There are self-destructive behavior traps moms fall into, and they just can’t seem to get out. They’re overwhelmed as they see themselves fall in repeatedly and ultimately feel like a failure. They know they’ll beat themselves up endlessly later, but that still doesn’t stop them from getting caught in the trap.
For example, there’s the self-destructive behavior trap of perfectionism. This mom is so focused on her need for things to go perfectly on school mornings that she forgets to even hug her kids before they leave to school. She sits in silence as she realizes how critical she was all morning trying to get all the tasks done to get everyone out the door. The perfectionist trap won again.
There can be a lot of traps that moms get caught in that lead to destructive thinking. Unfortunately, many moms don’t even realize they are trapped until the damage is done. Here are 4 self-destructive behavior traps for moms.
1. The People-Pleaser Trap
This trap keeps you focused on making everyone else happy. You might say yes when you should say no. You overcommit because of your lack of saying no. You often get taken advantage of or manipulated by others. You want to do all you can to avoid conflict because conflict means someone isn’t happy.
As a mom, this trap can be destructive because you are worn out. You might have trouble setting limits with your kids because you just want them to be happy. When they aren’t happy, you feel like a bad mom so you just give in. If you notice yourself getting stuck in this trap, take a step back and remember you will never make everyone happy. Sometimes saying no is the healthy response for you and your relationships. Saying no is also one of the 8 ways to simplify your life.
2. The Other-Centered Trap
You love to take care of people and you are usually awesome at it. You see the value in helping out and have a genuine passion for it. This all sounds so great and virtuous, but there is a big problem. You might take care of others more than you take care of yourself. You tend to get out balance. When you are so focused on loving others, you forget about loving yourself. This can lead to burnout.
As a mom, this trap can cause you to neglect your family. Your cycle tends to be “all in” until you crash. When you crash, everything crumbles around you. Your family can feel like they are riding a roller coaster when you are stuck in this trap. If you notice yourself stuck here, it’s time to remember your priorities and put your family first.
3. The Comparison Trap
When you compare your life to others, this trap can quickly spiral out of control. There are always people who have something better than you have. A better marriage. A more talented kid. More money. A bigger house. Better behaved kids. The list could go on and on! When you are caught in this trap of comparison and envy, it is hard to find contentment with your life.
As a mom, you might find yourself being unhappy with your life. You are critical and tend to focus on the negative more than the positive. Nothing feels good enough. If this is a trap that frequently gets you, it’s time to count your blessings. Look around and see all you DO have rather than all you don’t. Spending too much time wishing you had someone else’s life will end with you missing out on yours.
4. The Perfectionist Trap
We all know logically that no one can be perfect, but a perfectionist has a style of thinking that can trap her into believing it is possible. You might spiral when you make mistakes and struggle to forgive yourself when you do. You are very critical of yourself. And you also hold others to high standards. You struggle when you have to stop something and not complete it. Your worth tends to be caught up in productivity. The more you do, the better you feel. Not getting things done feels like you failed.
As a mom, you struggle with being distracted by all that needs to be done. It is hard for you to relax and be present. You also might be hard on your family when things aren’t happening the way you wish they would. If you are struggling to get out of this trap, try embracing the idea of some. Perfectionists tend to be all or nothing thinkers. If all isn’t just right, then nothing is right. Practicing some will help you balance your thinking that some can be ok and enough.
Awareness of being entrapped is the first step to breaking free. Watch out for these destructive traps and work towards taking a new path to get around them. And tell us, what’s the trap you fall into the most?
Teri Claassen is a Jesus follower, wife to Dan, mommy to one boy and one girl, a foster mom to kids in need, and a therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling in Tampa, FL.