Our life is created around patterns of behaviour that we have developed to cope with, or in response to our experiences in life.
Often we wake up to old patterns that aren’t working for us anymore. We recognize that they are not useful and want to change but can’t. It can feel extremely frustrating to keep battling patterns we know are dysfunctional.
How to get out of them? First step, recognize the pattern in its entirety and how it has been useful. No matter how dysfunctional the behaviour, it was a defense mechanism that once upon a time worked. (Or at least was better than any other options.) Forgive yourself for being human!
Next decide what new behaviour could work and experiment with implementation. You will probably find it works for a little bit until you fall into the habit of the old behaviour. Again forgive yourself for being human.
Think it through a bit more, recognize the complexity of the pattern, maybe talk to some impartial outsiders to help you figure out a few more tactics and let go of a bit of baggage and have another go.
It will probably work a bit better this time. Or at least until you get stressed. Frustration or overwhelm hits and you might just pull out the old habit because at least it used to sort of work. And wham there you are again. Forgive yourself yet again for being human.
Maybe have another chat with your impartial support, dig a bit deeper and unpack a bit more of the old baggage, learn a few new techniques for dealing with stress, frustration and overwhelm and keep on keeping on practicing the new habits – until one day you notice they are your normal way of being.
Lets explore this in action, let’s say your old behaviour is screaming at or offering the silent treatment to the kids or your partner when they won’t help. (This is a pretty generic behaviour and one most people would prefer not to do.) Continue reading