A monkeytraps encyclopedia


This continues a new series of posts excerpted from Monkeytraps in Everyday Life: A Guide for Control Addicts (in press).  It’s about psychological monkeytraps: what they are, how they work, and how recovering control addicts can learn to notice when they’ve trapped themselves by trying to control what cannot or should not be controlled.  Read the introduction to the series here.



Okay, calling this an encyclopedia is an overstatement.

Encyclopedia* implies inclusiveness, and an all-inclusive list of monkeytraps would be impossible.



(a) the number of monkeytraps is limitless, as infinite as the craving which creates them,


(b) a monkeytrap isn’t a thing — it’s a dynamic, an emotional pattern that springs into being whenever someone tries to control something that can’t or shouldn’t be controlled.

That said, there are scores of readily identifiable examples of this dynamic that torture us daily.

So it’s worth taking time to understand and remember them.

Below is a table of contents.

Note, please, that this is a work in progress. 

I may add more entries later, as my grasp of monkeytraps expands.

(And if you have any to suggest, please do.)

But here, friends, are the first fifty:

    1. Addiction

    2. Anxiety

    3. Annoying

    4. Approval

    5. Avoidance

    6. Blame

    7. Changing me

    8. Changing you

    9. Character

    10. Child, anxious

    11. Child, dishonest

    12. Controlling

    13. Crying

    14. Defensiveness

    15. Denial

    16. Drinking, mine

    17. Drinking, yours

    18. Failure

    19. Family

    20. Family, dysfunctional

    21. Feelings ~ trap #1

    22. Feelings ~ trap 32

    23. Guilt ~ trap #1

    24. Guilt ~ trap #2

    25. Guilt ~ trap #3

    26. Helpfulness

    27. Help-seeking ~ trap #1

    28. Help-seeking ~ trap #2

    29. Help-seeking ~ trap #3

    30. Hope

    31. How people treat me

    32. Introjection

    33. Mourning

    34. Neediness

    35. No

    36. Parents

    37. Perfectionism

    38. Productivity

    39. Projection ~ trap #1

    40. Projection ~ trap #2

    41. Pursuit

    42. Relationships

    43. Secrets

    44. Self-acceptance

    45. Self-improvement

    46. Self-care

    47. Shame

    48. Stupid

    49. Transference

    50. Trust

    51. Victimization.

Stay tuned for explanations of each.



Trap 1: Addiction


*Encyclopedia: A book or set of books giving information on all or many branches of knowledge, generally in articles alphabetically arranged.  (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1980.)

* * *


Monkeytraps: Why Everybody Tries to Control Everything and How We Can Stop

is available here.

Monkeytraps: Why Everybody Tries to Control Everything and How We Can Stop by [Steve Hauptman]



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