Archive for the relationships Category

That Jerk-Off Doctor Guy

Posted in humor, relationships, sex, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2010 by dredslack

   Last week over a desktop lunch, I had a skype connected chat with my old friend Simon, (not his real name). We became friends in shrink school some decades back and have kept in touch ever since, finding a way to chat every month or so. As I took a bite of burrito he said, “Ed, I’ve worked out a technique that keeps men who are habitual cheaters in line and true to their partners”, (Simon specializes in marriage counseling in general and infidelity in particular). “Great” I said, “What is it?” 

 Simon then went on to explain the technique in detail. (If you’re really sensitive to matters of a sexual nature, stop reading here). He advised his clients that when they find themselves in a situation where they’re tempted to start making moves to ramp a relationship up to sexual, they are to stop at once and then masturbate at the earliest available appropriate opportunity, holding the object of desire in their mind. Repeat this on a per occasion basis up to 25 times and process it in individual sessions. He never had anyone get past 23 times before they were over it, with most only needing 12-15 reps. 

  “Pretty interesting angle on an age old problem, but don’t some get so fixated they become obsessed and go stalker?”  Simon said he has been using this approach for several years and with over 80 clients and none of them had. He did mention that several of the men did go ‘underground’ with the technique because their partners were very uncomfortable with them fantasizing about others, and no amount of talk about the animalistic / instinctive component of sexuality would dissuade them. 

  “Sounds like you’ve got a live one; you better write that up and get it out. Maybe you should think about getting a tissue company to pay you for your endorsement”.  “Ha ha, very funny” he retorted, “there’s no way in hell I’m gonna put my name on that”. It was an unorthodox technique to be sure, but it worked and seriously improved people’s lives, so I said with dismay, “why not?” 

  “Think about it Ed, if the general press gets a hold of this what do you think they’re going to do? This approach has several very controversial components, components that could land me involuntary and repeated coverage on Inside Edition type ‘scandal news’ shows, in no time at all”. I pointed out that confronting the issues of masturbation and sex fantasies would probably be a good thing and encourage folks to be more aware and realistic. “Sure” he said “some people would undoubtedly become more educated about matters sexual, but think about Sharon and the boys? Do you think they want their husband and father to be famous for being ‘that jerk-off doctor guy’?” 

  After I stopped laughing I had to admit, he had a point!

What are You At War With?

Posted in continued learning, enjoyable living, quest for content, relationships, staying alive, trust, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 10, 2010 by dredslack

It doesn’t take more that a casual perusal of the human race to see that being in conflict is a habitual, if not natural, part of the fabric of the human condition. It probably had to be; if we weren’t a race of fighters we wouldn’t have made it through our species’ early peril. In order to not be eaten by predatory animals we had to fight. In order to not be killed off by disease we had to learn about and implement disease prevention, another fight. The weather could take us out with a lengthy tsunami or an ill tempered hurricane so we needed to fight such events by implementing strategies to protect ourselves under those conditions. As we evolved into tribal culture we fought with each other and if we couldn’t defend ourselves we suffered the consequences. I think it’s pretty clear we’re not going to stop being fighters anytime soon, but perhaps we can be conscious of these energies and direct them to productive rather than destructive ends. 

“I don’t have a part of myself that’s like that. I’m not a fighter at all”, is a common reaction to the aforementioned assertion. Indeed some of us are so far from the aggressive side of ourselves that we may not even know it’s there, but in my 25+ years of being a practicing shrink I’ve frequently observed the nicest, most polite and very submissive people turn into a match for Attila the Hun when their children were threatened or during divorce proceedings etc. Virtually all of us have a ‘fighter’ in us.

