When we unconsciously approach relationships, trying to have a corrective experience, we engage in survival patterns from the past and end up hurting ourselves and others. We quickly find ourselves boarding what I call the Crazy Train.
Metaphorically speaking, Crazy Train is the ride you are on (actions) when you are in a relationship that is making you feel crazy. The specific actions a person takes when riding Crazy Train are unique to each individual.
The Crazy Train is fueled by a combination of feelings ignited by a relationship that has gone off the rails into an abyss of protest behavior, secrets, and conflict. The burning of an unmet longing, sparked at every painful activation, creates intensity in most relationships.
Clients who are experiencing challenging relationships come to PIVOT for a variety of reasons. The most common theme is that a situation or a person in their life is creating feelings that are difficult to manage and tolerate. For some, these feelings lead to actions that, from the outside perspective, appear crazy to an observer.
These actions lead to experiences that create unhealthy attachments with other people and/or food, alcohol, etc. as a way to get out of the feelings.
Because Crazy Train can appear in such a variety of ways, it is often misunderstood and untreated.
The first thing to do, if you or someone you know appears to be on Crazy Train, is to identify the behaviors and/or experiences causing trouble while trying to manage the feelings. Is the person drinking to cope, perhaps even alcoholically? Are they struggling with depression and/or anxiety? Are they isolating from love ones? Are they having an unhealthy relationship with food? When an individual takes a look at their life from a Whole Perspective (Emotionally, Physically, Intellectually, Financially and Spiritually), they quickly uncover the areas of life and behaviors which are creating unhealthy relationships.
Once these behaviors have been clearly identified, it is important to have the proper, individualized support. A PIVOT advocate is well versed in attachment dysregulation and relational healing. You need help in understanding the original wounding that is driving the behavior(s). So often people identify and arrest the destructive behavior and stop there. It’s great to stop a destructive behavior that is not serving you, but if the core wound is not addressed, then a different behavior often shows up that is often just as dysfunctional. Eventually, this may lead a person back to the original dysfunctional behavior that they were trying to stop in the first place.
Once the behavior and the appropriate support has been identified, what’s next? For most, the next step is to take a look in the rear view mirror and identify the Survival Patterns, the skills developed to help navigate emotional pain and manage and tolerate feelings that may not be working for you yet were installed at a time when you had no other solution presented. This imprinting usually happens during the child or adolescent time of your life. After mapping out these patterns from childhood, adolescent and adult years, the next task is to create repairs with your advocate. These repairs can be difficult to come up with because most people have been using some version of their Survival Patterns throughout most of their life. We help people co-create healthy repairs, that work for them, and build out, what I call, a Healthy Adult.
The Healthy Adult is you at your highest good, operating in a healthy manner toward yourself and the people around you. For those on Crazy Train, this may sound like a tall order. It is! AND, it’s possible for anyone that is willing to take a look at oneself and take personal responsibility for the Survival Patterns and repairs.
One of the biggest misconceptions about working on core wounds is the assumption that they will eventually go away. Unfortunately, that is not the case. What I have found is that, like Eckhart Tolle describes in his book , the painbody lies dormant and will be activated when similar situations occur in life. By having a clear plan on how to manage and tolerate these feelings, paired with healthy internal boundaries and consistent self care from a Whole Perspective, there is less chaos and more opportunity for what I call Relational Freedom.
This is not a call for behavioral perfection, rather a system in which to refer to when feelings become uncomfortable or boarding Crazy Train seems like the only choice. Over time, many of the feelings that were difficult to manage and tolerate, become more manageable and tolerable, because the tools and repairs used to deboard Crazy Train. The result is an overall state of well-being which we call True Vitality – operating in life from your healthiest self – based on who you are and where you come from. This is the birth of your Healthy Adult.
When living in your Healthy Adult, the feelings that have historically been difficult to manage and tolerate, do not get activated as frequently. When they do, they are opportunities to repair. When you are able to live in your Healthy Adult, you are able to go to sleep at night knowing that you took good care of yourself relationally and were respectful to others – even in the most challenging of situations. Being in your Healthy Adult is attributing to the greater good for you in all your relationships – this is true recovery from Crazy Train!
If this is something you are ready to step into in your own life, contact PIVOT. We are here to help.