If you are a workaholic, sportsaholic, alcoholic or excessively doing any too much of any activity in your life, you may be doing so because you excell in the skill made famous by the phenomenal magician Houdini. You may be an escape artist. From what do you escape? Often, it’s from marital or other relationship problems (link is external). Could also be loneliness, financial fears, school or some other dark arena in your life that feels to you genuinely insurmountable.
Problems pop up from time to time in everyone’s life.
When something goes wrong, you have basically five options about how to respond. Which do you tend to utilize?
Here’s a hint: ‘Olics like workaholics, alcoholics, sportsaholics and the like often prefer #4.
1. Fight for what you want.
2. Fold, giving up and giving in.
3. Freeze, unable to move forward, gather more information or find a solution.
4. Flee, finding an escape route.
5. Figure out how to solve the problem, solve it, and move forward feeling good.
You may use several of these response options on any given tough problem.
You may find also that sometimes you will try first one, then another, and eventually multiple options to try to cope with a particularly tough but important challenge.
Here’s what emotional or behavioral consequences each of the five problem-response options tends to lead to.
1. Fighting brings on anger. The more you fight, the madder you, and others, may become.
2. Folding yields depression. Giving up results in losing, and losing causes a drop in serotonin. On the other hand, giving up can keep a relationship from coming apart, can appease a hostile adversary, and may be safer with regard to personal injury that trying to fight, especially if you see yourself as having lesser power than your adversary.