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Behavior

Something You Maybe Should Know

Sometimes when people say that they are telling you something you should know for your own good, maybe it really is for their own good. Maybe they tell you that you should change something about yourself for your own good when really its something that is for their own good, not yours? “Janey, you should quit talking so much and stop monopolizing the conversation”, when really they are the one who wants to monopolize the conversation and they want you to shut up and let them completely take over. Worse yet they can compliment you about something you are wearing or about a new hairstyle when obviously it doesn’t flatter you at all. Then your best friend can be your worst enemy. How do you tell the difference between one and the other?

Also less lethal but still misleading is a friend-enemy who may monopolize the choice of the next store to go to on “Black Friday” or acts like she is being the most helpful when you are deciding where to eat. It is always presented as the most logical choice but over time you or others don’t get to go where they might have planned to go. If you kept score, how many times did they get their choice while you or others did not get theirs? Maybe you had hoped to have Chinese and to top it off it might have even been your birthday and you didn’t get to have your choice for whatever reason your “friend” gave. Then if you begin to feel slightly angry over time, your friend will have a reason why you shouldn’t feel bad and it makes you look and feel like an oversensitive slob.

Could your friend be a little narcissistic and even insensitive? Not that you could say anything about them or to them. The only remedy often seems to be a little bit narcissistic or insensitive yourself. Often you spend too much time being codependent and meeting other people’s needs and may even have difficulty recognizing your own needs. “Let’s invite Judy (that’s you) to the party, I’m sure she’ll bring the food and even make the decorations.” Whoops, isn’t something going “wrong” there? Maybe the party wasn’t your idea and you had something else planned. But you get coopted!

Why Does The Victim Often Have More Trouble than the Offender?

Here I am in trouble again and you may often find yourself in this type of trouble too. The offender gets out of trouble by blaming the offender. Such as they deserved it. They were so stupid that they deserved to lose to me. Why should they trust people so much? If caught often the punishment does not equal in cost, inconvenience or shame what the offense cost the victim. Often victims have to take on the role of being a damaged person whose repair is difficult, often incomplete and leaves scars.

I am a sexual abuse victim. Even the word victim is personally damaging. I didn’t ask for it but I got it anyway or will get it for sure if I tell anybody like I am doing now. I didn’t realize it until the first time I felt a sexual response while making out and it went away. I tried many ways to fix this without any luck and so I live with it. Also, it seems that once a victim, always a victim.

I had a therapist who once called me sexually attractive which made me uncomfortable at the time. At the end of therapy when I was moving out of town, he invited me to come to see him and let him know how I was doing if ever I was back in town. When I came back, I found out that he expected me to have sex with him. I remember nothing that happened after that. Boy, was I naive and I became a victim again. Now I know why I never felt I was sexually attractive because that was dangerous. It also affected my self-esteem. Now does being seen as sexually attractive mark me as someone to be exploited? It seems to be true at least in this case.

I was considered a behavior problem in grade school. Was I reacting to being sexually abused? I had almost men teachers at that time. The best year I had was with my only woman teacher! In those days, no one considered the fact that I was a problem because they didn’t know what to do with me. In fact, at graduation, I wasn’t made the valedictorian because of my behavior so I said I wasn’t going to graduation if they didn’t. We compromised, I got the award for the highest grades in the class instead. I think I was one of the first people to threaten to boycott their graduation. Also, I was told I would never make better than a “B” in high school; however, I graduated high school as the class Salutatorian. I also suspected that they suspected that I was fairly intelligent because they had someone give me a WISC (the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children), but I never learned what my IQ was.

I was also bullied in high school on the bus and nobody did nothing about it. I did nothing to deserve it. In fact, I spend my time reading to the little kids on the bus. I ended up not riding the bus even though I live in the country. I also was a member of what I called the “out” group in high school. the members of which, including myself, all sat in a group in the auditorium to eat our lunches. We all were there for different reasons, the country kids (but that was not my reason to be there), the less intelligent kids, the poor kids, etc. I was there just because I didn’t make into one of the uppity groups whose members snubbed us.

In ending, I would like to say that from my point of view that I became a victim of other people’s enjoyment at my expense. Victims of crimes also seem to get not fully repaid for their losses caused by those who victimize them. Victims of break-ins often never feel comfortable in their own homes again.

What are the losses, peace of mind, monetary especially the extra cost of legal fees, medical expenses, the cost of therapy needed? Also, the inability to have normal emotional responses again, the lowered ability to trust people, tragic memories or the loss of memories of things that happened, fear of getting into certain situations again. What of these costs does the offender ever have to pay and does the suffering of being caught and having to pay for these offenses by going to prison ever catch up with them? Remediation often doesn’t really happen for some reason such as the inability to identify or catch the offender or the offense is not considered a crime.

