please do let me know.  

Different manifestations?

I've recognised the problem of demand resistance before in myself, although I never had a name for it.

I have a question though:

I manifest frustration and anger when feeling pushed over a task I am procrastinating over - someone can quite innocently and reasonably enquire how a job is progressing and I will boil instantly into fury directed very directly at that person (although I generally keep it behind gritted teeth until I can go outside and punch a wall or other unfortunate inanimate object that can't tell tales on me)

Also, at the point of making a decision to procrastinate (e.g. picking up that brown envelope that came through my letterbox and casting it to the side where it will sit unopened until it gets thrown out some weeks/months later) I very often don't simply throw the task down casually, but I will justify it as my punishment to the universal forces that are trying to oppress me with these mundane tasks. Sounds utterly ludicrous as I write this, but at the moment of doing it, it feels 100% rational to 'punish the universe' by not opening a letter, or to punish the person who had the temerity to ask me a question by ditching the very thing they asked me about

My problem is that in that moment - that flash of anger beats any objectivity or rationality and if anyone else suffers from this, if there is any effective coping mechanism to move away from this mindset?  

re: Demand Resistance & Demand Sensitivity

Overcoming Demand Sensitivity:

I recognize that my overblown resentment is usually a habitual response, based on some old hurt that is no longer relevant, but I still reflexively transfer the resentment onto a task.

When I remember this ... then some of my resentment and oversensitivity begins to ebb.

Overcoming Demand Resistance:

I find that if I say "I have to" or "I must" or "I should" or "I ought to", I feel resistant.

And I find that I have a hard time trying to affirm that "I want to" do a task -- if I don't want to do it.

But when I say "I choose to do this task", I feel empowered somehow, and the resistance begins to melt.

Thank you, movingalong

I would like to thank you, movingalong, for making this post. It is short but to the point, and the conclusions you have drawn here are really helpful to me. 

The word "choose" is really key here.


"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." (Anais Nin)

This is it

Finally, I have found out what's wrong with me thanks to this site. I have NEVER heard of demand resistance!

And yes, I grew up with not one, but TWO very controlling parents. One controlled the money and made lots of it, and both controlled health and diets in the household to an extreme. My entire adult life has been a disaster of numerous compulsions that have caused me to avoid, procrastinate, underearn, clutter and debt! 

I am going to try the "microburst" solution since my endless lists of things-to-do don't actually work. Though I found a lot of success yesterday just doing a check-in and crossing off each item I completed. Yesterday was so productive that I gained TOO MUCH ENERGY and couldn't sleep (was I time-binging?) and now today went to hell and it's 3 in the afternoon and I have basically done nothing except a UA meeting. 

I am a compulsive demand-resister. I'm an addict. It's time to accept this fact. I have my Higher Power and my 12-step programs to help me. Thanks. 

p.s. Vent

It really upsets me and I have huge resentment towards my parents for their abysmal method of raising me that has caused me to be a complete screw-up in life!!!! I have so many gifts, skills and talents -- if not for them, I could have been a great success as an adult! Instead, I have to wade through 12-step group after group and deal with this crap (now known as "demand resistance") for the rest of my life. They get to enjoy healthy, wealthy lives with each other, while I spend my 40s alone and isolated and chronically avoiding people, places, things and underearning. Where's the justice? I know I should be over this by now and I thought I was, but when you realize the source of the problem it is really disheartening. I feel like my life was STOLEN from me by two well-meaning but extremely controlling & overprotective people!!!! ::sick:: ::barf:: ::jawdrop::

Yep, this is me

Yep, this totally applies to me, but what can be done about it?

I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall every time this comes up and I can't do anything about it.

How did you guys deal with this?

re: demand resistance marcreed

i like how you said "deal" with this. Because for 25 years i tried to "fix" it, once and for all. I become sad when i think about all those years. all those failures. What i have come to believe is that i am powerless. We read in the 12step phone meeting today that the normal human process of learning from mistakes, like the stove it hot so dont touch it, is broken in us addicts. We go ahead and touch the stove again.

This step ( admitting my powerlessness ) for me is good and bad. it's good, because i have stopped the cycle of trying to fix myself, and failing, and feeling the guilt and shame.

It's bad, however, because it basically means i'm set up for a life of *managing* this disease.

