Change Your Destructive Behaviors by Examining What’s Driving Them

We all have moments of weakness, but chronic, destructive behaviors can be hard to change, even when you’re aware of their consequences. Our most destructive behaviors — such as angry outbursts, freezing up in high-risk moments, or asserting excessive control under stress — are often rooted in formative traumatic experiences, and uncovering their origins can help. Try to recall scenes from your early years, usually between the ages of five and 20, when the behavior started to appear. Write down what happened and how the behavior was learned. Then ask yourself what need your behavior is serving. Usually it’s an attempt to resolve a painful experience. Next, choose a new narrative for how you can meet your needs with alternative behaviors. Sometimes you need a trained therapist for this last phase, but you can start by writing down what you think a new narrative needs to be. This work isn’t easy – and takes time – but it will help you live a far more gratified life, and those you lead will be especially grateful.

This tip is adapted from “Getting to the Bottom of Destructive Behaviors,” by Ron Carucci

Categories: Management and Career Tips

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