Lawyers Hate Me

Rembrandt, The Prodigal Son in the Tavern, a self-portrait with Saskia, c. 1635, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Never mess up a good memory with the facts. My lawyer wrote a book. I have lifetime training and practice in speed reading, and I read the story of his life in 15 minutes in his waiting room. Less really. There was no imagination, just an accounting. It was like reading a spreadsheet.
He offered me a free copy and when I said no thanks I’ve already read it, he didn’t believe me. I said I prefer creative descriptive writing, that takes hours to savor and enjoy and re-read just for the pleasure of the words. I could look at Rembrandts feathers all day long… Steinbeck could take 3 pages to describe a drop of dew on a leaf…and I could read your entire life in less than 15 minutes. There is nothing to hold the eye or capture the imagination. You are a very interesting guy, I said, you should learn how to write.
Lawyers hate me. QC’s despise me.
My wife went law school, I went to art school.
The sex was dry and mundane, worse than the nurse but not as bad as the engineer. 50 shades of blah. I liked the part where you moved, then smiled and kissed me back; we laughed with joy, in my imagination.
I was more in love with Rembrandt’s wife than my own.
At least the divorce was free.


I met you at Deb’s and Maddi’s. Early 80’s. I was fresh out of a narcissist du jour, Betty, who had dumped me, a serial dumper, a psych nurse, for an abusive angry engineer. She wanted to marry her father and finally gain his approval, and live happily ever after.
Being in such pain and vulnerable, when you bombed me with love, I was smitten. I couldn’t believe one as beautiful and talented as you could love me, sleep with me. Instantly. The fairy princess.
I didn’t know that it was all an act of your needing approval, any approval, in a storm of self hate and then hating the ring bearer of your addiction.
Convinced, I thought you liked me, I mean I believed you, a passable actress, but it was a script learned well to gain only applause…the usual temporary transient sordid solution; the love junkies delema.
Good until the next fix. Serial installments in a storm of instant love.
Overvalue, undervalue, dump, rinse, repeat.
Any poet in a storm, baby.

Dog Town

I live in a very conservative, orderly, and authoritarian city. I make art about it, and have studied it all my life. The residents are typical fascists, who like dogs because they are predictable, obey commands and are orderly, friendly and are ‘good for something’.
Friendly fascists who are stone cold killers, who start wars, they like wars, and the orderly authoritarian military in charge. In other words they suffer from a deep anxiety, as all bullies do and the cognitive distortion, “others must do the right thing or they deserve to be punished” like the dogs mentioned previously. More consequences of that notion here:
I paint the world around me that has been stripped of life and colour by folks like this and notions they suffer from, and impose on others.

Old Dogs

Learning is a skill that improves with practice, like any skill. Older people have more chops, potentially, if there has been a lifelong interest in lifelong learning. I went to art school at 40 and watched 20 year olds drop out, I never did homework. I learned how to learn hanging in the library as a street kid, avoiding beatings. Took a speed reading course too, when I was a kid, there are several free ones on the net. Tutored kids at art school on writing papers, still do. An old dog/new tricks is a self defeating cognitive distortion (lie) that stands in for poor low frustration tolerance. Usually that means older people have untreated depression. But it is the same depression symptom at any age. I’m often frustrated with my limitations of stroke recovery, I just learn (there is that word again) to tolerate the frustration. With that learned skill I tolerated the frustration of learning MySql and Xampp to host my own servers and websites only to discover that the reason people find tech challenging to learn is because it is poorly written and engineered by people who submit low quality work in order to get paid faster, much like the framer of a house that doesn’t square his walls, saying fuck it let the drywaller fix it….welcome to the gig economy…don’t even get me started about how that plays out in medicine…not getting treatment in a busy hospital, fuck it let the community therapists fix it, only to find they are understaffed underfunded in community, so I go to gym and ask what is that machine for? how do I use it? I have things to do, I can’t afford to wait around for people to care for me, they have their own problems to fix…

