Irrational Ideas – Albert Ellis

Irrational Idea No. 1The idea that it is a dire necessity for an adult human being to be loved or approved by virtually every significant other person in his community.

  • It’s impossible to be liked or loved by everybody. No matter how popular you are, there will always be someone who doesn’t like you.
  • Even if you could get everybody to like or love you, you would never know if they liked you enough, or if they still liked you.
  • Different people have different tastes. Some people might like (for example) your new hairstyle; other people might hate it. Therefore, no matter what you do, some people will admire you, and some people won’t.
  • Getting people to like you takes time and effort. If you try to get everyone to like you, you won’t have any time or energy left over to do the things that you want to do.
  • If you demand others’ approval, you’ll always be doing what they want you to do, instead of doing what you want to do with your time and your life. Your life will no longer be your own.
  • If you try too hard to be loved or approved, people will soon tire of your constant sycophancy, and they will not respect you.
  • Paying too much attention to how much love and approval you are receiving, means you won’t pay enough attention to how much love and approval you are giving.
  • There’s no harm in trying to be popular, but it’s best not to try too hard. In other words, it’s self-helping to want to be popular, but it’s self-defeating to need to be popular.
  • Having love and approval means you’ll find it easier to have friends, to find and keep a job, to find accommodation, etc. But just because other people approve of you doesn’t mean that you’ll like yourself. It’s better to strive for unconditional self-acceptance; i.e., you accept yourself, regardless of what others think of you.
  • It’s not pleasant when other people don’t like you, but it’s not awful, it’s not the end of the world, and it’s not fatal.

Irrational Idea No. 2The idea that one should be thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving in all possible respects if one is to consider oneself worthwhile.

  • Nobody can be good at everything. If you’re good at (for example) sports, it does not mean that you’ll be good at music. Most of us aren’t outstandingly good at even onething, let alone every thing.
  • It’s good to be successful when you can. But by trying too hard to succeed—especially if you try to succeed at everything—creates unnecessary stressors. In other words, it’s self-helping to want to succeed, but self-defeating to need to succeed.
  • To be successful often means you have to compete against others. That means you have to pay too much attention to what other people can do, instead of what you can do. You can’t control what other people can do, or how well they can do it, so you end up competing against something you have no control over.
  • Very often you have little or no control over your own abilities. For example, you can’t be a successful musician if you were born tone deaf.
  • You don’t need to be successful to be worthwhile. Being alive and able to enjoy life makes your life worthwhile. Nothing else matters.
  • If you’re too busy trying to be successful, you won’t have time left over for doing things you enjoy.
  • If you’re afraid of failing, then you’ll be afraid of trying. Your life will be boring because you’ll only do things you know you can succeed at, and you’ll never get to try new experiences.
  • Fear of failing means you won’t enjoy what you’re doing. It also means you’ll worry so much about failing that you won’t be able to concentrate fully on what you’re doing, and so you will probably make a mistake or fail completely.
  • The best way to learn how to do something is to just do it. The way to succeed is to practice, practice, practice and to learn from your mistakes. Mistakes and failure are not awful; they are a normal part of learning. Human beings fail and make mistakes all the time. If you make a mistake, it doesn’t make you worthless—it proves that you are a normal human being.

Irrational Idea No. 3The idea that certain people are bad, wicked, or villainous and that they should be severely blamed and punished for their villainy.

  • Human beings are not perfect. They don’t have total control over all their actions. In the real world, we all make mistakes from time to time and treat others badly because (1) we don’t know any better; (2) we can’t do any better; or (3) we’re too disturbed. That’s just the way we are. Believing that others must do the right thing ignores the real world.
  • Blaming and punishing someone for a mistake he makes because he doesn’t know any better will not make him smarter. Blaming and punishing someone for a mistake he makes because he can’t do any better won’t help him to do it better next time. And blaming and punishing someone for a mistake he makes because he is disturbed won’t make him any less disturbed.
  • We all do lots of things everyday. Some of the things we do are “bad,” some are “good,” and some are neither “good” nor “bad.” The “bad” things we do don’t make us “bad people;” and the “good” things we do don’t make us “good people.”
  • Blaming and punishing people for their mistakes doesn’t stop them from making further mistakes. In fact, they may act worse as a way of getting revenge over their detractors.
  • If you tell someone he is a “bad person,” he might agree with you and think he really is a “bad person.” Then, because he is a “bad person,” he will do more “bad” things, because that’s what “bad people” do.
  • When you blame and punish yourself for your mistakes, you become fearful and depressed. When you blame and punish others for their mistakes, you become angry and bigoted. Then there is a danger that you will blame yourself for feeling afraid, depressed, angry or bigoted and become more upset. And then you blame yourself for feeling more upset and begin to feel even more upset, thereby setting up a vicious circle.
  • When other people blame you for a mistake you’ve made, ask yourself if you really did do anything wrong. If so, try not to do it again. If you didn’t do anything wrong, you can remind yourself that the other person is mistaken and that they can’t help making mistakes.
  • It’s not the end of the world when others behave badly, selfishly or unfairly. If you can teach them to behave better, then do so. If you can’t teach them to do better next time, then you might as well learn to live with their mistakes and tell yourself, “It’s too bad that they keep doing bad things, but it’s not awful!”
  • From time to time it will be you who acts badly, selfishly or unfairly. Just like everyone else, there will be times when you make mistakes because you don’t know any better, can’t do any better or are disturbed. When it happens, you can tell yourself, “Oh well, that’s life! I guess I’m as human as everyone else. I’ll try not to do it again, but there are no guarantees.”

