What Triggers you into Dysfunctional Patterns?
Let’s answer that question!
In Blog Post 1, I explained how the core mechanism in the brain, that the Neuro Alignment Model believes creates the vast majority of modern day dysfunctions, can trigger an addictive pattern to start. I described how this core mechanism can allow the brain to become “addicted” to the overproduction of certain chemicals and that it can be a subconscious process. I also described how the brain can become subconsciously “addicted” to core trauma emotions and want to get high, by making a person feel them over and over again.
If an addiction can be subconscious, then how does a person know that they have a dysfunctional pattern or addiction??
The first part of the answer, is that the Neuro Alignment Model defines the hallmark of addiction or dysfunctional patterns, as something that causes the individual or people around them, pain. The pain may be a subconscious pattern, but over long periods of time, this dysfunctional pattern or addiction is detrimental to them or others that they love, in some way.
The second part of the answer is that a person can become aware of a subconscious dysfunctional pattern or addiction, by becoming aware of the emotional triggers that drive a person to repeat a certain repetitive pattern of behavior, thought or belief.
If we look at the example we used in blog 1, of the young girl who develops an acute anxiety addiction over time, we can see that some her triggers are loud noises, music she enjoys, confrontation and having someone speaking in an angry way towards her or others. When she become triggered, she immediately distances herself physically and emotionally from that person or situation and she drops into survival mode and feels the need to flee and hide, in order to feel safe.
Because she is detaching from the people around her, she is not able to authentically connect with the people she loves and this bring her pain in her life. She is not able to enjoy the music she used to love, which also brings her pain. She may even have to leave a place she was previously enjoying herself at, which will cause her pain and further distance herself from her friends and loved ones. Her behavior hurts her loved ones and her friends, who don’t understand why she is acting the way she does and they take her dysfunctional behavior personally. Over time, they may stop inviting her to events and gatherings.
As the woman get older, she may say no to going out places with friends and becomes afraid to leave her home. She may adopt hermit like dysfunctional behavior, in order to keep her safe from subconscious triggers, that she encounters in public places. She detaches from everything that used to bring her joy, love and support.
The most important part of this whole example, is that this woman is unaware of what is causing her anxiety and does not know why she behaves in the way she does. She only knows that the coping mechanism that she has adopted, of getting away from things that scare her, helps her to feel safe and brings her out of survival mode.
A coping mechanism is anything that a person uses to help them feel safe, when they feel they have been pushed into survival mode. So, for example, when the woman was yelled at as a child, the moment the trauma happened, she ran away and hid. Hiding was a coping mechanism that helped her feel safe in that moment. She also disconnected emotionally from her mother, to help her feel safe. Both mechanisms at the time where useful to help her feel safe and slowly get out of survival mode, but when she continually used them each time she was triggered as a child, over time, they begin to cause her pain and suffering and she becomes addicted to these dysfunctional coping mechanisms.
In another type of example, if a person is abused by their parents as a teenager, they may find their dad’s whisky after the trauma and by drinking it, it calms their nerves and makes them feel happier. This coping mechanism at the time, helped them to feel safe and bring them out of survival mode, but over long periods of time, it may cause the person to fall into a dysfunctional pattern of alcoholism.
The coping mechanism the young girl adopted, are what the Neuro Alignment Model calls Pseudo Dysfunctional Attachments, because they bring her pain over time and lead her further into dysfunctional thoughts, behaviors and beliefs. Her pseudo coping mechanisms and her dysfunctional addiction to anxiety, are causing her pain and those she loves pain. In contrast, authentic attachments do not bring pain, over the long term.
An example of an authentic attachment in this situation would be the child going to her father and telling him what happened. He may have supported her and explained to her why her mother may have acted the way she did. This allows the girl to feel listened to, loved and understand the trauma from a new perspective. It would allow her to drop out of survival mode and would in some cases, nullify the trauma. This may stop a dysfunctional pattern or addiction from forming in the long term.
