Monday, April 13, 2015

Maladaptive Behavior

 This post was motivated by Val's comment on the last post, which parallels my own experience.

 "I know in my family, food was treated as a sacrament as well as our curse...
A celebratory meal was our answer to any major or minor life event; my mother self-medicated w/snacks for stress, for depression, for anxiety & I obviously learned my lessons well!"

Maladaptive behavior is any behavior which is not useful or is seen by others as wrong. or   "Maladaptive behaviors refer to types of behaviors that inhibit a person’s ability to adjust to particular situations. This type of behavior is often used to reduce one’s anxiety, but the result is dysfunctional and non-productive."

OK, but overeating produces high blood glucose, high insulin, and both are a relaxant for some of us, and for others, it puts them in hyper-drive. So what is the difference in physiology? Is it in the amount of adrenaline produced? That does not matter, in my case, it is a relaxant, and that s why I overate to get rid of the anxiety. Now I separate anxiety from stress. Anxiety, in my case the fear of not being good enough to satisfy parental expectations, because that was what I was repeatedly told, produces a future consequences, while stress is a current consequences. Anxiety could have be dealt with by removing the cause, ongoing parental abuse, but it was continued until they died off, as did my once a year visit for an hour perhaps. Overcoming such a negative environment is not easy, but I learned to deal with anxiety by not putting myself into such a situation. There are better ways like some things are up to me and some are not. I cannot be responsible for the actions of others or what little mental capacity I was born with. Live with it you abusive people.

You think I have poor judgement, well teach me how to have better or hire someone to teach me. Put up the cash or shut up. Teach me how to deal with abuse and isolation, or leave me alone, like I am anyway, without the verbal abuse. I grew up a farm slave, and did not work as fast or as well as they would have liked. That may be why I can relate to Epictetus so well. Family slavery still exist today, but with TV and radio, it is difficult to keep the young in as much isolation as when I was young. The only thing that was plentiful was food, and we were allowed to eat freely so that is what I did for relief. It is difficult to see survival behaviors as maladaptive, while the situation remains and the behavior provides relief. Afterwords, when I escaped that environment, it was maladaptive behavior, it was habit, it was food addiction, it was chemical dependence, it was an any stress cooping mechanism, it was an any emotion cooping method. I worked or hid and ate. Very little play time, or social time, and that remains my "preferred behavior," likely trained in, not natural. I remain low social need. Now onto recovery.

In each stage of life we need to pick up new skills, and stop practicing old ones. Consider the big five personality characteristics: extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. How could one grow up normal is such an environment? I had to start living above Maslow's hierarchy  bottom two levels before I could change, ( Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belongingness" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization", and "self-transcendence") That is how I ended up introverted, quiet, secretive, closed, busy working, highly conscientious, and in general neurotic. The philosophy helped me see all this, and know how to live according to some of Epictetus's concepts, but not according to the current mob culture. There is no god beyond nature, so that part gets rumbled over.  Retirement has provided me the time to study and think these things through, and much of modern culture is horseshit, or natural fertilizer.

I have found that depression can be relieved by knowing what is what, and alone time is not the same as lonely, I keep a dog and a wife for that. Much patience, tolerance and understanding is necessary.

Picture just because:



  1. i'm happy for you that you found philosophy, Fred -- it can make a huge difference. other people throughout history have had similar problems to ours, solved them, and wrote about it. they'd be glad to know they helped someone else.

  2. Woo-whee, I'm notorious ;-) !!! Thanks for the shout-out, Fred...

    I came across this tidbit in my restless Web-surfing today:

    "Focus on the animals. They are why you do this. Don't give in to the negativity. Humans are emotionally stunted and project everything onto everyone around them in an attempt to not feel so alone. There are entire professions dedicated to this very topic."

  3. Thanks Val


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