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When we are reactive we become a prisoner to other people and events.

People make us upset. We become defensive or go on the attack. The world determines whether I can be successful or not. We are reacting to situations instead of initiating what we want to happen. 

When we are reactive, we make hasty and impetuous decisions. We don’t stop to think through our responses and choose ones that are not appropriate.

In the process we become impulsive and act on sudden urges or desires. Our behaviors become motivated by impulse instead of thoughtfully thinking things through. We may think that is the way we keep from being taken advantage of. In truth, it is not.

When we are reactive we seldom think we have legitimate choices we can make. Opportunities are for other people. We are simply a victim to our circumstances and we spend a lot of time preparing a long list of reasons to substantiate our position of being a victim.

Reactive people often become aggressive. They don’t believe they have any control over their lives.

Their knee-jerk reaction to anything painful or difficult is to find someone or something to blame and then look for a quick fix to feel better.

Responses are lacking in judgment and discretion.

Reactive individuals often become jaded and cynical. If you are not able to have control over your emotional responses, you are like a piece of laundry on a clothes line that is whipped around by whatever wind is blowing through.

Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

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