Irrational Idea No. 4The idea that it is awful and catastrophic when things are not the way one would very much like them to be.

  • There’s no reason why things must be the way you want them to be, no matter how bad or unfair they are now. Unfortunate events and inconveniences happen in this world; that’s just the way it is. That doesn’t mean you have to be thrilled when unfortunate events occur, but getting upset won’t improve matters.
  • The more upset you get, the less effective you’ll be at changing the things you don’t like.
  • Just because two-year-olds have a temper tantrum when they don’t get their own way, it doesn’t mean you have to have one when you don’t get yours. If you can change the things you don’t like, go ahead and change them. If you can’t change them, learn to live with them without crying like a baby.
  • You don’t get upset because bad things happen; you get upset because you believe they shouldn’t happen and it’s awful when they happen.
  • When things are not to your liking, and you can’t change them, you can tell yourself, “I wish they were different, but it’s not the end of the world, and it won’t kill me if I have to keep putting up with them.” Then try to learn from them, accept them as challenges, and see if there is someway you can use them in your life. If that doesn’t work, do your best to ignore them and do something else you enjoy doing.

Irrational Idea No. 5The idea that human unhappiness is externally caused and that people have little or no ability to control their sorrows and disturbances.

  • Other people can’t harm you unless they beat you up or rob you. But those things don’t happen very often. If someone abuses you or calls you names, it’s not their words that upset you; it’s your words. You might think they’re harming you, but really it is what you tell yourself that causes your pain.
  • Whenever you say “it hurts me, when people are unfair,” or “I can’t stand it, when things go wrong,” you are saying nonsense. Whatever “it” is, “it” can’t hurt you. What you really mean is “I upset myself by telling myself that it is awful when people are unfair or when things go wrong.”
  • Most people believe they can’t control their feelings, but they’re wrong. Although it’s not easy to change the way you feel, it’s not impossible.

Irrational Idea No. 6: The idea that if something is or may be dangerous or fearsome one should be terribly concerned about it and should keep dwelling on the possibility of its occurring.

  • If you can avoid dangerous events, then do so. If you can’t avoid them, then worrying about them won’t help you to deal with them. In fact, worrying about them will probably make you deal with them less effectively.
  • Worrying about dangerous or unpleasant events won’t make them go away. Instead, worrying will often make the event more likely. For example, if you’re learning to drive a car and you worry about getting into a smash, then you’ll get so nervous that you don’t drive very well and end up driving into another car. If you were calmer and weren’t worried about crashing, you might have driven better and avoided the smash.
  • People who worry about things happening expect those things to happen more frequently than people who don’t worry about them. For example, people who worry about seeing a spider expect to see spiders more often than people who don’t worry about seeing them. This sets up a vicious cycle: First they worry about seeing a spider, then they expect to see one, which makes them worry more.
  • There are some things in life that you can’t avoid—dying, for example. But worrying about dying won’t make you live forever, it will only make living less pleasant. Now, instead of having just one problem—dying—you have two problems: (1) dying; and (2) spending your life worrying about dying.
  • Worrying about things often makes them seem worse than they really are.
  • It’s not the things that could go wrong in your life that cause your worry; it’s the belief that it would be awful if those things happened. Therefore, to stop worrying about something, convince yourself that it would be unfortunate if it happened, but it would not be awful.
  • Instead of avoiding things you are afraid of—public speaking, for example—go out of your way to practice doing them. After a while, you’ll see there really is no reason to be afraid of them.

Irrational Idea No. 7The idea that it is easier to avoid than to face certain life difficulties and self-responsibilities.

