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How early life experiences shape our present?

Tracing back to early life experiences, particularly during childhood, individuals who have had traumatic experience, such as experiences of constant criticism, neglection, abandonment, rejection, bullying or abuse, may have developed coping mechanisms centred around seeking external validation and approval. These individuals may have learned to inhibit their own emotion and emotional needs but prioritize the needs and expectations of others over their own, believing that conforming to external standards is the key to acceptance and safety.

 

As a result of such early conditioning, various maladaptive schemas may take root in the individual's psyche. Common schemas include a fear of rejection, feelings of defectiveness or shame, unrelenting standards, co-dependency, subjugation, and self-sacrifice. Underneath those self defeating schemas, we notice that the internalised "inner critic" plays a tricky role perpetuating the behaviour patterns, such as people-pleasing behaviour pattern, approval seeking pattern, social avoidance, high standard and the other mal-adaptive coping behaviours. These schemas become ingrained, shaping the person's perception of themselves and their interactions with the world. The self defeating behaviour patterns, such as people-pleasing behaviour pattern, approval seeking pattern often emerges as a survival strategy, driven by an ingrained fear of negative judgment or abandonment.

 

The impact of the people-pleasing pattern and the other mal-adaptive survival behaviour patterns on mental health can be profound. Individuals trapped in those patterns often struggle with low self-esteem and a diminished sense of self-worth. The constant need for external validation can lead to chronic anxiety, as individuals worry about how others perceive them and whether they are meeting the expectations set by others. Moreover, the reliance on external approval for happiness can contribute to feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction, as the individual may neglect their own needs and desires in the pursuit of pleasing others. Over time, this pattern can result in recurrent relationship issues, heightened stress levels, and even manifest as symptoms of depression or anxiety. Breaking free from the people-pleasing pattern and the other mal-adaptive survival behaviour patterns often involves a journey of self-discovery, addressing underlying schemas, developing self compassion, heal the inner traumatised child and building healthier, more authentic relationships.

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