Developing & Overcoming Unhealthy Habits

One way we develop unhealthy patterns: In infancy, a child splits good and bad feeling states in their psyche because their ego is too immature to integrate two dissimilar polarized states. This splitting is a means of protection from something their brains are too young to comprehend. It helps them cope with the anxiety that is created by this polarity, protecting them from feeling overwhelmed.

With normal development, meaning the external environment is healthy and consistent, this dichotomy is worked out and resolved and the infant can integrate both good and bad aspects of the self and others. However, when attachment trauma occurs and the child’s needs are not met the integration of good and bad is not resolved and the child unconsciously internalizes it as unfinished business.

As a result, in adulthood, this unconscious, unresolved childhood task forms the basis of conflict between yourself and others, as well as, difficulty resolving conflicts, and can form the origins of our “pet peeves”. It can explain other things such as why you are so hard on yourself and others, and why you find yourself operating out of guilt. By doing the work, you can integrate these polarized parts and heal!


Anita holds a bachelor of arts degree in the behavioral sciences a Master of arts in counseling psychology and has over 20 years experience in the field.

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