  • The relief you get from avoiding a difficult or unpleasant task is only temporary. You might feel better at the exact moment you avoid it, but later, you may regret your decision and wish you had faced the task when you had the opportunity. For example, you might avoid asking someone for a date, and feel immediately better because you had avoided the risk of rejection, but later you kick yourself for being so cowardly.
  • When you tell yourself that a task (homework, for example) is so awful that you mustnot do it, you spend hours planning ways to avoid it, and then more hours thinking of an excuse for not doing it. The longer you put off doing the task, the longer you spend worrying about it. Instead of just getting it over and done with, you prolong your misery.
  • The more practice we have at doing something, the easier it becomes. But if you avoid doing difficult tasks, you will never get the practice you need to make the job easier. Difficult tasks will remain difficult, and you’ll never get the confidence to do them.
  • If you spend your life sitting around doing nothing except very easy tasks, you’ll be bored to tears. But if you try new experiences, and work at doing things that are quite difficult, you’ll gain a sense of achievement, and lead a much happier life.
  • If a job is unnecessary then it makes sense to avoid it. But if the job is going to make your life easier or more pleasant in the long run, then the sooner you do it, the better.
  • You were not born lazy. Laziness is nothing but the bad habit of telling yourself things about work which aren’t true. Once you start telling yourself that (1) work is not awful; (2) there is no reason why you must avoid it; and (3) the sooner you get it done the better, you’ll see that your laziness disappears.
  • There is no need to make life difficult for yourself by working too hard, doing unnecessary work. But if the job is necessary or will make your life better in the long run, then (1) decide when you are going to do it ( the sooner the better); (2) do it at the time you say you are going to do it—don’t delay it again; (3) if it’s a big job, do little bits at a time; and (4) give yourself a reward after you complete each little part of the job.
  • Life is for living. If you’re tired, take a rest. But don’t spend your entire life resting. You only have one lifetime, so do as much as you can with it. Try things that might be difficult or unpleasant at first, and keep doing them until you get good at them and find that you enjoy them.

Irrational Idea No. 8The idea that one should be dependent on others and needs someone stronger than oneself on whom to rely.

  • We cannot do everything for ourselves. From time to time we need other people’s help to fix our car, treat our illnesses, or build our houses. But the more we can do for ourselves the better. If we become too dependent on others we lose control of our lives and allow others to make our choices and do our thinking. It makes sense to cooperate with one another, but it makes no sense to be totally dependent.
  • If you believe you must have someone else’s help to get by, you will have to give up many things you want to do in life, and go along with things they want you to do. You will make yourself afraid that if you don’t do what they want you to do, then next time you need their help, they won’t be there for you. After a while, you won’t be you any more: you’ll be their slave.
  • If you depend on others to make you feel safe, you’ll end up being less safe because you are less able to look after yourself.
  • The more you let others do things for you, the less skilled and the less confident you’ll be. The less skilled and the less confident you are, the more you’ll depend on others. It becomes a vicious circle.
  • You cannot be certain the person or people you rely on will always be around. Therefore the more you can rely on yourself, the better.
  • You are the only person who knows what you really want in life. If you rely on others to provide you with what you want, you may not get it. But if you rely on yourself, you have a greater chance of getting exactly what you want.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Even if you never get what you want, it’s not awful to fail in the attempt.

Irrational Idea No. 9The idea that one’s past history is an all-important determiner of one’s present behavior and that because something once strongly affected one’s life, it should indefinitely have a similar effect.

  • Just because something once had a big effect on your life, doesn’t mean it will always have that effect. For example, when you were a child, you may have been afraid of adults, and done whatever you could to please them so they would be good to you. But you are no longer a child, so now you don’t have to be afraid of other people. You can now decide for yourself what you want out of life and you can, mostly, do whatever you please.
  • If a two-year-old doesn’t get what he wants, he will often have a temper tantrum until he does get what he wants. This solution works quite well for two-year-olds, but doesn’t work so well for adults. Most problems have several solutions, but if you continue to rely on childish solutions, the less likely you will be able to find better, adult solutions.
  • Blaming your problems on your childhood is just a poor excuse for not trying to solve your present problems. If you make the effort and really look, you can usually find solutions to the problems you have today.
  • It’s true that you learned some foolish, self-defeating behaviors as a child, but although it’s sometimes difficult to change, it’s not impossible.
  • In the future, you will look back at today as being part of your past. By changing yourself today, you will be able to have a better future.

Irrational Idea No. 10The idea that one should become quite upset over other people’s problems and disturbances.

  • Other people’s problems usually have nothing to do with you. There is no reason why you must feel upset if someone has a problem.
  • We are all different, and other people will often do things that you disagree with. But that doesn’t make them criminals. Getting upset or angry won’t help you, and it won’t change them.
  • Even if someone is unfair or rude towards you, it is not the unfairness or the rudeness that upsets you, it is your belief that other people should be fair and polite.
  • You have a lot of power to change yourself, but you have only a little power to change others. Getting upset does not give you more power to change others, in fact, it often reduces your influence. Some people like seeing you upset so, instead of changing, they may try to upset you more.
  • Sometimes people will change because you are angry or upset with them. But is it worth it? Surely there are better, less painful ways to change people than making yourself feel bad.
  • Being happy often involves changing the way you think, and changing the things you do. If you’re too busy trying to change others, you won’t have time left over to change yourself. Getting upset or angry over what other people do is a poor excuse for not solving your own problems and changing your thinking.

