Discover our App

Centerpointe Research

discernment

The Word Ambiguity Is Ambiguous-Curious? Read This Post

Many people have difficulty tolerating ambiguity.  This may be just why our nation is so polarized right now between the left and the right, Trump haters and Trump supporters.

Actually, ambiguity is often the state of knowledge.  We just can’t get a clear picture of how things are and just when we do, we find out something new.  Young twenty-somes often do not feel comfortable with ambiguity and this is the reason why many of them are seduced into cults which claim that they have all the answers like Scientology.

Boundaries can be ambiguous

I am satisfied that I don’t know all the answers and that some answers will never be extremely clear although they may become clearer over time.  I believe that I don’t know all the answers and that I won’t know all the answers in this lifetime.  People who do not believe this way makes me very nervous as I don’t totally agree with everybody and everybody doesn’t agree totally with me.

College was the place where my fellow students were encouraged to disagree and to debate many points of view unlike most of the students of today who are reinforced for accepting the beliefs of certain professors who are deemed politically correct.

Gaining in knowledge should encourage surprises and new

Self-Styled Expert?

ideas not consistently reinforce all beliefs presented or taught.  Science should constantly explore and evaluate conclusions made from current experiments and past knowledge.  Many scientists often currently skip the phase where they develop a naturalistic understanding of the area of knowledge that they choose to evaluate.  This often involves acquiring personal experience which has been typical of anthropologists in the past who went out to live among a people that they proposed to study.  First-hand experience can sometimes be better than book-learning.

The Best Child-Expert

How many child psychologists have ever had first-hand experience bringing up children? or have spent time playing with them after they themselves have entered high school or college?  Getting down on the floor and participating in a child’s imaginary world is often different from observing and taking measurements from an experimental psychologist’s perspective.  I especially like to have the child have me draw a picture of an experience he or she has had.  Also, suits and ties and tight skirts and high heels get in the way of making these observations.

I once was a participant in setting up an experiment about snake phobia.  I was not

She appears SCARED!

particularly worried as I didn’t think actual snakes would be used even though I was snake phobic and didn’t tell people because they then would surprise me with one of the real snakes used in their experiments.  I knew that when I saw someone carrying a shoe box in the rooms where my fellow students had study carrels there usually was a snake in it and I would leave the room without saying anything.

After I was strapped into a recliner with leads for physiological responses in a room with no windows and the only door behind me, and shown slide pictures of snakes, I was told this was when the actual snake would be brought in a glass aquarium from behind me.  If this had happened, I (or any real snake phobic) would have gone “ape-shit” and that would have been the end of the experiment and the start of a lawsuit if I and/or they had survived.

No one knows everything and we never will.  We just have to live with ambiguity in our lives.  Concrete knowledge is desired and claimed by some, but can not usually be true in actual reality.

Is this Green?

Another supposedly concrete example of ambiguity is the spectrum of colors.  The is no such thing usually as a pure color and the changing fashions in fashion design and interior decorating illustrate this.  For example, a color of green that is fashionable in yarn for crocheting and knitting goes out of style and it goes on sale.  Someone making items from this yarn for sale at craft fairs might not get many buyers.  This color of green no longer is fashionable.  Or pick up an old or vintage handmade throw at a flea market and it might not go with the things you currently have where you plan to use it.  Did you know that the color green or other primary colors can be ambiguous?

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 You Lost And Alone And Easily Rejected?

Recently I took one of those FaceBooks quizzes that was supposed to diagnosis blocks in your life (Mind Movies).  Mine were surprising; but not surprising:  rejection and fear of being left alone.

My biggest fear is the loss of all support in my life.  That when it comes to some issue on which I and my family or friends disagree that I will be “thrown out in the street” so to speak.  If there is a choice between believing and supporting me and themselves or someone else, I will lose. I also strongly fear being rejected and deserted with no support (physical or emotional).

The origins of these fears are being raised with love withdrawal as a primary form of discipline by a mother who wanted to maintain strong control of the family members and it seemed, “It was Her Way or the Highway.”  My mother wasn’t the only one doing this.  My father found my behavior to be very exasperating and once in the middle of an argument, said that he was going to move out.  In those days, dads were the bread earners and child support and welfare didn’t exist or at least I had never heard of it.

On top of this, in this very controlling family, the things that I could do (and there were several) were (it seemed to me) not often praised and sometimes, I felt not even noticed.  In grade school, one of my parents’ desires when grade cards came out was that I didn’t have a messy desk.  Children are very susceptible to believing what they hear and experience while they are young especially when the parents’ motto seemed to be, My word is Law and no other perspective on life is available.

Soon I learned to hide and not share things with my parents.  The worst were any notes from my teacher asking them to come to school to talk about my behavior which the teachers had frequent trouble dealing with (except for my second-grade teacher who was the only woman teacher I had in grade school).

