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Reactions to Change

 

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Reactions to Change

(Excerpted from Transition to the Workplace: a Curriculum of Job-Seeking Skills for Displaced Homemakers and Single Parents, by Catherine L. Weis, 1998. Reprint permission granted by the Center on Education and Work, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1025 W. Johnson Street, 964 Edcuational Sciences Building, Madison, WI, 53706-1796. 800.446./0399; fax 608.262.9197. www.cew.wisc.edu; cewmail@education.wisc.edu)

Understanding common reactions to the changes or transitions which occur in our lives can also help us to deal more effectively with them.  Some common character reactions to change include those listed below:

Character: Orphan
Response: Denial or disengagement – focuses on self-protection and pain avoidance.
Might say:

“No problem.”
“I’ll leave…and stay.”

Character: Martyr
Response: Loss or misidentification – focuses on the past and a loss of identity.
Might say:

“I used to be somebody.”
“It’ll never work.”

Character: Wanderer
Response: Confusion or disorientation – focuses on certainty and activity.
Might say:

“Where do I fit in?”
“I’d better do something.”

Character: Warrior
Response: Anger or disenchantment – focuses on bitterness and justification
Might say:

“Over my dead body.”
“They’ll be sorry.”

The manner in which we deal with change can have an impact on the way in which we need to deal with it.  The chart below will help you assess your own character in the face of change.

 

ORPHAN

MARTYR

WANDERER

WARRIOR

FEELS

Abandoned

Sacrificed

Homeless

Beaten

INNER
EMOTIONS

Numbness

Suffering

Confusion

Anger

OUTWARD
REACTIONS

Denial

Loss & Sadness

Activity

Revenge

NEEDS TO

Admit pain

Talk

Seek and Find

Vent

WILL THEN FEEL

Pain

Heard

Direction

Relieved

TO BEGIN MOVEMENT, NEEDS TO

Accept

Connect

Focus

Negotiate

IS THEN ABLE TO

Listen

Help

Act

Collaborate

ACHIEVES

Trust and Comfort

Recognition and Respect

Clarity and Action

Power and Purpose

 

 

MY REACTIONS TO CHANGE 

  1. Are there things you could do to strengthen or improve your current situation?  If so, what are they?   How will you implement a plan to make these improvements?
  2. Are you satisfied with your response to recent changes in your life?  If not, why?  What could you do to improve your outlook and/or ability to deal with and master the changes you are facing?
  3. Has your level of support from others changed with this transition?  How?  If necessary, what action could you take to increase the level of support you are receiving from others?
  4. What are some of the coping strategies you would like to enhance or begin using?  Below, outline a plan for using/improving at least one of these strategies.  For example, "I will listen to a relaxation tape at least once a week."
  5. What character reactions described in the "reactions to change" handout do you think best describes your most common reaction to change?
  6. Do you feel that your behavior during the current transition/change is consistent with your usual behavior?  Why or why not?

 

(Excerpted from Transition to the Workplace: a Curriculum of Job-Seeking Skills for Displaced Homemakers and Single Parents, by Catherine L. Weis, 1998. Reprint permission granted by the Center on Education and Work, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1025 W. Johnson Street, 964 Edcuational Sciences Building, Madison, WI, 53706-1796. 800.446./0399; fax 608.262.9197. www.cew.wisc.edu; cewmail@education.wisc.edu)




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