The half Ass Rebel:

A lot of people come to me complaining “I am anxious, I have panic attacks..”   Most of the time contrary to DSM V  it isn’t because they are genetically broken but instead because they are trying to do the impossible.

A teenager upon going to college started developing panic attacks and chronic anxiety. She called home every night to question her every move with her mother. She was trying to satisfy her mother’s needs for closeness and having “my baby” while at the same time trying to satisfy her adult needs for individuality, privacy and learning to fail and deal with it.  But in her trying to make mom happy and not disappoint her while at the same time having to make decisions for herself that might or might not always be of moms approval she created an unsolvable conflict.  The result was chronic anxiety.  When she stopped asking mom about every decision the anxiety resolved on its own.

Another woman who was married, had a good job and raised a few healthy kids would fall apart into a panicky mess whenever she returned home to visit her childhood family. She felt guilty as she disagreed with the chaos she grew up with; the drama, secrets, denial and blaming style of her childhood family.  She created a life free of this but couldn’t tolerate making her mom unhappy so would be drawn right back in whenever home. She tried to stay true to her values and intent but it was incompatible with her family’s life approach thus she would get paralyzed trying to satisfy both realities.

I call this phenomenon that of the ½ ass rebel. Much of life conflicts with itself. Just opposed opposites can both be true at the same time. For instance you and you mother can have the exact opposite view on something and you can both be absolutely correct. This is called moral relativity.  From her point of view she is correct and from your point of view you are correct.  The problem is when you try to satisfy both realities at the same time to make everyone happy and avoid conflict. As this is impossible it will just make you have anxiety and panic. It’s like trying to keep two different doors open at the same time with you stretched out between them, it is just impossible. That’s the ½ ass rebel. Trying to be independent and true to you while at the same time trying to make everyone else happy, just not doable.

The solution is called neutrality. It is the only way to balance just opposed systems of reality.   You can acknowledge the others opinion but you neither agree nor disagree with it.  “We can agree to disagree. I see you see it that way.”  Neutrality is infinitely more efficient as once you agree to something you don’t actually agree to it cannot possibly work out and often enough it creates chaos. A lot of good hearted people with good intention make situations chaotic and worse by trying to be nice when they should have been neutral.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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2 Responses to The half Ass Rebel:

  1. S.H. comments:

    Another view beyond neutrality, though neutrality definitely helps… I address with patients in becoming more Mindful and conscious and aware of their views and behaviors, and asserting themselves and addressing their conflicts with themselves and others that may be contributing with their anxiety levels. I’ve had a good success rate in using Mindfulness based Cognitive Therapy that includes mindfulness meditation and stress management, self tracking of thoughts, body and emotional feelings, beliefs, cognitive reframing, self esteem, and conflict/resolution skills while asserting oneself in getting better in standing up for what one needs and wants and also what one believes in, while setting limits and boundaries and saying, : NO, while not being afraid of always getting approval with patients that are chronically stressed and anxious and/or phobic. Self-love and self compassion eventually will start to take place as one starts to Put their own oxygen mask on first before helping others and keeping themselves in the picture and breaking co-dependent behaviors.

    Dr. Brilliant Cliché Replies:

    S.H. mindfulness is one tool in the skill of neutrality. Neutrality is a way of centering via non centering. Letting go of everything before you choose what to pick to hold on to or as I said before understanding that you can only come to understand what matters by first understanding that nothing matters.

    • SH comments:

      We have different perspectives on this, and how to apply and understand Mindfulness. Part of a patients healing with severe Depression is helping them to stay connected and have purpose and meaning and find something that they can care enough about that will matter to them and choose Life vs prematurely killing themselves. The reason I am still alive and a success story with my own serious health issues is because I chose to focus on what does matter and not dwell on existential meaningless which would have had me give up and not fight to live and be in a position to help others live and find purpose and meaning and quality of life. Even the Dalia Lama has ordered older monks to choose Life and not leave too soon in their old age because he believes their importance with the knowledge and wisdom they have is being lost and forgotten and needs to be taught and not lost. Buddhist teachings also teach to choose Life and not cause needless harm.

      Dr. Brilliant Cliché replies:

      We are saying the same thing in different ways. In order to use the “wise mind” or to be able to focus in intent and life one has to be able to decrease the noise in ones head. Intent is the organizing factor that shapes the randomness. But without neutrality , without understanding meaninglessness , you cant choose meaning you cant focus on intent. I am only using different terms to describe perspective. Which you are also doing but again differing terms. many discipline’s all say the same thing in different ways.

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