Irrational Idea No. 11The idea that there is invariably a right, precise, and perfect solution to human problems and that It is catastrophic if this perfect solution is not found.

  • Even if a problem has a perfect solution—which it probably doesn’t—there is no reason why that perfect solution must be found.
  • We have some control over our lives, but we don’t have total control. Finding perfect solutions to all your problems is impossible.
  • It’s not the end of the world if you can’t find a perfect solution to your problems. Telling yourself it’s awful when you can’t find a perfect solution will only make you upset and make it harder to find a good solution.
  • Most problems have several solutions. But if you keep looking for the “perfect” one, you won’t see the other solutions, and therefore, won’t be able to solve any of your problems. Or if you do use a less-than-perfect solution, you will make yourself unhappy because you think you should have kept looking for the perfect one.
  • You will spend so long looking for the perfect solution for one of your problems that you won’t have time to solve your other problems.
  • When you have a problem, make a list of several solutions. Then, instead of looking for the perfect one, choose the best solution from your list.
  • Solutions that seem perfect often have results you don’t expect. From time to time you will choose a solution that isn’t as good as you thought it would be. Solving problems takes practice. The more practice you have, the better you’ll get at solving your problems. But if you keep looking for a perfect solution, you’ll never get to try out the other solutions, and you won’t get to practice and improve your problem-solving skills.

Irrational Idea #12The idea that you can give people (including yourself) a global rating as a human and that their general worth depends upon the goodness of their performances.

  • Being skilled at one thing (or many things) does not make you a good person. Being incompetent at one thing (or many things) does not make you a bad person. Some people might be better at (for example) sports than you are, but that doesn’t make them a better person. They might be smarter than you, better looking, or funnier than you, but they are still not a better person.
  • Nobody is good at everything. If you can dance but can’t sing, does that make you a better person than someone who can sing but can’t dance? Or is the other person better than you? There is no way to judge who is the better person.
  • If you do well on a task one day, and poorly on a task the next day, are you a better person on the day when do you well? Hardly. You are still the same person.
  • We all change from day to day. For example, if you are usually polite to people, but sometimes rude when you are not feeling well, does that make you a good person (for being polite) or a bad person (for being rude)?
  • We don’t know everything there is to know about people. We might see someone doing a good deed (for example, saving someone from a burning building) and think they are a “good person.” But what we don’t know is that (for example) the same person is often cruel to small children. Therefore, the person is not as “good” as we thought.

Proposal for Empathy Week

I am a fine artist and critical writer on social issues from a personal perspective. My first career was in drug dependence counselling, and I have a background as a professional, teaching and exhibiting art, and also as a volunteer doing art as therapy, using the creative model in long term care facilities. My clients have been primarily those with neurological disorders, as my now deceased partner suffered with Huntington’s Disease, and I was Huntington’s Society volunteer coordinator, art facilitator and art fundraiser.
Last year I suffered a stroke and spent 6 months in hospital, on a neuro-recovery ward. I now live on my own, continuing to recover. My home was an apartment up 4 flights of stairs, and I couldn’t return. I was homeless and my possessions in storage, my cat in a new home.
While in hospital I started a gofundme, on the net, raising 1700.00 so that I could no longer be homeless, first months rent and damage deposit. I have family in Calgary, and across the country, but they are very conservative and totally lacking empathy. One member, my military brother, posted on my gofundme: go on welfare. So most of the contributors were Facebook friends and colleagues that I have never met. People with empathy.
So I wrote about my experience with empathy, it’s opposite narcissism, and my psychological recovery tools, Cognitive therapy in the form of REBT, daily on a blog. All the  while meeting weekly with a psychotherapist, dealing primarily with issues of empathy and how it can be faked as a recruitment tool for various cults, religions, new age marketers and similar predators of the vulnerable.
I have created a  portfolio, of primarily street photography but I refuse to create images of the homeless because on the street, I am in their home, and going into someone’s home uninvited taking photos is an invasion and intrusive. Other folks though don’t have an expectation of privacy in a public place, by law, the idea being they shouldn’t be doing private things in a public place. We are photographed and videoed  hundreds of times a day without permission or knowledge. My work challenges concepts on both sides of the issue of empathy towards the unsuspecting subject.
The blog which I started in hospital and the ongoing photojournalism are located on my website.  Feel free to contact me around possible uses for either, in a separate venue or just leaving it on my site and publicizing it (my preference due to my current mobility issues). 
I am a member of Carfac and request use of their contract guidelines, for copyright and exhibition fees.
I became aware of this opportunity through the Carfac newsletter.
Kind regards

