When "learned behavior" moves from one generation to the
next - what happens?
young man is growing up... he goes to college, explores most
things his generation was trying, graduates and comes home
to join the successful family business. He had
everything going for him, but what he needed was the love
and attention of his Father. The Father's (first
generation) behavior was dismissive, distracted,
invalidating and empty of expressed love. The young
man (second generation) learned what it meant not to be
seen, or heard - additionally, he learned to hold his
feelings inside, suppressing his loneliness and pain.
He did not know how to receive, feel or give love! What he
knew best was to work hard, try not to create too many
ripples, and help grow the business. He became a workaholic,
a very good man, extremely successful, and a good father.
His goal was to provide the best of everything for his own
Time marched on
and the man (second generation) has become (like) his
Father, the very thing he worked so hard to overcome.
All the learned behavior (from his Father) has been
directing his own path and choices for many years! The
eldest of his children (third generation) has
graduated from college, but does not want to go home and
join the family business. The son (third generation) is now
a product of his Father's learned behavior. He is
holding in a lot of anger with the parent who will not look
him in the eyes and really talk to him. He is
dismissed by meetings, cell phone interruptions, and absence
due to constant travel to grow the business even more.
We should remember that there could also be learned behavior
from the Mother working at the same time. The son is hurting
deeply, and is seeking the connection with his Father.
He has done drugs and alcohol, been in love without the
ability to understand why his life is not working. Is
it possible that learned behavior will continue on into the
fourth generation? Maybe not!!
When behavior such
as this is clearly not working; when what we learn is not
the path we choose to travel...WE WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES
TO MAKE THE CHANGE! Such is the unfolding legacy of this
family, and the ending will be much better than the
beginning. The first step of changing any generational
pattern is to know that it exist and make the changes that
best serve those directly connected. You can teach an
old dog a new trick!
also see generational learned behavior unfolding through
religion, race, sexual orientation and more.
similarities to someone you might know are probably
What is our part in learned behavior?
It is time to take a hard look in the
mirror to see who we are.
We are responsible for teaching those around us!
Depending on our lifestyle, it is so easy to set standards
for happiness, pain, addictions, responsibility with money,
and so much more. Those around us will rise to our
level of expectations. Almost everything in our lives
is an opportunity to teach someone a better, or easier, way
If you have a partner that is not vested in you; look in the
mirror and see who you are in this situation. Children
will often act out based on how we feel about ourselves.
When we truly believe in someone, and when we share this
with them... many times they do everything possible to rise
to that level of expectation.
This is not about being perfect; it is about being the best
you can be, and helping others reach their own goals.
If we are prejudice, it is likely that we are teaching the
next generation to continue that process. When we
don't like the way our life is unfolding, we must take a
hard look at what part we are playing in that creation.
The 'good' of who we are, as well as the 'bad' of who we
are, will multiply and return to us. Just another good
reason to check in with yourself once in a while.
If we are a product of our environment, what might
happen if we are emotionally abused in our marriage?
Our next subject is at an advanced age of life.
The woman does not look her age, she is well
educated, well traveled, financially very well off,
she is a widow and mother of three. Her
lifestyle might be envied by many even though her
health is beginning to fail her. What could be
wrong with this...RIGHT!
She came from an humble beginning, and knew what it
meant to go without things. During her
marriage her education was put on hold because it
suited the husband. Everything was centered
around what he needed, and wanted, as he became even
more successful and accomplished. Without
knowing it, she was being conditioned to see her
relationship with men in a way that might prove
harmful to her one day.
Life marched on...she ultimately went to school and
was very good at her chosen course of study.
The husband was absent from his marriage, and from
his family. He had more than a few love
interest outside of his marriage. He became
more, and more, successful and wealthy. We
should not judge the decision she made, but try to
understand her way of thinking. She stayed in
a fruitless marriage rather than give up the
lifestyle she had become accustomed to.
Ultimately the husband
The point of this is to take a gentle look at where
this person is today. Her environment
conditioned her to accept what the man in her life
is saying, or doing. This becomes the standard
of her life. In some ways the more recent men
in her life have very similar personalities. Her attorney
may not be
representing her fairly, may be over-charging her,
allegedly was able to remove assets that were in trust;
he suggested the accountant for her to use, appears
to be directing
her decisions in many things. After all,
he was her husband's attorney and he should know
Her son is using the attachment the
Mother has for him to his advantage. She has
funded a venture that is going nowhere, gave him
money to meet an emergency - turns out the money was
used foolishly. He ask for money, she gives it to
him! She has redirected part of an inheritance
to favor him. He does little for his Mother
while receiving the lion's share of her money.
Her conditioning has left her blinded to the
manipulation that is going on - learned behavior! What was
learned during her lifetime seems to be the same
similarities to someone you might know are probably
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From Happy to Sad to Angry!
Has this ever happened to you? Some of us
experience an almost uncontrollable shift in our
moods. We start out feeling fairly good;
without knowing why, we move rapidly to sadness, and
then anger. We often take this out on
ourselves, or the people around us. If we have
issues that we are working through, most likely we
will immediately revert back to those traumas.
When we confront others with our anger, usually we
blame them for something in order to justify what we
When we think things are bad we
look for something to be angry about! In many
ways this behavior is a subconscious effort to
explode the feelings to find some relief.
This is never done for the sole purpose of
hurting others, and is rarely understood by the
person in pain.
In most cases we miss the target by not finding the
point of beginning. These outburst most often
start much earlier, but we have moved beyond that
point without dealing with it. Usually the
issues are not new, just a re-hashing of old
feelings. When this occurs, the more
stimulants you take in around that time, the more difficulty
you will have to cancel the outburst. A
stimulant can take many forms! It can range
from something we are eating, drinking, watching or
even something we are doing.
Get to know yourself! Visit with your doctor
to ensure there are no health related issues.
Work with a dietician to learn more about
sustainable good carbs that will raise your
serotonin levels. Work with a counselor, or
coach, to process your learned behavior.
Before you reach the explosive stage; ask yourself
WHAT IS RIGHT? When you focus on
something that is working; it is easier to
let go of the perceived things that are wrong.