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Thursday, May 23, 2019

The insane voice, installment 9: A negative times a negative is a positive and other profound thougths

Anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to tweet a lot.  So, I was tweeting, retweeting and liking along my merry way today and I stumbled across a tweet which caught my attention: A negative times a negative is a positive.  So, I decided to make a blog post of 'profound thoughts'. As this is my 8th installment of this particular blog (insane voice), I will list 9 of my recent deep thoughts. So, without further ado, here goes

1) When you are in a group bitch or gripe-fest, ALWAYS ALWAYS, make sure you have an even number of people.  After all a negative times a negative is a positive, but a negative times a negative times a negative is a negative.

2) If we are in a store looking at throw pillows should we toss them here, there and everywhere just to make sure they work?

3) If you follow others without tweeting, does that make you a 'tweet stalker'?

4) Is "I Choose You" sung to my wife while I am intoxicated at a karaoke bar, romantic or upsetting?

5) Is the list of what you would do for a Klondike bar a static list or is it growing all the time as more possibilities are suggested?

6) Is the list you'd give of what you would do for a Klondike bar things you actually really want to do, but need to the cover of a reward to do them.

7) With regard to the one famous song, "Yes I Think It Is About Me.  Don't I?! Don't I?!"

8)  Speaking of positives vs. negatives.  On the positive side, parents like seeing their kids do well.  On the negative side, as kids guess correctly, we secretly do like embarrassing them.

9) If like is a highway, is a family drama a multi-car pileup?

Anyway, just a little lightheartedness in a pool of life's stresses.

-- Rich

Way before the St. Louis Blues adopted Gloria (Spring 2019) as their theme song for winning, it was MINE for the insane voice.  So, I'm reclaiming it.  HA


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Anakin was an Addict: From At-Risk to Full-Blown Addict to Recovery



I spent a lot of time last Fall (2018) camping with my stepson and his den-leader mom.  So, naturally, I got to see first hand the emotions and behaviors of preteen and single digit age boys.  Each kid has their own angst, drama, concerns and/or things that make them tick.   For one kid it might be the worry about being excluded, for another it might be body image issues, for another it might be proving that he is 'macho' enough.   In any case, as with all kids and boys specifically they each have their concerns and which can get elevated to fear or anxiety.

So, as my mind is apt to wonder, I got to thinking about another young lad, in a galaxy far, far away.  His name was Anakin Skywalker.   In some ways, he was a typical young man, but in other ways not so much.   He was an at-risk young man who ultimately fell victim to his inner demons, becoming an addict.  Unfortunately, as is the case with addiction, he wasn't the only victim.  In fact, in the Star Wars world, his addiction led to an untold number of victims.

From what I see here is his progression:

At-Risk Adolescent
  • He was born into slavery.   Not only did he have to mind his mom, but ultimately, he had to mind their master.  In other words, he had little control or say.
  • When he won his freedom, with the help of Obi-Wan, he was not able to win the freedom of his mom.  Once again, little control.  He was happy to have his freedom, but he took on a greater fear too.
  • Upon winning his freedom and going with Obi-Wan, he was thrust into a galactic conflict.  As a matter of fact, once Obi-Wan crossed his path, he probably lost his ability to stay out of the conflict.  Definitely once they ran across Darth Maul, he was destined to be part of the conflict.  In other words, he lost his ability to stay neutral.  That is he lost control again.
  • When Senator Palpatine aka "The Emperor" took a strong interest in him, he was effectively, unbeknownst to others, in the sights of a predator.  Effectively, the Senator was in a position to 'groom' Anakin towards the Dark Side.  This is yet another degree of control he had unknowingly lost.

