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defense mechanisms

Does Therapy Come Too Late?

rp_228552603_150_150.jpgWhy didn’t we learn to help ourselves in school?  Where were the role models of good adjustment at home?  Parents are often as clueless as their children and are afraid to admit it when they didn’t also get the instruction at home or school.

There are self-help books for adults.  Where are they for children?  Do parents feel that it is to their advantage to have children who don’t know anymore than than they did when they were children?

rp_300px-TV_highquality.jpgDo children learn how to deal with life from video games, violent programs, or from the drama they see and/or experience at home.  Values, ideals, and spirituality are close to being forbidden in schools or anywhere in the public eye.  Wholesome shows have been replaced by shows with lots of drama providing bad examples of how to behave in relationships or deal with problems.

Practicing therapy can be a frustrating business especially when it comes after a person’s beliefs and problem-solving behaviors have become crystallized and so much a part of a person’s identity that they feel threatened when challenged to change.  It has a lot to do with how a person’s self-esteem is developed and the practices that they are taught to maintain it.  Lying, deceiving, and avoiding responsibility are often used by someone when a person is afraid of being criticized and ultimately rejected.rp_Anxiety.gif

What results is a fear of change and a learned helplessness instead of developing helpful problem-solving skills and a desire to change for the sake of doing better.  We are evolving individuals and making mistakes and changing what we do or think is part of the process.  I once wrote a story or a poem about “Old King Never Ever Wrong”.

Stories are to teach and not just to amuse or vent rage.  Before most people could read or write stories were a way of teaching things and were passed down orally from generation to generation in order to do this.  What about the parables Jesus told in the Bible?  What about the Bible stories that are still taught in Sunday school or church?

Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella (Song Lyric)

Facial Expressions?If you smile with your eyes, you are not telling lies.  What do you think?  We have been trained to give a false smile if we want to be polite or to not offend somebody or to not be seen as unfriendly.  Most people smile just with their mouths when they do this.  Do you smile with your whole face?  Do you just “beam” when you do this?

Many of us practice denial most of the time and say we are happy or not mad when we really aren’t.  How do we get trained to do this?  I see many people with unhappy, sad, or “down in the mouth” looks on their faces and when i “call them on it” they deny it.  Who are they fooling? or do they really think that they are not showing their real feelings?

Children are great “truth” tellers and objective observers until they learn how to be polite and lie about what they feel, see, or think.  How often are you congruent?  That is how often does your facial expression or body posture match the content of what you say you are feeling inside or how you feel about someone else or something else?

How often do we really look into someone one’s eyes and see what is actually there.  From early on in childhood, we camouflage genuine feelings in ourselves and even punish others, especially children, for saying or acting like what they really feel.

An animated face conveys interest in someone or something and verifies what the person is saying with their voice.  How often do we call people on it when they don’t do this even though they say that they really feel involved and interested?

Once you give up this pretense of being polite and telling white lies, people often think you are acting childishly and not like a grown up when you actually have grown up and are now dealing with reality.

Conversation Stopper: People Are Rude Because Other People Are Too Polite To Call Them On It

Arp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifre some people rude and obnoxious because they count on other people to be polite?  Also do some people lie because other people won’t correct them for fear of being rude themselves?  Some people say hurtful and insulting things because they don’t expect other people to call them on it.  They will also tell lies because other people will often give them the benefit of the doubt or don’t want to start an argument.

What is often true is that the other person is uncouth and often cruel because they can get away with it.  It is sometimes even extremely obvious that they are doing this but they think that no one will say anything and they usually don’t.  Doing so often accounts for a period of stunned silence from the audience members with it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

For example, I once entered the room where a large family gathering was already going on and rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGeverybody looked to see who was coming in.  The rude person in a loud voice asked, “Who cut your hair?”  It was obvious that person was being critical of the way I looked.  It had already been a long day for me and I replied, “Well, who asked you?” in front of the whole group.  This was met by stunned silence not just at the initial comment that had been made but at my reply.  I felt it had been very appropriate considering that this person made a game of doing such things.

rp_7510823738_6616ac3a63_m.jpgSometimes the only way you can handle such comments is by being rude, obnoxious, and impolite in return.  Such cruel people love to embarrass people and often do this when they have a crowd for an audience.  People who are crude this way often may unconsciously worry that they might have the same problem that they are pointing out in somebody else but we usually don’t call them on it.

Keep It On Defrost

parenting-discipline-styles-Hello again.  My computer has been out for repair and some things have changed on it so bear with me.

Keep it on defrost.  Have you ever walked into a store or meeting place and seen a person with his face all screwed up into a frown?  You can react to it or ignore it.  You might even try to break the ice.  It all depends on that person’s commitment  to being that way.  How do you melt a frozen heart?  Send out waves of consideration and kindness.  The person could just be having a hard day..  If the atmosphere is warm enough, then the ice might melt.