Here is the huge night-and-day change for me:

Before: i can't get myself to do something. I fail. I wonder and fret why. I do internet searches about it. I read a book about it. I try a new program. I promise myself, THIS time i will kick this habit. I fail again.

Now: when i feel demand resistance, i say: this is who i am. This is my life. I have to work thru this.

The absence of the guilt-shame cycle is such a weight off my shoulders. And with my new approach of "getting thru" the feeling, rather than *removing* it or *curing* it works mabye 70% of the time. Meaning i get the thing done.

So, for me that's huge progress.

But it is not yet 100% or even 90%. Nor does it deliver on one of the "promises' of this program, that eventually it will become easy.

So, please DO share your thoughts, now and as they evolve and as you figure this out for yourself. I'm sure i and others will benefit from your experience.

the touch of the master's hand:

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb


Thank you for this post.

Thank you for this post.  It has helped get some peace of mind tonight.  This is my first day, night, in PA, on such a forum, writing on something I don't understand, and am at a loss.

I heard a radio programme yesterday about procrastination and went online staright away to find out more, because my life is on stuck and won't get better unless I DO something and seek help.

Yours post about just saying this is who I am made be breathe out and release tension that I didn't know I was holding onto. So much fear, confusion as to where the hell am I going next.?  What to do?  Where to start looking for work that I have been doing for 23 years.??  And how can this writing in such a thing as this work??  But I am willing to give it a go.  I read that there are 12 step meetings online here on the weekends.  I need one.  

I hope since May when you wrote this that things have improved for you and life is better a day at a time.

Best wishes


Thank you for this post.

Thank you for this post.  It has helped get some peace of mind tonight.  This is my first day, night, in PA, on such a forum, writing on something I don't understand, and am at a loss.

I heard a radio programme yesterday about procrastination and went online staright away to find out more, because my life is on stuck and won't get better unless I DO something and seek help.

Yours post about just saying this is who I am made be breathe out and release tension that I didn't know I was holding onto. So much fear, confusion as to where the hell am I going next.?  What to do?  Where to start looking for work that I have been doing for 23 years.??  And how can this writing in such a thing as this work??  But I am willing to give it a go.  I read that there are 12 step meetings online here on the weekends.  I need one.  

I hope since May when you wrote this that things have improved for you and life is better a day at a time.

Best wishes


i guess i resisted early on

i have controlling parents... growing up i didnt actually know i had one since you know... i believed that's just how every family works. but back then i already did stuffs like those above. i didnt immediately do what they wanted, instead i felt i needed to resist...then when they think i wouldnt do it anymore then that was the time i did it. my earliest memory i'd estimate at around 6-8.

its hurting me now in the workplace... procrastination...once i have been asked what to do i stagnate, i didnt lose the job by being fired. i lost it because i quit. even now at job hunting im starting to worry freak which i shouldn't. i can do it, but i seem to lose my confidence with these things. 

This looks like an

This looks like an interesting topic. Demand-resistance sounds a lot like my problem. Will need to read more about it.
The article does not seem to offer any solutions unfortunately. :/

I now have a point of reference!!! YAY!!!

I grew up in a very abusive "christian" home, I figured out at 10yrs old how to somewhat take care of myself with a paper route that kept me away from home when not at school and gave me $ to fill in needs.  As a teen I was highly rebelious, again avoiding my homelife and making my own way, making sure I was safe and taken care of.  Fast forward many years, I have a wonderful family and an amazing husband.  Me and the Big Man Upstairs have reconciled as what happened was not His doing.  BUT... My husband is a happily self proclaimed spoiler, what woman wouldn't want that?  LOL!  I find I get a rebelious streak whenever anything is "required" of me now.  My business(es) have failed for poor upkeep (self employed seemed best since I didn't like having a boss), my marriage has suffered because of the financial ramifications also but I could never figure out what happened between being a self-made young girl and then woman too PATHETIC and unable to do the tiniest task without panic attacks.  I have aversion medicines and "therapy" as I want to fix me all by myself.   I've recognized my own self-sabbotage, and see it in my teen son as well....Good Lord, help me! 

