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defense mechanisms

The Devil Made Me Do It

Haven’t you heard that before?  Is it really the devil or are there self-defeating thought patterns that cause you to make a mistake, a big mistake.

Then when you are fired, have a traffic accident for which you are considered to be a fault, or blow it somehow and lose a relationship, you are initially entirely mystified as to how you could have fallen into that predicament and until the shock wears off, you are thinking, “Hey, what did I get into?  How did that happen?  Who, me?”

When the initial blankness wears off, next you face the consequences which can be overwhelming.  “Me, how did I get pregnant?”  “How will it change my life?”  “What happened to my car?”  “Is anyone hurt besides possibly me?  Will I lose my license?  How will I ever find another job with this on my record?”

Decisions may also have to be made at the moment which you might or might not regret later.  You can possibly become defensive and whatever the consequences of your decisions you can and will defend them.  You can then can become “Mr. or Ms. Neverever Wrong” and this too can prevent you from learning from your mistakes.

You may also have to come to some conclusions which you may regret later.  Did you intend to do it or did the devil make you do it?  You don’t have to be Christian to think this, but it helps.  You may say that you won’t have any regrets because whatever happened, it wasn’t your fault and get yourself lost in denial even if it is not what actually is found to have happened.  Sometimes reality can become really, really hazy when this happens.

You can see how your self-concept can keep you from seeing or acknowledging your mistakes and how valuable life lessons can be lost this way.  Recently I had a conflict with a friend and lost my relationship with her.  I didn’t know it at the time that the heat was getting to her worse than I knew and I was more concerned about my own ability to handle it.  I learned, as much as I didn’t like it, that I was not acknowledging the signs she was giving me about her own deteriorating physical wellbeing.

I  had had a long-ago lesson ( that pertains to the above situation) where an aunt of my husband’s who was helping me get my baby to the doctor in a far away city didn’t really want to do it and I learned that she really wanted me to read her mind when she said, “Yes” and she really meant, “No”.  I was hurt when I found out that she felt I had taken advantage of her and was mad about it.

My husband’s aunt got really mad at me like my friend was when she had heat prostration.  I learned that I had to read minds and therefore read between the lines when I was in certain situations even when I was not told something.  It initially exasperated me, but I eventually got the hint.  It was a very expensive lesson when I also learned that my friend and also a close friend of hers were very mad at me and did not want to communicate with me.  Again they felt that I had taken advantage of her and was insensitive.

I certainly was part of the problem; but what if I considered that the devil made me do it.  I am sure he would be happy creating conflict among people and making them behave less like a Christian.  In the Lord’s prayer is the line,”and lead us not into temptation”.  We need to keep on our guard as hurt feelings and confusion are a potentially bad mix.  It has caused me a lot of grief.  Can you conceive of the devil enjoying this?.  I can think that is what God meant when he gave Christians this part of the Lord’s Prayer.

For a long time I was very rational about this part of the Lord’s Prayer and I didn’t think I needed pray it because I always knew what I was doing; but then sometime’s I made some dumb mistakes. For example, one was making a left-turn onto a four lane highway holding my fast food that I had just bought in one hand.  I totaled my new car and wound up driving a used Cadillac. I always wanted a Cadillac but not that way.  Who was at fault? me? God? or the Devil?

Also sometimes I have been very dense and as a result get caught in the same situation over and over.  Was it my fault or the devil’s fault?  I felt very strongly that I had to solve my own problems and often was confused in certain situations when I did not catch onto to what others’ wanted of me.  I knew I was not meeting their standard’s but I did not know why.  I was not getting their hints; but it was not malice on my part.

I have a little true story about me that illustrates this that I might have used in some other of my posts.  My lady supervisor at a clinic told me that I had an odor problem.  This was confusing to me because I was a regular bath taker, used deodorant, frequently changed my clothes, and washed those that needed it or sent them to the cleaners.  Needless to say, I immediately either washed all my clothes or had them cleaned; but the odor persisted.  It was very embarrassing and the staff felt  like that I had some kind of problem that I wouldn’t admit like to being homeless or living in a dive and had no plumbing.  Later I figured out that it was a perfume that I was wearing that didn’t mix well with my body chemistry.  I stopped wearing it. Problem solved.  But that never did connect with what the staff was thinking.

