A client came in complaining of sever anxiety. All her friends said why don’t you just smoke pot. They all said it helps them. She asked me should I?
I said let’s look at your anxiety in context to the big picture. Anxiety is a normal physiological response like pain. It is there biologically to increase your chance of survival in an inhospitable world and is supposed to inform your behavior.
Upon exploring her living situation we learned her husband is an alcoholic and can get mean. She is financially dependent on her husband’s income and trapped. If she were to leave him she would need change out of her kids school as she couldn’t afford to live in the neighborhood they do currently. “I will bite the bullet” she said for her family. She felt also her kids love their dad and she doesn’t want to be the bad one and separate them from him.
So looking at the context what she really was asking for was something to allow her to numb and tolerate a shitty situation. Studies show medicating this way in 10 years the client is worse off than before they ever took a medication. IE treating her situation with marijuana would allow her to placate and tolerate a shitty relationship for a longer period of time while conditions in her life continue to deteriorate. The next time her anxiety would return as inevitably it will her mess will be a lot bigger. Her kids via shitty role modeling will have learned to have codependent relationships themselves and to also tolerate shitty situations. Also her kids will have learned to take medications or street drugs to enable tolerating shitty situations. The relationship with no new skills added will be a lot worse. And as no new skills were learned the chance of going into another shitty relationship after this one implodes is extremely likly.
Instead of marijuana or any other medication to tolerate a shitty situation it would be better to ask this series of questions:
- If you were your daughter and she was in your exact situation what would you tell her to do? Would you tell her to stay in a crappy relationship to maintain a poor role model for her kids?
- What would your mother tell you to do?
- If you were not you but if you were your best friend what would you tell her to do?
- Look at all the people telling you to smoke pot. How are their relationships? Are they headed for possible future trouble? Are they not dealing with shit? Are they people you would want your daughter to take advice from?
Add these things together and let that inform your behaviors.
Any medication or substance that discourages rather than encourages the acquisition of new skills is a real bad idea. Any medication or substance used to bypass the common sense behavior feedback loop with the environment one lives in and or enable a bad situation to continue is a real bad idea. Especially those situations that one feels in their heart compelled to do or continue but in their heads if they were to evaluate it they would say “what was I thinking!”
On NPR (Radio Lab) last night there was a show on Blog bots (AI – artificial intelligent) computers that can talk with people and that for the most part you can no longer tell you are talking to a computer. They also had on this show the developer of the ferby doll and a more sophisticated cute AI dinosaur doll for kids. His intent was to make a toy that encouraged empathy in humans. It showed affection but also if hurt cried, whimpered and limped. Soon after its release a video of it being systematically tortured, abused, and eventual beat to death went viral, 100,000 likes. While 1000,000 people cheered on it whimpered and cried, louder and louder until it eventually died. The inventor was dumfounded and appalled that a toy he made to encourage empathy instead brought out antisocial behavior. He was in development of an AI baby doll and now had no idea what to do to prevent people from torturing and abusing it? The answer he drew was to just have it turn off if it was abused but a better answer would be like in the experiment MIT developed for hate speech on the internet. They wrote an AI bot that would troll the trolls and when hate speech was identified would say things like that is not appropriate, you hurt his feelings, and such. They found that if the troll didn’t know they were talking to a computer and if the likes the bot has were greater than the likes the troll had they would tone down or off their antisocial negative speech. The dinosaur doll and new baby doll if abused should do the same. Stop whimpering, turn to an adult voice and point out the inappropriate behavior. Turn to behavioral teaching mode.
Why did the abuse of the dinosaur toy go viral? And how does that relate to the turning down of hate speech when talking to a perceived more popular person?
Humans are territorial animals. We think in terms of us or them. They are in or out of our social group. Humans are also pecking order animals. The systematic beating of the toy robot satisfies both criteria. It says we are above the computer/better and they are out/other.
It shows the same thing studies on natzi soldiers showed. They were normal healthy individuals, no psychopathology for the most part but easily given to other and out thinking and we they and we are better than they.
A friend of mine studies psychopathology and psychopaths. His research is consistent with the natzi research showing that psychopathic behavior isn’t some separate and unique behavior limited to few sick individuals but an exaggeration of normal behavior everyone has. A natzi or an abuser of a robot toy are on the spectrum of normal human behavior. As a culture we have to be vigilant not to let this become the norm of behavior for easily and quickly it can and will. A little of other mixed with a tad of better than is all it takes to shed tears and blood.