  This ‘warrior energy’ or whatever you want to call it isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact we may need it now more than ever, albeit with a different perspective and manner. We don’t need to engage in violence to use it, we can fight cruelty, poverty, injustice, unfairness, discrimination, intolerance, ignorance, environmental abuses, etc., etc., in non-violent formats. This is incredibly important right now because as our society moves forward and changes at an increasingly rapid pace the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in many individuals is awakened and spurred on by fear of what the ensuing change might bring. Resultingly, these folks will fight to keep the familiar, and the injustice, cruelty, discrimination, ignorance, unfairness and the like that go with it. Of course their battles will be dressed up with catchy slogans and misdirecting symbolism and the charge will be led by appealing pundits speaking in catchy sound bytes, but it’s nonetheless a fear based fight against change. Unless those of us who want our world to improve use our talents and ‘fight’ energies and take action to support forward moving beliefs and causes, we may be defeated by those who fight because of fear. 

 We now have the technical know how to destroy the whole planet (at least the surface area) so obviously, on the macro level, we have to back off some from our war-like tendencies or we’re all screwed. Of course each of us have our own personal battles with our families, our waistlines, relationships etc., and sometimes those battles leave us with little or no time for anything else (like severe addiction or sickness). For those of you who aren’t in the folds of such personal crisis my question is: “What are you at war with?” What makes you angry enough to take action because what’s currently happening is intolerable and you’re willing to put some energy in to changing it?

Our swords these days can be taking the time to sign a petition, speaking up a bit more than usual, making aware consumer choices, practicing informed voting, donating some time or money to a favored cause or whatever. If we take the time and spend some energy to fight for what’s important to us, in a manner that works for us, for just a few minutes a day we will be making an important and positive contribution. It certainly sounds corny and I’m sorry if I’ve come off like some sort of pushy cheerleader but a little bit of action from a lot of us can make a huge real difference. Go Team!!

The Subtle Music of Manipulative People

Posted in continued learning, enjoyable living, relationships, staying alive, trust, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by dredslack

 Each of us has a particular style of speaking. Not just our language, accent and word choice but our tones, tone emphasis, cadence and dynamic (volume & intensity) range. If we listen for all these factors when trying to understand another’s statements the communication becomes more than simple text, it becomes a music with rhythms, melodies and time signatures (cadence and speed). 

 People who would manipulate us have a particular type of music in their language that if we discern, we can see as a warning flag and possibly avoid a painful consequence. Most manipulators first work to gain their victims trust so they can exert influence over their decisions and choices. To get their potential victim to feel ‘in sync’ with them (and thus liable to trust) they will not only mimic tastes, values and perspectives but also facets of speech such as cadence or dynamic range, etc. If the manipulator sounds like the person they’re working on, they’re more likely to be trusted by the person unaware. 

 For those of us who are aware, we have the opportunity not only to just observe but to throw out ‘false positives’ and see if they reveal a snaky ‘tell’ by being followed. For example if we exhibit a strong interest in animal welfare and our possibly manipulative person also ‘reveals’ a similar interest, a ‘building trust by matching’ dynamic may be afoot. Similarly, if we use hesitations (pausing for a second or two in the middle of a sentence) or make our main points with a staccato (sharp, almost jarring) style and we notice a bit of those unusual traits cropping up in a possible manipulator’s language, a subtle yet potentially destructive person may be showing themselves. Particularly if the effect is predominate. Snakes like to work quickly and will sometimes ‘ham it up’ in an attempt to speed the trust process. Thankfully that just makes them easier to see. 

 I worked ‘in house’ helping drug addicts overcome their addictions for years, and that afforded me the opportunity to see this effect over and over again. During the early part of their stay many patients would desperately argue that they needed this or that medication for a plethora of rationale (drug seeking behavior). Their perspectives and vocal music would shift to match mine (and the other councilors) at an almost unbelievable pace while they were trying to get what they wanted. The psychopathy temporarily caused by their withdrawal / addiction provided a resplendent example of why it’s important to listen to the music. Whether it’s subtle or screaming, it has a lot to say.

How Do You Measure Up?

