The Default Adult

The Default Adult – An Introduction 

default : failure to be present.

A good friend, who I have known for years, was telling me a story. Mid-story, I looked at him funny and said, “What are talking about? This isn’t you!”

 He just looked at me and said, “Yeah it is. What do you mean?

“I know you and you would never say that !” I exclaimed.

Since I was a good friend, this caused him to pause a minute and think about it.

 ( the trick here is *the pause. )

Then he looked at me and said, “My God, you’re right! That’s not me talking, that’s my Dad! That’s what he thinks. Man, that’s crazy!” Shaking his head wondering what just happened.

What just happened is, my friend went into his Default Adult.

The Default Adult, is where you go and who you become, when you fail to be present in your own life.

I created the term Default Adult, to help my clients identify when, who they truly are, was no longer present. When they had defaulted into their subconscious programming. Which is comprised of the beliefs, emotional patterns and attitudes, parents and society instilled in you during your formative years. You are seeing and experiencing the world, through the prism of the past or an imagined future. Rather than the real and present moment.

A Client may be sharing a story or an experience, when I feel the need to say, “Where did you go?”

I intuitively have felt them leave. What does this feel like? 

It feels like who you really are, your true essence, is not there.

The you who needs to be doing the thinking and the feeling. Who needs to be doing the imagining and the conscious choosing, has gone on automatic pilot. You’re are not thinking or feeling anymore. You’re just reacting, or reciting back to me some script from the past or another person or group’s rhetoric. 

You have abandoned yourself and gone into default thinking and feelings. Learned patterns of behavior you automatically default to out of fear, habit or simply, never questioning them.

Sometimes it feels like you are just numb or in some dark hole. Your energy feels dead, your eyes vacant or far off. You could be looking straight at me, but you are not seeing me, because “you” are not there. This can be felt as disassociation from your feelings or your own body.

The Default Adult  sometimes is called ” the social norm”.  Or what is expected or demanded of you, by others. Rather than expressing your authentic self.

It is just getting by. It is avoiding conflict at all costs. It is always being nice. It is what you did to be approved of or to survive.

Unfortunately, for many of us, that meant dimming down our light. It meant, denying what you really think and what you really feel, so you could fit in. Even denying what you really feel to yourself. It is not being authentic, courageous or committed. 

The opposite of the Default Adult is the Conscious Adult. Even better, the Conscious/Spiritual Adult.That is the you who is conscious, present and in the moment. Who is centered in their spiritual self, and very attuned and comfortable with their own thoughts and feelings. Or simply put, the more real you.

This is who we often lose when we are always busy doing, achieving and interacting.

It is who you gain, when you take time to push in the clutch, disengage from the world and take time to pause.


Pat Novak ~ Creator of *the Pause.

A process guaranteed to get you present and in the moment.

Coming next : The Default Adult – Gets Triggered