Transition or Turning Point(s)
  • He had visions of his mom's suffering.  This tormented him and helped feed his feeling of helpless.  These visions helped him from being at risk and an impending addict.
  • When he was finally in a position to address his mom's situation, he discovered that she was in trouble.  Furthermore, he eventually discovered that he was too late to help her.  Her fate had been sealed.  His fear was fully realized and his anger was engaged.  His addiction to anger and power had finally started to be engaged.   
    • While he had wished for power (control), he had accepted that he did not have it or shouldn't try to seize it.   Seeing his mom tortured and left to die at the hands of the sand people pushed him over the edge for the first time.  He engaged his anger addiction, a prelude to his addiction for power (control).
    • It wasn't just those who abused his mom that suffered as a result, but it was the innocents among them that faced his wrath.   He not only killed the warriors responsible, but he wiped out the whole village of Sand People.  It this point, he was on a collision course with his anger addiction.
  • Senator Palpatine reveals to Anakin his knowledge of The Dark Side and later that he is a Sith Lord.  He first reveals to Anankin the legend of Darth Plageuis, who supposedly could cheat death of those he cared about.  This fed right into Anakin's desire to protect Padme from dying, unlike that which he didn't with his own mom.

Full-Blown Addict
  • After Anakin informed Windu and three other members of the Jedi Council of Palpatine's true identity, they come to arrest the Senator.  Palpatine quickly dispatches the other three and engages Windu.  Windu gets the upper hand and when Anakin arrives he pleads with him to spare Palpatine.  When it is clear Windu will not.  Anakin panics striking Windu to leave him helpless and Palpatine dispenses with him.
    • Anakin's fear got the best of him.  He is afraid with Palpatine's death will come his inability to protect and save Padme.  In a moment of weakness, he 'acts out' and helps the Sith Lord.
    • Gripped by what he has done and that he effectively chosen sides he takes his place as Palpatine's apprentice, that is of a young Sith Lord loyal to his Sith Master, becoming Darth Vader.
  • Anakin is compelled then to destroy the Jedi with a contingent, including attacking the Temple and slaughtering all including the younglings.  His conversion is complete.  He not only protected the Emperor, but is doing his bidding.  He is effectively going on bender like a full-blown addict, embracing his role as Darth Vader.
  • Anakin takes his place besides the Emperor, ruling the galaxy with an iron hand and wiping out those who pose a threat.

Recovery
  • Anakin (aka Darth Vader) throughout Episodes IV to VI is forced to confront his who he has become.  He is forced to face that fact that he has turned his back on his offspring.
  • As he confronts his son Luke, he hesitates for a moment.   He still fights his son, but it is becoming increasingly clear that he is conflicted.  Even the Emperor senses that and goads him to prove his loyalty to him.
  • In the climax the Emperor gets a hold of Luke and is in the process of destroying him with his Force Lightening.  After hesitation, Dark Vader, once again become a 'good guy' again.  He takes Emperor Palpatine and tosses him to his apparent death, redeeming himself.  
  • Effectively in a moment, Anakin has began the road to recovery.
  • He died shortly thereafter, and as evidenced by his showing up as a Force Ghost, his recovery and redemption was complete.

I believe each of us has a story within us.  Few as profound as the life and time and the path of Anakin Skywalker, but nontheless,  we have our moments in time, our path.   I believe we have our times in which we are disposed to make bad choices, a turning point in which we are poised make a bad choice or two or many, a decision or push to make those bad choices and an opportunity for redemption.   For most people, the path is not that severe.  For many it is a small path.  But, for some it is a big path which encompasses our lives.

Each of us has our own inner Anakin.  Invariably we will make a bad choice or two or two dozen or so.   However, what ultimately determines who we are in not necessarily the bad choices we make, but how we choose to redeem ourselves.   Do we choose to go along the bad path or to right ourselves.  We can have others guide us along the way, but only we can make the final decision.

Just some thoughts and my 200th blog post.

- Rich


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Caring means sharing: Do Troubled People Care?