Posted in continued learning, enjoyable living, quest for content, relationships, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2010 by dredslack

  “How have you been feeling about yourself lately?” When you ask this question most folks initially give a report on how things are going at work, how things are going at home and how they feel the state of the world is going …. and they’re usually dissatisfied because what they think should be happening isn’t. If you restate the question and prompt them to be more personal what follows is often a set of ratings as to how they feel they are performing at work and at home, and more often than not this rating is comparative to others or a ‘standard’ they hold themselves to. These ratings and comparisons are usually ‘automatic’, meaning they haven’t been consciously chosen but have been adopted because of education, observation and experience. 

  For most, this personally generated basis of self-esteem isn’t a choice but a matter of happenstance. If brought up with a different set of cultural / experiential circumstances a different set of standards would apply. This is important because our drive towards a positive self-esteem guides our behavior powerfully. If we’re driving to locations we don’t really want to go to we may end up somewhere we have no interest in being, feeling adrift and unsatisfied. 

  Step back from yourself for a moment and ask yourself what comprises the internal model of what you’re supposed to be. Write it down or draw it out if that helps, take your time. How do you compare with this model of your ideal self? Would you weigh less? Would you be richer? Would everybody love you? Would you be famous? Now ask yourself if you really think these things are important? Are they part of your idea of a human life well lived? Are they realistic? Are you in agreement with the values implicit in this model? If not change it to one that agrees with your values and is realistic and again feel free to write it or draw it out. Sure it’s easier said than done but having an aware and self generated set of expectations can do a lot to increase your satisfaction with yourself and your life, in a very short time. 

  Being a shrink for the last 25+ years, a lot of my job has been helping people feel better about themselves. Being generally happy really is a win-win situation as happy people tend to not only be more satisfied with life, they’re more fun to be around, perform better at work, get sick less, live longer, etc., etc. Making the internal model of what you’re supposed to be a personally meaningful and realistic set of parameters, is a surprisingly easy bit of work that can have vividly positive results. The main problem is remembering your new model and not getting back into old, habit based automatic reaction patterns. 

  Remembering new patterns is a huge issue when it comes to changing one’s life, and the easier the technique the easier it is to forget. Some find journaling a big help, others get into a regime of daily self reflection and mentally go over their new patterns per diem. My personal favorite is to find a cool painting or knick-knack for around the house that reminds me of the new ‘thought habit’ I’m working on. It only takes about twenty repetitions of a new pattern, either behavioral or mental, to create a new habit pattern. That’s not a lot to be a bit happier and a bit more you.

Are You Living Laterally?

Posted in continued learning, enjoyable living, quest for content, relationships, staying alive with tags , , , , on August 12, 2010 by dredslack

 Living laterally is moving through life without pressing forward into new territories or doing unfamiliar things. It’s a life style of pretty much doing the same thing, day in and day out. Think back to when you were in grade school… a huge part of life was about learning & acquiring new skills, it was a hurried movement forward. Pretty much the same in High School and if you went to collage more there, but what’s happened since? 

 Most of us move on to careers and families and that certainly takes time & effort, but what happened to our growth and development as human beings? Without the structure of school, what new aspects of life have you moved forward with? Some of us have careers that push us forward in ways, sometimes circumstance will push learning upon us, avocations can certainly fuel the growth continuum but I think a lot of us get caught in the comfy trap of lateral living and just kinda getting by. 

 There’s certainly not a lot of social cue’s to encourage increased self awareness or to develop our awareness at all. In fact I think a lot of us consider continuing self development to be a huge waste of time and a painful pain in the ass. I couldn’t disagree more. To take 5 minutes to reflect on what you experienced in your day can be mind bending and can be had for the time toll of a long traffic light. Spending 10 minutes reading something of a ‘moving forward’ nature can add surprising vigor to one’s step and one’s conversation. Connecting new dots is inherently a lot more interesting than connecting the old ones again. 

 And it’s fun. Moving forward is enjoyable and it doesn’t have to be a pain in the arse. Remember all those ‘learning is fun’ type books you had as a kid? Not all of them lied, (though many did), some really were a laugh. Their illustrations and lighthearted manner made it easier to learn phonics, language rules and lots of other things; I know my multiplication tables went down more easily. So much of school was a boring drag that many of us associate learning with boredom and judge mentality and a lot of other negative things. It doesn’t have to be that way.

 If we seek out things that aren’t ‘the usual’ be it books or movies or classes or websites or music or whatever and we think about them & give ourselves a bit of time for self reflection, particularly where our personal relationships are concerned, we’ve got a moving forward lifestyle going on. A continuation of our growth and personal evolution that’s a lot more stimulating and enjoyable than living laterally, which sooner or later ends up being laps of the same thing over & over & over & over. And we don’t have to approach our individual development with the pressing, grade obsessed urgency of our school days, which makes it all that much more enjoyable.

Risk Takers and Manipulators

Posted in relationships, trust, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by dredslack

Risk Takers and Manipulators 

 Do you enjoy life? Do you try to live each day to its fullest? Would you rather take a few risks and get the most out of life or play it safe and not hurt? If you’re a ‘live life to the fullest’ sort of person I applaud you and hope your happiness is great and your troubles few, but be observant, manipulative people keep their eyes open for those who aren’t afraid to take a chance. 

Those of us who live ‘large’ will move pretty quickly in our professions, our relationships and our recreational activities. This tendency to go fast gives Two Legged Snakes (my term for manipulative people) a big advantage because that’s how they like to work; move quickly so their snaky deeds are done before they get discovered. Many a financial deal has become a disaster because too much was risked in a decision that was made too quickly for the snaky scheme to be revealed. 

 Besides finance, romance is the next life area where fast movers get hit hard. Even if your feelings say ‘full steam ahead, nothing bad could happen because this feeling is too good’, don’t move quickly with decisions that can have lasting consequences (like marriage or signing something). Take your time and savor the love you’re lucky to enjoy, if it’s the real, long lasting type it feels like, it’ll still be there next year. It’s a particularly bad sign if you’re getting a lot of encouragement from you lover to move fast or up the pace. Don’t do it, it’s your choice, the more pressure you get the more likely your dealing with a manipulator. 

 Lord knows I certainly don’t want to slow anyone down and I’m not one to encourage a fear based perspective, this is just a word to the wise that at times, fast movement can attract some unwanted and dangerous snaky attention. This is one of the reasons the music and entertainment industries have a lot of snaky people in them. Manipulators populate these industries because they are a prime target population to exploit; fast moving risk takers! Thankfully, if we are aware of this dynamic we can avoid snaky games and pay attention to the risks, and fun, at hand. At times we may slow down a bit, but that’s a lot better than a rag doll, lawn dart, Two Legged Snake disaster!

Watching the Watcher

Posted in relationships, trust, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by dredslack

Watching the Watcher 

 Manipulative people, or Two Legged Snakes (as I like to call them), if they are of the intelligent variety are watching you to see what sort or ‘trust cues’ are important to you in determining who you let your walls down for. 

 For example, if you’re on a date with a potentially manipulative person (TLS) and he observes you smiling approvingly at a father interacting positively with his young child the TLS may make a point of being kind to children as a way to gain your trust. 

 If you’re a ‘look a person in the eyes when you talk to them, firm handshake, straight shooting type’ a bright TLS will pick up on this immediately and will ironically give you this no BS behavior in spades. 

 Taking your time is a great defense against this type of manipulator because the manipulative person’s inconsistency and insincerity will surface fairly quickly to an observant eye. Also, watch out for a change in behavior after your display of a trust cue. Keeping in mind the first example, if your date soon after observing your approving smile found some way to be helpful to a child you’ve most likely uncovered a TLS, simply by watching the watcher.

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