Getting well is not easy; it takes conscious and continuous choices to change our past behavior. There are, however, four behaviors that will guarantee that you remain sick.
- The top strategy for staying sick is: Be a “rescuer.” It’s much easier to look at other people’s problems and how to fix them. When you do that, you are trying to rescue. It doesn’t work. One, you can’t solve someone else’s problems. They have to do it themselves. Just like you do. Two, it focuses your energy on something other than your own healing, and, believe me: it takes everything you’ve got to do that. You can’t afford to waste it on anything or anyone else.
- Focus on the wrong things – “Look! A distraction!” Some people will take any opportunity to avoid looking at and working on their own stuff. Let’s face it. It’s painful; it requires focus and concentration; it’s just plain hard work, and sometimes, it’s scary. One of my common distractions was my family. Now, I’m not saying that families are not important, but everything has to be in balance. Sometimes when I was in the hospital, I would focus on the problems at home rather than on the problems with me. I had to learn that the quicker I focused on my stuff and got a good handle on working through it, the quicker I could go home and help my family.
- Start conflict. Sometimes working through things creates pressure, and rather than releasing the pressure in healthy ways, you may pick a fight. It’s usually over something nonsensical. It doesn’t matter, as long as you can avoid your problems, you’d rather be fighting or taking sides in someone else’s fight. Learn relaxation techniques, work on your anger management skills and let other people fight their own battles. You don’t have the time or the energy to waste on meaningless conflict.
- And, the number 1 Strategy for Staying Sick – self mutilate. It works every time. It takes away the pain, relieves the guilt and gives you a high you’ve been desperate for – temporarily. Then, like a sugar-high, it drops you like a rock into the chasm of despair. If you self-mutilate, you know what comes after you drop. The awful thoughts and feelings that make your stomach roil — thoughts like, “I thought I was making progress, but now look at me; My family is going to be so disappointed in me; Why can’t I just be normal?; When is this cycle ever going to end?”
Follow these four simple strategies and, you too, can postpone recovery indefinitely.