Monthly Archives: December 2009

Social Experiments

Social Experiments

The problem with conducting social experiments is that I am playing two roles. Role A is the Experimenter who, based on need for greater insight into my own behavior patterns, has formulated a plan for testing out a hypothesis. Role B is reacting naturally to external stimuli that I have placed in front of me through a scene setup depicted by Role A.

So once I find a good enough situation (recognition of which is usually a split second “Initiate Experiment Now!” resonating in my head) to conduct my experiment in, then I am still left to pick up the post-experiment pieces. Which is fine because a major part of the experiment is to see if I can replicate a specific type of emotional reactivity which involves everything after the fact.

This experimenting stems from me seeing how well I can get specific reactions out of people. If I am able to successfully stage a reaction, then I am more aware of past situations where maybe it was simply just my behavior that ruled the whole situation. If replication is not possible then I can rule out how tightly connected my behavior is to the external world.

A difficulty is that now the experiment itself becomes part of my past and thus to an observer who is unaware of my conscious experiments, it would seems like a pattern which has yet to be stopped. When in reality, I did it on purpose this time. Which may in itself mean I have just found another way of perpetuating that same emotional reactivity…. but no problem is going to be solved until it is either no longer a problem, or is well understood enough to apply an antidote.

Getting Mad at People

Getting Mad at People

Thinking back, the effect of getting angry at people (aside from family members, we have no choice but to work it out) was a sure fire way of putting the breaks on the relationship (though I didn’t really notice this in the moment, it has a few times been the outcome). In the past I was naturally getting mad at things that annoy me, then getting even more pissed off when told that I don’t have to feel that way about the topic…. then getting even more pissed off at the defense of “If you just change how you think about it then you won’t get mad.” There just came a point where I was just masking my anger for the sake of a smooth ride, but I was still mad, I just was trying not to be. Clear sign of an unhealthy relationship. I should always be free to express myself, what makes me mad is part of what makes me. My personality is respectful of not doing things to other people that (in my shoes) would piss me off… so to get frustrated with me for getting mad and not getting frustrated for going out of my way not to piss you off, doesn’t make any sense, they are two expressions of the same internal value.

An annoying thing about rightfully being angry at people is that for the most part they’re trying to explain why I shouldn’t be mad and what I can do differently to not let this situation bother me. I don’t get mad at people often…..so if I am already mad because of some repetitive behavior on their part…. of course I’m going to be more pissed off when you’re asking me not to be mad so you can continue to do whatever you want that affects me.

Since it is rare that I use outright anger to gain power over the situation, when I do use this tactic, it is because of a major problem, here is the deal: you don’t do it, and I won’t be mad. If you make it a game to piss me off because you know what pisses me off…. that’s when the phone stops ringing.

Misplaced Energy

Misplaced Energy

Some of my nuttiness stems from my belief that if I am not satisfied with what’s going on around me then I must do something about it in order to achieved a more desirable state of being.

The problem with this is that I am not always able to assess the aspects of my situation to realize where I actually do not the have power to change things. So then I keep trying and trying and trying again and end up just being somewhat pushy (or at least thinking that I have overstepped some sort of boundary) until I find something else to focus that energy on. This explains some of the strange things I end up doing or saying in the presence of newer friends (I already have boundaries with the old ones, that’s why I like them). When I have energy for a person, I really can’t handle not knowing where I stand with them and even worse not being in the most desirable positioning relative to them.

So my pushiness is generally in response to me seeing that there is a problem that I think I can solve through different techniques and approaches (letting the energy out as best I can), or…. I cannot solve the problem but don’t realize that the solution is beyond my means.

Aside from pushiness I have really one other approach. Completely backing off and living with the problem in my own head (holding the energy in). The silent time allows me to really think about it and make analogies to the past so I can reassess what is going on as well as get some practical stuff done in the rafters.

The problem with this “in your face, now I’m hiding” behavior is that I completely disregard the fact that some people like having other people around all the time and a sudden absence leaves a huge veil of uncertainty hovering. Me being completely unaware of the veil of uncertainty, jump right back into relationships where I left off, all happy and content because I’ve solved some puzzles of life in my head while I was away. While the person I return to, is more than just a little confused.

Sensing their confusing, I see another problem and thus either push through it or retreat again. I can’t seem to find a middle ground.

How to Know That You Need to Make a Change for Yourself

How to Know That You Need to Make a Change for Yourself

I hate the fact that we can only be in one place at one time. Everyday I am forced to rely on second hand accounts of what happened, which, for the most part is fine, because I wouldn’t always want to have actually been present for most events. But I honestly have issues relying on other peoples accounts of aspects of my life that I was not present for. There are just too many variables which could totally change the perspective of the situation. Other people’s perspectives also change based on their after thoughts of the situation. I try to cycle through as many different views of problematic situations, yet alone I am often unable to think of the right angel to approach many situations.

Paranoia kicks in when I have an idea in my head that requires me to make a decision and I don’t have enough data to make a full-on decision….or I am simply afraid of what another person’s reaction will be to my decision. At this point I am not sure if the data I have in front of me is enough, so I review and review and review trying to see where I can pull more information… with each review I think accuracy diminishes, yet in the moment there is no way to know that. Only later do details become more clear and only after getting another person’s input, which in itself is based on personal bias…. so I am still unsure of how accurate I am in my interpretation of the meaning of things.

I am thinking this is a conditioned response in me from being considered the weak one, or at least, from my perspective, constantly being treated as such. It is difficult dealing with people who will always find fault in something you do, or who think that their way is always better. It is never a smooth ride with them… I have to constantly assess my positioning, which in turn requires the use of suspicion. The use of suspicious thinking enables me to be prepared for as many possible outcomes as possible in hopes that when one outcome that is undesirable to me starts forming I can better prepare myself and/or take steps to guide it to an outcome more in my favor.