Not all pseudo attachment coping mechanisms are bad or addictive. A person may have a cigarette after feeling stressed out and that helps calm their nerves, but they decide they don’t like the smell of the smoke or the taste of the cigarette, and they never smoke again. In the moment the pseudo attachment helps break the person out of survival mode, but they don't continually use it every time they felt stressed, so it does not create a dysfunctional pattern.
That is why the Neuro Alignment Model does not say that ANY attachment is good or bad, unless it causes harm to another person or to the individual immediately. Some pseudo attachments, such as cutting oneself, are destructive behavior and are not good for the individual, but it does not mean that they are addictive for each person. Dysfunctional patterns or addiction, is a repetitive pattern of thought, belief or behavior over a prolonged period of time and it must cause pain to the individual or to the people they love, over time as well.
For example, being rude or mean once to a friend when you get stressed out, does not mean you have a dysfunctional pattern or addiction. If you consistently act in rude ways when you are stressed, over a long period of time, then you may consider that you may have an addiction to stress and have a dysfunctional response of being rude to cope with that stressful situation. The rude behavior is a pseudo dysfunctional coping mechanism.
How does this woman in our example become aware of her subconscious addiction, its triggers and her patterns of behavior?
The first step the Neuro Alignment Model uses to help individuals re-wire their brains out of dysfunctional patterns and addiction is:
Step 1. The individual must admit that they have a dysfunctional pattern(s) or addiction(s).
This means that the woman in the example, needs to become aware and admit that her anxiety is causing pain and suffering in her life and the lives of others around her. This allows her to realize that she engages in certain behaviors, beliefs and thoughts when she is triggered. She needs to look at what triggers her, what emotions it brings up and how she behaves after she is triggered.
An individual is not able to begin to learn to re-wire their brain, unless they are willing to admit they have a dysfunctional pattern(s) or addiction(s) and that is is causing them or people around them pain and suffering.
Step 2: The individual acknowledges what the cost of the dysfunctional pattern or addiction is and that their beliefs, thoughts or behaviors are causing them or the people they love pain.
The woman in the example needs to acknowledge that her behavior is not only hurting her on a personal level, emotionally and psychologically, but she need to admit that her behavior is hurting her friends and family as well; when she detaches from them emotionally and also when she leaves events or group functions. She needs to write down how much the dysfunctional pattern or addiction is costing her, in terms of her happiness, authentic connections, friendships, career opportunities etc., in her life. She needs to truly see how much hanging onto or choosing to engage in these dysfunctional coping mechanisms, are costing her in her life.
Step 3: The individual needs to decide what they really want in their life. What authentic connections/attachments do they want to use, instead of the dysfunctional coping mechanisms/attachments that they have been using.
In the case of the woman we have been discussing, she may want to listen to music, because she loves it and she may want to hang out with her friends at concerts and bars. She may want to be out in public with friends and family and have deep connections with them. She may really enjoy being around people and even playing music in front of an audience. The dysfunctional patterns or addiction to anxiety that she has, is preventing her from living the life she longs to live and having the experiences she longs to experience!
How does she begin to re-wire her brain from these dysfunctional patterns and pseudo coping mechanisms?
My name is Todd Ritchey and I am a celebrated addiction specialist, author, motivational speaker and creator of ‘THE NEURO-ALIGNMENT MODEL’. I recently launched my ground-breaking new book, the Neuro Alignment Model, which can help virtually anyone learn to RE-WIRE their BRAIN out of the vast major of societal dysfunctions and addictions.
I have been practicing the Neuro Alignment Model with my clients for over 12 years, with INCREDIBLE SUCCESS rates. Anyone CAN learn to overcome your dysfunctional patterns and achieve a sense of happiness and balance in your life!
The Neuro Alignment Model book is like having me as your own personal counselor and coach, available at your home 24/7. As you begin to identify thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that may be caused by your dysfunctional patterns or addictions, you will always have the Neuro Alignment Model to help you work through the 8 steps, to help you begin to re-wire your brain out of these dysfunctional patterns.
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