Lots of the problems we have as adults result from what we learned as children about how to deal with the world around us. If we’re growing up in an abusive household, we learn that people are not to be trusted, and develop patterns of paranoia and watchfulness. If we’re getting bullied in school, we develop armor, sarcasm, a ready defense, or learn to stay under the radar, be quiet, never speak up.
These patterns allow children to survive in hostile environments. They are useful. They are adaptive.
But what happens when these children grow up, and suddenly can’t make friends or build healthy romantic relationships? When our patterns are no longer adaptive? We have to recognize the use and purpose of how we were behaving, then begin to form new relationships with others and the world around us.
A great song about being stuck in an old, unhealthy, maladaptive pattern is “Happier” by the band Guster (lyrics here).
The song is deeply sad, concerning a person abandoning friends and relationships because he or she can’t trust others to stick around.
We’ll be back next week! Have an idea or suggestion for a song or psychological concept? Leave it in the comments!