You’ve heard it, your momma’s heard it, your grandmomma’s heard it…but is it actually true? And if it IS true, why does it happen? This will be the topic for todays article so buckle up.
This is a big topic but affairs may not be as ‘rampant’ as you might thing. Men are more likely to cheat (21% of males have had affairs) and women are slightly less at 15% average. Men win again! Animals. Ok, back on topic: lets answer the ‘why people cheat’ question before we answer if they’ll always be a cheater.
This is not a ‘one size fit’s all’ topic. The ‘cheater’ may have had cheating parents or they may be chronic liars. They may be narcissistic or have some type of attachment disorder – all mental health disorders aside, here are a few potential reasons of WHY people choose to have an affair.
Ok, the last one seriously borders on an attachment disorder but I really wanted to get to an even 10.
Looking at this list, you may be able to narrow it down even further. Often in couples sessions, we discuss the issue around ‘needing’ the other person to be ok. Now, look again at the list above; how many of the 10 things correlate to depending on the other person to be ok.
In every couples’ session the affair connects on 1 of 2 things – there’s something missing in the offender or there’s something missing in the relationship. It’s valid. Take reasons 1-3 and just add “I NEED more” at the end and you’ll discover that the issues stem from the person cheating, not the person being cheated on. Look again and you’ll be able to add “I need more” to reasons 5, 6, 7 and 9. That only leaves 4 (Resentment), 8 (Revenge) and 10 (Abandonment issues) to identify. Resentment and revenge dial into ‘victim stance’ and being afraid to get hurt or abandoned (IS EVERYONE) to the point that you’ll sabotage a relationship is really no. 7 so lets just take that one off altogether. Surprise surprise; turns out that a person who cheats likely does so because of their own personal issues - not the other way around. In other words, if you were cheated ‘on’, it’s not actually because you weren’t enough of something (sexy, loving, attentive, exciting, fun, smart, pretty, thoughtful, handsome, rich, etc.)
Now to address the main pop psychology message that ‘once a cheater always a cheater’. It is a myth and scientific research shows quite the opposite. People who cheat may never cheat again – in fact, many people only cheat one time. One and done. Repeat offenses happen when the root issue of infidelity isn’t addressed and worked through. Remember, the person who’s cheating is often going through their own kind of crisis - compassion is helpful.
Being rejected always feels harsh and most of the time, the person cheated ‘on’ leaves the experience feeling like it’s their fault. Like they weren’t enough for the other person which isn’t necessarily valid. However, if you’re cheated on often or more than once with the same person, you most definitely play a part in the pattern (which is something you get to figure out).
This can be a sensitive subject for many people. That said, a therapist can help immensely with the process.
Thanks for reading and as always, don’t forget to follow, like and share if you think this information was helpful. The website for all things therapy is www.meaningtolive.com
Till next time, awareness up.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
“Pop” psychology is short for a “popular” psychology take on any given subject. The dangers of this come from a lack of scientific backing and you’d be surprised what makes the list of MY personal top 3 “Pop” psychology facts that turned out to be myths. Which ones sound familiar?
#1. People only use 10% of their brains. MYTH! Turns out we use 100% of the brain every single day. This myth first began in the 1800’s and was reinforced in the 1900’s when scientists compared brain scans from a child prodigy to an average child. The prodigy has a more active brain, look! Fact is, the prodigy was able to utilize more parts of their brain at the same time. The average kid utilized the same amount of brain – just at different times.
#2. Opposites attract. This one shocked you, didn’t it? This is a huge ‘POP’ psychology MYTH. Scientific research actually finds that the more similarities two people have, the longer they will maintain a successful relationship. That’s right, the more you have in common, the better chances you have to stay together and the happier you’ll be – not the opposite.
#3. Smiling all by itself will make you happier. This one is very persistent in pop psychology – and guess what: MYTH! Turns out you cannot trick your emotions. ‘Fake’ smiling when you don’t feel happy can actually makes people feel worse. When you push down negative emotions, your stress level will rise and the unhappiness lasts LONGER. Whoops, curse you popular psychology!
I am on board with posture being connected to positive emotions.
There are many more MYTHS out there that have been passed on through the years – I think my next article will be on the popular psychology belief of, “once a cheater, always a cheater”.
Please BE careful of what beliefs you pick up – at a minimum, follow my blog and have all life answers at your fingertips.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe, follow, like, share, comment, etc. etc.
Till next time – awareness up!
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Depression rates are rising in the U.S. and Utah is at the top 5! We could speculate about possible reasons to explain this (I think it’s in the water) BUT, I’d rather get some great information out there to help people feel better.
You don’t need to be a therapist to have awareness around the topic of depression. It seems like everyone either knows someone personally or has had their own experience with being sad for long periods of time. When working with people who are feeling depressed, I've noticed one thing they have in common; the inner bully.
There are a lot of phrases used to describe this thought pattern of negative self talk. My favorite is 'shoulding on yourself'. Others call it 'stinkin' thinkin' and don't pretend you don't have your own favorite way to punish yourself. The one I hear MYSELF say (in my head) is, “Jed – dumb!” Or, "nobody is going to listen to you so why even try". You have your own go-to’s as well…you’re probably thinking of them right now. Clients working through depression have some pretty mean inner bully narratives happening almost constantly. Instead of, “dummy”, theirs is meaner and says, “you’re a real loser" or "you’ll never amount to anything" or "see, I knew you’d screw this up." or "people only pretend to like you…” The list goes on and on. This 'inner bully' is loud and relentless. It spouts out blame and shames you for anything ‘you’ can think of. Who wouldn’t be depressed with this harassing, broken record going on in the background ALL OF THE TIME?!
Of course, I understand that there is a chemical component of this but I’m don’t prescribe medication – I’m more into analyzing thoughts and how they connect with feelings. Think – feel – behave.
Here are the top 3 behavioral changes to calm (and eventually extinguish) the inner voice that brings you down.
4. Service. When you think AND do for someone else, you’re less in your head about your own worries.
Your inside bully won’t stand a chance.
Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you enjoyed. Please like, share and comment as this helps spread awareness. Seriously, it’s time for Utah to start losing at being depressed.
Till next time,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Are you too nice? News Flash: it’s not actually helping.
How can being too nice be a bad thing? Great question and lets talk about it. Imagine there’s a range of agreeableness and disagreeableness. On one side of the scale, the agreeable (nice) person has a lot of qualities that look like empathy, compassion and my favorite; compliant.
The most disagreeable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 The most agreeable
Where do you think you land on this scale? I’ve managed to get myself to around a 6 from an 8 and I’m working on getting even lower. Why? Because there are some negative consequences to being on the 10 side that I’m just not willing to dance with, anymore. Agreeable persons are often easily manipulated and pushed around. Why? Because they’re not that good at standing up for themselves! This is often reflected in how much we make in our jobs. If you very much dislike negotiating your salary, you may be an agreeable person – and you won’t be paid what you think you’re really worth. Another downside is that this type us 'agreeable' types KNOW deep down we're not being treated fairly. The years of swallowing the short end of the stick eventually leads to a lot of resentment. I'm not just talking about money, either; I'm talking about doing nice things, taking the fall for others, keeping your mouth shut when you know you're in the right in order to maintain compliance and/or 'be nice'. For you ‘agreeable’ types, have you ever thought, “I do so much for them – why aren’t they doing as much for me?” Think about it for a second…do you do more for other people than they do for you? If you’re agreeable you may have had others tell you something like, “it’s time to grow a backbone” or “stop being a doormat”. The more on the agreeable scale, the more people are likely to become the Gazelle’s (or prey) in life vs someone who’s less agreeable. There are a lot of gazelles in the wild – and they feed a lot of other animals. Do you really want to be a Gazelle?
If you’re more on the disagreeable side you are likely good at negotiating your salary (yay! You’ll make more money) but this goes beyond money – they also have better boundaries around how others treat them! They don’t get manipulated or walked on nearly as often because they have more practice saying 'no'. But Jed, I don’t want to be heartless! No worries - being disagreeable doesn’t mean you lack empathy or compassion. It means you’ve established boundaries around your compassion and empathy. Remember, though – this is a scale. I imagine that people that are a 1 out of 10 in disagreeableness, have much less feelings of compassion and empathy than someone that’s a 4 out of 10.
If you’re too far on the disagreeable scale, you’re likely to end up in prison. Sorry. It’s also one of the main attributes of being ‘anti-social’ which DOESN’T mean you don’t like being ‘social’ – it means that you are very selfish and use society for yourself with less consideration for other people’s feelings which is an ‘anti-social’ trait.
Where are you on the scale? The great news is that – with awareness – you can change your number! If you’re too far on the agreeable side, it’s TIME TO STOP being a doormat. It’s time to grow a backbone by placing boundaries around your empathy and compassion for others. Remember, agreeableness is basically just compliance. It’s not actually ‘nice’. Showing true kindness sometimes means saying ‘no’ and putting yourself first.
