Your mum still treats you like you’re 7?
Your adult partner is ridiculously competitive? If you get something cool, THEY have to have something too?
Your adult child has come home to live with you and starts acting like a teenager again leaving their stuff all over the place!?
They’re making you CRAZY!!! Home is becoming a bit of a battle ground sometimes, or all of the time!
Understanding why our loved ones make us CRAZY really helps our blood pressure, and our happiness. Knowledge gives us a choice. A choice to react in the same old way, or change the way we behave.
What’s going on?
It’s funny how predictable we humans are, generally. We all follow patterns of behaviour, that’s why psychology is a science rather than an art.
And it’s our earliest patterns, learnt in childhood that have the most powerful effect on our behaviours.
Even the simplest learnt behaviours like “Mum always picks up my things for me” or “I never had to tidy up, Mum would yell but we’d just roll our eyes” can follow us into every relationship. Or it can show up when we are back in the same place or situation with that person.
Translation: “I don’t have to pick up after myself, nothing bad is going happen so why should I.” “I really don’t care if there’s a mess and it’s not my problem.”
Mostly, we’re not even aware we’re stuck in a pattern. We just react to a feeling, or fall back into habits without thinking about it. Say you’re planning on getting a new desk so you can study. Then your partner complains – “Why can’t I have a new desk, if you’re getting one I should have one too!”
Translation: “It’s not FAIR!” Pout, sulk “You always get the good stuff!”. Sounds childlike right?
These old patterns of behaviour, learnt when we were young, only pop into our consciousness when they become a problem. Old sibling rivalry, the dynamics we saw or heard between the men and women we grew up with and the way we’re raised, all have an impact on our behaviour.
Awareness is freedom.
When you’re in the middle of an exasperating interaction with someone it’s hard to stop reacting to your feelings.
Sometimes it’s easier to check what happened afterwards. You might still be annoyed or steaming mad but there’s space to stop reacting and just think about the reasons behind the other persons behaviour.
If you can spot an old relationship dynamic or recall an event from childhood that might’ve kicked off a behaviour pattern, it’ll come to mind next time the annoying behaviour happens. It’s like suddenly understanding that your friend is scared of dogs because they were bitten when they were 6 years old.
It makes sense. It’s an event that formed a thought pattern and a feeling and then a reaction.
It’s the same with the behaviours we saw or learnt as children, from our families. An older sibling that seemed to get the best of everything or a child who never had to pick up after themselves. Any event or family dynamic can have a formative effect on us and affect our behaviour for the rest of our lives.
But if you know what the cause might be, you’re aware of why someone behaves the way they do, it’s less crazy making. Less unexplained, and we’re aware that it’s not meant with malice.
This awareness can give us freedom from conflict in our relationships, freedom from inner struggles with difficult feelings and it can even change the behaviours themselves.
Talking about the behaviours and origins of them is the next step to making your home a happier one.
The Tidy Lady. Declutter Coach & Tidyness Expert.