Monday, October 5, 2020

What's in Your Glass?


My siblings often do things that make me mad and then I say and do things that later I am sorry for. I heard you say that no one forces you to exhibit dysfunctional behaviors. Then where do they come from?

Excellent question. There is an old saying, “Every pathology has an ecology,” meaning that dysfunctional behaviors do not come from a vacuum. All behaviors come out some part of the brain: conscious thought, emotional impulses, or stress fight-flight areas. Here is one metaphor that might help describe this phenomenon. Imagine that you are holding a glass of lemonade and someone bumps into you. You exclaim: “Hey, you made me spill my lemonade.” Is that really true? Probably not. The person who bumped into you triggered a movement that resulted in you spilling something. You spilled lemonade only because lemonade was in your glass. If water had been in your glass, you would have spilled water. If it had been chocolate milk, cola, wine, orange juice—you would have spilled that. More tomorrow.

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