As a Christian, I latter learned to call on God especially for problems that I couldn’t solve and not to entirely depend on myself and view it was some kind of a test that I might fail.  I felt that the devil always won in these cases.  I had failed some kind of a test.  I did in an indirect way (I didn’t ask for help); but I think I either had some kind of lesson to learn or I was inadvertently making the devil happy.  Often it is the little things that bring us down.  I don’t think the devil likes us to be happy, without serious worries, and confident that we are okay.  What do you think?

Be Careful, Before You Make a Judgment, Or Form An Opinion

Looks like she loves making judgments!

 

 

 

Be careful before you form an opinion or make a judgment as you just might be wrong.  Do you have all the information?  Whose side are you on?  Does that distort your perspective?  Have you ever done this and found out later that you were wrong?  Remember the saying, “Don’t jump to conclusions?”

 

 

You Might Reveal Your Own Dirt!

The judgments that you make are pretty revealing not so much about the other person, but about you.  Do you really want to make that mistake and reveal that much about your own shortcomings and not the other person’s?  The common error that philanders often make is to accuse their spouse or significant other of running around on them.  The accusations that they make about the other person, reveal so much about them.  The details are often very descriptive about what is actually happening with them.  How else could they know so much about what happens in such relationships?

 

Prying Eyes

I once had a lady in church who accused me of not taking care of my kids and disrupting the service.  Her first thought was not to give me (my husband was not there) some help taking care of the kids, two toddlers, and a baby; but what a fine job she had done with her’s and how her children would never have disrupted a church service.  This is a kind of a mystery but it can be solved using the advice that I gave above.  What had she experienced bringing up her children that caused her to be so sensitive to the “misbehavior” of mine?

 

Needs Writer’s Block

Recent “fake” news often gives a one-sided story and jumps to conclusions before all the facts are in.  To top it off, they rarely publish a correction when more information becomes available.  Do you want to put yourself in that position?  Gossip 0r unsubstantiated conclusions can cause irreparable damage besides making you the teller look like a fool.  Or even revealing your own personal biases.  Rose-colored glasses often aren’t the ideal prescription for viewing life nor are dark colored lenses which are usable for sunny days only.

 

Where’s The Lottery Ticket?

A strong desire to be helpful can also get in the way of knowing the actual truth which can potentially turn out to be embarrassing.  Like famous people with publicity agents, families can often put out what they want the public to know about a family tragedy or life-changing event.  You could wind up with egg on your face if you initially take the initial “publicity release”  as the whole actual truth rather than what they want you to know for the time being.  A massive lottery win is often kept quiet so that the winners are not taken advantage of by opportunists.  Could you think of other examples?

 

This will make some juicy gossip for someone!

 

 

 

Don’t be so taken in by the desire to be in o the gossip that you make one of the above mistakes.  Better yet, wait until you know the truth.  Then you can decide whether to share it with anyone or do anything.  Of course, there are always emergencies where you must make split-second decisions without out all the information about what is going on.   This can be embarrassing if you make a mistake or horrific if you pass up this opportunity to help when time is of the essence.

 

Has the post made you think?  I hope so.  Can you think of any other occasions when these things might happen?

 

Are Opinions Based On Assumptions, Not Facts?

If you can not change a person’s assumptions with facts, then why argue with them.  I someone thinks you are a “hypochondriac” and a “surgery addict”, what can you show them from your actual medical history that will change their mind?  Nothing.  What hurts too is that they also think “hypochondriacs” and “surgery addicts” are bad people.

Assumptions are just that assumptions and they can be extremely harmful if they are erroneous and associated with bad qualities in other people.  “Oh, that’s just a woman for you” or “Oh, that’s just a man for you.”  Doing this allows people to make quick judgments of other people without wasting time getting more information.

A debate is an academic activity where each side takes turns arguing one side of an argument.  This can lead to a reasoned analysis of a situation both for and against.  Lawyers often do this for a living depending whether they are working for the defense or the prosecution in a criminal trial.

More to come as I think this over.  Most recent contribution from a friend.  “Many people think that their opinions are facts!”  This is why arguments and discussions can be so hard.  Also, people often form “tribes” and identify with them like “Trump Supporters” and are threatened when a belief contrary to their tribe’s beliefs is presented to them by someone.  They become anxious and even angry.  Do you see why people often don’t talk about sports, politics and religion at the table?