Good And Evil Revisited, Part 3

I am sorry that I am a little bit behind.  I had surgery and it took me a little bit of time to recover.

Evil has no compunction against saying those who are Good are beneath them and are stupid, ignorant, and easily manipulated by both sides when Evil masquerades as “Good”.

Unfortunately, some of the Good are really part of the Evil ones and only are pretending to be “Good” so they are able to accomplish Evil things.  This happens when values deteriorate from concern with doing Good only and with helping others in need of salvation or in need of having their basic needs met.    See Maslow’s basic hierarchy of needs.  Perhaps a social need is for a church to have their worship in a cathedral so everyone can see how well they are doing in their search to glorify God.  Also they “need” a bigger church to safely accommodate their large congregation which is a safety need in the hierarchy. This can often subvert the direction of a church i.e. from housing or feeding the poor to building on to their church unnecessarily.  Many feel good for example when they have a showplace of a church like a Cathedral.  Are they actually “Good” or are they approaching being Evil? i.e. “Look at me.  Look at my church.”

A Concerned Pastor, Might He Have This Problem In His Church?

For example, have you ever even a woman or a man entering a church with a scowl on their face and they appear ready to criticize something at any moment.  In the long run, such people may eventually split the church over doctrine or acceptable values which they piously conceive as Godly.

Hugging, even shaking hands, or friendly greetings to strangers are not present in these churches and it appears that these members of the congregation would appear very uncomfortable doing these things.  Attire is either formal or does not permit certain hairstyles and types of clothing especially not wearing shoes or hats or head coverings which the disciples didn’t do.  In some places, people think that they can’t go to church because they have nothing to wear, clothes that are threadbare or shoes that are scuffed and worn and either too little or too big.  If I stay home on Sunday due to my disabilities acting up, I do not have to dress up.  I do catch at least one sermon on TV when I do that.

Values are deteriorating to fame and recognition, power, wealth, and a much higher standard of living including gold faucets providing high-value items, more opportunities, and living in restricted areas.  Also, such people might have multiples of items where an ordinary person might only need just one or a few.  There might be a corner on the market of beautiful things even by the most of those who consider themselves “Good.”  For example, the price of a fine thing can match a working person’s salary for one year.

Where do you go when you have done everything and seen everything?  Do you consider other people evil because you think they have not worked hard enough to get to the place where they can look down on others like themselves?  Reading the Bible and applying what it says possibly goes by the wayside unless there are some books of the Bible or some particular verses that match what these people righteously think. Was the Bible meant to be read in all its parts and also applied in all its parts?  Probably.  But when an effort is made to read and apply the values presented here,  such an effort is acceptable.  There are other volumes which elucidate a value system but they must be evaluated by the heart and not just the mind.

Who do you look up to?  Does what they do and think to justify following them.  Most of us have a conscience and we know when we are doing what we know somewhere deep inside it is not right.  Too often we don’t speak up because we have the idea that other people are better qualified or more powerful than us.  (See my post on The Little People.) This is the reason for a democracy.  You have the right to vote.  Use it.  I will make an independent vote for governor this fall as I consider neither the current Republican Governor or the Democratic candidate for governor worthy.  I hope enough of us poor little voters will do this to make our opinion known.  We do not want to be ruled by Chicago which we would be in Illinois if we voted for a Democrat or if we reelected the current governor who has the state broke, that probably wouldn’t change.  If you are in Illinois, vote for the independent Kash Jackson and show the state that many of us do not want either the Republican nor the Democratic candidate.

Values in the discussion of Good and Evil, do no good unless you live them even if it is difficult.  Do you have your own mission statement declaring what your purpose in life is and how to follow it?  Also please remember fighting within the Church most often is a grab for power; the righteous have different concerns.  The same type of things goes on in corporations.  Only even more complex.  Have you ever been asked to do something basically illegal at work?  Would you give up your job for your values?

Continuing The Series On Brain Plasticity By Guest Author Anna Kucirkova

Ways To Harness Plasticity

harness plasticity

With the right circumstances, the power of brain plasticity can help adult minds grow. Although certain brain functions decay with age, people can tap into plasticity and refresh the brain.

Targeted brain plasticity exercises help to keep our brains fit. Even those suffering from brain damage may be able to retrain their brains for better function. The key is identifying what brain functions to target and how to best exercise them.

