Compulsion to Repeat


“We each create a subjective world for ourselves and discover what works for us. In times of stress, worry, anger, or another emotional high, we repeat what is familiar and what feels safe. This creates a rumination of thoughts as well as negative patterns in reactions and behaviors.”

So, the interesting thing in our path through life is our use of past practices and strategies to address present issues or concerns in life. That seems reasonable when those strategies end in good and solid solutions to issues encountered.

Unfortunately; we can also repeat the same processes that have not been a positive solution to the concern we face today. This can lead to negative results, negative feelings about ourselves and reduce our motivation to attempt and try again.

There are probably a number of reasons we seem to have a ’compulsion to repeat’.

1. It seems to be the first thing that pops into our heads when an issue arises. We think to ourselves, yeah, I’ve been here before and I did this…….. Our impulses and neurons have a great knack of heading down a well-worn path, its familiar to us to act a certain way.

2. This can become habitual as we reinforce the neuronal pathways and other more appropriate pathways seem to diminish and become obsolete.

3. We somehow feel more comfortable doing the same thing rather than doing something different.

4. It can bring back memories of an earlier place, time or company we were with.

5. Acting this way reaffirms who we are and can reinforce negative self-ideation. i.e. re-affirms the idea that we can’t do things well or at all!!

6. Being unable to do something may support a secondary gain. i.e. gets someone else to respond (help us out) in a certain way.

7. It may also be that a strategy used to work when we were younger but has become ineffective yet we continue to do the same thing.

These habits have grown on us like a well-worn pair of shoes and provide a sense of security, even if negative. Unfortunately unlike our old shoes, which we can just throw away, we need time and practice to overcome unsuccessful ways of thinking and responding and introduce new ways of being in our world.

Our role at Umbrella Connections is to bring some reflection to your way of thinking and feeling, which we hope will lead to more positive and successful actions. By identifying what we could call cognitive distortions, emotionally driven responses and negative thought tracks we can all learn more about what makes us react and respond in certain situations, places, times and with various people. Challenging our own negative compulsions so we can be more responsive to our environment and issues; and create successful actions will build our confidence and sense of self.