Some people are committed to being cold-hearted.  Usually they are disappointed in the world and set up a strong line of defense to keep people from crossing the barriers that they have put up.  They know people and they don’t trust them.  They might have something that somebody else would try to get.

It builds a person’s self-esteem and sense of power to be able to ward people off this way.  Once long ago, possibly they let someone in and got badly disappointed.  This is usually a loner position and violated what usually is an infant’s first goal in life to develop a sense of trust that his needs might be meant.

There often is no compromise with a person who is frozen in this way.  It is often with a sense of pride that they hold this view.  You can get frostbite if they focus their cold death ray on you.

Here are two examples of people  with possibly  broken, shattered, once icy cold hearts who will remain nameless.  Yes, I have forgotten some of the details; but I got a chill both times.  In fact, I almost got pneumonia in one case if it weren’t for the intervention of a bystander who initially agreed with the person and had second thoughts.

Imagine getting three children ranging from a preschooler to a toddler to a baby ready to go someplace.  It often involved changing at least one change of clothes (sometimes mine) before we could leave.  We sat at the back of the church and it was hard to get anything out of the service because at least one child was always acting up.  The most notorious thing one of the children ever did was to run away down the aisle to the altar.  Things happening like this always created a dilemma over which of the children should be attended to.  Yes, I was basically a single parent on Sunday.

To go on with the story, I got shanghaied later in the restroom by a very irate lady who ensured me that her children were always perfectly behaved in church and turned out to be doctors and lawyers etc.  I am trying to decide if this lady manufactured a hail storm or just a sleet storm to fall on me.  I was young and didn’t know all that I know now about people who righteously criticize others.  Just a moment, could this qualify as bullying in modern day terms?

Recently I introduced myself to a nice person who seemed to have similar interests to my childhood family back home .  It didn’t take long before I found out he was a person who took pride in setting the line and didn’t mind seeing people fall off of it and possibly get hurt.  He seemed set in his ways and he was proud of this stance.  This person’s heart seemed to be semi-frozen like a nice cold margarita fresh from being crushed with ice in a blender.  Not my taste but I sensed a certain rigidity and left to get off the subject which was no longer about our similar interests.

Here I stand I can not do otherwise is fine in battle or in politics when a stand needs to be made and held in the interest of helping people who may not be able to help themselves.  There is no justification for taking over leadership just to justify the accumulation of power or wealth.  Sometimes in the former instance and not the latter instance, a leader can be like tempered iron and hold sway over part of this world we have been given to oversee and be an appropriate caretaker.

 

You Don’t See It (All) Coming

Oh, Oh, I have been thinking again and have just got to get it out where you and I can see it and read it.  So here again is another rough draft.

You don’t see it all.  Don’t you think that you could trip over something if you didn’t see it and you might get badly hurt.  Most of us do this all the time psychologically.  If it hurts to think of something, it is easier sometimes to forget it.  If we have a fault, it feels better to focus on the faults of others rather than our own.  Where do you think gossip c0mes from?

Gossiping

Gossiping

If we have a significant failure in our life or think we lack ability in an important area, we might overcompensate by focusing all our time and energy in another area where we think we are might be able to do better or there is less competition.  This often happens in families where an older sibling is a star athlete or straight A scholar.  Have you ever heard about a young girl who is attractive and limber and says she won’t try out for cheerleader because her old sister or cousin was one and she couldn’t compete.    Are we just fooling ourselves  (“Pride goeth before a fall”) or are we making it to a bad situation.

For example, frequently extremely talented people when their performances turn into money making propositions, often neglect to get good help in managing their assets and live in a fantasy land where they don’t have to think about things like that.  They often give over control of their own organization to someone else while retaining the right to spend what they earn as they see fit.  Can’t you see the train wreck coming in this type of situation?rp_300px-The_game_you_play.jpgFreud called these tendencies to avoid psychological pain and difficulties defense mechanisms.  They are projection, overcompensation, denial, repression, and rationalization.  As good a job as they do of protecting us, they can get in our way of living a full and healthy life.