Jerald Blackstock dip.(ACAD), BFA, CPF

the narcissists stare
Blackstock ’16
digital various sizes

Pimps for Parents and Lovers

Having a narcissist for a parent or a romantic partner is exactly the same as having a pimp.
You are prostituted into a fear based, (as well as guilt and obligation) slavery, which means you are brainwashed into thinking your normal self-helping behaviours are not as important as taking care of  some adult 4 year old, who can turn emotionally or physically violent at any moment. 
Walking on eggshells in a no-win life sentence scenario.
They need you. It’s wonderful to be needed, when actually it’s an icky con-job.
Mine was a ten year sentence with a woman with the gene for Huntington’s disease. I discovered later at the family therapists that I was hunted, a nurturing man who had successfully sought professional help and extricated himself from a narcissist single parent by age 14, I knew what to look for.
But just as cults and religions and pimps target intelligent educated people in transition who are suffering the pain of loneliness and rejection, offering the soothing pain relief of instant relationship,  I was vulnerable due to suffering from the cognitive distortion of ‘Life must be convenient and comfortable or I can’t stand it’. I was ripe for the picking. 
I was approached in a coffee shop, while reading Robert Bly and commenting in my journal. She was beautiful, sexy, well dressed and interested in me; she found me fascinating. A coffee date led to dinner led to incredible uninhibited sex, led to relationship to a planned cohabitation. Art school, a lifelong dream, was also planned, as her father, a retired millionaire farmer, would buy the house we would live in. I applied and my portfolio was accepted. The hook was well set.
One day she announced the results of genetic testing (2 years previous to meeting me as it turned out), a 95% chance of a degenerative brain disorder, for which she would need constant care, after onset, until she died, usually about 10 years of decline of motor and cognitive function.
In the meantime, our free time, quality lifetime, would be spent fundraising for research for Huntington’s Disease. I and my art colleagues and professors donated half a million bucks in art to the cause which was sold for a pittance at auctions to conservative rich Rotarians, sucking off the disease and looking good doing it. I volunteered doing art as therapy with Huntington’s sufferers in long term care facilities.
During this time I not only did not meet my own emotional needs, my relationship had gone into the usual withholding sex mode of manipulation.
Later the therapist talked about this typical narcissist scenario describing my relationship before I even told him. A relationship is unconditional he said, this was a business deal, a contract that I broke by being self helping. 
I had gained 50 lbs was depressed and anxious, panicked all the time on eggshells waiting for that other shoe of emotional abuse to drop, typically at Christmas time and Sundays. My sweetheart, a woman that I genuinely loved and cared for was in horrendous emotional pain and lashing out at me and it was all my doing. Not bringing in enough money, not fund raising enough, not volunteering enough; a pimp tuning up her ho, essentially.
So I did some things for me. Quit smoking. Eating better. Bought a bicycle and rode constantly. Built a digital studio and learned how to use it, creating a living and relationships and art practice in secret on the net.
One day the shoe finally dropped, the eggshells no longer avoided as the love of my life announced that I was to move out of my home and studio. Fred, her minister at the new age church, Science of Mind, was to replace me. There had been ongoing fucking for years, as it turned out, her and this family friend that had come with her as part of the package. Turns out that as an industrial psychologist he was providing the cult recruiting training for the church members recruiting their vulnerable partners.
The family therapist I sought out as the hospital, as well as the social worker for the Huntington’s Society, both had similar advice: run.
Non contact, find nicer friends, learn REBT.
Talk to strangers, ask for what I want, which is the real protection against the future inevitable narcissist attacks. When you ask for relationship deepening, they leave or fire you, simply because they have nothing to offer relationship, only a business deal.
I was taught to seek my ‘value and worth’ by appreciating that I have value and worth simply because I exist and am able to create some sort of interesting and satisfactory life for myself.
Here I am 20 years later recovering from a stroke, vulnerable to narcissist pimp-contracts on all sides, from caretakers at the hospital recruiting for their religion to recovery gurus at the gym selling their pyramid products, to women (?) in far away lands on the net sending naked pics of someone, for some reason. As long as I stick with knowing that life is rarely comfortable, it doesn’t have to be, others likes and dislikes only describe them and others probably aren’t going to do the ‘right thing’ because I don’t rule the universe, I’ll be reasonably ok.
Shitty things happen to nice people and nice things to shitty people. Accept, accept, accept.


How to create panic & terror. Simply label an event as Awful. Terrible works just as well.  


What is the situation that you are upset about
     Answer: I am experiencing reduced mobility due to a brain injury

What are the unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing? (depression,rage,anxiety,shame,embarrassment,hurt,guilt,jealousy)
     Answer: anxiety, shame, embarrassment, hurt, guilt, jealousy, depression

What self-defeating behaviors would you like to change?
(withdrawal avoiding social contact, procrastination, violence, unassertiveness, drug or alcohol abuse, exercise or work avoidance, overeating, etc.
     Answer: withdrawal, exercise avoidance,  work (art) avoidance, procrastination

What demand are you making about the situation?