 

If You Don’t Want To Do It, Don’t Say, “Yes”, And Then “Gunny Sack” It!

Many people play games and if they win, they can say, “Gotcha.”  This first happened to me when we had our first child and my husband’s aunt volunteered to come with me and the baby to a specialist in St.Louis.  Later I learned from her that she was just being nice and didn’t really want to do it.  Sometimes I can be very independent because of this Catch 22.  Especially when it winds up in the gunny sack which will be opened up at a later date and used against me!

Also, beware of narcissistic sociopaths and borderline personality disorders as they can manipulate you too.  You will wind up taking the blame and the perpetrator will wind up smelling like a rose and be one up on you too.  For these people lying is their favourite sport.  They like to see how easily they can take you in and leave you in the dumpster.

Worse yet they can cause your friends to think bad of you while they get accepted as the “real” victim, not you.  Initially, they can get you to care about them and take their side, but they are just as phoney as a three dollar bill.  You know how poison ivy can spread?  This is worse because you can never get over it.  Accomplished liars are good at telling the “truth” and leaving you, not them in the lurch,   And if they are good enough, then they can take all your friends away and make them their friends!

They can use anything such as a “fake” conversion experience to get you to take their side initially and to be considered to be a loyal friend by your former friend or friends.   “The devil made me do it,” is an honest reason for doing this but they would never admit it.  A good liar manipulator is often so good at this because they don’t really have a conscience to bother them like you do.

A family member like this aimed to put her stepfather in the nursing home so she could inherit.  A stroke of luck as she died before he did.  Sometimes I feel life is a snake pit and you always have to be on the lookout for snakes which might bite you.

The fraudulent manipulators never seem to get the blame; they just get the goods and take off with them.  It can be very difficult because you may be the only person that sees through them.  Good Luck!

Is It True That Only Those Who Do Good Can Feel Guilty?

Is it true that only those who do good can feel guilty?  Does it follow that those who do bad do not feel guilty?  On top of this, this propensity for those who do good to feel bad is often used against them.  People who do good (or the Goodies) when told that they did something wrong or that they made a mistake, it petrifies them and hinders their ability to do good in the future?  Are there a lot of people out there that don’t want people doing good and this is the best way to stop them because they have a conscience and are therefore fearful that they might hurt somebody? The Badies are out there making sure that they get what they want regardless of whether or not they hurt somebody.

The Goodies are fearful of being caught in a lie even if they didn’t know it was untrue until the Badies chastised them with it.  Badies lie all the time and to protect themselves from being called liars call other people liars to put the spotlight on someone else.  The best defence for them is a good offence.  The Goodies can become so busy defending themselves that they forget to point out the Bad Guy’s  mistakes.

How can this be helped?  The Goodies must become aware of what is happening so they can turn the tables on the Badies.  For example, “You call me a liar, when you lie all the time.”  When attacked this way by the Badies, a Goody can say this is none of your business.  A Bady attacked me once about my hair cut.  She loudly stated in a room full of family, “Who cut your hair?”  I replied by saying, “Who asked you?”  I had decided to not fall for her bait and to put the spotlight on her.  It did shut her up and the family members went on with their catching up.  Goodies can be too polite and these manipulators can count on this.

Badies not only lie, but they are good rationalizers. and can invent or find reasons why they are not guilty and should not be picked on.  It is important to recognise that if a Badie asks noisy questions and is not being polite that a Goody does not have to be polite either!

We all have boundaries and Badies especially like to cross them.  For example, within the nuclear family, certain issues are usually kept quiet and not shared with others especially when the Badies are just being noisy and want to lay these problems out in public so they can often give you bad advice and perhaps cause a spectacle.  People are not entitled to know your secrets.  These people can be very noisy.  I had one who looked up our friend’s phone number and called them inquiring about us.  Our friends had never met and were shocked and surprised when she called them up out of the blue.

The only boundaries Badies respect are their own and they are inclined to keep secrets.  They can be very outgoing and social when things are going good and disappear when things are going badly for them.  They can be very secretive that way and you can never get to know the whole person even when you find something that tells on them.  It may be a good idea at the time to use a Goodies address, but then something like information about bad checks pops up in the mail or on the phone.

