Some families are dysfunctional, yet even if we came from a healthy family, there will still be times when we felt uncomfortable or threatened in some way, it could have been a parent asking us why we did not pull a certain grade, or sibling rivalry or parents arguing and we are not use to this. Something happened, and we came up with a strategy to get us through the situation which turns into a habit and later on a default. As adults we continue to resort to this coping style yet we have outgrown it and it causes us more pain and suffering and we do not have an alternative so we keep on using it. Some of these statagies include the following:
Being an angry child, inwards or outwards – inwards anger is often looking like depression
A good girl or boy, people pleaser or accommodator, or peacemaker
A bad girl or boy, rebel
Avoider or procrastinator,
Manipulator or liar
Quiet or silent child
Victim child when no longer a victim, so there is a perceived sense of helplessness or powerlessness and as a adult may use the words “I can’t”.
Joker that uses sarcastic humour, sarcasm is anger coming out sideways
Anxious, fearful, worried child
Withdrawal or shutdown
There are others however the above are common. So what happens is lets imagine you do have a healthy sense of your adult and life is presenting different stressors to you such as you are in a traffic jam, you forgot to pay a bill, there is a work deadline, children or spouse demands etc. And you have reached your maximum level of coping as an adult and then what happens is that you go to your default coping mechanism and regress to a child like state of a 6,7,8 year old mind state yet are in a adult body. This is completely irrational yet it happens all the time.