In this life, I think everyone has run across people who are troubled or tormented, perhaps maybe even themselves or a close family member or friend. We've all heard the arguments, "pro" and "con", defending and condemning people with hangups and addictions.  By "pro" and "con", I mean arguments that seemingly 'defend the addict' vs. those which seemingly 'condemn the addict', but I digress. These positions boils down to whether you choose to focus on placing blame and culpability on the troubled person OR whether you chose to focus on understanding what is troubling them. I believe it is not an either/or. I believe there is room for both culpability and understanding. One particular perspective that has grated me over the years is this: If he/she cared enough... I will dive into that perspective later, but first let me introduce the culpability/blame vs. understanding model (using arguments I've seen, heard and thought of) and see where I end up.

Culpability/Blame Model
  • If she hadn't taken that first drink...
  • If he hadn't abuses his medicines...
  • If she hadn't gambled away his money at risk at the casino...
  • If he/she cared about his/her family than his or her own 'happiness'...
  • If it (family/friends/job) were important enough for him/her.
  • He is not really trying...
  • She is trying to avoid getting in trouble...
  • He is making excuses...
  • She doesn't care...
  • I've faced adversity and didn't need a crutch....

Understanding Model 
  • She grow up in a rough home...
    • Poor
    • Abusive
    • Addictive/codependent family.
  • He didn't know his dad, mom, ...
  • The 'role models' she did have taught her the wrong lessons...
  • He was taking addictive pain meds for an injury and got hooked...
  • She was just trying to cope with adversity in childhood, young adulthood, etc...
  • He had no way to know or no one to tell him that that the path and/or friends he was choosing were risky...
  • She never meant to hurt anyone...
  • It may seem obvious to us, but to someone his circumstance...

To a 'blamer', the addict is intentionally engaging in destructive behavior for their own selfish desires with callous disregard for how it affects others.  They might see steps taken by the addict to get sober as half-hearted or insincere.  They might view such efforts as a way to avoid having to face punishment.  In short, they believe the addict is totally about themselves.  In short, when others say an addict doesn't care about others, they mean he or she is pretty much a jerk without a conscience. 

To "understanding person", the addict is a person caught up in his or her own personal struggles.  The addict can be in their 'sober' moments is capable of being a compassionate, caring, loving, thoughtful person.  However, the addict, when their addiction takes hold, when they are triggered, are overwhelmed by their 'needs', by withdrawal, by unbearable impulses, it is not necessarily that they don't want to exclude considering others, but they are overwhelmed by their addiction.  In other words, it's not that they wouldn't want to care, but they are not in a good place.  In some ways, it can be a vicious cycle, their addiction has caused harm to themselves and others.  Realizing this in their sober moments can be overwhelming and further push their addiction cycle.

--

From what I see, it's not always clear-cut like.  It is not always, blame/shame the troubled person or understand them.  We must consider a few things first.

  • Has the person been clinically diagnosed?
    • Is their behavior indicative of a sociopath?
    • Is their behavior indicative of an addict?
    • Is their behavior indicative of having another mental disorder?
  • Has the person tried to get help?
  • Has the person shown in their more lucid moments regret or remorse?
  • Has the person shown a cold, calculating, planning side or do they seem in the grip of something?
  • Has the person ever had a good role model to give them a reference point?
  • Has the person ever been given the tools they needed to help themselves or to deal with damage done?