I Sleep With Monsters

Recently I have met two women who have criticized my writing for being too hard on narcissists.
It’s true I don’t find the humanity in me rising up.
When I mentioned that I had one visit from narcissistic family to my hospital room, in 6 months, including Christmas, where I am the kind of guy that would go every night, I mean I have, the woman I spoke to couldn’t seem to feel what I felt.
I was doing something wrong by expressing this she thought.
I wasn’t being nice.
Wait till she hears about being prey for the monsters without empathy that lurk on dating sites…

Back to The Dating Site

Hi Elizabeth,
Thanks for the courtesy of a reply. Of course people recovering from a traumatic life changing event tend to be irritable, that’s called frustration actually. I chose to document it.  I would never take it out on someone, that’s called abuse. I mean that’s what it is.

It’s also emotional honesty, I have a right to express my emotions, you have right to know what they are, or in this case, were.

My writing on my blog is a form of using REBT therapy to really get to the rational: why me, well why not me, where is it written I can’t deal with a pain in the ass. What good can I make of this?
Well one good thing was to write a book, writing every morning with my left hand for 6 months while living in a hospital, suddenly homeless, I mean you just wake up one day and you have lost your home, and your cat, and your car, and you are living in a wheelchair. And your dominant arm and hand are flaccid. The process of getting all that back was a tad frustrating. Learning to shave with the left hand was dangerous. Don’t even talk about clipping nails.

The government sent my temporary drivers license yesterday I have final testing soon. I’m going back to my first love, driving to the mountains, the forest, the trees, which I had thought lost to me forever.

I met a fellow last week who after 5 years in the wheelchair, finally got the courage to attempt to stand at a urinal. 5 years living in anxiety.

Of course hostility and anxiety go together, hand in hand.

That is what people fear and run away from and attack, someone who has dealt with what they fear most.

“I like your photography…” it isn’t, I’m a painter using digital brushes, real photographers hate my practice of cropping and editing, a standard painting practice.

That’s the overvalue.

“I sense many many aversions and irritability…” I have no idea what you mean, which sense, smell? but your likes and dislikes only describe you, not me or my work, so it’s really an undervaluing of my human experience couched in the language of cult recruiters from the local Ashram or some such.

This of course is followed by the dumping, “we wouldn’t be harmonious”, so therefore I’m not a candidate for harmony which is usually don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel in dysfunctional relations. defines it as ‘a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity’. This sounds extremely fascist and authoritarian to me. Trump would be pleased. Actually harmony is created my soon to be ex friend by frank conversation, and willingness to compromise. Asking for what you want frankly is a relationship deepening exercise, which involves a bit of tension, and is therefore unharmonious.

But since I’ve been overvalued, undervalued, dumped for the crime of not being ‘nice’ and potentially unharmonious, I will take my frank conversation and willingness to compromise to some other stranger whom I will ask for what I want, a self helping exercise. Who knows, they may want more than a dishonest relationship killing ‘nice’.

Yours in sincere and honest disappointment, as well as relief from dodging the bullet.

Dumped by a Coffee Date

REBT Self-Help Form

What is the situation that you are upset about?
     Answer: Christmas, loneliness, dumped by a coffee date

 What are the unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing?
     Answer: anxiety, depression, shame, embarrassment, hurt

 What self-defeating behaviors would you like to change?
     Answer: exercise avoidance, withdrawal, unassertiveness

What demand are you making about the situation?
     Answer: The idea that it is a dire necessity for an adult human being to be loved or approved by virtually every significant other person in their community.
     Dispute: Why do I have to?
     Rational Belief: 
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.

What are you saying to yourself about the situation that indicates low frustration tolerance?
     Answer: I can’t stand being alone
     Dispute: Where is the evidence that I can’t stand it
     Rational Belief: There is no evidence. Besides, I’m not alone, I have me

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

What are your new self-helping behaviors?
     Answer: talking to strangers, asking for what I want, find nicer friends.

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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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.