Its now almost 2:00 a.m., and I’m blogging early in the morning. I have lots on my mind & a bit of insomnia, so I’ve decided to blog some more. Prior to starting my internships, I had intended to set the blogging aside for a while. However, as I progress, I’m finding there’s a need to process the lessons from this experience. At the end of a long chaotic day as a mother, intern, wife, and healthcare worker, I need to recharge my engines a bit…..
….As I may have mentioned in a recent post, I just started my internship as a student therapist. I’m currently working at an inpatient substance abuse facility. Yesterday during a quick lunch break, I found some interesting educational material on the cycle of addiction. While I personally don’t have a substance abuse problem, I noticed the cycle pertained to me as well. In the image above, I describe my merry-go-round cycle of dysfunction.
STEP ONE – An Unexamined Belief System….
Many belief systems are unexamined matters of self-perceived fact. We don’t question them, because they often exist as foundational psychological elements that don’t require close examination on a day-to-day basis. For example, in my recent blog post on “Arrested Development” I have some unresolved belief systems about myself as an “Oddball” who “Marches to the Beat of Her Own Drum”.
STEP TWO: Cognitive Distortions….
In the second step of my mental merry-go-round, you have impaired thinking which includes cognitive distortions that reflect my unexamined belief systems. Here are a few of my favorites:
PERSONALIZATION – A tendency to taking things personally, when they weren’t intended that way. I have to admit, as an INFP, this is a tough habit to break.
CATASTROPHIZING – Seeing yourself in a potentially troubling situation & making mountains out of molehills. I end up working myself into a “tizzy” only to end up worn out & mentally exhausted.
EMOTIONAL REASONING – This involves thinking with your feelings and allowing them to run the show. Failing to think through your emotions means your reality, experiences, and behaviors follow this skewed perceptual stance. Also a tough one for INFP’s
STEP THREE – utilizing my favorite maladaptive coping mechanisms …
Maladaptive coping mechanisms involve conscious efforts to resolve an issue, that only worsen the situation. This creates a hamster-wheel like experience. The problem is, I’m using beliefs and unresolved emotions run the show. These factors control my thinking, so I can’t escape the problem, until the core issues underlying the faulty beliefs and unresolved feelings. Here’s an example:
FIRST – I have an arrested developmental history as per Erikson’s theory. This yields an inferiority complex and poorly formed sense of identity.
NEXT – My thought processes based on this belief system, involve a perception of inferior worth & need to look toward others for a sense of approval…
FINALLY – I make seeking approval a priority. This leads me into an emotionally abusive relationship and series of career failures….
The thing I needed to get is I was seeking solutions in the wrong place. Being good enough doesn’t come through approval from others….. (It took me way too long to get this idea)…
When Old Traumas Are Triggered…
The above diagram also reflects an issue that has plagued much of my life until late. While this comes from some information on “Arrested Development” (i.e. Erikson), I see it is an excellent explanation of how some things can trigger old traumatic emotional memories. I won’t belabor this diagram with any unnecessary explanation. I will however end this section with a link to a site that provides a lot of great information….