Social Anxiety

There is a grandiosity and arrogance that says that I can have an effect on anyone’s choices. People make up their own minds. When setting boundaries with narcissist and borderline personalities, the response from them has always been to call me abusive. I call bullshit. According to Dr Tara J. Palmatier they are manipulating with fear, obligation and guilt.
“Bullies, narcissists and borderlines, whether they’re female or male, experience other people’s boundaries as a form of control and being held accountable as abuse.” – SHRINK4MEN

This has been a recurring scenario in my life in the past 15 years. I left a 9 year live in relationship with a narcissist woman, who was due to get Huntington’s Disease, who had found me by hunting for a nurturing unassertive guy, to be a primary caretaker when her disease kicked in. She waited till we bonded before she told me of her genetic future, the hook well set. Essentially, after I began to learn to set boundaries through the counsellors while attending art school at this time, her increasing response was that I am an abusive man, and eventually she ordered me out of the house, (similar to what my seriously disturbed mental health patient mother did when I was 14 testing adult limits). She went online hunting for another nurturing guy. She was coached by her long-time ‘friend’ (isn’t there always a ‘friend’ hanging about), an industrial psychologist named Fred Alder, who was also a cult recruiter and groomer, a.k.a. ‘minister’, for their Science of Mind church. Fred moved in shortly after I moved out, having left his wife recently under shady circumstances, involving getting caught having sex with my partner as it turned out. They had been at it for years, one of many affairs for my partner who typically bored easily, unable to deepen a relationship, but good at faking it.

After I moved out, I went to the hospital and found a family therapist, Dwayne Johnston, and an entire psychiatric staff to support and educate me. I was devastated, racked with guilt and shame, seriously depressed. I had been crying for six months with frustration. It turns out that I had been this way since birth, raised by a narcissist, borderline personality mother, groomed from day 1 to be her little adult-child caretaker. I had been repeating this scenario over and over with my choice in women. All of this is very common, the therapist, Dwayne, spotted it in 5 minutes, and the deprogramming education began, and continues today.

There were a series of books, Feeling Good by Dr. Burns, which led me to discover the cognitive therapies’ originator Dr. Ellis and REBT, whose base philosophy, Epicureanism,  I now use daily as a lifestyle to manage my emotions about life’s random and not so random events.

The hospital could only give me 10 sessions with Dwayne, and my issues didn’t require hospitalization treatment, I mean that’s how common the devastating effects, and treatment for recovery of narcissists victims are. So I sought a private cognitive therapist, Dr. Deb Dobson, an expert in anger management, since I was still convinced (programmed) that I was an angry abusive man, and she began to deprogram me from that self defeating idea for which there was no evidence. Frustrated yes, but with a lifetime’s ability for high tolerance of it, the key to success in any endeavor. It turns out that the notion, you MUST be ‘nice’ (unassertive) was used to manipulate me with guilt and obligation and fear by my narcissist parent and subsequent lovers, then the spiritual cult recruiters, my alternative strategy to daily pot use for anxiety, encouraging my self downing  and self hate for their purposes of fostering dependency. Encouraging anxiety as it turns out, then offering distraction for temporary relief: prayer, meditation and sex. Since we can only concentrate on one thing at a time, it’s difficult to be anxious when you are getting your brains fucked out or what have you. A temporary respite used to create dependance, instead of a cure. This had been going on through the church and my homelife and relationships of choice, since birth.

It turns out that the ‘cure’ is being rational. Is there any evidence for my self downing belief, and if there is, what strategy will I put in place to live with the situation or change it, and finally, what good can I make of this situation.

I was a victim of psychological slavery using fear, obligation and guilt. The main three notions that all people use to upset themselves were nurtured and encouraged. These people were well educated and used this abuse with intent, whether it was to secure a future primary care giver, or in my Yoga world, to get free labour and secure funds.

Dr. Dobson started with a book of strategies, to teach me to talk to people who scared me, so that now I am more able to be self helping by talking to strangers and asking for what I want. The biggest business deals and the the greatest love affairs all started with small talk between strangers at some point. Asserting Yourself, a step by step how-to-book. Very Cool.

I started with my coffee shop of 15 years, Cafe Beano. A meeting place for artists of all kinds, but it had recently (2007) changed hands, and started to go downhill, the music becoming loud and intrusive, among other things. In my assertive training book I learned that I have the right to get what I pay for, and I was paying for coffee and conversation. So I began to practice my techniques, and respectfully but persistently ask for the music to be turned down (ironically called the broken record technique.)

I was eventually and predictably thrown out. Told never to return. I wasn’t being ‘nice’, in fact, I was even called abusive, the usual smear campaign, and told there were customer complaints because I had recently taken up photography, and was capturing their cups, for all the world to see. Perhaps I was capturing rich closeted conservatives meeting their gay lovers, who knows. Dr. Dobson told me to expect this, and not take on too many situations at once, it’s kind of devastating getting used to rejection and takes time.