Can I help it that sometimes I am very secretive, that I don’t feel appreciated for things that I really like to do, and in the family competition, I don’t usually win and family members feel that I shouldn’t ask for help even when I think I need it?  And if there is a choice to be made over who stays or goes, I am the one who will get thrown out.

Top that off with at times, I can feel that I have a hard time making and keeping friends.  I feel rejected, left out, and unappreciated.  Sometimes when a sense of some competition with me is felt by others, it seems to turn into jealousy and meanness from and by them.  Yes, I am intelligent and educated as I can accomplish things on my own and stick with something even if it is difficult.

I feel like I have a hard time increasing my likeability and acceptance by others.  I can feel alone in a crowd (not that I like it that way).  My exploration of spirituality has given me some experiences where I did not feel left out.  P.S.:  my mom was shy and always took me long to women’s things like baby and wedding showers to keep her company even when I was very young.

I also feel that if my family read this that they would have it all upside down and backwards and only use it to hurt me.  I love my family and consider it the greatest gift in my life although I initially did not think I would have one.  The contributions they want from me is for me to do things they expect a reliable housewife and mother and breadwinner to be.  Hopefully, this is not followed by love withdrawal if I do not meet their standards.

Finally, my family would probably dismiss my thoughts as all something that got cooked up in the many different therapies I have had.  The real me is reflected in my writings (of which I doubt that they have read many) and if they read any, they would be more likely to give me editorial comments rather than any comments reflecting understanding and acceptance of any of my ideas or experiences portrayed.  When I feel I am in an atmosphere that is open to new ideas and experiences, I can be very free to be me.  How about you?

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!

Are You Pineing For A Punk?

What First Attracts!

Are you pining for a punk?  You might be if your story is part of the content of a scandal sheet.  Being recently confined for illness, my friend gave me a buch of scandal sheets. Whether I knew them or not, I found a common theme, recent breakups and connections between famous people.  They have everything, shouldn’t their relationships work out?

How they treat each other is outrageous!  When under the influence of first Love, it appears that they can’t see straight!  Faults are glossed over and relationships are formed immediately without much time to get to know the other person, faults and all.  They have the ways and means with which to get over involved.  Common sense goes out the window.  When things come down crashing down (reality rears its ugly head),  there is surprise and obvious grieving for something that wasn’t to be in the first place.

Falling in love is not supposed to be a revolving door.  Test the waters and see if you want some more.  In these relations ships, it is just too easy to leave and find someone else eager to be the new LOVE.  Doing this seems to mean that the new person is some type of winner and not the loser they might be.  Just because you are choosy doesn’t mean you are a loser because someday you might pick the winner and avoid messy relationships with people that don’t go anywhere.

FAME ATTRACTS!

Fame, money are very attractive.  Yet somebody with a great talent may not have much to offer other than that.  It is hard to mix that kind of glamourise life with success in the real world.  Whatever attracted him or her to you might wear off and leave you high and dry.  Cheating proliferates in this type of world and is supposed to be tolerated complete with possible STD’s.

The Missing Link

Relationships turn into a kind of a game with one-up-manships proliforating.  Security does not exist and when a crisis occurs, the sufferer is usually left high and dry.  What do you want a glamourse red carpet evening dress that you have to be sewn into or a practical comfortable attractive outfit that you can  wear over and over?  Relationships are that way too.  Even though he or she is not to your taste and you are not his or her taste, doesn’t mean you are a failure.  You both just avoided a big mistake.

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)?

When Being Nice Is Not Being Nice At All

Facial Expressions?Recently I saw a neighbor lady that I had not seen in a long time.  We did not click this time either; but I didn’t think about it.  I had tried to make conversation but it didn’t work out.

I didn’t think about it until some of my family was talking about her and something she said to a person at the occasion where I saw her who was recovering from a recent total rejection by someone he or she had been in a relationship with for a long time.

It was very hurtful to hear about because it was obvious that this person had come to the party to at least distract his or herself from thinking about their recent loss.  The lady’s tone of voice was very sweet and it was obvious that she probably would say, if asked, that she was just expressing her concern.

Again I didn’t think about it; but the family members talking about the interaction felt that what the lady did was inappropriate and reminded the person she was talking to of his or her painful experience and the fact that he or she might be not be over it.

It wasn’t til later today thinking over what was said that I remembered that I never felt comfortable around that person because I often felt that she was insincere, possibily even phony, when she was trying to be nice.

The way the person said what she said and the circumstances under which she said it made it difficult for the person receiving her inquiry to tell her to leave him or her alone as he or she did not feel like talking about it; but the damage had already been done.

What do you think?  You know what I think.  Perhaps this is judgmental of me but perhaps this is a reminder to trust your gut feelings.  If something feels wrong even if it sounds okay, it still might be wrong.  Could she have been faking it?  Could she have been passive-aggressive and by shoving the knife in a little farther reminding him or her of their sorrow?

 

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.

 

 

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.