In the previous article The Link Between Childhood Experiences and Fatigue, we talked about the major impacts childhood trauma has on health in adulthood. We covered the collaborative ACEs study by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente which surveyed 10,000 individuals asking them if they had experienced one or more of ten dramatic events during childhood. The researchers found that the more of these experiences individuals had, the more prone they were to suicide, heart disease, cancer, and several other mental and physical illnesses.
So, how do you overcome these traumas and prevent the diseases that have been linked to them?
How We Develop Maladaptive Patterns
One maladaptive pattern that I developed was not to really be able to accept others’ help or to get the support that I was looking for. – Jason PrallWhen we are young, the experiences we have will shape the way we see the world. If you grew up in a home where you felt loved and supported, you are more likely to develop patterns that support confidence. However, if you grew up in a home where you asked for help and didn’t get it or where asking for help meant you were weak or stupid, you are at risk of developing a maladaptive pattern where you tell yourself that asking for help is wrong, and you will consequently have a hard time asking for it. This type of maladaptive pattern is likely to cause you a lot of stress because asking for help can cause you to feel, shame, guilt, weak, or stupid because you are unable to figure the solution out on your own. If you struggle with fatigue, it is important to identify these maladaptive patterns because they are an inefficient use of energy. The key question, then, is how do we change our maladaptive patterns once they have been so deeply established?
How to Change Your Maladaptive Patterns
If we use the example of asking for help mentioned in the chapter above.
There are two steps to master asking for help.
Firstly, start by asking people for help. Be as specific as you can in your request for help.
Secondly, recognize that even though not asking for help can be a problem, the skills you have developed means you can resolve your problem on your own. This can be a great resource to tap into if needed, but it remains maladaptive and unhealthy if you continue to rely on it when you do in fact have support.
Furthermore, you may find it interesting to take some time to self-reflect. Ask yourself, what personality traits did I build to keep me safe as a child that I now carry with me as an adult? Follow up by asking yourself whether or not these traits support you and your health.
As children, the experiences we have will shape how we experience the world as adults. Sometimes, these experiences can lead to maladaptive patterns. As we get older, these patterns may no longer serve us and may even hold us back, make us sick, or fatigued.
Changing maladaptive patterns require that you look at your habits and beliefs and identify which of these may hold you back from living your life to the fullest. Then you can try to identify any skills that you may have gained from this pattern, and finally begin changing the unhealthy pattern by starting to ask for help.