I guess my take has always is this
  • People, whether their legally/morally/ethically troubling behavior is a result of hurt/addiction or just a callous disregard for others, they still have to face the consequences of it.   You can be understanding of how their behavior or actions were born and what they are driving by, but ultimately it cannot go 'unpunished'.
  • People often have points in their life in which they have a choice and make the wrong choice, like taking the first drink or hanging out with people their better judgment tells them not to.  Choices like this can put us on a bad path and they need to own it. But we should be clear that sometimes the extent of the poor choice is it or wasn't isn't totally clear to them at the time.  I'd venture to guess that many who smoke that first cigarette or joint or take that first bottle, for example, envision the lifelong struggle they are submitting to. 
  • If their behavior is a result damage done to them and/or an addiction born out of coping, consequences should include an intervention by mental health professionals or a program designed to help such people.  If their behavior is born out of a callous disregard for others, no capacity to have any empathy, even when 'sober', then the problem is larger than an addiction.
  • If they were put in a circumstance in which 'they never had a chance', that should be taken into account before deciding they are 'irredeemable'.  That is to say, they never had a chance to develop good coping skills.  Still negative behavior should have consequences regardless.
  • Understand that it is easy to label people troubled by addiction as not caring about others or not wanting to get better bad enough or whatever.   Sometimes that might be true.  Sometimes when given a chance, they do prefer their lifestyle.  Sometimes they just may be too broken to easily help themselves or for that matter help or 'care' about others. In other words, the weakness of their emotional state in conjunction with the nature and strength of their addiction is just too potent a combination to easily rebound or recover from.  

I believe most people have some good in them.  In the movies, Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) had been a caring young boy and caring young man before he was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.  But as his son Luke had suspected and discovered in The Empire Strikes Back, deep inside his tormented suit, lived a good man who was seduced and addicted.  It took seeing the Emperor attempt to kill his son, to push him to overcome.  So, before we write off those who struggle with and succumb to addiction even to the point destroying themselves let's look a little deeper.  Like the Emperor, they truly may not care and love that which it brings them. Then again they may be the tormented soul that is Anakin, who wanted to do the right thing but caught up as a result of his struggle and fears and ended up doing the wrong thing.

Just my some thoughts.  Apply them as needed.

Yours truly,
Rich

--

It's true I did extend the invitation
I never knew how long you'd stay
When you hear temptation call
It's your heart that takes

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Take on Me: A take on romance and romanticism.

I recently heard A-ha's Take On Me and I've heard it on the many times before, on the radio and on TV. I've heard it in pop culture and seen it in parody. I always thought it had a nice sound and intriguing video but I never really thought too much about it until... I was driving home and the song came on my Satellite Radio and I felt a little sadness. So, what do you when a song brings out sadness? You play it over and over again of course. HA.

Well, I played it over and over and listened to the words and later watched the video and it struck me as a song of young romance where you don't overthink everything and you go all in with your heart. To me it represents where the future is open with possibilities and love and romance haven't been sidetracked with the daily grind of raising children or poisoned by cynicism or jadedness brought on by failure.  To me, it represents where you take chances and give of your heart without reservation and without overthinking it.

The young woman in the video is intensely following the young hero of the comic book adventure which shows him racing and winning a motorcycle sidecar race. Unfortunately, he had two opponents who had no good in mind for him and who are very unhappy that he won. Anyway, she's following the race closely and she then follows his celebrating the win. In the process of celebrating, he seemingly looks at her.  He then unmistakably winks at her from the pages of the comic, catching her attention. It is as if her interest and dreaminess about him and his story somehow crossed the 2D barrier and into the story. In other words, he feels her longing and he shares it and that crossed some of spiritual boundary. So, he extends his hand out of the strip inviting her in.  After the initial shock wears off, she decides to pursue what her heart wants and lets him pull her in. They court each other to music in strip with a mirror that brings their 3D nature to life. Their courtship is abruptly interrupted by the two thugs that are none too happy with him. The couple runs off together. They run into a dead end with the thugs menacing them. Like a true romantic, he opens the portal back into the 'real world' allowing her to escape while putting himself in mortal danger. The young woman had been reading the comic strip book at a booth in a restaurant but had seemingly disappeared to her server.  When her server came back and didn't see her there, she assumed the young woman had stiffed her the comic strip book in the trash in anger. But having been brought back to the 'real world', the young woman now to the shock of other patrons and her server, abruptly appeared by the trash. Embarrassed and wanting to see what became of her love interest, she rushed home and uncrumbled the comic strip book. Reading ahead, her hero appeared to lifeless after the brawl with thugs, causing her to cry.  In the boxes that follow, she sees him struggling to break out of the strip and into the 3D world. He was banging back and forth against the walls until, he stabilized as in 3D world.  He finally succeeds and she rushes to embrace him, lovingly.  Anyway, anyone who grew up with their music, knows what I speak of.