If you like this, share it to your linked in, facebook, Instagram, tweeeeter (twitter), google plus, etc.
Till next time - Awareness up,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Have you ever known someone that knew everything or was never wrong? You’re not the only one. In my field, this often gets pinned on someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This behavior can be associated with male or female (men are better at it) and is so prevalent that Phil Collins wrote a song while he played in the band, “Genesis” called ‘that’s all’. It’s a whiny victim song about how he can’t leave even when he’s wrong about everything he thought was right – even down to the other person telling him “it’s black when he knows that it’s white! It’s always the same, it’s just a shame, that’s all.”
If you pay attention to the words in the music, you'll soon notice that this issue of people HAVING to be right pops up all over the place. The band “Disturbed” actually has a song called ‘Never Wrong’. “You’re never ever wrong, always something more to say, you’re never wrong.” Fortunately, the lead singer ‘David Draiman’ has more backbone than Cill Phollins and by the end of the song, finds resolution by saying, “I’m not willing to deal with someone who insists that they can never be wrong, So just keep on talking to the wall because I’m walking away.”
None of this victimy/whiny “I could leave but I won’t go”crap.
Ok! Back on topic - let’s find out what to look for in a potential ‘narcissist’.
In reality, narcissism is not as fun as it looks. They may seem to have things figured out, but that portrayed confidence is a just a mask to hide a well-established internalized belief that they are not good enough. The extreme avoidance of being vulnerable (trust issues) along with a deep-seated belief that they are not good enough result in a seemingly impenetrable defense around feeling negative emotions or being genuine. If the brains main job is to keep us from feeling bad – you’ve really got to give a hand to the narcissistic brain.
It’s EASY to condemn anyone who carries the above trait list. Hopefully, understanding more about this disorder will make way for more empathy.
Thanks for reading and remember, comments are welcome.
Till next time, awareness up.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Let’s talk about the very VERY old ritual of ‘the hand shake’. Back in the days of knights in shining armor, people shook hands to see if the other person was in possession of a weapon. Yup, shaking hands was a way to frisk someone. I guess that’s how dangerous meeting new people was back in the day! Today, shaking hands is used when greeting someone or even when your parting ways with someone you have a connection with.
This behavior might even be in our genetic coding – chimpanzees give each other fist bumps when they reunite as a show of respect (they also kiss and hug). Don’t try to fist bump, hug or kiss a chimpanzee because they can rip your arms off if they want to.
Ok, back on topic. Shaking hands is HUGE in our culture and can make or break life changing opportunities...so lets talk about how to do it right.
The biggest mistake I see others make happens with the initiation of the shake. People neglect to maintain EYE CONTACT. For the love, KEEP EYE CONTACT. I know, I know, it’s risky because you might completely miss hands but don’t fall for the temptation to look down. Keep eye contact. By doing this, you send the unspoken message of being secure – of being confident.
Next, tend to your grip. It needs to be firm. Not CRUSHING the other persons hand bones, but firm. Doing this sends the message that you are capable and can ‘hand’le yourself…pun intended. Should you choose to decimate the other persons hand, the message is that you’re a being aggressive or over-confident – cocky.
Third, if someone offering a handshake and you happen to be sitting down – STAND UP. For the love, stand up and THEN shake their hand. This signals that you respect them enough to out of your way (simply by standing up). It also sends the message that you’re not lazy and you think enough of yourself to rise to the occasion verses acknowledging someone who’s towering over you.
But Jed, what do I do if I don’t want to shake someone’s hand? Great question – shaking hands is a bid to connect. There’s even a ‘connection’ chemical called ‘oxytocin’ that is released in the brain when we have the physical contact/connection of shaking hands. That said, if you don’t respect the other person – or don’t want to connect with them – you don’t have to. Unless you want to check them for weapons.
As always, thanks for supporting this grass roots insight for the masses effort and if you found this to be good info – share it.
Till next time,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
We think – and then we feel – and then we behave.
A lot of people have a negative concept associated the following 3 things when really, you should start getting excited when they happen. Why? Because you’re about to experience a “breakthrough”. You’ll know when you’ve had it because it’ll come with a sudden discovery about yourself, or an improvement in your life – it’s a level up. When I think of breakthrough, I think of a bird hatching. It doesn’t always look dramatic or spectacular but it sure is cool to see the baby bird break through the barrier that was keeping it from progressing in life. Here’s my top 3 indicators that happen when you’re about to level up.
1.Resistance increases. It’ll feel like conflict and you’ll get it from parts of life that you’d never expect. People you thought would be urging you on begin to do the opposite. And this even can feel spiritual/supernatural. After my first experience being incarcerated at the young age of 18 (and still in high school – hey, I have a late birthday!), I vowed to change my criminal ways. Everyone in jail and in my social herd advised that I would be back…and it went even further. Criminal opportunities seemed to rain down and they weren’t the normal scores I was used to. They were the ‘this never happens, once in a lifetime, how did I get so lucky’ fortuitous opportunities. It was as if my decision to change my behaviors created resistance from the criminal aspect of the universe! I never did go back – the food was horrible and I wasn’t fond of the whole loss of freedom thing. Breakthrough!
2.Ridicule happens. Doing something different makes people uncomfortable. The mockery takes place in an effort to change your behaviors to something that they’re more comfortable with (in other words, they want you to give up). They’ll laugh and poke fun at you with their friends and maybe even your friends simply because they’re trying to feel better about themselves…in other words; them making fun of you has nothing to do with you other than you’re doing something awesome. It has everything to do with their own insecurities. I’ve been ridiculed very recently about my “Jed Said” YouTube channel. Honestly, I allowed my feelings to be hurt for a moment. Nobody likes being laughed at or mocked…until they remember that this happens before leveling up! I don’t think the ‘Breakthrough’ has occurred just yet but it’s coming as long as I don’t allow being ridiculed to change my course/behaviors.
3.Feeling Frustrated. This should have probably been #1 as it happens the most often. I became frustrated just the other day while perched precariously on top of a wooden log…that was on top of a filing cabinet. Well, my frustration began prior to that as I huddled in my office with a steady stream of frigid air pelting me from the vent above. This was not a single episode and today I was going to DO something about it! Problem is - no ladder and I’m only 5’10” (11” on a good day and don’t even get me started on not reaching 6ft). After setting my mind to solving this dilemma and setting up the comical file cabinet/log combination, I realized that I needed a third arm while trying to screw in the vent screws. I was becoming more and more frustrated as each attempt resulted in dropping a screw or not being able to reach the screwdriver or abandoning the whole attempt in order to regain my balance. After a time, the vent was back in it’s position but closed instead of pointed right at my desk. I had done it and survived! BREAKTHROUGH.
Leveling up or having a breakthrough happens a lot in life but ONLY after struggle and conflict. It’s not supposed to be easy. Now that you know this, your going to be excited when the above 3 things happen because you're on your way towards breakthrough!
We think - and then we feel - and then we behave.
Hope you enjoyed blog today and as always, feel free to share...but ONLY if you think it’d be helpful to mankind. Fly little bird!
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
We're gonna go metaphysics with this blog. The law of attraction concept felt like mental gymnastics to me, initially. What I focus on – increases? The abstract feel of this came when realizing that I’ve attracted negative aspects of life and made them bigger by focusing simply by placing my focus on them. A story given by a client, Allie gives a perfect example of how this works (I'm paraphrasing a bit, here).
Allison's Story -
“I was snowmobiling for the first time in my life and was terrified of running into a tree. Throughout the day I became more and more comfortable driving but the thought was always in my mind, ‘don’t run into a tree, don’t run into a tree.’ At one point, while riding in a wide-open area, I noticed a lone pine tree. I looked at it and thought, “don’t run into that.” My anxiety grew as I kept looking at it with the pine with the thought ever repeating itself, ‘stay away from that, don’t run into the tree….’ And I was headed right towards it. The crazy part is that I was actually GOING TO HIT the tree even while my thought was screaming at me to do the opposite! Thankfully, I didn’t hit the tree but that’s only because my husband noticed what was happening and began frantically waving his arms. He was to my left and when I noticed the frantic movement - I looked towards him and began to veer away from the tree. My focus had redirected and I missed the tree.”
This story perfectly illustrates the power of focus. Allie was putting energy into the tree and was being attracted to it like a tractor beam (for you Star Wars and Trekkie fans). Here’s the twist – the energy of our focus doesn’t always care about the details. Ally absolutely didn’t want to run into the tree – BUT, her thoughts drew her to it nonetheless.
I see this concept happening in the addiction all over the place. Drugs and alcohol are the same to me (mind altering substance) but let’s keep it simple and pick alcohol as an example. Drinking eventually leads to negative consequences which then gives people the desire to stop. Here’s the stumbling block I observe repeatedly; when someone tries to stop, they actually think about not drinking a LOT. And then they run into the Pine.
