The patterns and habits we learn from our family of origin and then employ daily in our thought processes and interactions with others are often the culprits that keep us unhappy. They keep us saddened, not reaching out for our goals, not feeling worthy of happiness, and not relating to others as we would like. They keep us from enjoying healthy bonds with good friends and choosing partners who are good for us. They also keep us afraid when there is nothing to be afraid of and sad for reasons we don’t understand. These same patterns keep us struggling to raise our own children (if we have any) and wondering why that might not be working out very well either. Worst of all, as we struggle day-to-day with depression and fear and unhealthy relationships, we don’t have time to enjoy the life we have. We don’t take time to create the life we would like to have either, because we think it is either not possible or we don’t deserve it. We may even have been told by someone in our lives that we were destined to fail or that we “won’t amount to anything.”
If you have been struggling with emotional issues for a while, it’s likely that you have been told by someone to “think differently.” I don’t believe that message is enough, especially if you don’t understand why your thinking is the way it is. In fact, being told just to “think differently” often makes an individual defensive as they feel criticized. Identifying the exact way you were trained to think and react and then unlearning the negative aspects is the key. Believe it or not, a lot of the symptoms that are giving you trouble today are the normal reactions of a healthy brain to unfortunate circumstances. Anxiety in the face of chaos or even danger is normal, not a “disorder.” Depression and shutting down in the face of chaos or being overwhelmed with no strategy for relief is also a normal process. It is letting you know something needs an overhaul in your life. When such ways of being take over your life, it is time to take control.
I believe that understanding the difference between a disorder and a learned pattern is encouraging and instills hope in a person. I have worked with clients who have been to many psychologists and other professionals just to come out with many negative labels for what is a perfectly normal reaction This doesn’t mean that the reaction is comfortable, and the client will be well served to eliminate it. However, eliminating or relearning something is hopeful and positive rather than feeling like you have a disorder you can never overcome.
This is not to blame, punish or negate anyone’s parents in any way. Some parents do the best they can, others don’t, and others don’t even try. The good news is that there are only so many things that can go wrong with a person due to less than ideal or even abusive parenting. This may seem like an impossible statement from where you are right now, but I assure you that it is true. I believe that if it can be broken down into steps, it is easier. I believe that if you receive clear direction, it is also easier. I believe that if how to design your own life is mapped out for you, then you can do it. You just may not have learned some things that other children did and subsequently lack some rudimentary life skills that promote overall well-being. Further, it is likely that you suffer from anxiety, depression, trauma or worse, and you are not sure what to do about that either. All of this impacts your personal, work, parenting and relationship life today.
Most maladaptive behaviors and thought patterns stem from learned behaviors that our parents modeled or were reactions to our environments. Some are also a mixture of our own temperament and our environment. If you grew up never feeling good enough, then of course you will be depressed. That is a normal reaction, not abnormal. If you grew up frightened for the safety of yourself, your siblings and/or the other parent, then you of course are going to be an anxious sort. If you grew up believing your thoughts and ideas were somehow invalid than it stands to reason it will be difficult for you to make decisions and believe in yourself. That is the way the brain works.
So how do you go about feeling better? I believe I have put together a program that will provide the answers. Dysfunction Interrupted is a 3 part program that allows you to identify your family patterns, identify your current issues and then teach you to apply 9 strategies that will lead you toward emotional success. Read more here