So here I am 12 years later, setting boundaries and asking for what I want, the only difference is now I am doing stroke recovery as well, I walk with aids and my speech is slurred at times. Narcissists are bullies and seek victims who can’t readily defend themselves. Consequently I have recently been dumped several times by folks not used to being stood up to by their victims that they hunt for and prey upon. These include the manager at the Eddie Bauer, Chinook mall who kept walking away from me mid sentence, apparently the attention span of narcissists is lacking, they get bored easily, and when I expressed my preference to finish my sentence, that was called abusive and I was banned from the store. The local gym, Repsol, banned me and threatened police action if I returned when a staff member walked into a private conversation between me and another stroke victim and was asked politely and assertively to come back later, ( I thought I was having a stroke event ) even then she ignored us and kept intruding, demanding attention like any 4 year old. Her pre-emptive move was to complain to management that we had abused her somehow by asserting our right to not be intruded on in a possible medical event. Gyms are narcissist hell, well, this one is for sure, complete with naturopaths and yoga woo woo. Namaste eh?

According to Dr Tara J. Palmatier , Boundaries Are the Best Protection Against Narcissists, Borderlines and Other Predators. And she is correct. This is the wolf’s bane, the garlic necklace to repel these leeches that prey upon us nice nurturing folks with round open honest faces, They are seeking to suck us dry of our time (our very lives) and money. Just mention evidence based psychology to your local minister, swami or similar cult recruiter and see them head for the hills, name calling as they go out the door.

This is typical narcissist behavior: overvalue, undervalue, dump then smear. For example, both the occupational therapist, and the Eddie Bauer store manager, used a lot of sexual innuendo and physical closeness in the overvalue flirting stage. Being well trained, and ill, I didn’t respond in kind, besides I wanted shoes and therapy, not sex. When I trotted out the dreaded ‘I prefer’ statement, such as, “I prefer to keep this on a professional level, I’m uncomfortable with your leg rubbing mine”, this was responded to by, “I’m the only neuro driver examiner for the hospital in southern Alberta, (a lie), you’d better get along with me (undervalue), or you will never drive again (dump).” I received my driver’s licence last week after a successful exam with a different therapist but I spent an uncomfortable anxious 4 months waiting for this to resolve itself, I was so nervous I only received a borderline pass, and I’ve been training professional drivers as a day gig my entire life.
The Eddie Bauer manager called me abusive and threw me out when I said I
preferred to finish my sentence, I but didn’t elaborate on the fact she constantly bent over and exposed her breasts as a seduction (overvalue) for sales technique. She constantly walked away in mid sentence (undervalue), it was when I spoke up that I preferred to finish my sentence, that I was smeared as abusive then dumped and thrown out of the store.

I doesn’t matter if it’s your church or coffee shop or gym, narcissists go to these places hunting, using charm, often sexual promise, as bait. When you refuse to be charmed by a stranger and keep your hand on your emotional wallet, and your penis in your pants, saying those hated words of self respect, I prefer, they get the message real quick. I try not to let the smear campaign as they go out the door, sting, in fact this deprogramming and information is a good technique for how to take the major sting out of this kind of loss, realizing that even high functioning narcissists and borderline personalities, like my assigned psychotherapist and occupational therapist at community stroke recovery, have no empathy, tend to fake it well, but really hate me for my empathy because it makes them look bad for not having any.
The community psychotherapist, a self proclaimed adult child of narcissistic parents, overvalue stage was to attempt to create emotional intimacy and sympathy by sharing that knowledge of her life. Essentially I was to care for her not the other way around. Her undervalue was to start shitting on my use of Dr. Ellis’ evidence based techniques (narcissists hate evidence) as passe and the dump was saying she would have none of it, she was a relational psychologist. I was in and out the door in 10 minutes, her screaming in the background, like any 4 year old. I had told her I found her abusive, and left.

Don’t even get me started on the Foothills hospital, that entire health system of evidence based medicine that I lived in for 6 months, day and night, is a coven of conservative Catholic cult recruiters preying upon the vulnerable and their families. The hurting overly dependant kids who have lost parents being a sexual predator specialty of record.
God is healing you, the nurse said (not most folks, just me was the seduction overvalue). Oh, where was the the fucker when I had the stroke? Asleep at the wheel? Filthy looks of hate (under value) and nurse abandoned patient was the dump.
I approached another nurse, James, wondering how do I deal with this brain damaged guy in my room, he was really angry and scary. James said that when he had these questions he asked his lord Jesus Christ. It was only after I was attacked, the trigger being I talk too loud, that his meds were adjusted and he was sent to the dementia ward for temporary storage.

Dr. Burns is his book, Intimate Connections, suggests that getting used to rejection is a necessary life social skill, we attain it by talking to strangers and asking for what we want then getting rejected. Social anxiety didn’t seem to ever go away, but it lessened, and I sure had a lot more fun than when I isolated. I felt safer knowing to expect the random leeches and how better to dislodge them. This self respect and self care has helped immensely.

