How often have you asked yourself “Why am I acting this way?” It is not uncommon to notice that, as we look around at others in the same circumstance that we respond differently; whether it is to a joke, movie or social interaction. At times we can understand and accept that we don’t share the same interests or sense of humor. However, there are other times when we might feel like we are acting in an uncharacteristic manner, particularly in our role as parents. As we reflect on these moments we question ourselves, wonder where that came from or feel shame.
So, what accounts for these times when we to act in ways that seem odd or out of character for you? More often than not this occurs when we are in a heightened emotional state. It as if something takes over. I can be like a puppet master has just overtaken your will, pulling strings jerking you out of your norm. Rather than a puppet master, these strings may be the tethers to your past.
There are those events that stir emotion because they are tied to something in the past that we can recall. While clearly the current event is identical to a past event, it may be similar enough so the parallel is evident. This is an identifiable string. Consider when you might have had a fender bender, how each time you go by that same spot in the road you cringe or look around with extra caution. When the linkage is between the past and the present is clear we can reflect as we can make sense our or behavior in the moment. This makes the string evident and with time and or deliberate effort, this connection can be severed.
However, there are times however when the linkage is not evident.