Before you think this is ridiculous, I’ll prove it to you. Ready? Don’t think about a white elephant. See?! I just said to NOT think about a while elephant and you totally thought of a white elephant.
In other words, people who constantly think of ‘not’ drinking are at a very high risk of relapse. “Where attention goes, energy flows” is a common phrase in the self-help community (think Tony Robbins or ‘The Secret’) but it’s origins go way back – for recent findings (1960’s) and if you like Hawaii, checkout “huna”. This isn’t a new concept.
Ok, Jed – now that I know this, what do I do about it? The answer? Redirect. Allie had it right when she focused on something else. When we redirect our energy, our attention goes with it and instead of ‘not’ wanting to drink or not hit the tree, or NOT be anxious, or NOT be depressed – which actually increases them, we start to just be. If you’re not wanting to drink – think about something entirely different. Invest your thoughts on family, work, triathlons, biking, music, hiking, trail running, nutrition – anything OTHER than ‘not’ drinking (or staying clean, or hitting a pine tree, or being anxious, or depressed, etc.).
Allie doesn’t even come close to hitting pine trees anymore – in fact, she doesn’t even think about it.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out the Jed Said YouTube channel. You can find that at the website www.meaningtolive.com
The meaning of it all? Don't drive a snowmobile if there are trees around.
Till next time – awareness up.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Often people in unhappy marriages facing drastic changes like separation or divorce say the same thing; I don’t want my children growing up in a “broken home”. This sentence makes my butt-hole pucker. Still, parents are doing what they think is best with the thinking they’ve got which is where therapy comes to play – with honest talk, it doesn’t take long to expose what the real broken home looks like.
What does an unhappy family environment resemble? It can take the form of many ugly behaviors so we’ll just keep it general.
What would a divorced and healthy family environment look like? Easy – reverse all of the stuff mentioned above. Your children will be more stable, less stress/anxious and feel more connected not only to you, but to everyone around them. The kid will learn that it’s ok and safe to express negative (sad, stressed, anxious) feelings because the parent is finally an emotional state where they're able to support them in the normal ‘growing up’ sad times. They are more connected emotionally – in fact, the child will display a much larger emotional range than when he or she lived in the ‘broken’ marriage. They’ll learn what’s acceptable and not acceptable in a relationship. And maybe best of all – the child will connect with the parents because the caregiver is able to give them time that’s not tainted by angst, resentment or sadness that often lies just underneath the surface in the marriage that stays together for the childrens sake.
Now, which do you think, is the ‘broken’ home?
Marriage is a contract that is always changing. Behaviors that were acceptable to both of you initially could change – that means that you and your spouse ‘get’ to change as well. Marriage takes constant work, energy and effort with the end goal of you and your partner growing and changing with each other. Staying married takes effort from BOTH – not just one. If you are struggling in your marriage, please seek marital counseling. Working with a professional can be helpful but know that you and your partner will be doing all of the work...and it aint easy.
Thanks for reading. Comments welcome and don’t forget to check out the YouTube – I’m planning on doing a video on this topic soon. www.youtube.com/meaningtolive
Till next time
Jed Thorpe, CMHC.
Who hasn’t been teased?! Let’s talk about the 2 different types of teasing and how to best handle it.
1. Endearment teasing: This form is used to bond or build connection. Think of a friend (or potential friend) giving you a ‘hard time’ about wearing a hoodie in the summertime, your butt-chin, twiddling your hair, etc. I use this form of communication when I make up a name for people. The name isn’t malicious – it’s meant to connect and build a bond.
2. Influence teasing: This form is used to change a behavior. It’s not meant to hurt – rather, it’s meant to help as the behavior likely isn’t a positive one. Immediately, if someone is slurping their cereal their friend (noticing that it’s just the most horrible thing in the world and wanting to help their friend stop) will point out the behavior in a jesting manner. If it were me, I’d also slurp for a very exaggerated time while looking right at the person.Teasing can be a very good thing – teasing too much can easily step into the ‘bullying’ category. To tell the difference, just ask yourself if your teasing the other person to get closer to them (build a bond/connection) or help them (to make a positive behavioral change) OR are you trying to feel better about yourself by putting them down.
Now that you know what teasing is and the motive beneath it, you may want to know how to handle it as it can be pretty awkward (especially if you're not used to it). If you’re the one being teased (as long as it’s actual teasing), the best way to avoid any awkward potential is to GO WITH IT. Laugh at yourself. Smile with your friends. When you become ‘reactive’, the teasing will only increase. Say something like, “good one” (while smiling), or even exaggerate the thing that you’re being teased for – while staring at them. Remember, teasing is meant to either connect with you or to change a negative (in their eyes) behavior. If you can ‘take’ the teasing, the attention will naturally redirect off of you. One time, I heard a kid that was being teased about his backpack shrug and say, “it doesn’t effect my value”.
Remember, there are 2 types of teasing – Endearment and influential. If you're trying to connect or help someone to identify a behavior that's out of line, you're in the tease-mode. If you're not doing any of those things, you're likely being a bully.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe to the Jed Says YouTube channel.
Till next time, Awareness up.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
The 4 subconscious ways we form relationships.
Ever wondered if how you were raised affects relationships in your adult life? Probably not. I know I didn't. Luckily, some bloke back in the 60's with the name of John Bowlby was more aware than myself. He studied how the ability to form strong relationships as an adult stemmed from what the adult learned in his childhood from his or her caregiver (one of the parents). John also coined the term "Attachment Theory" which is the Subconscious way we form attachments. There are 4 different attachment types: Anxious, Avoidant, Fearful, and Secure. Read on for information that will change - your - life.
1. Anxious – this type typically stems from the early loss of a caretaker. A caregiver dies or parents get divorced or one of them goes to jail, that kind of thing. Through this early and significant ‘trauma’ the anxious type learns to fear NOT HAVING a connection. And the underdeveloped brain of a child will irrationally believe that they themselves were the real cause of the loss – because they weren’t good enough. Characteristics of this type? They’re people-pleasers. They jump around from relationship to relationship. One of the main ways they keep people from leaving them is by threatening self-harm – or seemingly putting their well-being in the other persons control. Anxious types can look a bit obsessive as they can be relentless in their pursuit to attain and/or keep the relationship. Common phrases to their significant other will sound like, “I can’t live without you” (The Chicago song just came to my brain), or “I feel like I can breath when you’re with me.” SUPER ROMANTIC and SUPER UNHEALTHY. The anxious person has such a low self-esteem that they often don’t see the bad things about the other person. They’re so needy and desperate to be in a relationship that they will transform their OWN characteristics or likes in order to be what they think the other person is wanting. Because of all this invested time and energy, the Anxious Type will be clingy which turns to suspicion which leads to the most problematic (and we’ve hit on quite a few problems!) issue. They have difficulty trusting. Even when they find someone that commits to them, they won’t ‘really’ believe or trust their partner because, who would ‘really’ want to be with them? This behavior ends up driving the other person away and the avoidant type proves that he OR she is correct; that important people in their lives will abandon them. Connection is the most valuable thing in life and it’s also never permanent.
2. Avoidant – This type usually stems from growing up in an environment where parent(s) were physically there but emotionally were absent. They learned that any attempt to connect would result in feeling pain. The result? This person ends up feeling extreme discomfort with even the possibility for emotional connection. To avoid this, they use many strategies – humor being at the top of the list. Ever known anyone to crack jokes or throw out sarcasm at completely inappropriate times? Well, now you know that they do it because they’re trying to avoid connecting emotionally with you. Humor also gives others the illusion that the avoidant person has things under control or don’t have any sad emotions which also gives the impression that they are fine. Sarcasm or jokes at an emotional time is a huge sign that you’re dealing with an avoidant type. Also, look for the avoidance of eye contact during moments where there is a likelihood of connecting emotionally. In relationships this type invests a lot of energy initially. They also utilize the shaming of others who display emotion in an effort to escape their own sensitive feelings and retreat back to a safer place emotionally. Expect a resistance to hugs or kisses initially… and even with a good amount of time. One can also expect the avoidant type to creatively show their desire for the connection WITHOUT them physically being there. Big flowers (delivered). Exciting and fun texts (delivered). Gifts (you’ll find them when he or she’s not around), acts of service (delivered), etc. The avoidant adult will be great at dating but as the relationship moves through the different phases and as time goes by, they will likely start to ‘drop the ball’ or flat out run for the hills because of their subconscious need to avoid deep and meaningful connection. They will also GHOST a promising relationship leaving the other person mystified and confused.
