Using our behaviour to influence other's reactions.
What I'm going to discuss today might apply to you, or you might see it in someone you know.
It is a common trait found in people who often feel threatened, whether imagined or real. It's definitely something used by people who have been in an abusive relationship, be it parents, partners or friends.
The trait develops from a need to maintain safety.
And what it is, is the need to conform your own behaviours to elicit the required response in another person.
I'm not talking about control freaks who try to manipulate you into doing what they want so they can achieve their own ends. I'm talking about a rigorous restriction placed in some people's minds and hearts that doesn't allow them to do or say certain things because of bad reactions from others when they did it in the past. Or, it causes them to be constantly monitoring the situations around them and be ready to interject words or actions to:
- diffuse tension
- tell white lies or outright lies to put someone in a better mood
- do extra physical work to make things 'right' to avoid conflict, sometimes even if the responsibility belongs squarely with someone else
- try to arrange themselves, their belongings, their schedule....whatever it takes so that other's can move more freely = be more agreeable
- put up with things they hate if they believe it's important and desired by someone else who must be appeased
Constant watching for danger can become very stressful as hyper-vigilance is not a natural state. Such people can be prone to anxiety and not know where it's coming from.
And the situations might not be dangerous per say, but just unpleasant. Often these people hate conflict. They avoid confrontations. They may have difficulty standing up for themselves and have a hard time 'fighting back' with logic in heated situations.
The fear of triggering bad or unpleasant reactions in people can lead to a PTSD type reaction of absolute avoidance of conflict in all it's forms. It is like a fear of death. As you can understand this goes very deep into the person. And this could be one of the reasons why a feeling of being haunted by constant anxiety is not an imaginary thing.
Living like this becomes natural for someone who has become trained - probably at an early age - to keep the peace.
I know. Because I am one of these people.
Hyper-vigilance is exhausting. It never stops. In a sense survival is linked to it. It's become a faulty pattern-match from unpleasant - or possibly even dangerous - interactions with other people which locked into the subconscious. At some level you might have been told or led to believe that someone else's happiness, or misery, is all dependent on your behaviour. And this can range all the way from a parent trying to get a small child to behave, to full manipulation by an abuser. The dread from repeating the scenario of their bad behaviour is what activates the fear. Keeping this constant guard on high alert is what makes it so draining.
So what can be done about it?
- First of all you have to notice if you're doing it. And if you are, then give yourself a hug, because you deserve it for trying so hard.
- Recognize that it is not working in your best interests and may be damaging your health and shortening your life.
- Feel some blessed relief because now you know where some (or maybe all) of your anxiety is coming from.
- Realize that you are taking responsibility for something that doesn't belong to you. You may have been trying to take responsibility away from other people (or certain people) regarding how they behave and act through life. Let them be responsible for themselves! And if they make a stink about it because they thought they had you convinced, walk away. Maybe permanently. Making it your job to keep them on an even keel deprives them of their life lessons.
- Hypnotherapy can be a real aid here as it allows you to tap into those recorded programs locked into your subconscious, and it does it in a beautifully gentle way.
- Practice saying 'no' or even ruffling the peace once in awhile, particularly with things you feel strongly about. You might even practice with a friend, counselor or therapist so you can be supported at the time.
With dedication and love a person can be liberated from the need to balance other people's behaviour. The freedom and ease can be life transforming as the nerves calm and one can begin to live their life on their own terms, in their own way.
And it can happen at any age.
Having a Hypnotherapy session is like gently exploring with imagination. Significant understandings often happen and from this inner change and healing grows a different outlook which is soon reflected in one's life. And Hypnotherapy can be done over Skype or Zoom, so it doesn't matter how far away you are, we can still work together.