I must do well and win the approval of others or else I am no good.

Other people must do “the right thing” or else they are no good and deserve to be punished.

Life must be easy, without discomfort or inconvenience

     Answer: Life must be easy without discomfort. 
     Dispute: Is there any evidence that this is true?
     Rational Belief: There is no evidence. Life is often uncomfortable and I find ways to deal with it. Therefore I have great skills at dealing with discomfort.

In what way are you awfulizing about the situation? 
     Answer:  it’s awful to not be able to move and get around properly.
     Dispute: Awful and terrible mean I’m going to die from it. Am I dying from this brain injury?
     Rational Belief: No I am not dying. In fact I am recovering, this is not a degenerative disease, this is an injury that my body deals with just fine, given it has lots of activity.

What are you saying to yourself about the situation that indicates low frustration tolerance? 
     Answer: I can’t stand it. 
     Dispute: Is there any evidence that I can’t stand this?
     Rational Belief: There is no evidence at all. The evidence is I have been standing the discomfort of many injuries my entire life, I am standing this injury discomfort (because I am not dead), so I will continue to stand this discomfort and deal with it.

What beliefs show that you are rating people instead of rating their actions? 
     Answer: I’m a broken down piece of human garbage
     Dispute: Is there any evidence for this belief?
     Rational Belief: There is no evidence. The fact that my body is healing is evidence of high functioning, not the reverse.

How are you overgeneralizing about the situation? 
     Answer: My body let me down, and I’ll never get better
     Dispute: Did my body let me down? Never?
     Rational Belief: My brain was struck by a random piece of plaque, that could and does happen to to anybody of any age. This was not lifestyle related or self abuse related. In fact it’s been 20 years since I had a cigarette and over 30 since I drank or indulged in pot. My weight is within my BMI, and I work out regularly, paying attention to eating healthily making my own food, even yogurt, and avoiding packaged and junk processed foods, grain and sugar free for a decade.

What are your new healthy negative emotions? 
(sadness, concern, regret, disappointment, annoyance)
     Answer: concern, disappointment, annoyance

What are your new self-helping behaviors?

(talking to strangers, asking for what you want, tackling unpleasant tasks without needless delay, exercising, eating healthily)

     Answer: Exercising, eating healthily, talking to strangers, asking for what I want

Warning: This form should not be considered a substitute for individualized treatment with a mental health professional. If you are seeing a counselor or a therapist, it is recommended that you print this page and discuss your responses with him or her.

Designed by Will Ross © 2006

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You Have the Right to Hurt People by Invoking Your Rights

You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior.
You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
You have the right to make mistakes–and be responsible for them.
You have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
You have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”
You have the right to say, “That is unacceptable to me.”
You have the right to say, “I don’t care.”
We have the right to have needs and to have those needs be as important as other people’s needs.
We have the right to ask other people to respond to our needs.
We have the right to have feelings–and to express these feelings in ways which do not violate the dignity of other people.
We have the right to decide whether we’ll meet other people’s expectations or whether we’ll act in ways which fit us, as long as we act in ways which don’t violate other people’s rights.

Having A Narcissist For A Parent

Well, the first thing is, you tend to marry someone exactly like your parent. Trying to get back that feeling of being loved and cared for that they continually took away as they groomed you to be their slave.
My Dad, who died at 40, had married a copy of his mom, whom uncle Charlie, medicating being a slave with booze and AA, lived with their mom till she died at 90 or so. I was the youngest and destined to take care of my mom, but I left ‘home’ and got help at 14 with the advice of strict non contact. Family has scorned me ever since for dumping the burden of this adult 4 year old ‘parent’ on them.
It’s addicting, love addiction essentially. The need ever present. Like crack.  I must be liked and accepted and do well, or else I am a worthless inadequate human being is the programming. The craving never goes away, it is accompanied by waves of panic, those of a child forced to care for itself, emotionally, and often physically, living on the street, vulnerable, robbed and beaten.
So later in life, when I meet the new love-bomber, feeding my addiction, then withholding love, affection, sex I feel right at home. Then they get bored with the game and seek a new adventure and I am devastated. You fucked John!!? Or they stay and manipulate with guilt if you try to leave, threatening self harm with FOG: fear, obligation and guilt.
Dwayne Johnston, the family therapist I sought out in desperation and loneliness, said ‘Well, you were essentially an orphan, might as well accept that.
You lived in the library, learned to read way above your age group, and discovered a different normal. The normal at home began to look crazy to you because it was. Essentially you deprogrammed yourself.’ Oh.
Much has been written about getting rid of crazy, how they send you messages continually, guilting you with their pain, or else they dump you and start a smear campaign. 
I recently had the former, basically reliving my mother,  I was hooked when vulnerable during stroke recovery, lonely and abandoned by family, and I ended it when I saw what I had on my hands. It’s hard to spot, at first, but as soon as the evidence of their needs not your becomes, well, evidently the priority, I find it’s pretty obvious pretty fast. Talk to strangers and ask for what you want, is healthy but the narcs panic when you express you preferences, bereft of any empathy, only seeming to care, they tend to fuck off, or bomb you with guilt.
So I set up the blocks on the net, and this supposedly unsophisticated computer user found a way around most of them, fake accounts, strange ip.’s, all the usuals. The naked pics were interesting and if they weren’t sent with manipulation in mind, they might have been fun.
The rational response to the programmed demand that I must have love or I am worthless is of course: I have love because I self care, besides, others likes and dislikes only describe them. Some folks have lovable traits, and that’s fun to hang out with and build intimacy and trust over time, but I don’t need it like heroin, I just prefer it, highly prefer it with some.
In the meantime I have hobbies and other enjoyable pursuits with which I am happy and when I meet a love, I am doubly happy, especially when she sends pics.

