As a counsellor, I am very privileged in the common patterns of behaviour that I witness. I have met many individuals and couples with their own unique challenges and this has allowed me to create links between certain characteristics/behaviour and mental health issues.
I thought it might be interesting to list a few of the common patterns of behaviour that I have observed. Many people often feel they are alone in what they are experiencing and perhaps this list will help some of my readers to feel less alone…
- A common belief that many of us have is that we “aren’t good enough”.
- I have never met a client who has said that they don’t worry too much or that they wish they worried more. Seems we all worry too much!
- Men tend to believe that women can have sex even when they are upset or feeling disconnected in a relationship. This is inaccurate. Women tend to find it difficult to enjoy lovemaking when there is discord in the relationship. The longer the trouble has been present in the relationship, the longer it takes to get sex back on track.
- Often, after one session of therapy, the husband will think that sex will be back to the way it was immediately. They are usually incorrect.
- Depression often starts to improve when a depressed person accepts that they have to take action BEFORE they feel ready for it. The action comes before the improved feeling/mood.
- The image people show of themselves on Facebook (and Social Media in general) is a far cry from the raw reality I witness in my therapy room.
- When I have asked male clients whether they would approach a pretty woman in a bar/pub, 95% have said they wouldn’t due to fear of rejection.
- Most people compare themselves unfavourably to others, no matter how attractive/wealthy etc they are, we all have self doubt and insecurities.
- Rich clients have admitted that once they made their money, they never gave themselves a pat on the back, instead they started worrying abut losing their fortunes. Seems we can never be truly happy with what we have – there is always something we can find to be anxious about.
- Many of us feel we have to achieving to be valuable and worthwhile.
- Our thoughts about the world often create our reality by becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. What you focus on grows.
- We all have emotional baggage of some sort, whether it’s a weird fetish, visiting prostitutes secretively, trying to cope with addiction of some sort or staying in an unhappy relationship, we all have something we are struggling with.
- We judge ourselves differently to the way we judge others. Some of us tend to be harsher on ourselves whilst others tend to be in denial about our own behaviour and can be exceedingly judgemental of others.
- An experienced counsellor can detect dysfunctional thinking patterns fairly quickly. Most of us possess some errors in thinking – whether that’s being too rigid with our rules for how life should be or the fact that we regularly exaggerate how awful the future might be without necessarily having any evidence. Being aware of dysfunctional thinking is a great way to start becoming a more rational, reasonable adult.
- We all have behaviours (referred to as “safety behaviours”) that we engage in to self soothe and comfort ourselves when we feel anxious. Often these behaviours are unhelpful and keep the anxiety going.
- People who are comfortable with themselves are less likely to feel the need to impress others. Trying hard to sell yourself to others is often a sign of insecurity.
In a way, we are all going through similar experiences, almost living parallel lives. We also fear rejection and humiliation. We all want to feel loved and approved of. Yet somehow, society creates barriers and we end up living on an over populated planet with so many lonely people.
It’s a mad world we live in…