Feeling "trapped" is a commonly shared experience within our culture, and it covers a wide range of feelings and circumstances. We might feel stuck, powerless, ensnared, restricted, limited, dominated, imprisoned, incapable, helpless, or ineffectual. We can feel trapped by outward circumstances such as a marriage or job, a city or family. We can also feel pushed around by obscure forces within us, unable to face ourselves from our own weaknesses or history, or from the influence of someone. We may feel stuck in patterns of behavior or reactions, such as flying off the handle with little provocation or feeling intimidated by others. We seem trapped by the limits of our own ability. Even a sense of having to dominate others can be understood as a trap and be difficult to stop.
The issue referred to as "trapped" can take many forms. It is found in our inability to change something, or to get free of things we don't want. It can refer to our own abilities, perceptions, feelings, or beliefs, or it can be about any number of situations or circumstances. It is the entire domain of feeling incapable or "stuck' in some way.
- Peter Ralston, The Book of Not Knowing
For an example, let us suppose for a minute that your are a person who has experienced a nervous breakdown, a panic attack, a battle with substance abuse or an attempted suicide. Does it mean that you will have to remain forever clothed in the identity of a person who is mentally ill? No, it most certainly does not.
If you make it your clear intention to redress yourself through a strong commitment to being honest about the precipitating circumstances that brought you to a kind of brokenness or weakened state and you can recognize and fully understand how your previous emotional reactions impacted upon both your choices and outcomes then you will be prepared to explore a host of productive strategies and responses for coping with similarly stressful life events in the future.
In many cases, it is quite surprising for us when we learn to begin to see how much we tend to be the one who actually holds the key to our freedom from various aspects of emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual imprisonment.