Not only are avoidance behaviors commonplace for those experiencing post traumatic stress disorder; people in general have a tendency to avoid what they don't know what to do with. Avoidance behaviors revolve around our fears. What are you afraid of? You avoid it like the plague I'll bet! Those of us who have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and even those with depression have a very high level of practicing avoidance behaviors to get through each day.
Not only do I personally avoid what I can't cope with; millions of others just like me are fighting the urge to avoid with each passing moment of their days and nights. It's difficult, but as I've learned the more exposure we can get towards the feared item or action, the easier it gets for avoiders to actually face the fear!
The reason this topic is so important is that we who practice avoidance behaviors can ruin everything we have by not beating the urge to avoid. Relationships are very fragile and it doesn't take long for the one who avoids dealing with relationship problems to make big problems with the ones we care the most about. Marriage is tough enough, add one avoider and you've got instant death! We must learn how to force ourselves to practice what we fear the most.
Personally I have a mail phobia. I am so afraid of opening important letters that I've actually had to pay twenty dollars to have an attorney open an important looking letter for me to tell me what it said. This is what I mean by facing your fears. If you can't open the letter yourself - have someone else you trust or an attorney open it for you. There's information in that letter most likely that you must hear, so at least try to work out the problem instead of avoiding the entire situation. As the queen of avoidance I can assure you that I have a large pile of letters that look important that I can't open.
How can one develop this type of fear and avoidance behavior? I was traumatized through a case of parental alienation in a custody fight for my son. It came to be that my ex-husband and his wife had lied so many times that each important letter that had to be opened was too difficult for me to cope with. Parental alienation is a very difficult and hurtful experience. So each time I'd get a letter from an attorney, I couldn't open it because I feared what it would say that would hurt me further. Trauma comes in many shapes and sizes and you never know what will cause you to be triggered when you have post traumatic stress disorder.
If we avoid problems in our relationships, time can make the difficulties so difficult to overcome that one may decide to just get out of the relationship instead of trying to repair it. If you feel yourself beginning to avoid problems in your relationships, find a counselor that you can talk to or a close friend and let them help you face your fear.
What I've found out is that what we fear turns out to be easier than we ever thought it would be to face. Once you've faced the same fear a few times and you receive a positive result from the experience, before you know it you will be leaving that fear behind you instead of avoiding it constantly. For every fear you overcome, you build confidence and feel more secure in your decision making processes. Ask for help. There are so many people out there that want to help others, but they're too afraid to just ask someone if they need help with anything.
Reaching out can work two ways - helping the one in need and the one who needs to help! It's also important to teach your children how to cope with their fears instead of letting them develop the urge to avoid things. When children are young, it's much easier to build healthy habits. Teach your child to face their fears and let them know what it means to avoid the situation that they fear. Most generally it will cause them more trouble than they know what to do with if they begin to avoid their problems and their fears.
Think about being a role model for your kids as you show them how you are dealing with facing your fears instead of folding to the urge to avoid your fears and problems. Explain your progress to your child(ren) so they can help build up your confidence by praising your positive actions! Kids are great cheerleaders for parents!
Look for more articles to come concerning avoidance behaviors. There are many relaxation techniques you can learn that will help you to fight the fear and I want to share them with you in the near future. Best of luck and if you'd like more information concerning avoidance behaviors, visit my avoidance page at the emotional feelings network of sites! Type the following link into your browser to go there now~ http://emotionalfeelings.tripod.com/emotional_feelings/id163.html
Kathleen Howe has been working with those in the self help arena for dealing with anxiety disorders, mental illnesses, eating disorders, sleep disorders, lifestyle factors, abuse and domestic violence issues and all while undergoing a personal growth recovery journey. She had a network of over 30 websites for those that are self help indoctrinated to peruse.