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I Need to Fix This Behavior

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My boyfriend says he will break up with me if I don’t stop doing this thing that I do. He says it’s my childish attitude but I’ll try to be more specific. This happens when I get my feelings hurt. I deal with my emotions in front of other people and affect them instead of dealing with my emotions in private. I ruin plans or create drama/a scene by either reacting outwardly with my emotions (screaming/throwing a fit but I do that much less than I used to) or I react passively where I still show that I am upset but instead of being just plain aggressive, I am passive aggressive where I run out of the room drawing attention to me and I affect those around me and often ruining the vibe/good time. I do the latter of the two the most.

Some examples:
I came home to hang out with my bf and his friend, got upset over something minor, and locked myself in the bathroom for a while pretending to take a shower and then walked out the door and went on an hour long walk while they waited for me to come hang out. I think I justify my behavior as okay because by itself when I’m alone, it’s alright but it’s bad when I affect other people.

My boyfriend and I were going to the store and he said something about finances that I perceived as hurtful and so I changed plans and said I wasn’t going to the store and walked out of the room before he could respond. He says I torture and punish him emotionally and I normally say I don’t intend to but maybe I do subconsciously?

Being at a party, someone says something hurtful and instead of dealing with the hurt at home in solitude, I leave the conversation in a rush and go to the bathroom and cry and then come back and act like nothing happened after making a scene.

I am now becoming aware of this even though I have done it for years. It’s embarrassing and I do it almost everyday. How do I stop? What is a new approach? What is something new I could do instead of reacting this way? How can I be more aware of when this is about to happen?

I Need to Fix This Behavior

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for sending us your email. Your courageous self examination is an excellent way to begin getting to the bottom of this. You acting out (and acting in) when your feelings are hurt are indicators of a need for greater self-regulation and self control. The very fact that you are now aware of this, have written us here, and are looking for ways to cope are the necessary ingredients for change. It is a good start. I’d recommend therapy focused on developing coping skills with these impulses. Along the way developing a meditation practice can be a terrific way to begin developing these emotional muscles.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

I Need to Fix This Behavior

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). I Need to Fix This Behavior. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/07/21/i-need-to-fix-this-behavior/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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