Relearning Behaviors

I was listening to the “On Being” podcast with Krista Tippett and Mike Rose.

They were talking about different ways we humans are intelligent.

He talked about his mom who was a waitress and how she navigated rush hour, how she remembered what her regular clients wanted and how seamlessly she appeared.

He also talked about the plumber who can gather information from feeling around a dark space and intuit what might be happening without a visual and diagnose correctly.

This made me wonder about children who are raised in a violent home.

We survivors of violence at home, have honed our radar to scan a room, intuit the hot-spots and behave accordingly.

Imagine the child who ingratiates themselves with their abuser to keep the abuser calm.

To the outside, it may seem that the child is being kind and generous of spirit, but in fact, the child is acting out of fear and dread of the abuser raining their vitriol on them.

Imagine now, that same child as an adult who has not unlearned the behavior and uses these same tried and true methods to navigate the world.

What was the atmosphere in your childhood home? 

What behaviors did you use then to cope?

Are you using those same behaviors now?

My simple example of this in my life is me jumping up to do something that is asked of me and neglecting whatever I am doing in that moment.

My abuser used to hit me on my head and wring my ears if I did not jump to attention when called. I would pay a heavy price for “not listening” and learned to be hyper vigilant in my life.

I am relearning how to sit still and finish my tasks and then decide if to do or not do what is being asked of me.

I invite you to look at your life for evidence of holdover behaviors that no longer serve you as a grown up.

When we know better, we can choose to make different decisions.

Always on your side,

Indrani

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