Dr Ellis takes it one step further in his book, The Myth of Self Esteem. If I have self esteem I can lose self esteem. His simple and elegant solution is to dump the notion of esteem of my characteristics, because it is conditional and they can change in a moment, a stroke for example where one loses function. Better to do what I can to recover, say from a lost arm and leg, then ignore it, and focus on my strategies for satisfaction. I may not have as many choices but I still have some. This is self acceptance. So I lived in hospital dodging narcissists (they are everywhere) and spent each morning in the coffee shop, writing with my left hand on a tablet, doing REBT  self help forms and creating a blog which became my book. After I read The Myth of Self Esteem in 2007 I wrote a poem:

A Real Treasure

There is only one of me.

I am a unique individual, one of a kind.

Therefore I have value,

Whether I am young

Or old

Fat or thin

Tall or short

I accept myself as a unique work of art

Vastly interesting

Fascinating

Endlessly changing

Person

Of limitless possibilities (I think of Steven Hawking, wheelchair bound, immobile, scientist, professor, husband and father if I happen to contemplate my `inability’ to create satisfaction in my life)

Because:

I am always in this process of change

Therefore:

I cannot be a finished perfect ’Anything’ (Insert label here [if you must])

This imperfection (by definition) has no bearing whatsoever

On my `value’ or `worth’

I have value or worth because I am a unique one of a kind piece of very fine constantly evolving art that has perhaps not existed before and perhaps may not again

And in my mind, so are you.

So I take pleasure in you, simply because I want it,

A real Treasure.

Blackstock ‘07

Well, it’s been a year out of hospital. I met a woman yesterday, a lifetime adventurer, trail runner, olympic class rower, ocean kayaker. It’s been like that, how will I challenge myself today? First it was getting out of bed and getting to the toilet. Then doing that unaided. The more you attempt, fail, and attempt again the more you can do. I love to challenge myself. The other way of looking at fear (terror on a bad day) is excitement. Recovery days are cool, I love to hang out and read. This is based largely on the philosophy of Epictetus around 2,000 years ago: “Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them.”
I rented a special needs car for today, left foot accelerator and left hand spinner on the wheel, -30 snowing and I’m going to the mountains, me and my camera, to see if I can.
12 months ago the neurologist fired me, explained the freaky injury in my brain with a shrug; it’s life dude. These people don’t do guilt obligation and fear, these are not new age leeches after all. His nurse had asked me questions about what I can do, took measurements of range of motion, and pronounced that I had what they call a slight handicap. What? I can’t use my right arm and hand and can barely walk, I was sort of outraged. She said in our world that’s slight. Oh. I thought of colleagues in hospital who will never eat again, or speak, or remember. The movie Groundhog Day is based on a stroke event in a way, people asking me the same question every day, forgetting the answers of yesterday.
It’s all in how we look at things…
The mountains are my symbol of excitement in the attempt, the accomplishment is the journey, whether from the bed to the toilet, or the house to the mountain top, this is my strategy for satisfaction today. I have learned to rate that, and leave myself unrated. Self esteem is the worst disease known to mankind. This is the real recovery, the body takes care of itself.

Cloud Gazing

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“The I Ching (Classic of Changes or Book of Changes), also known as the Yi Jing, Yijing, or I Ging, is one of the Five Classics, the fundamental books of Confucianism. It is over 3000 years old (the symbols used in divination are over 5000 years old), making it both one of the oldest surviving books in the world, and one of the oldest forms of divination. It is by far the most popular spiritual resource and oracle in Asia, and has a growing following in Europe and the Americas based on its uncanny ability to provide detailed insights to those who study it carefully.”  http://www.facade.com/iching/

“The I Ching or Book of Changes is an ancient Chinese text used as an oracle to find out the answers to troubling questions such as “what does the future hold for me?” The book consists of 64 hexagrams, which is the number of possible combinations of pairs of three broken or unbroken lines (trigrams).* The lines represent the two primal cosmic principles in the universe, yin (the broken lines) and yang (the unbroken lines). The trigrams represent heaven, earth, thunder, water, mountain, wind, fire, and lake.

The meanings of the hexagrams were divined many years ago by Chinese philosopher-priests in tune with the tao (Chinese for path or way). They consist of such bits of fortune cookie wisdom as: “If you are sincere, you have light and success. Perseverance brings good fortune” Or, “the superior man discriminates between high and low.”

One may consult the I Ching by flipping numbered coins and adding up the numbers to determine the hexagram. Another method involves dividing up bundles of yarrow stalks.

Carl Jung saw the I Ching as exemplifying what he called synchronicity. Others might see it as exemplifying our ability to create significance from ambiguous data with vague and ambiguous language”.  http://skepdic.com/iching.html

Much as the art world marketers seek to create significance with vague and ambiguous language about visual data. AKA cloud gazing in one form or another.