Reactions to the Fear Cycle:

When people have experienced trauma, they often try to get control of their lives.  They turn to unhealthy behaviors trying to grasp for something….anything that they can control.    We use these unhealthy activities to cope with pain.  Pain that we are dealing with today, and pain from the past.  The following are behaviors that trauma victims engage in:

  • emotional eating (both overeating and undereating)
  • excessive cleaning
  • excessive working
  • isolating ourselves; withdrawing from relationships
  • policing behavior (checking husband’s cell phone, facebook, email)
  • excessive exercise
  • drug or alcohol use
  • excessive shopping
  • excessive reading
  • excessive church or community service
  • excessive blogging or social media use
  • excessive T.V. watching
  • unhealthy sexual behaviors
  • self-harm
  • other: ________________

My reactions to the fear cycle are: emotional eating, excessive social media use, excessive watching of T.V., excessive reading, and excessive shopping.

The first step in stopping the fear/control cycle is awareness.  I have been practicing for three years and there are times when the cycle slips right under my radar.  Most of the time I can catch it and there are things that I do to stop myself from falling into the cycle.

I watch myself for my weak areas

excessive behaviors

All of the things listed above help me avoid my emotions.  If I catch myself at my desk with a bag of chips, or a plate of cookies, this is a warning to me that I am avoiding emotions.

Other times I choose T.V. and obsessive reading to avoid life.  When my marriage was coming to an end, one week I watched the entire 92 episodes of La Femme Nikita in 2 weeks.  This is a problem.

Another weak area for me is social media.  If I find myself feeling like I need to check my phone 20 times an hour.  I know I am avoiding something.

Lastly, but one that gets me more often than not is excessive shopping.  I have entered a store before in a trance like state.  Ten Isles later I wake up and have a basket full of clearance items that I don’t even want or need.

When these things happen I recognize that something is out fo control.  I stop and look at what recently happened, and what my emotions are.

Assignment for Healing:  Awareness is the key.  What are your reactions to the fear cycle?