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Advice on how to break a behavioural pattern



Hi. In short, I have allowed myself to become so broken down by abusive behaviours that I struggle to communicate with anyone at all. If I receive mail or text my first response is to just close the app. Once I manage to respond, if they respond back, I close the app and do something else. It is a real problem and suffering and I know I need to change my behaviour. It is not like anyone is forbidding me from having contact with people and communicating, but the feeling is similar to that. Have any of you found a thought, piece of knowledge, a line, a prompt that can make you go against the Strong impulse to remove yourself from interaction, and instead just able to do it? I want to break this pattern because it has potential to ruin so much potentially positive things.
Thoughts do help me:
”no one is coming to rescue me, but me”
”it a choice to think/behave like this”

they are helpful thoughts but also sometimes, when I am stuck and can’t move, I feel guilty for not helping myself more.

also, getting into a new habit and breaking an old one. Baby steps. Maybe there are small little steps to take,, just pushing yourself a little more each time? Like not turning the app off for another 5 minutes, and then. 10 , then 15 minutes etc.
habits are little devils which are harder to change than an ant hill. those little suckers just keep finding ways to survive, no matter how much poison and/or havoc i pour on them. @Movingforward10 suggested, baby steps are my most effective tool. itsy bitsy baby steps, starting with simple awareness of when i am indulging the habit. i remind myself often to be gentle with myself and patient with the process. beating myself up over regressions only gives me black eyes to nurse alongside the rest.
For different reasons, I am horrendous at getting messages/email and thinking ‘I’ll reply to that in a minute’ and then not getting round to doing it.

So I have a rule that I grade the messages one of 3 ways -
Urgent : I answer back straight away (urgent means life/death/money transfers/someone turning up in the next 5 minutes kind of thing)
Later : I will set aside a small amount of time, I pick while my dinners cooking, to do these replies, and
IDontLikeYouVeryMuch : which means they may or may not ever get a reply.

Would it help to maybe take a small step to setting aside a bit of time to get back to the people you either care about, or are important for business matters?
I think that practicing in an online setting that is anonymous like this instead of just communications with people you know can also help. There is less pressure.
Have any of you found a thought,
1. No games.

It works because I only lie, play mind games, etc., professionally. And only in very limited context, there. In my personal life? I don’t run around shouting the truth, but I don’t lie, either. It’s a deliberate choice.

When my anxiety, hypervig, avoidance, & general dysreg starts kicking up? The simple fact that I don’t play games in my personal life is enough to break through the WALLS & WEIGHT of trauma-schtuff to make responding… normal. Easy. Chill. No matter how superficial the relationship, nor how deeply embedded.

Dealing with being symptomatic to my eyeballs? Is NOT playing games with anyone. It’s “just” life in a hard spot, being holed up & hurting, desperately attempting to manage stress, etc. So by shifting gears to a place where I have a choice? I can… usually, but not always… sidestep.

I’ve also spent years having zero contact with anyone not in my daily life, because my stress levels were just too fawking high to deal even with the people in my immediate circle, much less outside it.

But? When I DO have a choice? Seizing that opportunity has near always been the best choice.

2. Only handle mail once.

This is an ADHD thing, that marries beautifully into my PTSD stuff. As, even when I’m completely asymptomatic PTSD-Wise? My ADHD is always present, and if I didn’t have an accountant? My bills would always be paid late, no matter how much money I have in the bank. So, as a rule, if I open a piece of mail? I HANDLE IT. Right then & there, in that moment. In whatever way it needs handling.

Which means my snail mail? Goes into a drawer, until Intake it out to handle it, once a week on average. If I have no money in the bank? I don’t even bother opening the drawer until I do. Ditto if my stress is acting up, etc.

Same with my email, texts, etc. If I’m not in a place to actually do anything about it? I don’t open it. If I’m opening it? I’m sorting it. Full stop.
It’s okay to not reply straight away. It’s okay to not even read emails and texts immediately.

For me? Some days, I come back to them. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb, and at a few points through the day, I go outside, do some breathing, and respond to any messages all at the same time.

Then the phone goes back on DND.
I am touched by how many people who took the time to reply to me. I found that each and every reply here really contained very useful material. I would have liked to respond more personally and more detailed to each and every one of you. But I am following some very good advices on how to manage interactions more successfully and not get overwhelmed by anxiety or side-tracked. It is sad how vulnerable my way of functioning can make me, and also very funny, honestly I laugh a lot while also feeling compassion many times. I hope each and every one of you may feel how your replies truly mattered and has made positive difference, and helped me maintain what I believe to be, a good focus. Thanks all and best wishes!