 I have taken great steps to NOT be like my mother and try to accept her and her beliefs with a grain of salt.  Now, I must take greater steps to make sure I break this cycle before my kids are sucked into self sabatoge too!  My handsome, smart, funny, 15yr old son has been removed from his swim team 2yrs now for not making academic requirements.  He starts out with A/B and then as soon as he has success (several 1st places) it all comes crashing down.  It's a cycle I know, I just didn't hit it this young.....or maybe I didn't have anyone that noticed this young....That's more like it probably.

I feel as if I have a chance to fight it when I can put my finger on the broken down bridge between the tenacious child who wanted the WHOLE WORLD and the grown woman that just wants to disappear. 

Thank you for the point of reference for battling this demon. 

This is exactly me. ahh i

This is exactly me. ahh i make lists constantly because they temporarily give me some peace. but i hate it. i can't stop. is there something i can do that will just make me do what i need to do? is there something that can just get me through like 1 month? thats all i need. should i get someone to watch me do my work? like look over my shoulder constantly? does that work?

Welcome whatever!

Start by posting your intentions in the daily check in forum, and then update with your progress throughout the day.  It really helps!  


"The world is my classroom, each day is a new lesson, and every person I meet is my teacher" - Craig Harper

Demand resistance

Here is an interesting youtube video that relates to the origins of the demand resistance dynamic. I don't know anything about this guy,but what he's talking about struck a chord with me.

Holy crap, thanks for that

Holy crap, thanks for that video - explained so much. My parent's really are idiots :(


I give more time to the most unimportant things than I ever do to the things that are most important. I am broken, find me some glue.


this makes sense, oh, so much sense....Thank you for posting it!!

Nothing is worth more than this day  - Goethe

Demand Resistance Awareness

After reading this article and the comments, it has become abundantly clear how driven I am by Demand Resistance.  For a long time, I've wondered why I resist my own goals.  I set them and then rebell against them!   After reading this information, I realized (duh-h-h) that I turn my 'wants' into 'shoulds'.

I've never done well with authority figures, especially in employment situations.  I haven't worked for anyone else for years because of this.

I'm not sure how to proceed from this awareness, other than through acceptance and a continuing awareness of when my Demand Resistance is active so that I can switch to the question "What do I want?"


demand resistance

Karen, thank you for bringing this up to the top of the forum again. I needed to be reminded of the ways I undermine myself by acting this way. Like Pro, I am demand resistant about taking or refilling the medicine I need to make me feel good, making doctor's appointments, even eating or showering if I don't get up first thing in the morning. The I should makes these things almost... dangerous to do, so I avoid them like an ostrich with her head in the sand. I do this with cooking dinner: I know it is the most important thing I do for my family when I get home, but I will go do anything else until I can't avoid it anymore.

"What do I want?" solves this issue, because I want a healthy body, a happy family, a peaceful homelife. I NEED, no WANT, to remind myself of this each day.

write out the reasons - very helpful!

I'm reading a book on another topic that has a strategy that think would work well here, too. Take an index card, and write down all the reasons you want to do the things you're procrastinating on - want to. Not why you have to do them or why you should do them, but the benefits you'd get in your life if you did them - why you want to do them. Then carry the index card with you, and read it at least twice a day.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

I like this, pro. Thank you.

I like this, pro. Thank you.

more office supplies for e

Great idea!

One thing that helps me

Demand-resistance is a huge issue of mine. I do tend to automatically convert things to "shoulds". It's as though as soon as I become aware that it might be useful to do x thing, I feel I "should" do it and then I take it a step further and feel I should have already done it! Ugh! Trying to be conscious of the shoulds and change them to "I want to" or "I choose to" has been helpful (and requires a fair amount of mental effort and awareness).

Another thing I've found helpful with demand-resistance to writing (arguably my biggest problem) came after I "remembered" (I never really forgot, just didn't think about it in this context) that when I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. But years ago, I pretty much stopped doing any kind of writing for myself, for pleasure, etc. (I also pretty much stopped reading outside of work, except for self-help books.) A few months ago, I decided to start writing in a journal daily (and reading too). When I do this, I find that my demand-resistance to writing for work, and to some extent to other things too, is greatly decreased (though I may procrastinate for other reasons). When I don't do the journal writing, I really really resent writing for work.