Researchers suggest that there are various methods of harnessing brain plasticity:

Intermittent Fasting

The Society for Neuroscience suggests that fasting increases synaptic plasticity, decreases risk of neurodegenerative diseases, promotes neuron growth and improves cognitive function. When you fast, a metabolic shift reduces the body’s leptin levels. Thus, the brain receives a chemical signal for neurons to produce more energy.

Travel

Traveling encourages neurogenesis by exposing your brain to new, fresh, and complex environments. Paul Nussbaum, a neuropsychologist from the University of Pittsburgh explains, “Those new and challenging situations cause the brain to sprout dendrites.” And a week-long tour of another country isn’t necessary to get this benefit; take a weekend road trip to a different city.

Use Mnemonic Devices

Memory training promotes connectivity in your brain’s prefrontal parietal network and can slow memory loss with age. Mnemonic devices combine visualization, imagery, spatial navigation, and rhythm and melody, so they can reach various parts of the brain simultaneously.

Learn an Instrument

Musicians’ brains show sharp connectivity between brain areas. Neuroscientists explain that the multi-sensory experience of playing a musical instrument allows for the association of motor actions with specific sounds, and memorizing visual patterns leads to new neural networks being formed. As you practice a new instrument, the repetition will allow for neuroplasticity to do its work.

Non-Dominant Hand Exercises

Using your non-dominant hand during routine tasks can help form new neural pathways. Doing this strengthens connectivity between your brain cells. Studies also show that non-dominant hand activities improve emotional health and impulse control. Try switching hands during some simple tasks and give your brain a test.

Read Fiction

Studies show increased and ongoing connectivity in the brains of participants after reading a novel. Enhanced brain activity occurred in the brain area that controls physical sensations and movement. Scientists explain that reading a novel can be a physical transportation into the fictional world. Shifting into this mental state is crucial for learning how to have complex social relationships.

Expand your Vocabulary

When you learn new words, the brain’s visual processes, memory processes, and auditory processes activate. The smaller your vocabulary, the more likely you are to have poor cognitive skills.

Sleep

Studies show that sleep “helps learning retention with the growth of dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions that connect brain cells and facilitates the passage of information across synapses.” Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help the brain retain information.

Try at least one of these ways and disprove the old idea that we lose brain function as we age.  The last part of this age will be published next week.

Hiding Shame Based Interactions

How often people use shame to get other people to do what they want them to do.  Shame is a gut-based reaction that can bypass the forebrain’s common sense and leave a person helpless to figure out what really caused it. You don’t just feel bad when this happens to you feel really bad and usually also guilty too.  “Shame on you.”

Shame is often how the victim of abuse feels.  This keeps them from getting angry at the abuser and why they often don’t talk about what happened either.  Shame doesn’t go away.  It stays.  The only way it can disappear is if the victim tries to forget it.

When Is Reassurance Necessary?

This is why abuse victims often say that they don’t want to talk about it because they have tried to forget it and talking about it might bring it back.  If there are witnesses, they might think they are crazy because they might remember something about what happened; but the victim won’t talk if they ask them what happened.

What if your memory is, “Don’t hit him; hit me.”?  You know who the likely abuser was because you were there too.  It makes you feel crazy as the witness as you are the only one who wants to or can remember it.  “I don’t like to think about things like that anymore” is his response.  “I try to forget things like that.”   “I don’t want to bring it back.”

Feelings of shame can do that to a person.  They might cause the person to feel the pain again both physical and emotional.  If a person feels that they might be made to feel shame about something; they won’t tell anyone who might do that to them.

Prevent Child Abuse With the Truth

The cases of sexual abuse by famous people that have come to light have brought it back out in the open.  I know I can now say that I am the victim of sexual abuse even though I might not elect to tell you the details because I didn’t do it.  The abuser is the one who ought to feel ashamed, not me or anyone in one in the same situation.  However, this still happens in countries or religions where they have things like Muslim Surhea law and the rape victim gets killed not the rapist.

Devilish Behavior And The Las Vegas Shooting – A Hypothesis

There has been a lot of people looking for a motive for the shooter in the Las Vegas shooting.  They haven’t found any accomplices and the shooter was a known moderately (by Vegas standards) successful gambler and he had openly lived that life before the shooting.  He had gone on 12 or 13 cruises in the last year.  He had several homes. It apparently took a lot of planning, the acquiring of specific knowledge, and the scoping out of other possible locations and events where he could have carried the same type of atrocity.  He knew how to aim his semi-automatic weapons standing upon special platforms and he had made calculations to be sure he would aim the rifles in such a way as to enable him to kill or wound the most people.

