Sometimes I’m Irrational Instead of Mature and Trustworthy

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Reader’s Question

I keep thinking there’s something wrong with me. There are many different cases where I act completely irrationally or just plain weird. For example, three months ago my mum told me that I may be going for my dream holiday — which I have dreamed about for three years! And what did I do? Instead of showing maturity and trustworthiness, I acted my usual self: I shouted at my parents, lied, was rude and once ran away for six hours!

I have no idea why I act like this. Is it just me not thinking about what I’m doing or is it more serious?

Psychologist’s Reply

It’s not hard to see how stirred you are by all this. Let’s try to keep talking and thinking right through this hard time you’re having. We can talk and reason in the midst of intense emotions just as we can when things are calm. So often, we get side tracked and distracted when under the influence of strong emotions. We can get irrational and that means we’re not thinking, but rather acting on impulses.

I don’t know what you mean by “serious”. If you think that acting impulsively is a problem for you; if it interferes in what you do, how you feel, or what you’re trying to become; then it’s serious to you. If it’s serious, it warrants attention.

If you were to sit with a psychologist for a while, he or she could help you explore how impulsive you might be and what those impulses mean about you. It would take a little time for you to get to know each other, but you could discover things about yourself in therapy that might take you many years to discover alone. Give it some thought…

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