Emotionally, all this reacting to mere what-if situations this is draining. The best option when stuck in this situation is to shut out the person causing the stress (especially if they fail after a second chance). Unfortunately, pushing through situations like these are seen as a sign of character and maturity, which when it comes to maintaining a job for long periods of time, is essential. In other words, I can’t quit my job before I have proper experience just because one person I work with micromanages. In my personal life, I have learned, that I can take myself out of situations that cause too much drama and/or excite negative thinking and emotions in myself.

I’m toying with ideas about my way of thinking. There are many thoughts that come to mind not because I made an effort to pull them up, but many that just appear on my mind screen in response to whatever life situation I am in (I’m talking about our natural way of drawing from experience). When I’ve been running around all day being busy…I get tired. It is my body saying, “I need to rest.” So what do I do? Rest. The extent of my resting depends on how tired I am. Therefore the extent to which my mind pushes thoughts out to life situations utilizing pathways such as suspicious thinking, paranoia, anger, etc. is a response to how stressed out I am. I need to take this side effect as a message that I need to make some sort of change for myself to decrease the stress.

I’m practicing mental monitoring (bearing witness to the mind as a yogi would say) and I know from experiencing myself that when times are good and I am healthily trekking along, this stressful type of thought-layer isn’t building in my mind. It is not the thoughts themselves (it is tempting to indulge in the individual thoughts because they are very entertaining, but they will side track you from the bigger picture of how life is affecting you), it is the fact that I am having these types of thoughts in absence of happier ones that tells me I am not where I should be.

What to change and how? Those are now the questions.

A Day in the Life…..

A Day in the Life…..

An employee sends an email to her boss requesting to leave early for the day to get a flawed lens replaced in her new glasses. After 30 minutes the boss has yet to respond and it is now only 45 minutes from the time requested to leave. So the employee sends an Instant message to the boss because she is sure that the boss’s attention will be grabbed and she will get a quick response to her simple, practically trivial, question. No response.

Thinking the boss maybe out of her office, she asks another employee if she has seen the boss. The other employee answers, “yes, she’s there, so she definitely saw your IM.” A wave of dread crashes over the employee. “What problem is she going to find with such a simple question? Or at least she could let me know if she is busy…”

After 10 minutes of wondering, the boss finally messages back… “Can you come in here so we can discuss it?”

Head down, the employee walks into the boss’s office. The boss is sitting there with a fake botox smile, points to the employee’s glasses and says suspiciously, “so, are those the glasses you’ve got there?”

The employee quizzically responds, “yes.”

“You don’t have another pair?” asks the boss, who, unlike usual, hasn’t removed her reading glasses.

“No,” says the confused employee as the boss squints over her own ornate, out-of-style glasses as if trying to see a problem with the employee’s glasses. The employee thinks to herself, “Why would it matter if I have another pair? No matter what, I’d still have to get the lens replaced in this pair before the place closes.”

“Well don’t you think you should call the optometrist first and let them know you are coming?” asks the boss.

“That’s the whole reason I need to go, they called and told me the lens was ready, so I need to get there before they close so they have time to fit it properly,” answered the employee politely.

“Oh, so you have called them,” says the big-eyed boss, now looking through her reading glasses. “I was going to say it would be much more productive if they know you’re coming, so it’s no problem, you can go.”

The employee, confused, heads back to her desk…. “Did she really call me in there to tell me how productive it would be for me to call the optometrist first?”

People Who Base Their Opinion of You on What Their Friends Say

People Who Base Their Opinion of You on What Their Friends Say

Most of my friends, I’d say, have cool friends… who I find fun to hang out with and get to know. But a few times in the past I’ve been stuck having to hang out with someone who I don’t particularly enjoy just so I can hang out with my cool friend. When put in that situation all sorts of thoughts run through my head. this included the thought that maybe my friend has horrible taste in people, then I realize that they have chosen me as a friend, so…. what does that say about me if they have horrible taste in friends? Then I realize that some people are just social whores who have a very basic definition of what a friend actually is and therefore have heaps of acquaintances whom they refer to as friends. Since I normally can’t function coherently in diluted relationships I rule out that explanation as well, because, I wouldn’t be there if I felt the relationship was diluted.

The worst though, is when one of those friend of friends points out things about me that they don’t like. All of a sudden my friend sees me through the prospective of their friend who obviously isn’t compatible with me otherwise I wouldn’t dread hanging out with that person. “yeah, you know what.?.?. You’re right, she is like that” my friend says to their friend. The conversation probably continues on as they build together their agreement about me- which serves as a private bond between them from which they are able to read each other’s silent facial expressions, in my presence, confirming their private conclusions about me.

At that point I realize that my friend whore is either not capable of monitoring their own influences or they are willing to find any reason under the sun to relate to their friend more, even that the expense of me. I have seen it both ways. The end result is usually my distance, which I don’t mind at that point because I will do anything not to have to hang out with that friend of my former friend, what a relief!

Another shitty thing is when a friend can only think I am as cool as his friends say I am. You will see this when you meet new friends whose friends have already heard A LOT about you, and I mean A LOT. Like these people can tell you about yourself for 5 drunken minutes. So there you are on your pedestal, freaked out because you’re only that cool to that one person because he fills a specific friend role for you and you tend to treat that archetypal role much different than people you just met at a party. So inevitably, you get a lectured later on what everyone at the party thought of you and/or what you should work on for next time as if you are socially challenged.

So it was my mistake I shouldn’t have subjected myself to these parties because I didn’t go to the party to hang out with THEM, I was there because YOU invited ME and I like hanging out with YOU. So cut me some slack for passing out early because the friend whores at your parties are boring.