 A few themes in song and video caught my attention.
  • She is open to love and giving of herself, even when there is a risk to it.  She is open to taking chances.  He sings, "...Say after me, it's no better to be safe than sorry..."   By virtue of her following the opening he gave her, she shows this.  This shows her a romantic side.
  • Love is selfless.   The hero of the strip knew that his 3D love interest was at risk to be severely injured.  However, he helped her escape as the thugs were approaching him, putting himself at mortal risk.   To me this is a very romantic notion.
  • Love can cross what society deems is proper or realistic.  I touched upon this in another post called The heart doesn't care what is proper...  By all accounts, this couple should have never been.  They were constrained by the boundaries of real life vs. fantasy and 2D vs. 3D, but somehow, someway each was able to feel and reach across their boundaries and connect.  Griping romance stories are built on having to fight against the odds and obstacles to be able to get the one you love.
  • Love is hopeful.  The video ends with her embracing the hero when he finally is able to successfully transition into the 3D real world.   You get the sense the future is theirs for the taking.
While I was a little sad realizing that the younger carefree days of relationships have passed as kids, responsibilities and just life's difficulties can get in the way, I've come to accept that love isn't just built on living in the carefree days of youth.  Love can start there, but for it to flourish, it must go through the ups and downs and the impact of everyday life to solidify it.  You can always look back on the 'carefree days', but as I explored in Wanting to be somewhere else in our lives and the role of faith, inevitably I believe it is common that no matter where we are in our lives, we can always locate somewhere else that we'd want to be.  If you are young, you want to be older.  If you are single you want to be attached, if you are attached, you focus on the the carefree nature of being single, etc.  In other words, it's okay to think about the 'carefree days', but it's only a place to vacation.  😏

So, without further ado:


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Cup Overfloweth: Spilling out all the angst.

So, it occurred to me the other day that sometime when I'm very upset or annoyed, I will think about and/or express everything that has bothered me for a while instead of just focusing on the irritant of the moment.   Anyway, so I was processing why I think that happens.  I've previously addressed why some small irritation might send someone over the edge in Heavy straws & a broken camel's back.  In that post I was really speaking about meltdowns that occur when a micro-irritation presented itself.  The micro-irritation isn't really the object of the meltdown, but instead was the straw that broke the camel's back.  In other words, it is the irritant that finally destroys a 'brave front' against the thing(s) that is/are really behind the meltdown.

I guess you could say this thought is a corollary to it.   Why is it sometimes when we finally blow up with others including creditors or dealers, that we go over a list of things that have annoyed us.  It occurred to view it this way.   Each irritant is difference fluid filling up our cup (of patience) so to speak.  


When I bought my 2011 Mazda 3, the dealership didn't go down as much on price as I wanted them to.  However, just wanting to get it over with, I accepted paying a couple hundred more than I thought I should.  Anyway, the dealership advertised it as having Satellite Radio in it, which it didn't. I figured it was just because it wasn't turned on from Sirius XM.  I didn't learn otherwise until I called Sirius and we figured it had the buttons for Sirius XM, but not the underlying receiver.  I was annoyed but was willing to figure something out with them (such as them paying for a dash-mounted receiver and service for a period of time).  Also, when negotiating with them, they indicated that another employee, who wasn't present at the time, had the second key.  I didn't care too much as I figured a) I only need one key to test drive, b) I was going to pick up the car at a later point and I'd just get it then and c) they'd been in business for a number of years, so I figured they knew what they were doing.  I found the next day when I went to pick up the car, that the second key didn't work, irritating me more, but they said they'd work with me on it.  Additionally, it had been years since I bought a used car from a dealer, so they indicated they were waiting on the updated title as it was sold to them just a few days ago.  They expected it all to be resolved by within a few days.  Suffice to say it wasn't resolved by the end of the week.  Anyway, they did eventually get the updated title for me so, I got past that irritant.  In addition, I'd never included taxes in the loan and so when they said I could cash the check or sign it over to the DOR (Dept. of Revenue), I figured they knew what they were talking about.  It was a long week and I was tired and endorsed it wrong due to their instructions.   As the temporary tag period was about to expire I finally had enough and demanded to talk to the head of the used car division.  After being told that this person and that person were in a meeting and I'd have to leave a message.  I exploded and told her in no uncertain terms that I would personally go up to the dealership and wait until the highest person in charge was available.   That got her attention and she got a hold of the head of the used car division.   So, he said this isn't normally how business is done that they got the car and the staff rushed it to the sales floor before it was ready.


