Stop doing what doesn’t work
Betty and Ben married young and quickly had a baby. Betty never seemed to get along with her in-laws. Ben teased Betty that his in-laws were better than hers. It was funny to a point, but it got old.
The early years of marriage were difficult and the harsh criticisms by Ben’s folks made for emotional family visits. Betty dreaded seeing them. Ben’s parents constantly gave constructive criticism and couldn’t understand why Betty wasn’t receptive.
They reminded her on a regular basis how much easier she has it compared to what they endured in their earlier years. They usually combined their chest thumping by sprinkling subtle hints of improvement on the side to maintain their superior positions.
The in-laws were intrusive, critical, agreement-seeking missiles, who had an addictive habit of always being right. Their way of seeing life was the only way to see life. “After all, weren’t we dubbed The Great Generation? There was a reason ya know,” they would often quip.
Betty tried everything she could think of to combat the feelings she had about her in-laws. She tried being overly nice and friendly. She tried complaining and once even threatened Ben. Whining didn’t work either. In fact, nothing Betty tried worked, but true to human nature, she kept trying her failed strategies as though one day, something would change.
Betty sought help and was coached to write down everything that didn’t work. Then she was challenged to stop doing every failed strategy. In other words, Betty was held accountable for not doing what didn’t work. She soon realized how upset she became when her strategies didn’t work and she would blame her husband and her in-laws even more.
When Betty followed the system of eliminating failed strategies from her behavior, she discovered different strategies. These strategies contained concepts such as let it go, forgive them, and relax. She was now free to focus on the practice of forgiveness and give herself permission to be happy again.
With time, Betty soon found new boundaries in her life as self-respect slowly returned into her life. She learned that you will never receive respect from another person until you learn self-respect. Betty was adept at the skill of learned helplessness and transformed into a doormat whenever Ben’s parents were around.
Without learning to replace her bad habit with a different habit, Ben and Betty’s children will be susceptible to the same learned trait in their adult lives.
Learning new skills is not usually found in self-help books. Such products focus on WHAT to do. Learning skills to work with and the principles that support them will change behavior much faster than discussing or studying behavior.