Badies make a bushel barrow of mistakes themselves and they can go far in and  trying to cover up past mistakes which are often not found out about until that person leaves the scene.  They make up their own rules to benefit themselves like when a person (friend, neighbour, relative) dies that they will naturally inherit from him or her and even ask for that inheritance early.  See the story of the Prodigal Son” in the Bible.  They can walk all over a Goody when they are alive and when they are in the grave, they don’t stop.  An inheritance can be a windfall for someone but the will usually makes sure that all the bills are paid if there is money there to do it.  Doesn’t it make sense that the person, often a Goody, who helps the most, inherits the most, even if he or she doesn’t think he or she deserves it.

Guilt is the primary tool of the Badies and they often think to themselves that if I get people to look at another person who is doing “wrong” they won’t see what I am doing wrong.  Don’t look at me; look at him.  If these defensive maneuvers work, then they can get off Scott free.  When they judge others, they are usually revealing what others could condemn them for.  “Judge not that ye may not be judged; condemn not that ye not be condemned.”  It is written in the Bible.  For example, it is likely that the marital partner that desires to commit adultery condemns his or her partner for adultery either while desiring to do it himself or herself or while secretly actually indulging in adultery himself or herself.

 

Boundary Problems?

With what is going on in Europe now with boundary problems, it is getting more and more clear that having little or no boundaries makes them vulnerable to people who will take advantage of that.

taking-advice-badgeDo you feel that you are a pushover?  Why are you a pushover?  Is it because you want people to like you.  Can’t you think of a reason not to do it?

You think you are a good person and that others are good people too.  Not setting appropriate boundaries leaves you wide open to people who don’t think like you do.  It also leaves you wide open when you should be setting boundaries like with children and people who work under your supervision.  Are you the kind of parent or boss who often winds up picking up after their children and/or doing someone else’s work along with your own?rp_23219947_8c2cef7e59_m.jpg

How long can you do this type of thing without feeling angry?  “Read my lips” no more “nice” guy or girl.  You also lose people’s respect too.  I have grandchildren and I can tell who does and who does not set boundaries with the grandchildren by the children’s behavior.  You are courting chaos when you don’t do this.

Righteous anger?  Is that possible?  Is it polite?  When we continue to let people take advantage of us (and we know it) aren’t we lying?  Isn’t this a “sin?” of omission?  So this person or child takes advantage of us figuring we don’t really say what we mean.

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Things Usually Are the Most Productive When They Are Painful

Does Anger Bring Out The "Devil" In You Or Does Fear of Change Bring Out the "Devil" in You

Does Anger Bring Out The “Devil” In You Or Does Fear of Change Bring Out the “Devil” in You

Progress in my life has often been scary and painful and I often did not work on solving problems because I didn’t want to face the pain involved.  This is especially true in interpersonal situations.  Do you think that the most progress is made when something is easy to do?  Be honest with yourself….

Progress can not always be assured even when we face something painful and that is potentially painful too.  Could we learn something?  This is something that could realistically happen.  Learning can be painful too especially when you have to give up all or part of a long-held belief system.

When confronted with new conflicting information about a belief that a person has long held, people can either reject the new information in some way or change it so it fits their paradigm.  The other option is to change their belief system to fit the new information.  This is what learning is all about.

Some people are not really looking for conflicting information as it makes them uncomfortable so they back away from confrontations.  They think there always has to be a winner or a loser in a disagreement and they are programmed not to lose because it hurts too.  Compromise is sometimes a new thing to some people because of this.

When people come to new understandings about things, they can both be winners.  They understand each other better and can anticipate making better decisions without out so much potential “flack” from the other partner.

Why People Can’t Change

Why people can’t change:

1.  They would have to admit they were wrong about something.

2.  They might have to make some other changes too.

3.  It would take too much time.

4.  They are waiting for somebody else to change first.

5.  They would have to admit that they wasted time or money doing the wrong thing.

6.  They might have to admit that somebody else was right and they were wrong or too much pride and too much emphasis on winning some type of competition.