Next day, with a check for taxes reprinted I went to the DOR ready to title it and found it that the emissions inspection wasn't done.  Suffice to say, I lost it again and the guy in charge said, he'd 'find the paperwork'.  Which meant, we will do the emissions inspection.  I could have called them out on their lack of candor, but since they did the emissions inspection right then and there, I dropped the thought.  They apologized profusely for the whole experience and I ultimately forgave them as I didn't want to stay mad. 


Think of each screw-up a being a small cup which contained different flavored drinks.   Each when added to the a larger cup, would mix together.  Now think of the larger cup being almost full.  If you continued to add small cupful to it, it will spill over.   It wouldn't just spill over the one last flavor, but it would spill over all the flavor that had been mixed in.  The larger cup represents the overall patience I had.  Each small cup represented a screw-up that exhausted some of my patience.  When added, just like the smaller cupfuls would disturb the contents of the larger, cup, each screw-up would irritate me a little more.  The final screw-up not only disturbed the contents of the larger cup, but it caused the larger cup to overflow.  When my patience was exhausted, just like part of each of the flavors would come spilling out, each screw-up came spilling up of mouth when I let the used car manager have it.


Maybe it's just like that for a lot of people, they can take this hit or that hit and seemingly keep their cool, but each hit really tends to pile on.  If they hadn't had a chance to properly digest the individual hits before they piled on, when their patience is finally exhausted they'd address each hit to their patience.


Anyway, just some thoughts for the day.  Hopefully this makes a little sense.  As always thanks for reading and feel free to take from the post whatever might find helpful.


Cheers,

Rich


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Relational Awareness: Being Aware of Your Relationship Surroundings.


Time and time again, I've heard that one of the keys to a successful marriage is communication.   It sounds good as an open line of communication is good in any relationship--friendship, professional, parent/child, sibling etc.  However, what does that mean in practical terms?   I've thought about that from time to time as I have explored or considered ways to improve the various relationships in my life.  I never could find the words to express it however.   I finally stumbled upon a phrase which captures it for me: Relational Awareness.

What I am talking about is: how to be yourself, but also be a good partner, friend, parent, sibling, etc.   I'll start by exploring (from my perspective), what I consider the unhealthy relationship personalities.


  • Co-dependence 
    • It can look like selflessness or thoughtfulness, but in reality it may be anything but that.
    • The co-dependent may truly and actually sacrifice, but often for the wrong reason or motivation.   Often the difference is subtle.
      • The codependent may truly be sacrificing, but it is hopes of gaining approval or in some cases just keeping the peace.
      • Behaviors/actions may be guided by a desire to keep (or make) the other party happy, not because it is the best course of action.  In other words, minimizing yourself in hopes of being approved of.
  • Ambivalence
    • Expressing mixed feelings or sending mixed messages.
    • Caring about the other person, but not necessarily being fully invested.  
    • It can at times appear one partner doesn't care about the other, but in some ways it might actually be caring too much, just not always showing it do to being in a conflicted state
  • Narcissism
    • Can play out in a few ways.
      • Obvious indifference to the other.
      • Actions/behaviors undertaken are taken without regard to what is important to your partner.
      • To the extent it seems like a narcissist cares about the other, it is usually based on subtly manipulating them for advantage.  Examples can include:
        • Being the 'helpful' or 'generous' one, when the real goal is to gain allies in quest for position.
        • Offering to buy a home security system or installing security on electronic devices when the goal is to monitor or keep track of another.

