Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cognitive Distortion--The Should Statements

Cognitive distortions as we all know,are faulty perceptions of reality--either lopsided,exaggerated,or totally false.Our perceptions harden into beliefs and govern,not only our behavior but also our emotions.wrong perception of people,events or our own selves can therefore push us in the wrong direction.To a large extent these distortions are responsible for the feelings of unease or discontent which often spoil our moods.

The 'should statements'-commands emanating from inside us,which tell us what we should or shouldn't do-form one such segment.Some of us have very strict codes of conduct for self as well as others.If after a perfectly reasonable act,your mind tells you that you should not have done that,then it is your 'should distortion' on the job.

For example if I rebuff someone who has been annoying me since long and subsequently feel that I should not have done this,then instead of feeling good about having asserted myself and secured myself from future annoyance,I feel guilty.

Take the case of someone who is hard-pressed to meet a deadline but is repeatedly distracted by a thought that he ought to have finished that task earlier.Imagine his stress in such a situation.To an extent the should thoughts remind us of our obligations,but if unjustified or ill-timed,they could become a pain in the neck.

Sometimes these notions also prompt us to pass strictures on others' behavior,thereby courting their ill-will and straining the relationships.

Whichever way we look at it,the shoulds burden us with unnecessary guilt,anger ,frustration, and anxiety.If we repeatedly tell ourselves,'I should have done this','I ought not to have done that', 'I must do this',then we are only gathering dark clouds over our minds.We cannot thrive in such an atmosphere.

It is not difficult to get rid of this tendency.Just identify at the very initial stage, thoughts containing words like should, must,and ought.Contradict them again and again and these checks and controls will vanish into thin air.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

To Be Or Not To Be--A Busybee

I was born with a congenital fault,or default-I don't know which-to keep doing something or the other throughout the day.It is very oxymoronish to hunt for odd jobs to occupy me and then complain of being overburdened with work.No one compels me to do this or that.The compulsion comes from within.How does one categorise this tendency?Is it a blessing or a curse?

Actually I have many reasons to be thankful for it.It keeps me fit and supple.Very little chances of my joints creaking from disuse.I don't feel like a sucker-I am doing my bit to justify my existence on this planet.Keeping busy,indulging in various activities broadens my vision and adds to my bag of skills.

I hate to request anyone to do something for me unless I am unable to do it myself.This comes from a yen for selfreliance,perfection,and also a bit of ego.Looks like I myself have chosen this kind of life--no destiny or default at fault :(.

Happy as  am to potter around my home doing this or that,sometimes I do look wistfully at those who enjoy greater leisure time.I guess their minds must be more at peace than mine,because I become restless if I have nothing to do.

If not a life of leisure what about a thundering career?There was no career to speak of.I could have carved out a distinct identity for myself if only I had stepped outside my comfort zone.But my utter content failed to niggle me to look beyond my home and family.

Did I choose right?What do you think?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Shocking Crime and #Antisocial Personality Disorder

We often read about shocking crimes committed in the heat of the moment,and fail to find a logical explanation for them.It is psychology which then comes up with plausible answers to such questions.This fact was revealed explicitly to me when Jay came over to me for counseling a few years back.

He was a robust 35yrs old young man at that time.He required no prodding to come out with all the details of his life till date.He had studied only up to 8th class and he began to earn at the age of 14yrs.He had been driving a taxi since the last 20yrs.Very matter of factly,he stated that his mother did not care at all for him.The only person who loved him had been his father who had expired six years ago.He had two brothers but they lived separately because he went out of control whenever he was angry.

He had gotten married to Ena 3yrs ago but she left him after one and a half years.He loved her profusely.Now he wanted me to mediate between them.If she did not return he would first kill her and then himself.Two weeks prior to this he had purposely shoved his taxi down into a valley.It turned turtle five times and landed upside down but nobody was hurt.All this,to get Ena back.

He gave me her number and I promised to find out what she wanted.Her mother came on the line when I rang her up.She told me that Jay was addicted to opium and smack and in no way would she send her daughter back.

So I called him and gave him the update.I tried to reason out with him,to show him how he was destroying himself and finding no joy in life too.On top of that he was wrecking his health and there was still time to turn back.

He listened quietly and merely said that yes I was right.I was not surprised that he did not turn up for the next appointment.I rang him up after a few weeks to find out how he was doing.He merely said he was OK and that was the end of the story.

His was a typical case of Antisocial Personality Disorder - impulsiveness,violence,breaking laws,destroying property,scarce concern for others' rights and emotions,manipulation--it was all there.It is possible that his disorder was the result of genes or early life experiences.He deserved sympathetic,supportive treatment.

In such cases the family also has the responsibility of keeping a watchful eye on the sufferer and making sure that s/he does not get into trouble especially if s/he is a minor.

I wonder how he is,and whether or not he has transformed himself;though the chances appear bleak.The prognosis of this condition is not encouraging,however,they may mellow down with age.