images from Designer and artist April Soetarman has been producing and anonymously hanging custom street signs around her hometown of Seattle since 2016.

Repsol Sport Centre Personal Review

I suppose going to a sport centre for stroke recovery exercises is self helping. At least it’s supposed to be.
Repsol sounds like a hemorrhoid medication, but since it has no public transit access, and an elevator that breaks down continually I suppose that’s apropos. A genuine pain in the ass structurally.
I went there initially because they could accommodate my walker, a ramp and elevator. After a month of 3 times a week, I no longer needed either, but like any narcissistic relationship they were in the love bombing me stage so I stayed.
Big Mistake. But I was paid up for a year, and was in love with my kinesiologist, Fiona, and progressing, she is really good.
I figured I could put up with the blaring commercials for car ads on their commercial A.M. music playing Led Zeppelin, intruding into my head, and I did. Most people wore headphones. 
One day I was at a customer dis-service desk asking a woman for information. She tried to respond but this guy with a beard butted in and asked what I wanted. I said I’m being helped thank you, then ignored him. The woman and her female supervisor got me sorted out. When I was doing my therapy, hooked up to electrodes and walking, the gent approached me, really pissed and demanded to know why I disrespected him. I explained about mansplaining. He didn’t get it. His supervisor did, and she said this hostile blindsiding would never happen again.
Over a period of 4 months it turns out that its the norm rather than the exception.
I mean I have a cane, move slowly, have no right arm function, and I speak funny. In other words I’m a target for bullies. They are cowards so they hunt victims that can’t fight back.
But I really can. Verbally.
This sport center is full of narcissist bullies, and not just the staff, I have been attacked in the washroom with ‘Get the fuck out of the way’ statements to people just climbing on equipment I’m using such as the plinth and butting in. When I spoke up that I needed that space for stroke recovery exercises, I was treated with ridicule of how I speak, just exactly like Donald Trump did in front of millions. I suppose that makes it OK now. Then I was called a jerk, for speaking up and asserting, not being ‘nice’.
These are the weekday events, its worse on the weekend.
This is an expensive place, that gives me a deal so they can signify their virtue by having the disabled community around. (but not virtuous enough to keep the elevator functioning)
In Calgary that means rich conservatives.
One woman whose husband owns a printing plant, in several cities, was chatting me up about my nephews Bar Mitzvah. The ol who do you know oneupmanship game. I explained that I was an atheist, my sister married into Jewish relatives, and I’m not involved. I’m a Liberal, I explained, who has chosen to serve my country by sitting on the policy committee of the federal party. She is a Trump supporter, she likes his foreign policy, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, he has Jewish relatives, that kind of thing. I mentioned that Trump is a Nazi, you know, based on targeting identifiable minorities for persecution, and she said, ‘as long as they aren’t Jewish’…Well that explains the Jewish apartheid that President Carter wrote a book on.
I showed up this week at the Nazi central sport suppository centre and my paid up yearly card was cancelled, no explanation, just fuck off. No answer to my calls and emails.
I mean I wouldn’t take their calls now, I don’t need them explaining why they had to abuse me, leaving me sitting there for four hours till my handicapped transport arrived, and how it was all my fault. I’ve had too much training working with sociopaths in jails not to be able to spot that oh so charming abuse justification.
They won’t respond to emails, as that would leave a record.
I asked for a refund, predictably to no response.
I like to get what I pay for, but at least I can have the self esteem of speaking up.
That’s something at least.