Demand resistance and delayed gratification

One thing I often find with the demand resistance issue is that when I ask myself what I want to do, I'm conflicted between two (or more) things and can't seem to decide what to focus on. The things are often ones with long-term benefit and short-term "pain" versus things with short-term "benefit" (usually of an empty variety--e.g., eating junk food or surfing the net) and long-term pain. Or that I can't think of anything I really want to do. Not that I want to just sit there and do nothing (perish the thought ;-) ). But just that nothing seems particularly appealing in the moment. Or, more frequently, the things that do seem appealing are unrealistic (though perhaps not impossible). Like I'd like to take a long trip. Right now. Pack up myself and the car and go. Only problem is I'm out of $ and I have a ton of work to do and a bunch of other obligations. And neither the work nor the other obligations seem at all appealing.

And when it's the long-term/short-term benefit/pain issue, I always know pretty easily which one I "should" do, but then I'm right back to demand-resistance because of the should. So how to get myself to "want" the short-term pain/long-term benefit more than the short-term benefit/long-term pain? Or to act on that want more than the other? I dunno.

A funny insight

In reading some of pro's synopses of the work by Mallinger, I happened to catch the name out of the corner of my eye and it looked like Mal-linger (as in malingering--an old-fashioned term for procrastination!) The poor guy was destined to work in this field!

you pointed me to it

You were the one who first mentioned the term "demand resistance" and posted the link to that article. I will always be grateful for that. I finally know what's wrong with me - it's tormented me my whole life. This knowledge and the suggestions from Mallinger are helping me to turn the corner on my worst life problem.


This is the value of groups. I am so grateful that you started this group.

dangerous Demand Resistance

I need to go sit quietly and think, as 1Focus just pointed out to me, but I wanted to post about this one thing while it was on my mind (and before I forget)...

Mallinger talks about how obsessives often resist taking medication because of the lack of control it implies. I'm totally there. I have a chronic, autoimmune problem and I'm supposed to take 9 pills a day (3 pills, 3 times a day), and historically I simply haven't done it, though my doctor has warned me repeatedly that not taking the pills increases my risk of cancer. Lately I've been taking them because I've had a flare (that's my pattern - take them when I'm flaring and then stop), but I want to keep taking them though the flare is now subsiding. That's why I put pills on my to-do list each day - so I don't conveniently forget.

I realized this same "medication resistance" is operating in another way. I make a medicinal protein shake that has special ingredients that help with my problem. It's very tasty and full of nutrition. When I'm extremely sick, it's all I can eat. It also has the advantage of being low calorie, and beats the hell out of SlimFast as a meal replacement. When I come back from the gym and I'm hungry, one of these shakes is a very good idea. It's liquid so it hydrates me, and it contains both fruit juice (sugar) and protein to rebuild tired muscles.

But I resist doing this because it's medicinal and I don't like taking medicine. That's nuts! Just thought I'd mention this. ;)

to stop procrastinating forever...

I'm very acutely aware of my Demand Resistance around the things that I feel I "must" do today - pay credit card bills (or pay late charges), answer customer email, etc. Literally the only reason I don't want to do these things is I feel I "must" do them. Mallinger says it's very important to become aware of when you are experiencing this, in the moment.

I'm trying to take Mallinger's suggestion and think about how actually I want to do these things, because I want the positive consequences of doing them, and want to avoid the negative consequences. Right now I'm in a mode of never wanting to do anything that has external demands associated with it, and that's a huge problem. It makes every day a struggle - at war with myself. Even when I do what I'm supposed to be doing I feel miserable - like my head is being held under water.

Pushing myself out of procrastination (aka compulsive avoidance) by brute force works sometimes, but I really want to resolve the root cause because - well, basically, feeling this way makes me miserable. The Demand Resistance guarantees a hellish life. Either I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and hating it and resenting it, or I'm not doing it and suffering very bad consequences.

Mallinger says that the root of Demand Resistance is converting every "want" to a "should" so quickly and automatically that you lose touch with what you want. This leads to a fragile sense of self so you protect yourself from being overrun through Demand Resistance. He says the solution is to get back in touch with what you want by asking yourself "What do I want" throughout the day, even about simple things. This strengthens your sense of self so you don't need to automatically resist every demand. I'm doing this, and it helps.

Something you told me last night.

Which I think can be applied here.

