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Shame The Great Manipulator, The Great Trap Of Unworthness

I was raised on shame.   It was my claim to fame.  I was not recognised for what I did well, but for those things I did not do so well.  I was also convinced over time that I could not do them well and when that happened that people would give up on me.  I thought there were only so many things in life that other people would approve of and that I was not capable of doing them well enough to make other people proud of me.  I was recognised for what or where I could not meet up to other people’s standards and I felt like I was a great disappointment to my family so much so my relatives did not want other people to know that I was related to them.

I was so easily made to feel shameful that I was bullied, I was suicidal, and I was made to feel that I could never meet up to other people’s standards (of which there was only one set) and I would ultimately be rejected and thrown out on the street if that was possible.  There was only one person to blame and that was me and I didn’t know any different.

Appropriate or Inappropriate? Wanted Or Unwanted?

Worse yet I realized that in sexually inappropriate situations the victim (that was me) was always the one who should feel ashamed and had something to hide instead of the reverse.  Getting caught in a sexually compromising situation was something I should cover up, sneak out of, and pretend didn’t happen even though I now know it qualified as sexual abuse.   It was something to be covered up and forgotten if possible.

Brene Brown with her doctorate in Social Work found that we have three shields that we can use as shields against shame.  We can forget or not talk about what we see as a shameful situation.  Men will tell you that they are not comfortable talking about certain things that happened to them as they were growing up or even later in life such as post-traumatic stress syndrome and even had pushed these things so far out of mind that they did not remember them.

Another shield against shame mentioned by Dr. Brown was appeasement.  If someone is dissatisfied with you or something you have done, you try to make it up to them or make them so happy or satisfied in another way that they will forget that you did not or might not make them happy.  Another word for this might be “brown nosing”.

Another possibility would be going towards or against the person or situation that makes you feel shameful and take it out aggressively toward them or it.  This is the third shame shield mentioned by Dr. Brown.  Could the liberal Democrats’ behaviour after the election of President Donald Trump be an example of this?  Are they ashamed that their candidate did not win over such an unlikely candidate?

Sometimes our entire life can be motivated by shame and others can get what they want us to do by shaming us and can feel better about themselves by winning over us in this way.  I have often felt that being a woman, especially a woman professional, made me a target for this sort of thing.  If a woman can do it (what I did) it must be something easy to obtain and therefore not worth much.  The step between someone with a Masters degree and a Ph.D. must be pretty easy if she can do it.  I did not attend the graduation ceremonies when I received my doctorate (because it was not such a big deal)?

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.

 

Before There Was Political Correctness For All Of America. There Was Political Correctness For Psychologists

debate_defined_shirts-rd63506e86f7c40c8a576c9480034df60_va6lr_512                                          Not Allowed Here!

Training for psychologists has always been politically correct and it always hampered the services we delivered.  We are in a world where values are not to be taught and religion should not be practiced.  If there are no longer any role models allowed, what will a Godless state be like?

I was trained to not offend clients by talking about values and religion unless they brought it up.  Also I was not to critique their beliefs or offer other alternatives unless they did.  If I said anything counter to this and offended someone, I was called on the carpet and once lost my job.

rp_319628280_150_150.jpg                                        Giving A Helping Hand

Values are to be challenged and religious beliefs ought to be discussed.  We are so politically correct sometimes that we can not say something a person needs to hear!  Who would you like to live next to?  A person with no values and possibly no conscience or a person who has and practices good values?

People do acquire values anyway and if we prevent them from being discussed in school or counseling, what is left?  “Bad Guys” don’t feel bad about promoting their values and acting them out.  Young people find role models somewhere if they don’t have them at home, school, or church, or in a mentoring situation either individual or group.

 

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.

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.

 

 

Positive Attitudes, Winner or Loser

not who you are 344Why are we so afraid to create positive expectations of future situations?  We are afraid that if we do this we will be badly disappointed when it doesn’t work out.

