What is your method of escape?
We learn ways to escape from a young age. When the stress/distress becomes too much, we seek ways to release the pressure. Sometimes these methods of escape are positive and healthy but more often than not, they aren’t effective in the long run. Having a method of escape acts as a comfort and a way to feel in control but when we escape instead of dealing with or confronting an issue, we divert our energy in a dysfunctional and unhelpful way.
The problem with learning methods of escape when we are young involves the fact that as children we are far less powerful than we are as adults. Children need to be resourceful to come up with ways to cope with an environment where they have little control. This is especially true for children who grow up in unhealthy environments where there is abuse, neglect, suppression or a lack of consultation relevant to the child’s cognitive age/function.
Children learn passive-aggressive behaviours as a subtle act of defiance. Young children who have been suppressed and have been expected to “do as they are told” without question will be the ones who frequently find ways to escape and who often end up as difficult, rebellious teenagers. When children are respected as people and are made to feel that their opinions will be taken into account, a much more balanced adult will emerge.
Negative methods of escape
Excessive spending/shopping for things you don’t need
Drinking alcohol/ drugs/substance misuse
Passive aggressive behaviour
Positive methods of escape
Taking time out to rest and relax
Talking things through with someone you trust
Music/ Movies/Creative outlets
Occupational therapy – making items/crafts/hobbies
If your method of escaping is self sabotaging, it might be time to ask yourself what you are trying to escape from? What are you not dealing with? Is there something you have been unhappy about but have left to fester indefinitely? Are you in denial about anything? If you haven’t felt happy in a long time, this is usually a sign that you have come ‘off track’.
Get back to basics, slow down and re-assess where your life is going. Try to include as many positive methods of escape as you can. These nurture you and help you reconnect with your essential self. The real you under the ‘social you’ that feels the need to please others and give in to other people’s demands on you. Too much of that and ‘escape doors’ begin appearing all over the place.
The more in touch you are with your essential self, the more integrity you will live with and the less you will feel the need to run away from the reality of your life.
If you need help with avoidance or addictive behaviors, get in touch. Therapy can help you to move forward.
Photo by Sarah G…