Sitting quietly and thinking about it for a while can bring up what's going on. What do you imagine your experience of doing it would be? What do you imagine the consequence of doing it would be? Picture it vividly, and you'll probably figure it out.

I think envisioning and remembering the positive outcomes of whatever we're struggling with is so important. I have to pump myself up for whatever, it's not automatic for me. I wish it were automatic, but it's not. It has to be part of my process of doing. The sooner I can remember that, the sooner I can move forward.

yup - that's what I'm doing next

You're right - that's exactly what I need to be doing now. And it's what I planned to be doing now except I'm online typing for some reason. ;)


If we can't support each other in our procrastination, what are we doing here?

standing up now...

I am now standing up, moving away from the computer, and going over the couch to reflect and write in my journal....

Perfectionism and Demand Resistance

In "Too Perfect", Mallinger distinguishes between Demand Sensitivity and Demand Resistance. They often go together, but they aren't the same thing.

Demand Sensitivity is a tendency to see demands everywhere and experience them acutely.

Demand Resistance is a negative inner response to perceived pressure, expectations, or demands, from within or without.

Demand Sensitive people automatically translate "I want" to "I should", and "I don't want" to "I can't". This grows out of the desire to be perfect and beyond approach to ensure safe passage through life. It's more comfortable to feel their decisions and actions are dictated by outside forces because then they can't be held responsible for bad choices. Also, "I should" sounds less selfish than "I want".

There are many bad consequences to this, but perhaps the worst is a diluted sense of self. Your likes and dislikes are an important part of a stable sense of self. If you can't take a clear position, there's no "you". When you don't have a clear, stable sense of self, you are vulnerable to being overrun by strong personalities. This can lead to Demand Resistance - automatically resisting any perceived demand, whether real or imagined.

Demand Resistance is a way to defend against being overpowered or controlled by others, leading to a total loss of self. It's also a way for people to show themselves that they can impact others. Their ability to frustrate others asserts their personal power.

Demand Resistance usually originates in childhood, as a response to an overcontrolling parent. In childhood it's an effective means of self-protection, but then it becomes overdeveloped, indiscriminate, and automatic. Procrastination sabotages work, and even potentially pleasant activities come to be perceived as a burden. It can also interfere with relationships by an oversensitivity to perceived expectations. (Problems with commitment and demand resistance often go together.)

I've posted in other threads how I'm very out of touch with what I want - my personal dreams. This totally fits with my obvious Demand Resistance. Every "want" is turned into a "should" so quickly that I lose track of what I want and like so there is no "me". Then the only way to assert a "me" is to resist demands. This gives me a sense of control and identity.

Mallinger says that Demand Sensitivity is more common than Demand Resistance, and Demand Resistance can be difficult to recognize because it's often cloaked as something else ("I don't like my job", etc.). Not in my case, however - I'm screamingly Demand Resistant. It couldn't be more obvious.

He says the most important step in overcoming Demand Resistance is to recognize it as it's happening. Pay attention to how often you say "I should" or "I have to" rather than "I want". Try to catch yourself in the habit of doing this, and correct it - learn to say "I want" (requires figuring out what you want ;) ).


I can say that this Demand-resistance behavior describes my behavior very well. This insight to a solution has been very helpful to me. Thankyou

solution to Demand Resistance

I read the Demand Resistance chapter again, and noticed a more emphatic recommendation for solving the problem in the last paragraph. He said to keep asking yourself, "What do I want?" even about small things. Ask yourself this all the time. Sometimes you won't know, but many times you will. As you start have to stronger sense of self through doing this, the demand resistance will go away.

I want...

... to be warm and to go for a wee. :(

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it's nice to be clear



I still haven't moved - look at the time! How did that happen?

Just edited to say that, actually, I've just realised that this is one of the things addressed in the book I read recently 'Isn't it about time' - the section on Awareness, which also addresses what we want and need, from a developmental point of view - perhaps as a response to how we as babies were brought up. If we learned as babies that crying didn't get us tended to we may have learned just to put up with it, and this trend continues into adulthood, and we learn to ignore our own wants and needs to the point of not being aware.

