Willingness

Willingness


Question:
In situations that remind me of my past, I find myself falling into old behaviors even though I know better. I can be very willful about it.


Answer:
I can relate to clinging to old ways. When I act in a way that I know is inappropriate for the current times, I see that it is usually because the old way is comfortable and familiar, even when it is painful.

For example, I have a new roommate who is a graduate student and he's doing a paper on PTSD (he's a Vietnam vet). He was explaining it to me like I was clueless and I said, "you know there are other kinds of PTSD from people who experience trauma in their lives." As we discussed it (and he's of the opinion that it's best to just ignore the past and any emotions that come with it) he made several comments utterly minimizing non-war begotten trauma.


This had an emotional impact on me. I was very angry and as I was proceeding through my day, started to internalize the anger, causing self-doubt. I'm a bad person. I don't really know anything. I began observing how quickly I was willing to beat myself up because there was a time in my life in which expressing anger put me in a life-threatening situation.

Fortunately, I caught it before it went too far and was able to say, "This isn't about me. This is about him." The willingness I've experienced in the last few years as a result of practicing the DBT skills, allows these new ideas to enter my head and save the day.

Lisa

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