Limbo is an uncertain period of time or state of uncertainty and/or non resolution, where a person is awaiting an important decision, action or resolution. It is an intermediate state or condition. When you are in a state of limbo, you will feel stuck; like there is no progress of improvement. One of the experiences that is central to limbo is powerlessness. When you are caught in limbo, you will feel like you have very little to no control or power. At face value, it’s easy to think that because limbo is such an infuriating and painful experience, all people must hate limbo. But actually, there are some people who love it. Some people feel safer in a state of limbo. And some people use limbo as a passive aggressive way to gain power over other people.
There are some reasons why a person would actually get a positive kickback by creating or maintaining a state of limbo for themselves and/or for others.
- People who are terrified of losing control and of losing options, love limbo. They love the personal freedom inherent in limbo. To decide often implies cutting off options. To commit makes them feel trapped. They fear the feeling of being trapped in a decision that they might regret. No matter how much it tortures the people around them, a state of limbo, (where everything is ‘up in the air’) creates a sense of personal freedom for them.
- People who feel that they are in a lose-lose scenario (where they face negative consequences no matter what they do or decide) will often try to prevent themselves from meeting with those consequences by staying in a state of limbo. It is a state of avoidance. But a state of limbo creates a sense of personal safety for them. At the very least, it postpones consequences and postpones pain. It is a temporary sanctuary to hide away from the risk of what might happen if they made a decision or took an action.
- Limbo can be a shadowy way of passive aggressively gaining power over others. When people use limbo as a way of gaining shadow power, they see that resolve or certainty or progress depends on them. For example, if you are using limbo as a way to gain shadow power, resolve or certainty or progress depends on you providing information or on you doing something or on you making a decision or on you initiating/creating resolution. This means, the other person is at your mercy. You are the one in control with the ball in your court. And this is where you want to keep it. So, you intentionally stay passive. Limbo then becomes a hook, keeping other people powerless and trapped and waiting and stuck with you in the power position. And this can become quite abusive.
- People who have a serious aversion to responsibility (and especially to seeing themselves or to being seen as the bad guy) use limbo as a way to avoid being responsible for what happens. At some level, every person knows that if you don’t make a decision, one will be made for you. And they like this idea. The idea behind this one is that if they don’t make a decision or if they won’t do something, the pressure will build up and build up until the other person decides something or does something. By being committed to limbo, that pressure to take responsibility to make a decision or do something is on the other party. It can be the other person’s fault. The other person can be the one responsible or to blame for whatever is decided or done to create forward movement. They can then see themselves (and be seen as) the victim and the other party will have to see themselves and be seen as the bad guy in the situation.
Using limbo as a means for gaining power is a dirty chess game with serious repercussions in a universe managed by both the law of mirroring and by cause and effect. Whether conscious or subconscious, it is a strategy that enhances a person’s weakness of character. And so, it does not serve you and it does not serve others.
In order to let go of this shadow strategy, first and foremost you’re going to have to tap into your bravery. Limbo is the result of your unwillingness to face, feel and deal with something in your life. It is about fear and avoidance. Bravery is the antidote. And bravery is like a muscle you need to learn to exercise.
Admit that you are afraid and admit to what you are afraid of. Bravery doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid. It means that you are going to make a decision or take an action anyway. And with your fear. Bring your fear out into the open and into plain view by speaking about it, writing about it, facing it, examining it and putting real energy into resolving it. Validate your feeling of fear instead of judging yourself as wrong or defective for feeling fear.
You may or may not be right about the actual consequences you are facing in whatever situation you are in. Either way, fear doesn’t happen for no reason and it is a valid response to whatever thoughts you are thinking or consequences you believe might exist or whatever your past experiences have taught you to expect.
Get clear. When you are using limbo as a shadow power strategy, you will use confusion to disguise your unwillingness to face whatever it is that you don’t want to face. If you are stuck in limbo, you will keep trying to distract, postpone, defend, analyze, rationalize and explain. You do this so that you can expend energy without having to make a decision or take an action. You are spinning your wheels so that you can avoid moving forward in any direction.
So, the question you need to ask yourself is: How are you confusing yourself? And how does doing so benefit you? Be brave enough to see the personal payoffs that staying stuck in limbo and keeping other people in limbo is giving to you. Choose consciously to stay in limbo or to get out of it. If you choose to get out of it. Then face and examine and identify how to approach and resolve the fear you have in your situation. And then, face, examine, and identify how to approach and resolve the problem that you are afraid about in and of itself. Whatever you do, don’t run away from or ignore or postpone the problem. And beware that deciding that you need to ‘figure yourself out’ and ‘deal with your fear first’ before making a decision or doing something or creating resolve, is simply a strategy to keep yourself and others in limbo.
Get in the habit of playing things out. If you are making yourself or other people stuck in limbo, you are playing a short-term game. Become aware of the long-term repercussions. The first long term repercussion you should play out is what happens if you make no decision, take no action and create no resolve. Literally close your eyes and just watch what happens in a month, two months, three months, four months, five months, six months, a year, two years, five years, ten years etc. Play it out as far as you can. Then do the same thing with any decision or action you might take in the scenario that you are in. What you will notice is that the outcome that will inevitably happen as a result of maintaining the state of limbo is either the same or is far worse than the outcome of making a decision, taking an action or actively creating resolve.
Because the state of limbo is about the fear of commitment and the fear of making a decision and the fear of consequences and the fear of being seen as the bad guy etc. You would benefit by watching a small collection of my videos. The first is: Indecision (Decisions and Indecisiveness). The second is: Why You Should Consciously Choose Your Consequences. The third is: How to Get Over the Fear of Commitment. The fourth is: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening. And the fifth is: How to Get Over the Fear of Responsibility.
When you are creating a state of limbo, you must know that life will not stop and stay stuck for you forever. Your life will be decided for you. You will be powerless to whatever happens. And so, you need to ask yourself: “Do I care so much about feeling like the good guy or about not having to take responsibility for something going badly or about having the upper hand or about avoiding unwanted things that I am willing to let my life happen to me?” You cannot thrive in your life if you stay passive. You cannot thrive in your life if you decide to be at the effect of your life. The life satisfaction you seek only belongs to people who are willing to be at the cause instead of at the effect of their life. So, exercise your bravery and be proactive. Face what you need to face, make the decision that you need to make, take the action that you need to take. And resolve what needs to be resolved.