3. Fearful – Probably the rarest of types. This person generally has a background of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. Often the child growing up in this environment will feel like they have nobody to protect them or confide in or trust. As a kid, any time they tried to be vulnerable or have an emotional connection, they experienced rejection and/or pain. Wanting acceptance from mother and never being good enough. Wanting love from the father and repeatedly being hit. Being molested or sexually assaulted equates to not feeling protected or safe. Add in the fun occurrence that the child tells the parent and the parent doesn't do anything about it and you've got the perfect storm for developing this type of attachment. Naturally, these types of experiences create a strong relational defense system as adults. In fact, when an adult “Fearful Type” gets close to being vulnerable in a relationship they will subconsciously exhibit many different types of defenses to get away from connection. They are unpredictable and they’ll self-sabotage the things they want the most. The fearful type exhibit avoidance initially in relationships and then go to anxious characteristics when things start becoming serious. Next comes anger and sometimes violence (Fear). And that ball can jump real quick from anxious to anger as they try to keep themselves safe. The fearful type will both crave and be extremely uncomfortable with the connection which allows them to lash out behaviorally much like a cornered badger. Other characteristics of the fearful type include the inability to have a long-term stable relationship. Behaviorally they seem more and more unstable as time and connection with their significant other in the relationship increases.
4. Secure – The most boring type meaning, they're much less exciting than the other three. This attachment type stems from a childhood that was safe emotionally and physically (for the most part). The environment was safe emotionally (ok to talk about feelings or saying/hearing “I love you”) and physically (holding, hugging, kisses). The “Secure” type can feel the other emotions of anxiousness, avoidance and fear BUT they trust in their ability to get through whatever comes which enables feeling secure. They’re happy alone. They’ve learned that some people can be trusted with their emotions which is important because with this foundation, they can focus on finding and keeping quality (safe) relationships in their lives while leaving the bad ones (unsafe/dangerous) in the dust. This is quite a difference from the other types of attachment which either avoid, are anxious about or straight up fear connection and relationships. Also, unlike the others, this attachment type can be be genuine with others. This allows them to experience emotional moments and deep connection which opens the door to true intimacy. Another healthy attribute is that they can have disagreements in a calm manner. While the other types will use behaviors and/or mind-games to control the outcome, the secure individual is able to go with the flow.. They may ‘prefer’ things to go a certain way but they aren't devastated if things don’t. They can face rejection and abandonment as an adult without the need to try and repair the relationship or run back in order to fix things. Feeling secure has the end-result of them believing they will be fine no matter how things play out. Not needy; only secure.
Remember, this is all being played out on an unconscious level meaning, people are not aware that it's going on. Think of wearing glasses -you're seeing/perceiving things through a lens that has been modified and after a while, seeing the world through your glasses becomes your norm. That's the best way I've been able to turn this into an analogy for my clients. Understanding that people behave the way they do for a specific reason and purpose (sometimes unconscious) helps give us a different perspective - insight and awareness helps with understanding and empathy.
Thanks for taking the time to read and if you have any other thoughts or would like to work through your own ill-made prescription lens, please feel free to reach out and contact me through the website at www.meaningtolive.com. Also, be sure to check out and subscribe to the "Jed Says" YouTube channel.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
This is a fun one and it happens more than you realize.
Character Assassination is used harm someone else’s reputation. It’s a manipulative form of triangulation – in other words, the target RARELY knows what's going on. Why do people do this? There are a couple of main reasons that I’ve witnessed.
The first reason correlates to the sneaky way you dismiss information that you don't like or agree with. Have you ever received information about yourself that you don’t like? Of course you have! Well, when we hear something that we don't like (even - especially when it has a bit of truth to it), we will use a lot of tricky thinking to DEVALUE the person saying it. Because, if the source isn't credible, the information isn't credible.
Enter Character Assassination
I have a confrontive/caring style of therapy. There have been times when clients are not aware of the negative effects their behaviors have and when the awareness happens, their defenses naturally rise - and their sneaky little brains use character assassination to 'dismiss' the information they've been given...all in an effort to avoid negative emotions involved with taking accountability.
"Don't talk to him, he's not our type"
Is the prase of a snake, a hiss
And if you heed this lowly cry
A friend you'll likely miss
Jed Thorpe 1996 (for the rest of the poem, check out the Jan 19th, 2019 blog titled, "Your World".)
The other way it’s used is even more juvenile. Character Assassination is also used by people who are jealous or intimidated by another person. Think of stepping on others just to elevate yourself. This is actually a passive-aggressive (covert) form of bullying. The biggest one I hear is making negative jokes at someones expense - and while that someone is not in the room. Another is mimicking to ridicule or deliberately causing embarrassment/insecurity towards the target.
Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.
Did you know that there’s actually a LAW about it? The ‘Character Assassination Law’ refers to slandering or vicious personal verbal attacks on a person with the intention of destroying or damaging that persons reputation or confidence.
Once the assassination happens, negative effects are difficult to reverse or even make right. Think of going to the top of a mountain with a feather pillow – and tearing the poor pillow up. The feathers will go all over the place and it would be impossible to pick them all up. Reversal is impossible. Making right is possible to a certain extent and involves the one doing the assassinating to disclose their own behaviors and take accountability.
How have you been effected and then recovered from something like this?
Thanks for reading and I’ll likely do a Jed Says YouTube on this topic. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to my ‘Jed Says’ channel at www.meaningtolive.com
Till Next Time,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Here’s a quick one and once you’ve really HEARD it, you won’t be the same.
I'm talking about your ‘but’.
Ready? Here we go. Anytime someone uses the word ‘but’, you can just erase the message that came before it. In other words, everything said before 'but' doesn't count. And here's why - the word "but" is used right before the justifying what people really want to believe/convey.
I want to see a therapist but it's just too expensive.
People like President Trump but that's just because the economy is good.
I know I shouldn't have given 100 bucks to my daughter who uses drugs but I don't want her kids to go hungry!
The word "but" is used right before justifying what people really want to convey/believe.
Ever been fired? It may sound something like this; “The company has really appreciated your efforts over the last decade…but with the economy downturn, we’re going to have to let you go.” See how what came before 'but' wasn't really the message they were aiming for?
Ever been through a divorce? Maybe you’ve heard something like this from a family member or friend: “I don’t want to sound like the jerk…but it's been over a year and you need to move on.” They really just wanted to tell you to move on.
And I could go on and on! How about this one: “I may have lied to you…but I didn’t think you could handle the truth.” “Hope for the best…but expect the worst.” The last one you've heard and there are more common phrases JUST LIKE THAT and you'v never noticed how bad they actually are - until today. See, your life is changed forever all because of awareness.
Wait, there's more! People even do it to themselves! “I’m pretty smart…but there are a lot of people who are smarter.” "Yea, I got a raise...but it wasn't as much as I wanted." Or, "I wanted to learn guitar...but never got around to it." You know you've either said this out loud to someone about yourself OR you've said it silently in your head.
RIGHT?! It’s just – not a good word at all. AND DON’T BE FOOLED WITH THE DISGUISED BUT! These words sound well and fine ‘but’ are just as nasty.
What do you do now that you know what ‘but’ is a bad 3-letter word? Answer: Use the GOOD 3-letter word, “AND”. The word 'and' connects the message rather than splitting things up! Using it will not only help your communication but you’ll also be speaking more honestly. Win-win. Yes, I recognize that I used the word 'but'...this implies that there are good ways to utilize the verbage as well. Win-win-win.
Anything said before “but” doesn’t count.
Anything said after “but” word is a justification of what people really want to convey or believe.
Thanks for reading. Now try and listen for this tricky trap in your daily communications! What 'big but phrases' have been laid out for you?! Leave them in the comments area if any come to mind.
If you’d like to learn more goodness, check out my blog and/or subscribe to the “Jed Says” YouTube channel found at www.meaningtolive.com.
Till next time!
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
The term “sobriety isn’t the opposite of addiction – connection is the opposite of addiction” is becoming more and more prevalent. And you can thank this to a pretty awful experiment on rats or rather, how a pretty awful experiment on rats has been debunked.
In the 1960’s a Behavioral Psychologist at Harvard University came up with an experiment on rats – “The Skinner Box” – You’ve heard of this – rats in a cage with 2 bottles. 1 water, 1 heroin/cocaine and they pushed the drug laced water repeatedly until they died – REFUSING the ordinary water (life)
Remember the black and white commercial of a Rat banging repeatedly on a lever?!
“Rat Park” comes from psychologist Bruce Alexander (1970’s) who conducted a similar experiment as the Skinner Box experiment but gave the critters a park to live in rather than an isolated cage with nothing to do and nobody to do anything with. Rat park consisted of spin-wheels, tunnels, food/water, sex and friends (rats are social creatures…like humans). EVEN after exposure/addiction to drugs, every rat chose against the drug laced water. No deaths. Side note – they did occasionally drink the drug water (female rats mostly) but didn’t take in access and avoided completely if the behavior had negative effects on their life.
What’s the difference? Connection. Connection, connection, connection.
An example of this with humans can be observed with the returning soldiers from the Vietnam war. Statistics report up to 20% of our soldiers being on heroin…I think they called it “skag” back then. The country was dreading their return and how it would effect the nation but lo and behold, the soldiers stopped using shortly after coming home. How did they do it? Some articles point to the heroin in Vietnam being better vs. the US version not being as good (pure). Others say that it was harder to find or that you had to inject it to get the same effect (vs. smoking it back in the war) so it wasn’t as socially acceptable.
I say it was because they were reunited with connection. Isn't it amazing how impacting ‘meaning and purpose’ can be to life.
What does disconnect look like? In most cases, it’s not difficult to uncover (trauma, molestation, abandonment/rejection, alcoholic/high caregiver, etc.) but in other cases it’s less obvious and looks a lot like ‘contingent acceptance’. In every client I work with, there’s a blaring belief of “I’m not enough”.
The most frightening aspect of this research is the fact that it’s largely ignored. For some insane reason (I’m guessing financial), our culture is rejecting the idea that we have the answer to ‘stop the epidemic’ and are refusing to pick it up! Instead, we throw legalities at it (further disconnecting ‘addicts’ - looking at you 'criminals'). Instead we throw labels at it (I’m looking at you ‘diseased’) while throwing away any chance at being fully ‘recoverED’ - even the notion that it's something that can be cured offends some people. Instead we try to cover it up with ‘medication assisted treatment’ (looking at you Suboxone...Vivitrol shot – you’re in the clear BECAUSE YOU DON’T CAUSE PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE LIKE OPIOIDS…and suboxone).
As a society, our culture is becoming more disconnected, anxious and depressed – I’m looking at you social media. You are a wolf in sheeps clothing feigning to be a ‘friend’ but lacking in all connection that an actual friend displays. You’re a big tease, promising fulfillment and leaving all who look at you feeling more alone.
It’s no wonder drug use in skyrocketing.
It's nice to know the rules when playing any game...nicer to know when other players don't play by the rules. Continue reading to gain awareness on the "sociopath" (I refer to them as "no-rulers").
If you don’t know already, there are quite a few people walking about that don’t feel much guilt or shame. WELCOME to the world of the sociopath. Sociopathy falls under the umbrella of "antisocial personality disorder" or ASPD and makes up an astonishing 4% of the population (16% if looking at CEO's and Supervisors). In other words, 1 out of 25 people are unable to feel guilt or shame. Brrr - did you just get a chill? The other 96% of the population have a normal range of empathy and emotion so are able to connect with one another on an emotional level. To the sociopath, this ‘connecting’ idea is as foreign as your idea of you being blind (I’m assuming you’re not blind if you’re reading this). You don’t really understand what it's like to be 'blind' even though we could probably fake it if we had to. It's the same with humans with APD (sociopaths or psychopaths) they don't understand what 'feeling' is like...but can sure fake it when they want to.
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO...probably a sociopath. In other words, they've learned to fake it - emotions, that is. Like the magnificent coyote thrives in their ever shrinking natural habitat, the sociopath learns to adapt behaviorally. Just like you would figure out a way to blend into a heavy metal concert by going in bouncing your head up and down to the beat (and occasionally joining a mosh-pit or punching the dude beside you), sociopaths mimic the behaviors of other people in order to blend in.
Oh! And this is important. The difference between sociopaths and psychopaths is merely the sociopaths ability to feel a wee little thread of feeling. Sociopaths can connect a little bit, with family (kids, spouse, parents, siblings) – a little bit. Psychopaths have no feeling of shame or guilt – none – zero – nada. Every psychopath is a sociopath but not the other way around.
Isn’t that fascinating?! Seriously, this should be taught in school. Why? Well, imagine if all you did was play chess. Chess, chess, chess to the point that you’re a master chess player. All of your life, you’ve learned different ways to excel in the game. Suddenly, out of nowhere, someone standing on the side reaches over to the opponents black piece and jumps over your castle, taking your queen. “You can’t jump over people in this game”, you say but they CAN because they are allowed (by their lack of conscious) to play the game with a different set of rules. It sure would be good to know that 4% of the world plays by a different set of life (chess) rules, wouldn’t it?
Now that you know that the player is out there, you’d probably be interested in knowing how to spot him or her (yes, women aren’t immune and shame on you for assuming they were). And that’s the issue…they're extremely difficult to spot. Luckily, some Sociopaths have offered insight into their world to the point that we now have more intel. This understanding began with people who were incarcerated (only 20%). Recently, (with the help of online anonymity) higher functioning…those who were smarter and less likely to get caught for their crimes, have opened up about their alternate lives along with the behaviors that come along with a muted sense of right vs wrong.
Curious about someone you know and feel like answering 13 questions? https://www.psychopathfree.com/test/1
Look For these 15 signs:
1. RARELY flustered or at a loss for words; This is a skill that has been honed over years of practicing the art of lying. Even when caught 'red handed' this population will have excuses, reasons and justification that flows easily from their tiny lips. All of this adds up to you believing what they tell you because you think to yourself, "someone lying wouldn't be able to come up with a reason that fast."
2. They're not dumb: This is a characteristic that allows them to adapt and manipulate others. There are, of course, less intelligent sociopaths out there and the higher IQ ones are likely annoyed that they are giving them a bad name by the sociopathic blunderers. A sociopath might say, “a good sociopath doesn’t go to jail, let alone stay in jail.”
3. Lack of empathy: Asking a sociopath questions related to feelings are akin to a asking a therapist questions about calculus. It’s pretty fuzy and in both cases and in brain scans, the same area of the brain will light up in confusion. Go ahead and laugh, it’s funny. They're especially ignorant in their younger years but they learn the right things to say as they get older (have had more time to study you).
4. Secretive: Sociopaths don’t share intimate details unless it’s to manipulate in their behalf. They tell half-truths and the half they tell you will prop up their image. Or, they will utilize 'triangulation' as well, splitting people against the other, making themselves look better while you're non the wiser. They are masters of character assassination. Gossip is their friend and they'll always use it to prop themselves up in your eyes.
5. Charming: This is a skill they develop to attract people into their game so they can excel in life. You'll shake their hand and match their smile and then you'll walk away thinking, "what a great lady" ('or guy' depending on the sociopaths gender). They are clever and funny, always seeming to have the right thing to say. Fun part is - they've said the same lines over and over to hundreds of other people. They fine tune their lines over time figuring out what works and what doesn't work...old sociopaths are the best at it.
6. Sexually deviant: Since they lack guilt, remorse, and (much) emotional attachment, sociopaths tend to have affairs along with having questionable sexual activity (some studies have shown a higher level of testosterone in both male and female sociopaths). Beauty part is - they're so good at lying and avoiding (bad) exposure that the affairs are rarely proved although often suspected. If their secrets do come to light and they are confronted, the sociopath will eventually 'win' when it comes to convincing others that they're not to blame...they may even go as far as to say that they are a good person and they could have done a lot worse - so you should probably thank them.
Fun fact: Sociopaths (male and female) are reported as having higher levels of testosterone which correlates directly to deviant desires (along with aggression and criminality). Remember, the main reason they don't take away your life is because of potential negative consequences. On this tangent, I imagine that the military with the most sociopaths will have an advantage in war - not only would they be immune to feeling bad/nightmares/PTSD, they would also be able to think clearly and calmly in high stress situations because...they lack the emotion of fear. Sometimes my mind wanders but the notion feels valid, nonetheless.
7. Master Manipulators/lying - a lot: Psychological triangulation and splitting are sharp tools utilized by sociopaths. Lies of all shapes come easy to the sociopath…they can even FEEL genuine and look you straight in the eyes while telling you whatever they think you need to hear that will help them win the game. They could rob your house and then convince you that you owe them 8,000 dollars for helping you identify how someone could rob your house.
8. Sensitive to criticism: Here’s a fun one – somehow the sociopath needs admiration of others. It may be that 'looking good' or their ‘image’ is the most important aspect of their lives. They'll lie as easily as they breath in an effort to continue being seen as honorable, creditable, respectable, saintly even.
9. Calculated and patient: A good sociopath is in no hurry and will play the ‘long-con’ like a professional in order to get what they want which may even be to take away what someone else has...depending on their mood at the time - or how many side cons they have going on at the time.
10. Criminal behavior: This is just a gimme in the sociopath world. Why NOT be a criminal as long as you don’t get caught. White collar crime, here they come! Of course, it's not just one type of crime but I imagine that most sociopaths would have less boredom and more esteem when focusing on financially motivated crimes committed by businesses. It's easy to be dishonest if you don't have a conscious.
11. Narcissism: The sociopath will have a STRONG love of self along with a really grandiose image…they think they’re the cat’s meow. Some say that this stems from an overcompensation of having low self-esteem during childhood. Others say that their self awesomeness image stems from a deep seated anger developed at an early age from rejection. Don't feel sad for them, though - remember - your pity is their best tool against you.
12. Entitlement: The sociopath will believe that others owe them. You OWE them. And they’ll carry on and on about the debt, or title, or praise, etc. until they get it with complete belief that they are entitled to it (whatever it may be). Having no guilt or shame could easily come across as confidence which would be a powerful way to get something even when you haven't earned it.
13. Bored: A sociopath gets bored with a life of no/very little emotion (think of eating the same meal everyday for the rest of your life - bleh!). Because of this, they seek out risk – they exhibit high adrenaline behaviors. This tendency plays part in many aspects of their lives including criminality, immorality, fighting, entering conflict easily (legal battles, etc), drug use, etc and can also play out in constant high adrenaline activities.
14. Selfish. Not a team player: Because sociopaths don’t connect, they often will burn relationships readily including partnerships. This antisocial characteristic is a direct result of not being able to connect and doesn’t mesh well with typical workplace environments as a 'worker bee'. Often, you’ll either see sociopaths who are in high levels of management (where they don't have to take orders), have their own businesses (where they very typically engage in fraudulent activities) or have no employment at all (live off of others, inheritance, etc.), criminality, etc.
15. Victim: Sociopaths utilize pity to manipulate you.. If you know someone who never does anything wrong – or who throws accountability out the window – has an excuse for everything – doesn’t do what they say they’ll do – etc. Remember, when you hear something and can insert the 2 words, "poor me" after it, you're listening to a victim. Of course, they're not really the victim - but it's a powerful way to manipulate. Maybe the most powerful and they'll use it relentlessly.
Side note: Victim stance is the #1 thinking error I come across in therapy so not all people who utilize VS are sociopaths.
16. Staring: Sociopaths will stare at you. Creepy, right? Some call it a 'predator stare' because they look at you like you're an object - something to use - much like a predator would. This behavior has been reported as "tantalizing" when the person being stared at is the identified sexual target. Others can sense the danger behind it. As humans, 'staring someone down' indicates a challenge especially if you are the leader of the group. When a sociopath stares at you, humans tend to feel it; it's meant to be an intimidation. This often leads to others having an almost subconscious 'curiosity' for the sociopath which positions the predator well for whatever game they're after. In the animal world, it's a sign of danger. Trust your inner animal.
For fun, try catching the eye of someone across the room and after they notice you, don't look away. It's an odd thing - unless you're a cat. Those things will stare anything down because they are generally evil...laugh, this is meant to bring up your awareness, not to scare the crap out of you. Cats though...
Isn't this fascinating?! Kind of freaky, yes but awareness is necessary in order to climb out of chaos. The sociopath feeds off of chaos. Why? because confusion is a handy tool for manipulating (sensing a theme here?...). For socio and psychopaths, chess pieces don't have specific rules on the way they move. For this shameless population, chess pieces can be moved anywhere they want, in order to get what they want. They'll use pawns to move like a queen. Kings to move like a queen and if that doesn't work, they'll blow up your house and blame it on someone else. Remember, they aren’t playing by the same set of ‘consciousness’ rules as the rest of the 96%.
Eventually, after a few years (or many years, God help them) people around the sociopath gain awareness and are able to see the truth and when that happens, the sociopath simply move on to the next ignorant group that may not be so insightful in order to start another game. Or, if they're particularly invested in the place, will hunker down and play nice in hopes that time will forgive them in the eyes of the ones they've wronged. After all, humans have a very short memory and are easily distracted.
Once upon a time, I was in a game with a sociopath. Of course, I didn’t know it and for YEARS I was lost in their game. Years. Ignorance was not bliss. Words won't describe how that time of life felt but I can easily recall the powerful moment of realizing that someone had toyed around with my life and the life of my family (kids included) for a long, long time – why did they do it? Did they simply want what I had? Was it to distract themselves with some form of amusement? Or, was it just because they wanted to see if they could? I don't know. However, I do know that the experience almost broke up a family. Almost - but not quite.
Some people have a belief that what doesn't kill them makes them weaker. I've of the opposite opinion and, looking back, I’m thankful that it happened. I learned a lot about sociopaths and psychopaths but more important, I learned a most significant truth about myself - I discovered that my perceived value and identity - my whole foundation of happiness, even my ultimate goal of having an ETERNAL FAMILY could be stolen away...and I - would - survive.
From that experience came a level of independence that I didn't even know was missing. I experienced true freedom as everything I placed value in vanished, leaving me with nothing but myself to live for. The result; I can do a lot more now. I'm no longer SO AFRAID of losing external parts of what I value which results in living confidently. So, in that regard, thank you Mr. sociopath or psychopath or whatever you are - come think of it, I'm hoping they don't demand payment for wrecking my life investment. Haha, get it? Let me explain; because sociopaths are entitled and lack the ability to empathize with emotional pain, they'll believe that the end result: my awareness and new-found inner strength - was all because of them! Naturally, they'll take credit for me being innately resilient and could argue that I owe THEM. And if I don't pay a lump sum, they'll get to play victim! Brilliant! A win-win for them.
Sincerely though, I imagine a sociopath would be quite pleased to know depth of the chaos and destruction they cause in other peoples lives – they're are fond of thinking they're on someone’s mind. It strokes their ego in the best way. What they are not fond of is…negative exposure. NEGATIVE EXPOSURE. Bad publicity. UNFAVORABLE PERCEPTION - they definitely don't want to be known as the town JERK.
Having a good reputation is the ultimate goal for a psychopaths life-game.
For more info and if you want to take a look at the thoughts of an anonymous, well-known (yes, those two are dichotomous) and very intelligent sociopath, check out their website www.sociopathworld.com Spoiler alert – the sociopath and founder of the website is active LDS (or ‘Mormon’) paying a full 10% of their income to the religion and teaching in Sunday School. See?! It’s fascinating! Especially since I'm also active in the LDS religion and, come to think of it, at it's core the religion teaches compassion and forgiveness - the perfect environment for any psychopath.
Now the question you have to ask yourself is, if you've ever known a sociopath (and you definitely have), how much of your chess game being messed with?
Thanks for reading and make sure to check out and subscribe to "The Jed Said” YouTube channel found on youtube.com/meaningtolive
Till next time - awareness up.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Do you have a good therapist? Read on and find out.
It saddens me to say this but it’s true – there are a lot of sick therapists out there. Now, when I say ‘sick’, we’re not talking about physical ailments, anxiety, depression or about people who enjoy purposefully harming their clients (yes, they exist)…I’m talking about emotional health. I’ll never forget a conference I attended last year. As conferences go, this was much like the others and included down-times when we all had an opportunity to make connections. It was in once such moment when the other therapist mentioned how they believed that Therapists (themselves included) were in the field mainly because they felt broken somehow and thought that being a behavioral specialist would help them figure it out.
I believe they are partly right. Partly wrong as well. From what I’ve observed, there are some common reasons people become therapists. Let’s list them!
1. They are caregivers. The ‘health-field’ is full of these people and typically the behavior is a learned one (not a personality type – sorry!) growing from being raised in an environment of conditional acceptance. That, or they grew up in a home where caregiving behaviors were reinforced somehow; typically praise or acceptance or compliments…
To spot a caregiver turned Therapist – Listen for the phrase, “I’ve wanted to be a therapist for as long as I can remember.” That statement just screams, “I’ve found validation through taken care of unwell people for as long as I can remember!" If you don’t hear that, look for relentless coddling by the therapist. Side note: there are actually whole therapeutic models founded on not confronting, or JUST listening. In my opinion, this approach is great when the therapist needs to make his BMW payment. The last warning sign to look for is this - IF you start feeling like you ‘need’ the therapist to be ok: RUN. Not a good therapist. I remember hearing a co-worker once say, “the only reason I’m even here right now (meaning ‘alive’) is because of my therapist!”. Just not good. Another sentence I heard sounded something like this, “I can’t imagine NOT going to see my therapist. I’ve seen her for years.” Also, not good and a huge sign that your therapist is not as emotionally put together as you’d like to think.
2. They are traumatized. This professional has an intimate personal history in whatever specialty area they choose. And because of this deep scared knowledge of being raped, or living through the death of parents, or homosexuality, or an addiction, or (insert tragic past here) they gravitate towards the clientele struggling with the same thing. THIS PART IS NOT THE ISSUE and can be a great asset to connecting with others. But it’s HUGELY dangerous when they haven’t worked through their own stuff. If the therapist briefly discloses about themselves in order to connect with the client – that’s just fine. If a therapist uses his own life experience in order to explain a therapeutic concept – that’s also fine. But remember, this isn’t supposed to be about the therapist. It’s supposed to be about you, the client so the vulnerable info coming from the therapist needs to stay at a minimum.
To spot a trauma-based person turned Therapist – look for the conversation being more about themselves than you. “I remember when I was going through that, I’ll never forget when…..” Or if they go on AND ON about their own struggles or past trauma, it’s time for you to ABORT MISSION. Whenever a therapist starts talking more about themselves than you – you are now the one doing the therapy. And you should probably charge them. Not kidding.
There’s an epidemic of trauma-based therapists in the field of addiction. The issue being that people thing they NEED to be working in the field to maintain their sobriety. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for this place” or “that place saved my life and I owe them”. If a therapist says that – know that they haven’t worked through their own stuffs. If ANYONE says that, know that they haven’t worked through their own stuff. Whenever I have a client tell me that they want to work in a treatment center, I always say to them – “if you feel any different after entering the property than you do before you get there, you’re screwed.” Well that’s harsh! Why are they screwed Jed?! Let me tell you – because if that happens, they’re relying on something other than themselves to stay sober which never works for the long-term. Live on your own for a year and then work in the field and yes, I may be ranting a bit. Let’s get back on point.
3. They are in their second career. This happens for many of us and in my (probably) biased view – is the best category to be in. This type of therapist has an interest in people so they pursue a high level of education in order to be a licensed clinician. They aren’t working through trauma (otherwise known as charging money to other people while they through their own stuffs). They don’t have a ‘need’ to be caregiving in order to feel ok about themselves. They are just interested in people so they become a therapist. Believe me, if I could have made money playing video games or hiking around the mountains or looking for alligators with my best buddy, Jon – I would have. But there are just too MUCH BETTER gamers than myself and let’s face it, if treasure could be found wandering around the mountains or inside of alligators, everyone would be doing it. Miss you Jon. And I think it’s pretty lame of you to get on to the next adventure so ahead of me! Punk. Disregard the last 2 sentences - those were inside jokes meant for me.
Simmer down, readers – We’ll discuss how awesome it is when friends pass away in another post.
The gist of it comes down to this: I want you to be safe. I want to bring up your awareness. I want you to be independent. I want you to be aware. I want you to live and am hoping that if you know the red-flags of a bad therapist, you’ll have a better shot at working through whatever got you in therapy to begin with. The unexpected truth is that there are well meaning yet ignorant therapists out there who do more harm than good. They don’t know it but it’s the truth. Therapy is intended for you to grow. It’s meant to better your life. It's meant to help others.
A couple of last things: A therapist doesn’t have to HAVE a therapist in order to be a good therapist. Therapists are great but not intended to be a constant emotional crutch - even for another therapist. Also, if your therapist is your friend – they are not being effective. If a therapist is not confronting your shit – they are not being effective. If you aren’t uncomfortable with therapy – you are not in therapy. Being uncomfortable is when you grow the most and remember, your life isn’t getting any easier, you’re getting stronger. If you’re therapist is keeping you in therapy for years when your life is fine – you’re being used to fund the therapists car payment. A great way to keep that payment coming in - if you’re in the field of addiction - is by teaching your clients who are struggling with addiction that they have and will always have an incurable DISEASE - thus, they’ll always be in recovery.
Remember the story about the therapist at the conference? Well, She almost fell over when I didn’t agree with her statement about why people become therapists. Not all of us are troubled. In fact, I just had 3 come to mind so if you want a referral, I'm here to help.
Thanks for reading!
Jed Thorpe, CMHC.
SO OFTEN my clients come in with little to no awareness of how amazing, awesome, brilliant, resilient and awesome they are (yes, I said 'awesome' twice). And just as often, I go over what their value is and explain the rational and logic to support the discussion.
Who knew there were so many types of affairs?! Romantic, casual, emotional, cyber and even sanctioned 'hook ups' are all on the list but for now, let's focus on a general view of extra-marital activities. Why do people engage in hanky-panky? This is a complicated question which, by nature, would require a complicated answer. However, as nobody in their right mind wants to read about complicated things (although you likely would if you’ve read this far) we’ll keep it simple and focus on just one aspect. One.
A huge lie that our culture tells us
When we’ve been wrong we want the person who’s wronged us to apologize. And with that “sorry” we feel better about the situation and often ‘forgive’. But really, the resolution that we think happens only comes because we change our belief around the situation.
It has no effect on us other than changing the way we think about it.
Often, people are hurt by others and believe they need the other person to take accountability for the offense (whatever it may be). People go for YEARS being angry and holding grudges with the thought that they’ll feel better ‘or forgive’ the person once they hear an apology! They carry around the negative emotion for years! How exhausting…
And all because of a belief system.
Try this one belief system on for size. The truth is that they are the same person before and after the apology. The other person has no ability to ‘make’ them feel in any way – the person making them feel angry or resentful or sad (etc) is themselves. Their own thinking about the situation creates the emotion.
The truth is that you don’t need the other person to take responsibility to be ok or whole or complete or repaired or OK. You don’t need to be 'heard'. You don't even need the other person to understand where you’re coming from in order to be happy.
It's a nice thought - but it's not necessary.
"Letting it go" is a phrase that bugs me. It feels too 'magical' and unexplainable. And more often than not, when I hear someone say that they really are saying that they're "stuffing it down." Actually processing through being hurt emotionally (actually getting over something) is changing the way YOU THINK about it – it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the other person and EVERYTHING to do with you.
Isn’t it wonderful that you are in complete control of how you feel?
Isn’t it wonderful that you are stronger and have more power than you think you do?
Thinking causes feeling causes behaviors.
Have a great weekend.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
First off know this – Suicide will effect our lives so we may as well talk about it. Second off - the topic is to always be taken seriously. Now, let's continue in the blog-fun. I remember this topic as a kid being a bit 'taboo-ish'. People just didn't talk about it and if the subject was brought up, the message implied that people who committed suicide were weak AND that they were going to hell. Or in other words, it was viewed as a moral deficiency – like the person who died was selfish and/or inconsiderate...and would burn because of their ineptitude. Currently and thank goodness, it’s more understood as an action made to escape suffering – sadness, grief/depression…which is more accurate if you ask me. I also believe that anyone who goes through with killing themselves is not thinking rationally, clearly or logically. Any way you look at it, it's a pretty scary thing so it makes sense that, as a culture, we've gravitated towards protecting people from suicide by being aware of warning signs. The list may include the following:
"Human trafficking, modern-day slavery, has never been in greater number than it is today. " Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes at a panel discussing human trafficking
Right away let's get this out of the way - even if you don't know what Heroin or Pain Pill looks like, you need to read this post. At some point you or someone you know will be effected by drugs so may as well know a little about it. Information is power and chaos comes from a lack of awareness.
I should probably put that last sentence in a meme or something.
Ok, SUBOXONE! Let me give you a quick skinny from a Mental Health Therapist's point of view...by the way, I've been working in the field of addiction for years so this isn't coming from a completely ignorant point of view. I hear the word Suboxone 5 days a week.
What is Suboxone (often referred to as "Subs")? Great question - and easy to answer on the surface level which is where we're going to keep this blog. Subs are a combination of 2 other drugs combined; Bupenorphine and Nalexone. But before we get into that, let'd do some 'brain talk'. Amongst a few million other things to talk about, our brain has receptors in them. Receptors open and shut allowing for certain feelings to be felt. An "ANTAGONIST" is a chemical that opposes or shuts down a receptor in the brain. An "AGONIST" activates certain receptors in the brain.
Ugh, I know - brain talk is so boring. And this is why I didn't become a brain doctor. Alright, lets talk Buprenophine (often referred to as "bup" pronounced "bupe"). Bup is an opioid derivative (imitation) that’s 25-40 times more potent...and lasts way longer than morphine (also an opioid). BUP is a 'partial' opioid ‘agonist’. This means it ‘partially activates’ the opioid receptors in the brain. If full agonists are like wide open doors – bup is the opioid door only partially open. Same feel, just less…and it waaaay longer.
Next we have Naloxone. Now this stuff is legit. An Opioid ANTagonist It COMPLETELY BLOCKS the opioid receptors. Another term for this is“Narcan” – If you find someone that’s taken more opioids their body can tolerate you give them they go into OD (over-dose) which can cause death. Give them NARCAN and it immediately blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and saves people’s lives...and takes away the HIGH. Bye Bye, High.
Side note – you have to be clean at least 3 of days before taking subs – otherwise you get sick.
What is Suboxone? It's an actual opioid receptor blocker (antagonist) combined with a 'partial' opioid receptor activator (agonist). I know I know, why didn't I just say that in the beginning?
Other things to know about Suboxone - Sub withdrawals PEAK after 6-8 days and can last up to a month or longer! Remember, the BUP is longer lasting so it takes the brain longer to get rid of it vs a heroin detox taking around 4 days to peak and then you're back to life after 7 days. Because of the detox being so significantly LONGER you may be recommended to take a FULL YEAR in order to TAPER from subs by your doctor. AND just like HEROIN, the more you’re doing and the longer you’re on it, the longer it takes to withdraw. And not all dr's can prescribe Suboxone! I'm not positive on this but I think that to start off, a Dr. will only be able to have a very limited amount of clients on suboxone...10 or 15 maybe? Then the next year they can apply and have more allowed and then the next year the number can grow - not sure what it tops out at but when I worked at a suboxone clinic, the Dr. saw people all day long 2 times a week. 15 minute sessions. 250.00 per appointment.
Expect a few hours max to feel ‘normal’ when on subs. After that, you’ll get tired and groggy.
In a lot of ways, you are trading one chain for another chain. It isn’t being ‘clean’ – it’s doing a drug that’s more socially acceptable and less likely to kill you quickly. You can still Over Dose on SUBS.
I’m not here to debate medication use for opioid dependence - I’m here to be honest and reflect what I observe and here’s what I have observed while working in the addiction field for years – and by all means, I AM NOT GIVING MEDICATION ADVICE – just reflecting what I’ve observed like a good therapist.
And here's what I want to be the LOUDEST reflection for you - I’ve witnessed more people go into recovery and STAY in recovery without the use of subs than I have with the use of SUBS. The sub maintenance plan seems to come back more often for more rehab. No Sub Dr. will tell you that. Rather, they'll say that you're LESS likely to remain sober without subs. I've heard it. And it's not what I've seen.
Treat detox like a bandaid - RIP IT OFF! Have support and a good treatment team there to assist when you need but for the love, just get the withdrawals over with so you can start doing the tough stuff...like facing all those emotions you cover up with drugs.
Thanks for reading,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
In the life of blessedness self-reliance is of the utmost importance. If there is to be peace there must be strength; if there is to be security there must be stability; if there is to be lasting joy there must be no leaning on things, which at any moment may be snatched away forever.
A man or woman does not begin to truly live until he or she finds an immovable center within themselves on which to stand, by which to regulate their lives, and from which to draw their peace. If they trust to that which fluctuates, they also fluctuate; if they lean upon that which may be withdrawn they will fall and be bruised; if they look for satisfaction in perishable accumulations, they will starve for happiness in the midst of plenty.
Let a man or woman learn to stand alone, looking to no one for support; expecting no favors, craving no personal advantage; not begging nor complaining, not craving nor regretting, but relying upon the truth within them, deriving their satisfaction and comfort from integrity from their own heart.
As a child learns to walk in order to go about from place to place of itself strong and unaided, so should a man or woman learn to stand alone, to judge and think and act for themselves, and to choose, in the strength of their own mind, the pathway which they shall walk.
James Allen, Standing Alone, "Byways of Blessedness"
Anyone who knows my style of therapy or has ever been my client will recognize the message from James Allen (above) - You are enough. Your worth doesn't stem from anything external (not even family). It's absolutely possible to create happiness with just yourself. It's ok to want something - not need something in order to be ok.
These are not new messages.
As always, comments are welcome...and I don't know about you, but this was JUST what I needed to read today.
Live with meaning,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Valentines Day... it comes with some emotion even if you're not in a relationship. Why is this day a soft spot for Singles? Because it's a day celebrating 'love' so if you aren't in Love or don't have 'that special someone' you must not be accepted by the Holiday (that's the message, I get). This is kind of a big deal if you ask me! What other Holiday rejects a large portion of the population? None come to mind. To be honest, I would completely do away with this Heart Day nonsense if I had my way - do we really need a special day to celebrate love and BTW, if your partner only feels love from you one day a year; you're really in trouble. Unfortunately, I don't get my way on this and it's here so if you happen to be S.I.N.G.L.E., you're really going to dig the first way to keep a relationship strong...and the other 4 will come in handy, too.
1. Learn to be OK and/or complete – alone. It's natural to 'want' someone - human nature leads us to connect with others. It's not healthy to NEED another person in order to feel OK and/or complete. Personally, I blame 'Disney' or 'Hollywood' for that belief system. So, if you're reading this and are unable to think of a time (year or more) where you weren't in a relationship (emotionally or physically), you're likely in danger of being in the 'need' category.
2. Spend at least 90 minutes a week talking with them - directly - one on one. It's not much, if you think about it (there's 10,080 minutes in a week - surely you can give 90 to the one you profess to love). 90 minutes connecting with them on an emotional level - not making out or levi lovin' or sexin' it up - that's physical connection and that doesn't sustain connection. This 90 minutes can be done laying in bed after the work-day, on a bike ride, in the shower, eating dinner, etc. There are countless ways to create time and where you spend yours will reflect what you prioritize in your life as important. Get off the video games, fellas'. Clock off from the job, Ladies.
3. Have at LEAST 1 date a week - maybe 2. This one is easy when it's 'new love' (NRE Phase) but becomes tricky when the relationship matures into years. Life can have an unbalancing effect if you're not aware and consistent in re-balancing. Remembering what you prioritize with your time will be essential to maintaining a healthy and happy connection with your partner.
4. Beware of RESENTMENT (Ominous music here). If it is there, be curious as to where you are accountable for the behaviors you're upset with. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Resentment is an off-shoot of being a victim (which we all know isn't really possible) and leads to the famous "4 horsemen of the apocalypse" that John Gottman describes as Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. Any of those alone can be relationship killers which makes sense - in the Bible, the 4 horsemen equate to War, Famine and Death. Don't let any one of them get close.
5. Lastly, when you argue (and you will), make sure to make up afterwards. It's fine (and often WISE) to take a walk and cool down when conflict becomes heated. Often-times, reacting in anger causes more of an issue than the original argument! A good amount of time to 'cool down' is 90 minutes (that number sounds familiar). After that, return and communicate through the issue. When it goes longer than that, you may be toying with the 4th horseman - "Stonewalling". Most of the time after taking a break, people will feel more calm and rational - less impulsive. There's actually brain science to back up the 'right-left' action of walking. Science says that it will help your mind work through negative emotions/thinking errors so when I mention "take a walk", I'm being quite literal. Take a walk. Or a run. Or call me and we'll do some EMDR therapy.
Thanks for reading! I'll be sure to do a 'Jedsays' youtube on this goodness later today. Check that out at www.youtube.com/meaningtolive
Comments are welcome and if you can think of anyone that would benefit from this information - share it. Please for the love, share it. Couples counseling is expensive.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Ok, people. I've seen the light. And when I say that - I'm not talking about the glowing light from the cell phone. The cell reference is purposeful because that's what is on my mind right now. It's also literally in my peripheral because heaven knows we don't go far without our phones.
In FACT, I was about to go to lunch with Todd, a friend from work when I realized that my cellular life-line wasn't on my person. The knowledge was so uncomfortable that I chose to go back into the building and find it even when we were only going to be gone for 20 minutes. The even wilder part of this was I put that much importance in my phone DIRECTLY AFTER finding some 'time facts' online correlated to cell phone use. Want to know what I discovered?
It's great news, actually. You know how you spend 1/3rd of your life asleep? Well, last year you also spent an ENTIRE MONTH on your phone. And when I say "month", we're talking literal time spent - in other words, you don't get to factor in time eating or sleeping - it's 24 hours a day for an entire month spent on your cell phone.
An entire month - here's the breakdown...google was my source.
This statistic shows the average daily usage of social media worldwide. As of 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year.
Now before you're super impressed, know that this took me a few hours as math is something I haven't spent a lot of time mastering. ALSO, if I'm off - please let me know so I don't spread false nonesensical stuffs.
135 minutes a day come to 945 MINUTES a week.
945 minutes (1 week) multiplied by 4 is 3780 MINUTES (in a month)
3780 minutes (1 month) multiplied by 12 is 45,360 MINUTES (in a year)
AND there's only 43,800 minutes in a standard month so...yea.
Here's a shorter way to calculate for you smarties out there.
There's 52 weeks in a year. 52 multiplied by 945 comes to 49,140 MINUTES a year.
AND there's only 43,800 minutes in a standard month so...yea.
This hits home with me when it comes to me. Initially my brain wants to go to - HOLY CRAP! IF 'TIME EQUALS LOVE' WHO'S MOST IMPORTANT IN MY LIFE? And the uncomfortable truth is - North Americans are generally putting cell phones/social media over there own Kids, spouse, significant other, education, career, service, etc...all easy go to's. Is it any wonder the rates of depression and anxiety are at all time highs?
And I'm not even going into the chemical or developmental aspects of cell phones. That's a whole other topic entirely.
And now, the fun part - WHAT...WILL...I...DO...NOW?
Hope you enjoyed! If you have any further questions about stuff that'll make you happier - see my "JED SAYS" youtube channel.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC, TIME WASTER?