Therapist Blog

maladaptive behaviors

When you can't always get what you want...

You know when you were a kid, everyone would tell you that "you're gonna miss this time", and you felt like telling them "nah, being an adult is gonna be awesome, because I will make it so". Well turns out, perhaps they were right... On the other hand maybe its all a matter of perspective, and you're life is actually pretty amazing?

Ask yourself, do you have love in your life? Do you have time to do things that you enjoy? Do you feel safe?

If any of these answers is "no" or "not really", then its time to change this perspective, and start giving these things to yourself. Since what's missing from childhood is these things typically being handed to you. If they weren't handed to you, you probably found a way to cope with not having them, but as an young adult or adult these coping skills are now more maladaptive then they are helpful. (This is common for most people, since typically emotional intelligence is something that needs to be worked on just as academic intelligence is).


Ask yourself what did my parents or guardians give me as a child that I now have to provide myself?

And, what coping skills worked as a child, but are now interfering with my happiness and success?


Give love, time, and safety to yourself. Validate, encourage, and comfort yourself. Looking for others to provide it to you, is a struggle, so its healthiest to put that support on yourself first, then continue to look for those qualities in others.

As far as maladaptive coping skills that are no longer working, well that can be a variety of things, some that you may not even be initially aware of. Which is why I recommend talking to an objective person that help provide you deeper insight. Other ways are by journaling your thoughts and behaviors to see if there is a link between feelings that you crave or are feeling and the behaviors you act on. Mindfulness is an excellent way to slow yourself down enough to notice these behaviors and thoughts. Meditation, yoga, or simply being in the moment are excellent ways to practice mindfulness.


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