By David Joel Miller
Do you avoid something that would be good for you?
You walk right up to the thing that might help you heal and you turn away. Each of us has our own special ways of avoiding the healing process. We tell ourselves lies, listing to the lies from our disorder or avoid the things that might make us better.
Do you know the prescription for what ails you but you use tricks to avoid taking that medicine? Do you use any of these methods to avoid healing?
1. When you start to feel you reach for the drugs and alcohol?
Early on in the process drugs and especially alcohol look like the solution. How often have you heard someone say they needed a drink to deal with an unpleasant emotion?
What happens more often than not is that the chemical you use only temporarily blocks the feelings. When the drug wears off the feelings return worse than ever. Eventually the alcohol or drugs do not take the feeling away.
At that point your solution has become the problem. Now you have to keep drinking and using to forestall the crash that comes with withdrawal.
Your friend, the chemical, has turned on you.
Sometimes the best solution for unpleasant feelings is to feel them. A friend or professional can help with things a chemical cannot.
2. You don’t ask for your needs to be met.
People expect their friends and family to know what they need. I hear them say that if I have to ask you to do something then it does not count. This is just one more way of setting ourselves up to be disappointed and to blame out ills on others.
Unless you are the exception, you do not live with a mind reader and your partner, family or friend does not know what you want and need.
No one is inside your skin but you. Are you hungry? You need to say so. Are you lonely, tired or feeling unloved? Tell those around you what you need from them. They may not always be able to give it to you but you will get a lot more of your needs met if you just learn to ask for what you need.
3. You avoid conflicts by saying what they want you to say.
Sometimes saying nothing is a way to avoid conflict. Many of us need to learn to bite our tongue more often.
What is worse than saying nothing or saying too much is the habit some of us have of saying what we think others want us to say even when that is not what we want or mean.
If you have developed the habit of agreeing with people before you have had the chance to think about your needs you may avoid some conflict in the short run but you will sabotage your recovery.
4. Beat yourself up and shoot yourself in the foot.
Are you your own worse critic? Telling yourself you are bad, a failure and the like is not going to make you do things better. Learn to give yourself encouragement and you are likely to make a lot more progress than if you beat yourself up.
That does not mean you should fail to address your shortcomings. Just do that by changing your actions not by calling yourself names.
Do you just find another self-destructive behavior to take the pains place? Lots of people do the old shoot yourself in the foot thing.
5. You mind just leaves.
Daydreaming is the first cousin to dissociation. In extreme cases this can be a diagnosable disorder. But short of that dissociation disorder, many people have ways of just letting their mind wander away.
Do you daydream rather than take action? Do you distract yourself with videos, online games, casinos or other activities that allow you to avoid facing your problems?
Most problems do not disappear while we are out to lunch. A problem not dealt with is likely to grow.
Take a look at yourself and see if there are ways that you are avoiding taking the actions that you need to take and as a result you are the one keeping yourself from healing from emotional pain.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books
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