Bad Habits vs. Trauma (PTSD) – Which is it?
How can we tell the difference between what is simply a bad habit versus a pattern of attitudes or behaviors in our lives that stem from trauma? We must first realize there is a difference between the two, and second, the techniques used to overcome them can be vastly different. Before this type of work can begin, let’s look at the difference.
The rule of thumb I like to use in identifying a bad habit(s) is they are usually a result of personal skills that were never taught/learned or social skills which are unrefined and do not match the norm of a specific cultural environment. For instance, personal hygiene and care; learning how to prepare and eat a balanced meal; getting the appropriate amount of sleep; gossiping; interrupting others while they speak, inappropriate language, table manners or disorganization at home or work, even tardiness are all included under the definition of bad habits. The most recent category to surface today is a lack of phone/electronic etiquette. I’m sure you can probably think of many others from your own experience. The good news about these types of bad habits is they can be corrected/changed within the present moment with education and the application of attention and willpower.
Trauma (PTSD) on the other hand, is closely tied to our character. It stems from unresolved events that keep us anchored or fixated in the past and continue to fuel the flames of self-defeating defenses or patterns of behavior. To overcome trauma, one needs to include the same mindfulness as used when overcoming bad habits but with the addition of a process known as reconciliation. In other words, rather than avoiding the past events that triggered the trauma, they must be confronted and reconciled. Reconciliation can be the most empowering experience to have but it requires the assistance of someone who specializes in working with individuals who are suffering from PTSD.
Often times I meet people who have tried to break old patterns of behavior and are constantly met with disappointment and defeat within themselves simply because this difference has never been explained to them. If you suspect you are dealing with a traumatic experience versus correcting an unsupportive bad habit, please don’t loose hope. There are so many qualified professionals available to assist you. Sometimes, it’s as simple as picking up the phone and asking a question. Healing on any level is a sacred and self-honoring experience. Don’t miss out on this amazing journey of discovery. You can gain Victory Over Trauma.
“Meditate, Activate and Consciously Participate in Your Own Amazing Journey.”
~Deborah (Dev Avtar) Cox 02.2015