In the world of psychology and personal development, there is a term that is often used called secondary gain. This is a gain that is often hidden and unknown at a conscious level.

And although the word ‘gain’ is typically used in a positive manner, in this instance, it is not a positive gain. This gain could be creating all kinds of problems and dramas in one’s life.

But due to how important this gain is to the unconscious mind, it is irrelevant that it is in conflict with what one consciously wants.

What Is It?

So with the term secondary gain aside, what it comes down to is survival. The ego mind forms associations around what is familiar. And what is familiar is then interpreted as what is safe.

This can relate to anything and just because something is associated as being familiar and safe to the mind, it doesn’t mean that it is either healthy or functional.

It could be something that is dangerous, dysfunctional and unhealthy. And one of the reasons for this is that the ego mind will hold onto these associations no matter what happens. Once they have been formed; they can stay there for ones whole life.

At One Point

During a time in ones history, these associations would have been formed to protect one and to keep them safe. And yet as time has gone by, what was beneficial at one point in time is now creating problems.

So time may have passed, but the ego mind still has the same associations. These can cause one to experience reality in the same way. The people who they attract into their life and the situations that they experience, will then either validate these associations or one will interpret them so that they match.

It’s Real

These associations will also trigger feelings, emotions, thoughts and sensations. This will help to make the experience real. It could be that one manifests the same experience again or that their mind makes one believe that it is happening again.


This can cause conflict in all areas of life, from attracting money, healthy relationships, losing weight, gaining weight and being happy for example.

It could be that one only feels safe when they are broke or that it is not safe for them to be slim. And based on how the ego mind works, to have these things will be interpreted to mean death.


The experiences that one has had as an adult and what happened during their childhood years will all make a difference. What happens in childhood is often what matters the most and this is because ones brain is so malleable at this time.

And what one was exposed to on the odd occasion or on numerous occasions as a child, will often be what feels familiar and therefore safe as an adult.


Here one may have been brought up in an environment where there was no money; where people were miserable; where it wasn’t safe and therefore gaining weight allowed one to feel safe or where people related to each other in an abusive way.

This was then normal and what will unconsciously feel safe and normal. And if one goes against these, it can lead to fear and self sabotage.

The Forgotten Past

As so many years will have passed since one was a child or since one had a certain traumatic experiences as an adult; it can make secondary gain hard to understand. Now it is causing problems, but then it was a natural consequence to the environment that one was in.

Consciously one can create all kinds of reasons why something is not happening for them and end up feeling like a victim, powerless or that it is out of their control.


The desire to have healthy relationships, attract more money or to lose weight may be there, but if one doesn’t feel safe having them - it is highly unlikely to happen.

It will only lead to struggle, strain and frustration. If one feels that it is safe to have these things, then one will either already have them or it won’t take much to attract them.

And this is why a coach, therapist or healer can be so important. They can help one to let go of the past and to embrace what is truly right for them.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Oliver J R Cooper and I have been on a journey of self awareness for over nine years and for many years prior to that I had a natural curiosity.

For over two years, I have been writing articles. These cover psychology and communication. This has also lead to poetry.

One of my intentions is to be a catalyst to others, as other people have been and continue to be to me. As well as writing articles and creating poetry, I also offer personal coaching. To find out more go to -

Feel free to join the Facebook Group -