Now you might not believe in the devil and/or in demon possession as described in the Bible but it seems to fit here.  Could a bargain have been made with the devil which allowed him to live the successful life he did even though he started his life with a very low-level job?  Also, his girlfriend said that he would struggle and thrash in bed (was he fighting with a demon or dealing with demon possession?).  It also accounts for the extensive planning that he did, the knowledge that he acquired, and possibly the targets.  Surely the devil would like to have him choose a target which would include a lot of lovers of country music which are often Christians?  Maybe he didn’t need an accomplice if he already was involved in a pact with the devil or had opened himself to demon possession.  As I present this hypothesis, I am calling upon the name of Jesus to rebuke the devil and his accomplices and to protect me from the devil.

The possibility of mental illness has been proposed, but it usually is not possible for a mentally ill person to be so successful in doing something that involved so much knowledge and preparation.  Was he a narcissistic sociopath? a paranoid schizophrenic?  Often mental illness leads to confusion and unrealistic ideas of special powers and also unrealistic ideas of how to carry out distorted ideas.  Yes, they can desire to kill people.  Maybe he had it in for Christians; but if he did, he told no one about it.  There has so far been any evidence of any delusions.  He was not the type of guy who stood out in any crowd and he was known as a frequent successful gambler but he did not cause any problems.   He was not known to associate with anybody but his girlfriend and, if not her,  prostitutes.

 

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

 

 

 

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?

 

Variables That Effect Behavior

Regular psychology not allowed...

Regular psychology not allowed… (Photo credit: Bill McIntyre)

Experimental Psychologists study the variables that effect behavior in humans, animals, and sometimes plants.  The problem with conducting such studies is that there are many possible variables that may effect behavior.  When you conduct research you must be able to control as many variables as possible and be able to isolate the one or ones that you want to study and manipulate them in a controlled fashion.  The more control you have over different variables the less likely it is that the experimental situation will resemble what happens in everyday life.

The ideal experimental psychologist has to have some background involving the naturalistic observation of the behaviors or behaviors being studied.  The act of observation effects the behavior or behaviors being studied.  This has been found to be true in physics.  You can’t measure something without effecting it in some way.  The simplest study in psychology is watching what is going on in interactions between humans and between animals and even between plants and even more complexly between each form of life and the other forms of life.  In fact, often so much is going on that it is easy to miss things that later prove to be important.

Psychologists get their ideas on what variables that effect behavior from other psychologists’ research and observations and also from others’ theories about human, animal, and plant behavior.  It is good to know about past results in the field and to use these results to plan what to do in the future.  The problem is that any mistakes that were made in these studies could be replicated and perpetuated in the theories formulated from them.  The problem is that as science changes so does our view of the world and new things can be measured and observed in ways that were never thought of before.

Prejudices can effect the variables that effect behavior and experiments can be designed that perpetuate these beliefs.  Psychological studies have been done that suggest that if the person running the experiments, knows what effect that they want to get that will make that effect more likely to happen than if they don’t know.

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Why People Do What They Do

reward-punishment Do you know why people do what they do?  Do you think psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors know this automatically when they get information about a new client’s problem?  Sometimes it takes at least just a little more knowledge about a situation than what has been given to start with to understand why something is happening.  I was taught to do behavior modification therapy and although the process I used was by the book; it had to be tweaked to work right.  The necessary rewards and punishments had to motivate the client to do or not do a certain specified behavior or behaviors.  For example, I have a family member for whom chocolate ice cream wouldn’t work, but for time for this family member to take a nice long bath would.

Marestail shows moisture at high altitude, sig...

Marestail shows moisture at high altitude, signalling the later arrival of wet weather. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This has been a problem not only when doing behavior therapy but also when doing other kinds of therapy.  Sometimes it’s not what you think that is why people do what they do.  I knew of a farmer who drank when the weather forecast was bad.  I figured he was upset that he couldn’t get into the field the next day and was worried that he wouldn’t get his crops in or out.  No, I found out later that he knew he could drink that evening because he wouldn’t be operating farm equipment the next day.

Smoking cessation

Smoking cessation (Photo credits: www.mysafetysign.com)

I was using a very successful method of hypnosis for helping a person to quit smoking and I was getting nowhere.  The person had very serious health problems caused by smoking.  When I did a through follow-up interview, I found out that the only thing that person did for his or her own enjoyment was smoking.  He or she constantly did for others 24/7.  The amount of such work that he or she did was mind boggling.  He or she was at the beck and call of family and friends.

 

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