I'm sure this is not a complete list, but really my larger point is this: What characterizes good communication.  When I speak of communication, I don't just mean things spoken, but things unspoken too.   Each relationship personality type, is an example of what DOESN'T lend itself towards good communication.  

--

It occurred to me, a couple can best succeed if they have what I call relational awareness.  Some of the characteristics I see in relational awareness.
  • Being willing to step outside yourself and be willing to see others through a filter not your own.
    • Thinking of an alcoholic as a selfish jerk who doesn't care about others, when he may be a broken man who lost his family.
    • Thinking a kid who doesn't do their homework is just lazy, when the truth is the kid is struggling and is too embarrassed to ask for help.
  • Taking into account the other's circumstances/background in how you relate to them.
    • This doesn't mean letting relating to them completely on their terms as that can diminish your own self/needs.
      • Adopting their point of view (POV) or way might in some circumstances be beneficial anyway.
      • In other circumstances, adopting their POV or way may not be beneficial, however, being respectful of it can be helpful.
    • What it means is finding a way that respects both people's needs.  Your need to be 'heard' and their need for a type of communication which is healthy for them.
    • For example, a partner who grows up in a household beset by yelling and fighting.  That partner may respond poorly to yelling and fighting.
      • You work to see if the partner can unpack what bothers them.  
      • That doesn't mean never show displeasure at the them.  Instead, you might consider different ways to get the same point across before losing your cool and/or you might consider whether the issue is really worth losing your cool.  In other words, reserve or limit your 'loud' hostility to really important 'battles'.
  • Being willing to accept that there people have a way that works best for them and respecting that instead of trying to 'fix it'.
    • That doesn't mean you never provide or show an alternative way.  It can mean putting it out there, but not insisting.
    • It means that they may not be open to an alternative way at this time and considering whether it is an important enough point or issue to conflict on.
    • Realize that sometimes people come to the same conclusion in different timing.  It may just be they need to internalize another way as their own before they embrace it.
  • Being willing to consider that people have different ways of communicating and learning to accept it in many cases and work with it in other cases.  For example...
    • Some people need to talk it out as they process.
    • Some people need to heavily process before they talk it out.
    • Some people talk out only what they consider the important things.  When the 'important things' are agreed upon, the little things will tend to fall into place better.
    • Some people like to talk out what could be deemed as less important.  The 'big picture' is made up of countless 'little pictures'.

In short, it doesn't mean just conceding to the other person, but it does mean 
  • Accepting that other points of view can and often do have legitimacy.
  • Accepting that even if your way may look better objectively, their way may be better for them or better for them at this time (in other words, it may be something that can be worked on, just not forced upon them).
  • Accepting that some battles just aren't important enough.  In other words, you can disagree without being disagreeable, especially if their intent is good.
  • Accepting that a relationship is a work in progress.  Like any journey in life, the moment you think you've arrived, you stop growing.

If communication was easy then the country would not be awash in marital counselors.   If it was easy then people would never fight.  If it was easy the divorce rate would probably not be as high.

To me this is really an extension or expansion of my prior post about 2D vs. 3D relationships.   It is important not just knowing things about the other person, but really having a sense about what makes them tick and trying to work with that knowledge.

Jut my 1/50th of a $1 for the day.

Cheers,
Rich



Thursday, March 7, 2019

Demons, Part 5: Ways to deal with hurt and the failure to outrun it.