For example, if you lived in an area with poisonous snakes denying that they lived in your part of the country, might lead to a dangerous surprise someday especially if you go to an area where these snakes are known to live and come out of hiding to lay in the warm sun because they are cold blooded creatures and you both pick the same sunny spot?! to sun bath.  In this case ignorance is not bliss.rp_Crookedfingersdignity.jpgBlame rhymes with shame and that is what we feel when we do this.  Shaming is a powerful tool used by significant others and others in power over us to keep us from doing something or to get us to do something.  Shame seems to have no useful purpose but to thwart us in our desires.  Often this turns into a situation like in the story about the emperor’s new clothes.  The tailor had the emperor thinking that he had such a fine cloth to make him a new outfit that only very special people could see it and thus were able to wear it.  How the townspeople laughed when they saw him in the new outfit that the tailor had made for him and they could only see he had only underclothes.rp_300px-TV_highquality.jpgWhat we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel with our senses and what we make of them are our perceptions.  After you go to bed and turn most of the lights off, you won’t be able to see anything until your eyes adjust and then what you see will be mainly black and white and not as clear as you normally would see it.  Now do you know why toddlers see monsters and are afraid of the dark at bedtime.

Last night my little grand daughter was spending the night and sleeping on the couch.  She keep asking about that black thing over there in the corner and was not satisfied until I went over there and found what she was looking at, a dark blue throw in a heap on the floor next to Grandpa’s recliner.  Since she trusted me and I reassured her with my actions by checking it, she went to sleep.rp_300px-Sweet-dreams-dreaming-of-snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarves.jpgChildren are less stupid than we give them credit for being.  They know less than we do and may have put together what they know in a guileless way, but it still makes sense if you can see it from their point of view.  Unhappily sometimes it is easier to put these children off or tell them a convenient lie than to spend the time it really takes to understand and deal with the situation.  For example, the old there are no monsters under the bed comment which can lead to tears on the child’s part and frustration on the adult’s part.

Do we hide stuff from ourselves by using such things as defense mechanisms?  Then do they come back to haunt us in the future?  Maybe it is better when you do see it all, no matter how uncomfortable that makes us.  How often does one partner not see it coming when the other partner asks for a divorce and/or has an affair?  Yes, we do have to focus in order to get anything done like texting while driving but then we might fatally fail to attend to something else that was going on at the same time.

 

 

Adoption Of Slavery Eats At The Soul

Whenever man chooses to use some form of slavery to amass a fortune and gain power over others, he loses his soul.  In order to do this a person has to lie to himself, herself, or others to do this.  The most unfortunate thing is when a person lies to him or her self about what he or she is doing and comes to believe it.   The worst person to lie to is oneself.rp_300px-Accounting_bruce.jpgOne lie leads to another.  Watch the movie, 12 Years A Slave.  The plantation owner’s wife was led to deceive so she could keep her husband and plantation.  The plantation owner deceived himself and how he treated his mistress who was one of his slaves.  The slave herself lied to the plantation owner and those who lived on the plantation about her feelings about being forced to be his mistress.  The other slaves and the plantation owner’s wife didn’t know that the mistress was doing this against her will and she endured cruelty from the plantation owner’s wife, other slaves, and as well as the plantation owner himself.

What a life we live when first we practice to deceive.  Does the end justify the means?  How often do you lie to yourself or others in order to not feel guilty or shamed about something.  Especially if we are vulnerable to the judgment of others.  Rationalizing is giving a “good” reason for doing something that others will accept without criticism.  It also could be said that someone was justifying something they did.rp_Truman_pass-the-buck.jpg

Confession is good for the soul.  The place to start is with your own conscience.  Examine yourself.  Are you telling any lies of omission and/or co-mission.  Remember only a fool believes his or her own lies and lets them becomes his or her reality.  If you believe you can’t for give yourself for something you did or said, it is more likely that you can’t reveal  that you have been rationalization and justifying these things to others and yourself.  Your justifications and rationalizations you do reveal even to yourself what they really are lies.

Do you conveniently forget stuff you have done that makes you uncomfortable?  Do you tell a “made up” reason for doing something so frequently in order to be more comfortable, that you have forgotten the real reason.rp_300px-Boy_and_girl_from_Mauritius.jpg

As adults we often find it easy to bamboozle our  children and get them to believing something that is not true.  Then we laugh at how they react.  Sometimes they even cry.  Yes, it is easy to lie to children or to others who don’t know what we know; but should we.  Taking their innocence away from children is stealing using lies and deceit.  Children are not called “innocent” for nothing.

Charlatans and psychopaths know when they are lying, but they don’t care if they are telling the truth or not.  Do you?  Get something the “right” way or don’t get it at all.  When you lie, you lose everyone’s respect including your own.

Happiness Is Contagious

The lilt in your voice, the smile in your eyes are contagious.  Happiness is the most contagious with little kids.  It is easy to improve their mood by doing this.happiness-is-contagious-wx-70842

We often look without seeing, hear without listening.  We miss so much precious information when we are in too much of a hurry to go somewhere or do something to spend the time to process it.  It is surprising to discover that the smiles of children sparkle; their voices tinkle with a tune.  Little children spread happiness and it is contagious.