The legalization of marijuana is going to increase not decrease heroin use. The marijuana advocacy groups advertise that legalization and dissemination of marijuana will replace heroin use. They claim studies show this but what they aren’t taking into account is the sales force out there for illegal marijuana. Once marijuana is legalized they won’t just give up their customer base or their influence. They just switch everyone to heroin. They start with free samples or mixing into their marijuana. It only takes a few hits and they have secured their customer base. They don’t care a lick if a percent die as there are always more. I have already been seeing this starting to happen where I work.
Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I have known my mechanic for many years now and we’ve had some good talks. He’s always reminded me of someone from my past and it was quite a surprise when I realized recently who it was- the school bully who used to torture me on the playground.
It’s funny, because my mechanic is a really nice guy now, a good dad, a hard worker. We each have a very different way of looking at the world, but he respects me and finds my opinions interesting. I suspect that 35 years ago he would have probably been making fun of my clothes and giving me a bloody nose. But now, we find that the differences between us make for good conversation.
I got to wondering what would happen if bullies and their “victims” were brought together after a lifetime of experience. If they didn’t recognize each other, do you think that they could become friends? I think it would make for a better reality show that most of the crap out there.
Billy not Bully
I’ll bet. Life can be ironic that way. It’s heartening to know people can change and grow. This would be a much better and healthier message than the superficial NON REALITY junk shown on TV. Reality TV reminds me of the orangutans at the zoo. They are only fun to watch until they fling their crap at you for watching.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I’d like to think that on your Bully/Victim reality show all of the adults would get along but considering the large number of adult children out there, I suspect that many of the bullies have remained as unenlightened as ever and the victims still carry the scars.
Your mechanic friend may remind you of your childhood bully, but he is not your childhood bully. That makes a huge difference. Just as ex-spouses can never really be as impartial towards each other, I think that a bully and his/her victim will never be impartial towards each other. They might work at being friends for the sake of the camera, but sooner or later, the buried feelings would surface.
Would you be chummy with your mechanic if he’d been the actual guy who tortured you back in school? I don’t know. Are you a masochist?
Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
I have a busy life and am a busy person but I love to write thus keep a blog and also post often on Face Book both about my life and inner thoughts. What erks me to no end is my wife refuses to read any of my posts. She says not to take it personally as she is also a busy person and she doesn’t go on line to read anyone’s private posts as most of her work is done on line and on social media. She says if I want to tell her something important just tell her in person as we do live in the same house. Only this isn’t often possible as even though she works from home she doesn’t like to be interrupted when she is working and I don’t often remember for later what was so inspiring, that’s why I wrote it down at the time in the first place. The irony of this out of sync on line phenomena is that we actually met on line via an on line dating service and at one time we conversed often on line about just these kind of random spontaneous thoughts that we wished to share with each other. Shouldn’t she should be flattered that 16 years later I still wish to share these things with her?
Many years ago in therapy with clients we often discussed differing partners sexual needs and that they needed to have a conversation open and honest with each other, learning to listen to each other and sharing their needs. Today we often have to have the same conversation regarding differing partners on line needs.
From on line porn use to how much either partner shares on social media about their personal life to what “friends” means to each partner regarding their on line friends list, i.e. ex girl or boyfriends. These are all areas of potential contention that need to be discussed and defined. You have to have a conversation with your wife about when and where is best for you two to reserve time for each other as to maintain the relationship. Whenever and wherever isn’t really a reasonable thing to ask as is often done in dating before “real life” intervenes.
In the old days we used to have couples write letters to each other to convene feeling and needs that might have been to difficult to express verbally. These days’ people wear their heart on Face Book. Maybe you can just Print Screen and save it for her for when she has time to read them later?
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: here’s something you need to consider – if you are posting your thoughts for all to see, they aren’t really personal anymore, are they? I know that things have changed a lot since I was married or dating, but I feel there’s something vaguely insulting about telling the social media world your “important” thoughts, and then expecting your significant other to be part of the general fan club. What makes your primary relationship different from your friendships is that there are some things you share only with your partner. If your life and inner thoughts are scrolling out there like the news feed in Times Square, there isn’t anything very special about it, is there?
I sometimes read back in some of the journals I wrote before social media came in vogue. The most important and significant things I felt and wrote were things I’d only want to share with someone who was important and significant to me. When you are a media slut (let’s call it like it is) your wife isn’t getting anything but sloppy seconds. Think about it.
A string of 40 to 55 year old women all complained of the same issue. They were upset over their bodies and what the felt they looked like. Their in their head comparison ideal were women of media, magazines, and movies. Not one of these women had a realistic image based on the human body and normal aging. What they could do was think what did my mom look like at my age? For most people that is what 40 and up women who have had kids look like in reality. What these women disliked about themselves was essentially just normal aging without the makeup and surgeries.
“Mirror Mirror in my head who I am supposed to look like by what I have been led.”
