We’ve all been there, maybe it’s been a reoccurring theme in our lives with significant others, maybe it’s been a specific issue we experience time and time again. When it comes to our maladaptive behaviors, it can feel as though we are starring in our very own Groundhog’s Day.
I cannot express how much I dislike the statement “ doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition on insanity.” I personally believe it is the definition of behaviors and actions that once served us in some way and now linger as our go to behaviors- sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. Does this make you insane? No. Does this make you frustrated wondering why you keep bumping into the same emotional walls like an emotionally blind mole? Maybe.
So why do we keep doing what we do, even knowing in hindsight it’s not the best choice? This is always a good question to ask; are you the type that is maybe too negative, judgmental or makes too many excuses for other people? I would encourage you to take a moment and ponder this question.
Now, let’s deconstruct that problem and take a look at what is happening under the surface. Do you tend to tolerate an unusual amount of dysfunction? Perhaps that’s what used to serve you best. As children, we do not have a choice of where we live or how we grow up; we must simply adapt to the situation at hand. Perhaps you had to tolerate your living situation to remain stable. Do you tend to be too loud ? Is it possible, that behavior once served you well as being the only means of being heard in a family full of other people and now as an adult it is no longer serving you well?
Or, perhaps, you remain silent and do not speak up- did speaking up ever have consequences to you?
We take the behaviors we have learned to adapt with and these behaviors don’t always serve us later on in life. Perhaps being silent as a means to avoid conflict in the past now mean you have been passed up for promotions which is leading to feeling depressed or confused. Or maybe the adaptive behavior of needing to mediate familial conflict has now molded a person who puts the needs of others before his or her own.
None of these are traits are bad or wrong, they are simply a product of our environment(s) and experiences. When the same problem keeps resurfacing, it is often helpful to look to the beginning, from there we can understand them and learn to recreate a new way and more adaptive behaviors to better meet our needs.
Alexis has been a part time contributor to the online website Patientworthy which is dedicated to education and awareness of rare and serious diseases. Links to articles written by Alexis: