Monday, May 21, 2012

Fixing Psychiatric Problems Caused by Stupid Psychiatric Articles

Oh wow, it's been eversolong since I wrote a blog.  I just now realized this.  Blogging, it has its rewards, like being able to say whatsoever I like and not even having to make sense, because it's mine.  The drawback being it takes time away from things that pay the bills and special projects that I love like a child and believe should exist like SUBVERSIFY.  That's another plus.  I can plug whatsoever I like here.  But really truly you should if you have not yet come by or back to Subversify.  We are always in a constant state of change and recently we have been having many very public discussions on just what should be printed there...whether or not it is "subversive."  That's the golden thing, we print whatever we want.  We can and do print all sides of an issue.  Even when our regular readers don't like it.  Which has been happening a bit lately.

We do this because we believe, wait that should be in caps BELIEVE with ALL OUR BEING that free speech is paramount.  Not just for what we think, not just for what you think, but for EVERYTHING!!! Which is why we also print conservative arguments like one recently on a policeman's perspective of riots in 1968.   We would actually print more conservative stuff if people were brave enough to have intelligent argument about it.  So far, not so much. 

Anyway, today I read something posted by someone I love that I completely disagree with and I have a bit of time so I thought a rebuttal would be fun. 

As some of you may or may not know my family is in the field of Social Work and psychotherapy.  We often have differences of opinions on practices, theories and what not.  Today, my partner posted this article on "Identifying Your Emotional Baggage."

You can read it for yourself to see how you feel about it, but it pissed me off.  I'm sure the author would think I was pissed off because of some childhood trauma/regret/blah, blah, blah....but I disagree so I'm going to break it down. 

Okay, so the author wants us to believe that we react to things sometimes without knowing why.  They provide the example: "At times, the level and intensity of a person’s reaction doesn’t match the level and intensity of the event. It’s completely normal and expected for children to lie at times. People who love each other forget about lunch dates, anniversaries, and birthdays. But sometimes things happen that feel much bigger than they really are."

Already, this seems like a badly written example to me.  If I am angry or frustrated because you forgot a lunch date it isn't because (as the author writes) I was disappointed as a child it is because you made a date with me.  You not only wasted my time which is valuable but you are telling me I am less important that whatever it is you are doing that made you not show up.  To me this seems like something that should be a big deal. 

We should value the people in our lives more than our work and incidental people.  If your work colleagues want you to miss lunch with your partner/mom/ kid to work on a project you should think about what is most important to you.  If it's a project you need to re-evaluate why you are in a relationship, because a relationship with a human being who supports you, will be there for you at the end of the day and the end of life seems to me like it should be the most important thing.  If it isn't to you, you shouldn't be in a relationship with me.  (Or you know...anyone else who feels that way.)  

A person should know enough about themselves to chose the life they want to lead.  I don't mean to say that nobody should view a project as more important.  Just that they should be aware of that when choosing people to walk the path of life with them.  This is how you avoid conflict, by knowing yourself and getting to know the values of others around you. 

The author of this article goes on to write about "Emotional Baggage" and how it gets in the way of our interactions blah, blah, blah.  Yes Baggage is unwieldy and anyone who has packed for a trip knows your baggage is 50% unnecessary.  We don't need baggage mostly.

But when we are disappointed because agreed upon behavior in relationships goes awry, that is not due to baggage.  In this person's example, it's due to someone being inconsiderate.  Pop psychology and easy to read articles on relationships would have us believe we should all blame a person's feeling and reactions on their past.  And this is great for this goal driven culture because that means we never have to slow down and consider how we are acting ( or not acting right now).

The author goes on ( as do magazine authors who don't live outside in the real world) to give 4 handy tips.  Here they are for you because I'm going to break them down:

The key to handling emotional baggage is to be able to identify it when it comes up. Here are some clues that your reaction may be more from your own emotional baggage then what is happening at the moment:
  • You feel like your emotions are out of control and you can’t stop them. We all feel things intensely at times, but when it seems like your feelings are on a runaway train, it may be a sign that something more is going on beneath the surface.
  • Other people express surprise or shock at the intensity of your reaction. In the moment it can be hard to tell if your behavior is normal or not. Sometimes asking trusted friends about it can be helpful.
  • After things have calmed down, you feel like your reaction was too extreme for the situation. Often, time is all that’s needed to be able to look back and see things in a clearer, more realistic light.
  • It feels as if the person you’re reacting to is behaving like someone from your past. If you think this idiot is acting just like my father, that’s a pretty good sign that your emotional baggage is involved

  1. You shouldn't "Stop" your emotions.  Your emotions are there to let you know something about yourself.  Like "Hey, I don't like being stood up."  Telling someone not to feel their emotions or that emotions are out of control is shaming them for feeling a natural thing.  FEEL what you FEEL .damn it! It's OK.  In fact not feeling and stuffing whatever they thing passes for a runaway train doesn't ever make those feeling go away.  It just adds them on to the end of some other list at another time.  So go ahead, look inward and embrace whatever you are feeling.
  2. Other people are not you.  Who the fuck cares whether or not they are shocked by your reactions.  Maybe, just maybe they have never been given permission to feel themselves.  You really cannot give just anyone the power to tell you about your feelings.  They aren't you.  Also your behavior is normal, just maybe not their kind of normal.  Who cares?  Do you want to be somebody else?
  3. After you have "calmed down" you have calmed the fuck down.  That's it, it's not an indicator of anything. You may have been filled with the most righteous of indignation, you will still calm the fuck down at some point and feel different.  That is because you cannot hold a single feeling forever, you're not designed for it.  Hopefully, you feel different because you didn't judge yourself and you allowed yourself to "feel" and it passed, it's over.  That does not mean your feelings in the moment were "unrealistic" stop judging yourself and maybe you won't be someone who judges others. 
  4. If you feel as if the person you're reacting to is behaving like someone from your past....They just might be.  It might be true that you have someone on your hands that is not the right match for you.  It may be that they are in the wrong.  Certainly if you feel bad about anything you should take a look at that emotion and see if you can live with it because it's highly unlikely they are going to change.  Feeling like someone is from your past is not necessarily "baggage". 

The article finishes up with soothing statements.."baggage isn't your fault."  (meaning it's your fault  you're not fixing it) and you can be better gosh darn it!. 

I want to tell people they are better.  They are better every single second that they feel things. Embrace your feelings, figure out why you feel them and don't let anyone tell you your normal reasonable disappointments are due to your "baggage"  that is complete and utter bullshit. 

Also it happens to be the selling point for therapists.  Selling baggage keeps most therapists employed.  You are a very lucky person if you meet a therapist who  wants to move you through what is bothering you right now without digging out every life disappointment and (wrongly) applying it to why you don't finish that utterly stupid quilt project you started on two years ago. 

P.S. It's because you don't really care about quilting not because your mommy didn't tuck you in blah,blah,blah.