The movie “The Phantom Thread” starts with a woman being interviewed; “What did you give of yourself?” She answers “I gave him every part of me” I.e. She sacrificed herself to redeem him as we find out. This story depicts the greatest myth of our current social structure in terms of relationships. It is the Beauty and the Beast story. It’s the 50 shades of gray. It’s the foundation story for a large part of our culture. It is the myth of Love in the terms of sacrifice will redeem the Beloved. This is even the same story that depicts the foundation story of modern love itself. Romeo and Juliet. Through Juliet’s sacrifice she redeems Romeo and his family and ends their families feud. Romeo, as in all these other stories, is just another form of the beast. In every story the beast Betrays another woman first before the loving sacrifice of the Beauty Redeems him. In ‘The Phantom Thread’ the 19 or 20 ish year old new beauty redeems the 65 to 70’ish year old Beast man who previously shat all over his 30ish year old previous wife. Romeo dumps Rosaline before Juliet can sacrifice herself for him and Mr. Gray dumps his suicidal sex slave before Anastasia can redeem him.
Reality doesn’t function as in the Myth of redemption. In reality The Beast would just devour Beauty as one person can not redeem another. Love is not redemptive it is enabling. A person cannot change their behavior for another permanently. They can only change their behavior for themselves if they chose time and again to change their behavior. It takes conscious attention to change one’s behavior. One has to choose behavior constant and continuous over time.
Personality is defined by one’s consistent choices and behaviors over time. You can not change the personality of another human being no matter how much you love them. They have to, if they need changing, do the work themselves and it will take work, work, and more work over a very long time. The only thing known to have shown any success consistent over time in changing personality is a 12-step program. Medications have not been shown effective to change personality and certainly not love as in sacrifice. Support of a group or a village can help while a person chooses to work and work and more work in change but Support without the work is just pissing into the wind.
Unconditional love on someone who is not taking responsibility for themselves and their effect on others just maintains the status quo. It enables the beast to remain a beast.
Healthy support and healthy love for someone is conditional as it maintains that both partners needs are equally important and that the behaviors of each affect the other. If one partner takes without reinvesting the relationship can not last. It if goes on long enough the taker will bleed the enabler to the point of sacrifice as seen in the number one children’s book in America, The Giving Tree. The demise of the giving tree as sacrificed to the vampiric child is another example of how we keep telling the same myth over and over again brainwashing kids into this one-sided unhealthy and unrealistic relationship expectation.
Healthy love is conditional. Healthy love has the expectation of mutual intent, reciprocation, and reinvestment, back into the relationship and family.
My diet book will never sell as its only one paragraph long so I have to post it for free. It revolves about a gland we all have, the thyroid. The thyroids purpose is to regulate our metabolism. It is the master gland and controls just about everything else in the body. It’s sole purpose is to resist change. It does this to keep us alive. Other animals like reptiles when it’s cold they get cold and when it’s hot they get hot. They take on the temperature of the environment where people are always internally the same temperature 98.6 no matter what is going on outside. It is the same with everything else inside humans and it is all controlled by the thyroid. How this pertains to diet is THE BIG SECRET! It isn’t ever mentioned in any diet book or plan yet it’s the most important piece of information ever that is not told and that people don’t realize.
THE THYROID is a gland that’s SOLE PURPOSE IS TO RESIST CHANGE!
What this means is that any diet one does, especially those made for rapid results, the thyroid rebounds. It takes away the initial loss and then throws in some more. This is why ALL DIETS FAIL! The more effective the diet the larger the rebound! The thyroid thinks “OH MY GOD there’s a drought, we are starving! Conserve calories!!! The metabolism then slows and you put on weight. Again, the more efficient the diet the larger the rebound!
The way around the thyroid is don’t diet. Life style change. Any positive changes you do, healthy balanced diet and exercise, after 5 months the thyroid says “OH this is the new norm and it resets to accommodate and then, and only then, the changes will last. As my friend said after losing 15 lbs after some significant life style changes, “and I have to do this every day for the rest of my life?” YES! YOU DO.
End of book!
This book is only 1 sentence! Why should you be happy?
The constitution says you have the right to peruse happiness. It does not say you have a right to happiness! The current generation has been brought up due mainly to advertising campaigns to believe they have the right to happiness. They do not expect suffering or failure to be normal human affairs, except for poor or ethnic people.
My parents’ generation didn’t expect to be happy so they worked hard to make a better life for their children. Their children expect to be happy so they take medications and drugs to be happy instead of expecting to work hard to better their circumstances. Sometimes this is caused by, they don’t need to work as hard as their parents because their parents provided them much of what they were working hard for. But mostly unhappiness or discontent is caused by a skill deficit and expectations. What are you doing to deserve to be happy?