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I think that was true for me--my mom went through a profound post-partum depression and used to lie on the bed staring at the ceiling when my dad wasn't home. I passively accepted this. My sister, however, was a little house ape and was able to rouse Mama from her lethargy and despair. It was good for her! But I felt so hurt that ~she~ got all this attention and cuddling whereas Mama had grown used to leaving ~me~ alone. After awhile she actually believed I ~wanted~ to be left alone. It's true that hugging me embarassed me--because of how much I desperately wanted it. I was afraid if I revealed how much I enjoyed it that would guarantee I never got it, because my dad had a tendency to take away the things I wanted as punishment/discipline. Or in a pique of anger, for that matter. We've seen how perfectionism arises from having a controlling parent. What about having the other parent depressed or otherwise emotionally absent? I think it all led me to not value myself very much at all--and yet I still have this little rebel inside me who is totally pissed off about all that. Thus I live with an internal war.

This is way old,but that

This is way old,
but that does apply to me  - but hey, it's not exactly a scientific study, it's self selecting, could just be a coincidence.

Anyway, I don't actually remember, but my mother told me she tried to sleep herself to death when I was little. Didn't get out of bed, apparently her house-mates fed me and constructed a big mobile thing along the wall of the kitchen that had a clockwork mechanism in it so that it would move for a while whenever someone opened and closed the door (engineering students), and I had a pink blanket I didn't crawl off because the rest of the floor was too dirty.
That sounds bad, but I think I had a good childhood.

My sister on the otherhand, was nicknamed 'King Kong' because she could bust out of anything (this included cots and car seats), and had a wail like an air raid siren if there was anything she didn't like (I was the only one who could sleep through it). Didn't change *too* much as she got older.

But I know my mother loves me. She doesn't understand me, but hey, how many people do understand each other?
I think I'm just searching for answers, rather than solutions. And procrastinating. Ok, time to go. ;P

it sounds like you're talking about my family

slider, wow, i agree completely with what you are saying.  i also had a combo of depressed/perfectionistic parents who only responded when my sister was vocal-usually in the way of throwing temper tantrums.  i was praised for being the "good" or quiet child, but at the expense of never having my needs met.  i'm still angry about it, too; fortunately i've told my parents all this. they don't agree, but at least i got it off my chest!

i see my sister doing this now with her own children.  i don't know if she's depressed, but she does spend a fair amount of time ignoring the children and/or dumping them in their rooms and allowing them to cry.  when i attempt to go to their rooms to respond to their cries, she gets very angry with me for "criticizing" her "parenting".  

families can be so difficult!

I want versus I should

This morning I read the chapter in "Too Perfect" on Demand Resistance. It was very interest. The core of it is automatically translating "I want" into "I should" - even when it's something you've decided to do for yourself. He said the key to overcoming demand resistance is to (1) be aware of it, and (2) get in touch with your wants, your desires. I'm very out of touch with that.

He describes some very interesting reasons why people with demand resistance translate "I want" into "I should" and are out of touch with what they want, but I'm too hungry to write it out now. Need lunch. ;)

There must be more to it than that

A few weeks ago I started reading a yoga book purely for my own personal interest, and I was really enjoying getting into it. Then I decided to share what I was reading with my students. You guessed it - as soon as I decided to do that, I stopped reading for myself. I am aware of what's happening, and I want to read the book! So how come I've not overcome it? I think there's more to it than just that (don't know what, though, or I'd be doing it).

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this book is too close

I'm finding this book, "Too Perfect", very hard to read because it cuts too close. He's got me nailed - and I mean nailed. It's disturbing. Every page is very heavy for me.

It's difficult for me to write the details of what he said about this for some reason. I think because it's too close. Maybe after I've made some progress I won't feel so reluctant to post about it.

>A few weeks ago I started reading a yoga book purely for my own personal interest, and I was really enjoying getting into it. Then I decided to share what I was reading with my students. You guessed it - as soon as I decided to do that, I stopped reading for myself. I am aware of what's happening, and I want to read the book! So how come I've not overcome it? I think there's more to it than just that (don't know what, though, or I'd be doing it).

That sounds very much like a "want" turned into a "should" - an obligation. Suddenly it was homework - something you felt you had to read and report on, though no one was putting this demand on you but your own mind.

The book explains where this comes from, but it's long to explain and as I said - I don't feel ready to write about it yet. I need to process it a little more.

I recommend this book (if you can take it!).