Patterned Interactions: Part III

Finally. This group is neither interested in getting other folks to approve of them or assert themselves in the lives of others. This group appreciates an independent viewpoint and inward focus.

They retreat into themselves and rely on their own strength to get through challenges. They sometimes lack confidence that they can make a difference and may search for solutions but fail to take action on what they learn. They are detached. They can sound condescending when talking to others. Their inner anxiety and vague suspiciousness makes them self-protective. They over-analyze. Although they are perceptive, their need to isolate is a problem. One word description? Withdrawn.

Of course, Substance Use Disorder and other life problems can turn passive people aggressive; quiet people loud; loud people silent; aggressive folks catatonic. BUT before we started developing habitual, mostly unconscious ways of reacting to the world, each of us had a favorite way of relating: aggressive, withdrawn or ambivalent, or dependent on others. Our patterns precede our using or dysfunctions, so we will explore those deep-rooted preferences before we get further into the weeds of our inventory!

As you review your list of chronological feelings and your reactions, look for the pattern that most fitsyou. Remember - think of your way of being before you started using:

1. Do you move against people? Have some people told you that you were too aggressive?

2. Do you move toward people? Are you eager for approval? Do you care A LOT about other

people’s opinion of you?

3. Do you move away from people? Do people stress you out? Do you spend a lot of time in

your head?

As you can imagine, each one of these styles has both unique vulnerabilities and strengths associated with them. Give that some thought and journal about your ideas on the subject.

Patterned Interactions: Part II

Many people do not like taking an aggressive stance toward others. This second group is sociable and turns to others for reassurance and support. They would not be comfortable moving ‘against’ people or withdrawing from people. They are a collaborative bunch and lean into relationships.

They study the reactions of others because they have a strong need for acceptance. They lose their own perspective and forget the consequences for their own future in the pursuit of the approval of others.

Internally they are insecure and get stuck in a cycle of feelings of insecurity and neediness. They undervalue themselves and avoid self-reflection. This need for affirmation can cause them to lose sight of their inner value to live responsibly and value others. One word description? Ambivalent. Another descriptor? Dependent. Don’t let this word confuse you - they are not needy or weak in the classical sense of the word. Sometimes they are downright feisty. But what they are deeply committed to is looking outside themselves for confirmation that their ideas are not stupid and that they are not crazy.

Patterned Interactions: Part I

As we look for patterns, it will help us to understand that we have a patterned way of interacting with the world too. The next three days we will explore three different ways we primarily relate to the world around us. Here is option one:

This group focuses on results. They love getting things done. They thrive on doing!

They are comfortable with assertiveness and can express themselves; they are comfortable with anger. Others often feel that this group is intimidating or is personally against them.

Despite their aggressive ways, they fear not being loved or failing. They are future focused. They like stirring the pot and making things happen. At their best, they are creative, productive and positive. But in weakness they are insensitive to the needs and feelings of others, which hurts their intimate relationships. Imagine this group impaired and losing their creative mojo and capacity to succeed! One word description? Aggressive.

Do people ever tell you that you are too pushy? Too intimidating? Have you ever had to reel yourself in for the sake of getting along? You just might be a person who is comfortable moving against people you think get in your way.

Notice, as you look at your patterns, if this is true for you. Remember, this is not a bad thing. It is just a thing.

Not you? Tomorrow we will look at a different way of being in the world.