7.  Having to be always right even if it kills you.

Why they should change:

1.  To stop putting money down a rat hole.

2.  To become an example for somebody else.

3.  To stop wasting time defending why they can’t change.

4.  To save more  time and money after investing some current time and money making a change.

5.  To stop having to hide some deficiency from others.

6.  To learn something new.

In the long run there are great benefits:  For example, learning to drive as an adult.  Erased my dependency on others.  Gave me freedom.

amygdala

 

 

 

Continuing Growth Is Necessary For A Psychotherapist

loud-noisesNo, once chosen the profession of a psychotherapist or counselor requires continuing growth.  Sometimes in surprising ways.

Freudian psychotherapists have raised the subject of transference in the relationship between a therapist and a client.  Transference can go both ways.  Something about the client makes them see the therapist in a certain way.  Sometimes something about the therapist makes them see the client in a certain way.

Education in a profession such as psychotherapy can lead the practitioner to believe they must present themselves as  experts in the field and as not vulnerable to the types of things that bring ordinary clients into therapy.  This can lead to rationalization and denial on the therapists part.

Rationalization means that the therapst can create a good explanation as to why he or she is not vulnerable to the types of problems his or her patients have.  Denial can also result from the taking of this position and it can cause therapy to not move forward for the client.

Personal growth is one way possibly to help stop this from happening. Does the development of one’s self-concept and concept of life stop with attaining one’s maturity whether at 18, 21, or 35?  No, it does not.  Our perspective on life constantly changes with new experiences.

Honestly does a psychotherapist think that they can understand exactly how they learned to be who they think they are and stop growing.  Wouldn’t personal growth experiences for psychotherapists help with this?

Is there only one answer?  Hasn’t science found this out.  What things did scientists believe were true when your parents were children and what have you or your children learned in the present that scientists’ did not know or believe then?

Remember the old saying, “Do as I say!” not “Do as I do!”

Also the more defensive barbed wire a therapist puts between him or herself and what he or she is asking their patient to do, the more “phony” and indefensible they become as therapists.

New learning and new growth leads to enthusiasm to carry this over into the psychotherapist’s work.  Insights developed this way can help a therapist be more responsive in therapy.   I now hear and see more things than I used to see or hear in everyday interpersonal interaction.

For example I can still learn from a four year old that grandma is not always smiling and looking happy when she thinks she is especially when I am feeling that I am working at something and forgeting to enjoy doing it.

 

 

Feeling Beat Down And Worn Out?

Criticism and put-downs can be a form of mental abuse and so can sarcasm and being told that you can’t take a joke.  Constant volleys of such “verbal” abuse can wear a person down and definitely not help them back up. It is often used in arguments to denigrate the opinions  and/or wishes of those being put down.  The partner might find him or herself spending more time defending themselves than having a constructive arguement.

Anger Is Often Used To Control

Anger Controls People

Nagging can result from such interactions.  If a person is never allowed to win an argument by the means cited above, they may resort to nagging as a substitute for not being able to win in an argument.  Nagging can be a symptom of a relationship where one person doesn’t do something that the other person wants and in an argument over this issue, the other person feels that they don’t have to a chance to win.

Such forms of interaction discussed above can result in a negative living situation with one or both persons involved feeling “less than” and unable to cope.  Being constantly “put-down” does not generate a comfortable situation and it can become a constant war zone in which one person always wants to win and the other person doesn’t feel they have a chance.

Punishment is not a good way to encourage certain forms of behavior; positive reinforcement is.  Also on many issues over which partners fight there is often no one “right” answer.  Many such arguments are about personal preferences and not absolutes although some people like to think that they are.  Mother nature and our environments are set up to encourage certain types of tastes and certain types of skills.

Does Anger Bring Out The "Devil" In You

Does Anger Bring Out The “Devil” In You

For example, if I have sensitive hearing, I may prefer certain types of music over other types.  Does that make me right or wrong when I argue with a person with different sensitivites and experiences.  For example, I do not like most “bluegrass music,” certain old time country music, and polkas (unless they are extremely “lively”).  However that doesn’t mean that I don’t like music as a whole.

It often boils down to a whole issue of control.  If I maintain that the things I like and like to do are the only “right” ones than I can be sure that I won’t have to do or experience anything different that I might not like.  In one relationship I was in, I was not allowed to eat any onions cooked or raw at home or away from home for he could always tell if I did and he didn’t like them.

Nobody is happy if only one person is in control of the relationship.  The winner might get tired of having to tell the loser everything they are supposed to do and the loser might get tired of never having “any choice”.  This can be the motive for murder where one partner kills the other.