Have you ever played pretend and created exactly what you wanted in every detail?  You probably did so as a child when you were only limited by your imagination.  I used to think that the president and his or her family had access to every thing a person could want and many things that ordinary people, even rich people, didn’t have yet.  They had color TVs in my child’s mind before they were even invented.

For example, my best friend and I created beautiful ballgowns in our heads that we could really see.  Daydreaming, you say just daydreaming….  Did the candy taste just as sweet if only in our imaginations and everything starts with an idea before it becomes a reality.

Your frame of mind can influence your outcome.  How do you act if you know you will get something?  How do you act if you are sure you won’t get something as things are unfair and no matter how good you are you don’t have a chance!

 

 

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.

Acknowledge Your Feelings But Don’t Let Them Control You

amygdalaFeelings can be overwhelming and are necessary at times.  Grief for example, must be expressed sooner or later.  It is very damaging especially to relationships if it can not be shared.  When I am very hungry, I get so mad that I could spit nails.  When I am with family or friends I warn them when I get that way.  I am literally not able to fulfill others’ requests until I get something to eat.  You probably could name more.

Some feelings people feel are so strong that they literally take over and people thus say that they “involuntarily” do things that they may or may not regret later.  They are out of control but it is not their fault.  For example, someone says, “He made me so mad…” and this justifies whatever that person does next.

Are we responsible for our feelings?  Well, “Yes,” and “No”.   We are frequently conditioned at a very young age to respond with negative feelings to certain things.   We may be even given rational explanations for feeling that way that we accept as something that motivates us to do certain certain things and often enables us to not accept responsibility for what we do then.

How do we resist all that conditioning?  It can effectively put limits on our life if we let it.   It is often difficult to undo.   How often have we heard someone say, “I can’t help it,” in relation to performing these type of learned behaviors.  Is it a Get Out of Jail Free” card like in Monopoly?

What have you learned to feel and to respond to in certain situations.  Is it you that is behind it or did you catch it from somewhere or someone else?

 

Do You Hear Only What You Want To Hear?

Do You Hear Only What You Want to Hear Or See Only What You Want To See?  Do you sometimes tune things out and skip parts of the material that is given to you? or that is shown to you?rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpgI go to a place to meet my spiritual needs and I go to hear what God wants me to know.  I try to go with no preconceived notions of what I will get from attending church that day.  I quiet myself and pay attention to what is prayed, said, or done.  It is a time to be in the moment, not about feeling bad for what has happened in the past or being anxious or worried about the future.

Something was said yesterday during the service that I caught and am presenting here.  This idea not only applies to worship services, but also to doctor visits, books, lectures or workshops.We often hear what we want to hear not actually was said or intended.  When we learn something new, we often make changes to other ideas we have held or if this makes us uncomfortable we decide to tweak the material that was presented so it fits our notions of how the world should be.

Gossiping

Gossiping

Ever play the game of gossip and noticed how distorted the original message became?

We may tune in and tune out adjusting what we do hear to make it more acceptable no matter what the content.  We can have attacks of boredom.  We can become irritated because we have to sit there and listen to the speaker drone on and on.  We can day dream or even fall asleep.  Pay attention there may be something useful there.

This also can apply to visual material like posters, power point presentations.   Did you read the quote presented at the top of this post.  Here it is again.rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpg How did it make you feel: comfortable or uncomfortable.  Are you generally open and receptive? or do you not like someone else telling you what to do and/or commenting  on your appearance, possessions, and family.  You have your own ideas and are comfortable with them.

I realize when I jump to conclusions I don’t pay attention to what is being presented.  Stereotypes of people and cultures leave much to be desired and prevent us from encompassing diversity and learning what these people and cultures are really like.

Now you may understand why that Active Listening (Carl Rogers) is so important in communication.  Being able to repeat what the other person has said before giving your reply encourages people to hear everything that was said.