A while back, I found out a one-time friend of mine had passed away from an overdose shortly after I fell out of touch with her.   At the time our friendship ended, she had basically tossed aside our friendship essentially stating that [our friendship] wasn't (paraphrasing it) "doing it for me".   Not one to be where I'm not wanted and having my self-respect, I honored her wishes.  In fact, I made a point to shut her out and blocking her access to me.  But, before I did this, I let her know that "I had figured that our friendship had an expiration date on it", before quietly fading away.  Even though we were never more than friends, I did like her a little bit and I was left wondering, what did I do to deserve being 'unfriended'?

Long after this estrangement, I looked at a common friend's page and saw her name in the friend's list on Facebook.  Out of curiosity, I decided to see what my estranged friend was up to.  I observed she had a memorial page and after following up on it, I got the rest of the story.   Even though we were estranged and she'd hurt my feelings, I was sad about it her passing.  She had overdosed within a number of months of our friendship ending.  Knowing that she overdosed shortly after our falling out of touch, helped me to understand that our estrangement was never really due to what I was lacking in the friend department to her.  Instead, it turns out she was a hurt person, struggling with demons.  She was seeking whatever she could to outrun or mask her pain and hurt.  A friendship that wasn't 'fun' enough didn't help her to do this.  It's clear now that neither I nor anyone else could be what she needed.   She needed to come to terms with herself and her pain.

I'd venture to guess most of know or are at least familiar with someone like that, if not having experienced it ourselves.  Someone who has or has had a deep soul level hurt that they tried to avoid facing.   From my experience and knowledge, anyone who has been there realizes that when you are in that place, you can either do one of four things--much of which I have done.  Some ways of dealing with hurt are unproductive and some are destructive.
  • Attempt to outlast it
    • Curling up into a ball, trying to sleep away pain, hurt and/or sadness.
    • 'Sleeping it off' can sometimes actually help if not overdone or abused.  Sometimes a new day can bring a fresh start and allow us to heal enough to deal with it.
  • Attempt to avoid it.
    •  Medicating it. This can take many forms, none of which are necessarily healthy and some of which can be downright deadly.
      • Literal 'medicine' such as drugs or alcohol to hope us cope.
      • Distractions to keep us from facing our hurt
        • Gambling, porn, overeating are 'pleasing' distractions.
        • Cutting and inking can be 'blocking' or masking distractions.  Just like a fire strategically set can burn the 'fuel' to a raging forest fire, a different type of pain can help block the 'hurting pain'.
    • Shutting down mourning.  Sometimes it hurts and makes us feel vulnerable to feel and to risk sharing our hurt.  Sometimes we are told to be brave, to keep a stiff upper lip.  While there is a time to be brave, sometimes when we shut down mourning, we are being just the opposite of brave.   We are avoiding.  Essentially, we are Zig Zagging through life: Diverting our energy from where it is really needed
  • Attempt to outrun it
    • Keeping too busy to have time to focus on it.  
    • Keeping busy I believe is a common way to avoid grieving the loss of a love one.
  • Allow ourselves to feel it.
    • Outwardly mourning and/or inwardly focusing on our hurt can be a distraction to what we need to get done, if it is timed wrong.
    • Finding a time and a place where it is safe to feel and mourn the hurt is imperative.  Allowing too much hurt to build up with no outlet is not a healthy place to be.
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We all face some disappointment, some hurt--a promise not kept, a friendship lost, but I'm talking about deeper than that.  I'm talking a deep gut punch like a bitter divorce or an unexpected, untimely death, abuse and things of that nature.  This is not to minimize the 'smaller' hurts, but to put things in perspective.   Sometimes too however, enough 'smaller' hurts can build up and be just as debilitating.   But, I digress.  What I'm talking about is a buildup of hurt.  Anyway, as I've gotten deeper into my adulthood, I've come to realize that pain and hurt will not magically disappear and just because you claim you are 'over them' doesn't actually mean you are.   Our soul, and not our hopes, has a way of knowing if we have dealt with hurt.  My estranged friend reminded me.  Anyway, just some thoughts.   Here are a few other posts which I think would go with this one:

See:

Cheers,
Rich