Time to Start Trusting the Good News

I live in a town of a million people. Last Sunday, I felt an increased numbness on the right side of my skull. I mentioned it to stroke survivor at the gym, a geologist suffering with M.S. He diagnosed it as a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or basically a small stroke, typically a precursor to a big one. Fuck. Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, were my immediate thoughts.
A sleepless night.
Waves of panic in the morning.
Did an REBT self help form

REBT Self-Help Form

What is the situation that you are upset about?
     Answer: possibly had a tia stroke on sunday

What are the unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing?
     Answer: anxiety

What self-defeating behaviors would you like to change?
     Answer: withdrawal avoiding social contact

What demand are you making about the situation?
     Answer: life must be comfortable and safe or I can’t stand it; I must perform well or I am worthless
     Dispute: is there any evidence that I can’t handle this? is this a definition of my value or worth?
     Rational Belief: It’s obvious that I can handle this because I am handling it there is no evidence that this is a definition of my value or worth. I have value and worth simply because I exist

What are your new healthy negative emotions?
     Answer: concern disappointment

What are your new self-helping behaviors?
     Answer: talked to a experienced stroke recovery person – answer very common; looked at the web-MD saw the likelihood of having a major stroke as smallish and getting smaller; exercising; taking meds; testing cognitive function (rebuilding my Apache and Mysql servers), going to the doctor…

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So. Using my vast medical experience and that of a quite possibly brain damaged stroke survivor with M.S., I got myself cleaned up and walked with my cane the 2 blocks to my doctor. Waited for 2 hours to get in, but they got me in, to find out after a 40 minute very thorough exam, that 1 symptom does not a TIA make. Neuroplasticity is way more complicated. He is very rational, going over the evidence and then corroborated it. What did your neurologist say? He said I don’t need a neurologist. What did your physiatrist say? He said I was cleared to drive. Would they say these things if they thought the risk of stroke was anything but minute? Ummmm no.
So my future was restored and with it hope in my life, of satisfactions of choice. 
Driving, relationship, creating and showing my work: mobility, sex and empathy, art: the things I love, were all back on my radar, getting closer with each step.

While I was waiting at the doctor, a woman came in, who had been the daily visitor to my hospital roomy. What are the chances in a town of a million people. The hospital roomy, a charming car salesman narcissist had moved out of their home, overvalue undervalue dump smear, the narsissist m.o.

I mean this was inevitable, and I spoke to her for some time about how they hunt for our types with empathy, then dump us when we ask for what we want in relationship, a relationship building exercise. They have nothing to give but charm and manipulation love-bombing and raw need that they can’t fill themselves in a healthy way.
He had had recently 2 grand mal seizures, and another roomy had had a subsequent stroke and died. 
These guys were destroying relationships and themselves, and I am making friends, talking to strangers, asking for what I want.
Experts are telling me I can drive and have a normal life on baby aspirin and exercise as my life rebuilding strategy from my brain injury.
Time to start trusting that.

Art Dealers Hate Me

Art, for many, certainly for me, was/is a distraction from over-anxiety. The ‘therapy’ of art therapy. Not a cure a relief. The same process as meditation or mindfulness, whatever that is. Essentially to ignore your problems, hopefully after dealing with them as best as possible, by focusing on something more satisfying. Once the tools to deal with ones creation of over-anxiety have been mastered a bit,, what happens to the art?For me, it changes from a detail oriented, time consuming distraction from the usual and constant discomforts of life, to something more interesting to the artist and hopefully the viewer. 
My painting becomes start to finish in 45 minutes, I am more interested in the immediacy of photo, voyeurism and the photoshop darkroom. I admire Rembrandt for the loss of his many children and and his wife, while keeping the immediacy of his hand made mark, see his feathers for example. ( He didn’t avoid his discomfort by diving into detail. I admire the work of Cliff Eyland, for his ability to make art his satisfaction but not his therapy.How many times have I walked into a gallery and a collector corners me and asks my opinion on their spending thousands of dollars on a piece. In all honesty I have to say you are committing to mental illness on your wall. The 20 pieces in here all look the same, seen one you’ve seen them all, the artist was essentially obsessively and compulsively being a 4 year old complaining that the world is uncomfortable and trying to avoid it. Art dealers hate me.

When you find yourself apologising to inanimate objects…

So. My wonderful, cheap French Roast coffee beans were sold out. I grabbed something called German breakfast roast. Unfortunately Pre-Ground. Bitter, highly caffeinated, thin, insipid brew, tea on steroids. So much promise. So much disappointment. So little sleep.
My regular beans returned to the shelf after thoughts were seconded and complaints were laid.
Now I have all this stimulation I don’t prefer, but a commitment has been made, I bought it after all.
It’s like it owns me and I risk offending it by dumping it.
I have fear obligation guilt towards a bag of low satisfaction.
Narcissist beverage.
I have the right to change my mind.
I have the right not to explain.
My cup of tea.
Or not.