Usually if we can’t accept what we are hearing or seeing, we just deny it.  Psychically other people can be an open book if we are reading their expressions to get more information about them so we can understand them better and help them.

English: A Swedish box of chocolates called &q...

English: A Swedish box of chocolates called “Aladdin” (top layer, identical to the bottom layer). Svenska: Den svenska chokladasken “Aladdin” (övre lagret, identiskt med undre lagret). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spread the word.  Life can be a bowl or cherries or a box of chocolates if you want it to be.  Ever start the day by getting out on the wrong side of the bed?  That has serious repercussions.  Pay attention to how you start the day and do it in a different way for your own sake.

 

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The Most Important Person You Really Lie To, Yourself

Don't Lie To Yourself

Don’t Lie To Yourself

Would you hire someone and keep them in the dark about the workings of your business?  Would you not give the correct answers to their questions about the business and then if they confront you about lying to them, would you deny doing it to them.  How useful would this person be except as a fall guy for your business if something goes wrong.  Would you trust them with any major decisions?  Of course not, they don’t know what is going on.

To maintain our pride and to avoid fear and anxiety, we often do this but the employee you often lie to is yourself.  You don’t know what is going on here.  Pretending not to see something won’t make it go away.   It is like the elephant in the room in alcoholic families, nobody admits that they see it; but it is still there.

Denial permits us to keep from thinking about the consequences of something we are actually doing to ourselves.  We often use it because there is an immediate reward if somebody believes it.    We hope that while we are convincing others we are convincing ourselves and somehow things that we dread happening will come out differently.  “Oh, what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive (Sir Walter Scott).”

Lies which we make to our selves are like any lies we make to others.  At some point we lose track of what we said to whom, even to ourselves, and there are unforeseen consequences and when they occur, we cry out in disbelief, “Why me?  Yes, you.   You you started this chain of lies to make something big, little, and, instead, it mushrooms.  Some people innocently call it merely self-deception, not really lying.

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How Do You Confront Denial?

In A State Of Denial

In A State Of Denial

How do you confront denial, especially in yourself?  You most need to do this when you have been putting something off and the adverse consequences are multiplying.  Even more so, you may have had opportunities to solve your problems which you didn’t take and now regret that you didn’t take them.

Now you can grieve over your losses or potential losses and do nothing or you can open yourself up to trying something new.  Life is a series of passages which come and go.  Children can’t remain babies forever and as people get older, they acquire more physical limitations whether due to age, accidents, or the type of physical activities that they have engaged in.  For some people, this happens sooner than later.  People leave your life whether through death, disagreements, or deciding to pursue new goals that are incompatible with your goals.

New people keep coming into your life unless you are a hermit.  Do you welcome them or resent the fact that you now have to deal with someone you don’t know well and who are replacing people you were once were well acquainted with and who were very comfortable to be around?  Having a quiet incident free life can be a mixed blessing, it doesn’t prepare you for when life knocks  you for a loop.

Do you greet new things in your life by saying “I can’t” or “I won’t  do that?”

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Making Your Way Out Of The Swamp Of Denial

swampimages

Making your way out of the swamp of denial or helping someone make his or her way out of the swamp of denial may have many causalities, yourself included.  Too many people do not want to pay the price; but they have to pay the piper eventually.  Seniors may put off making the adjustments they need to make in their chosen lifestyle as they get older and need more help.  They are often not willing to face the consequences and often have put it off for way to long and it doesn’t get easier, it just gets harder and harder to do.  Not taking personal responsibility for some of their life decisions as not working is something that gets in the way.  They can get angry and because of their denial they take it out on the very people they need.

Denial is not conducive to rational thinking or to making an objective assessment of the consequences of choices people in denial might make is close to impossible.  Seniors, especially, may have always thought, “I don’t want to think about that yet.  It couldn’t happen to me.  I like things just the way they are.”  Honor thy father and mother is the commandment which gets harder and harder to obey.  In fact these people may drive away the very people they need.

Now Is The Time That....

Now Is The Time That….

Such people in denial (like some seniors) often have had a position of status quo that was comfortable for them and which they never had to compromise.  It is hard for these people to make the necessary adjustments when they never wanted to or had to before.  At the same time their off spring or local support group runs out of patience with them because some seniors who are in denial won’t accept the help  they have to offer and these seniors even get (sometimes) hateful with them.

God Bless you (friends and family) you may be in for a hard ride with no thanks or gratitude or cooperation for your effort.  The problem may be impossible to solve if the person who needs to change is in the state of denial and stays there.  You might even think you are going crazy.  You say to yourself,”This can’t be real.”  You think that no one would deny something like that when the handwriting is clearly on the wall.

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