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Terri Lee Cooper MSc. RSW Monday-Saturday 8am-7pm  MST

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Adult Tantrums-Triggers & Associations Domino Effect

Self control is essential to the creation of a satisfactory and meaningful life. Isn’t it amazing that as adults we still blame other people for our circumstances? Isn’t it mind boggling that when we don’t get what we want we act like petulant little children?  As adults we often re-enact our playground behaviour in our relationships. This shows up in employment, spousal, parenting and other relationships. 

Self control issues show up differently in adults then in kids. Over drinking over eating, passive aggressive tendencies, anxiety and depression are all examples of adult tantrums. Why is it such a challenge to leave the playground behind? There is a simple explanation. We are chock full of associations, millions in fact. Some make sense some are illogical. However, at any given moment we can be triggered by internal or external factors that set off a domino effect. Without an intimate understanding of our operating system this domino effect begins outside of conscious level awareness.  

This is why permanent change only comes through two routes. 1) We are literally shocked out of a way of being via trauma 2) we make a conscious level decision and then we deliberately install it. 

Let me give you a personal example of a trigger and an association scenario. When I hear a particular noise, under certain circumstances I have an automatic “lightening bolt” that fires from the pit of my stomach to the top of my head in a nanosecond. The automatic subconscious reaction brings with it a multitude of damaging chemicals that are potentially hard on my heart and stomach and definitely cloud my mind. While this automatic reaction still happens occasionally I am on top of it, it is infrequent, the duration is minimal and the overflow or impact is reduced. In fact, through awareness the domino effect is usually interrupted early in the game.

This is self control and it has been installed deliberately. This means I have the key and am not a prisoner at the mercy of associations and triggers.


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