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June 2008

Dishwasher, the book

Dishwasher Pete Dishwasher: One Man's Quest To Wash Dishes In All 50 States, by Pete Jordon is a fun and quick read. The delight in this book is the author's self - denigrating no holds barred pursuit of being the biggest and best slacker in the country. He operationalizes this chosen life style  of slacker by glorying in washing dishes. He considers himself the "dish master".

Upon survey, dishwashing was rated the 735th least desirable and lowliest of all occupations in the United States out of 740, and yet Pete loves it and sings its praises.  He gets free food from what he calls "the bus tub buffet". He sleeps in between rushes. He quits on a moments notice and finds jobs from signs posted in windows.

This would be a good beach book this summer. Pete is just folksy enough to be likable, but nobody you would want your daughter to marry.

Cutting - the heart has a rationale all its own

Cutting "It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not place there by logic in the first place."

Gordon Livingston, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, p.13

Yesterday, in two different sessions, clients asked me why people do self injurious things like cutting and wanting to be abused by people they provoke.

In Freudian psychology there is the idea of the internalized object which means that a person incorporates the expectations, desires, and treatment by others into one's own sense of self. A 4 year old child offered a cookie who says, "Mommy says I can't have one until after I eat my dinner." has incorporated the maternal object and is guiding his own behavior in compliance with maternal expectations to maintain her approval and avoid her disapproval. Similarly, a child who scolds himself after spilling his milk saying to himself, "Bad boy! You're such a slob! You're a clumsy brat!" has internalized  the bad maternal and/or paternal object.

As adults these tapes continue to run in our heads. We not only treat ourselves the way we were treated but we also tend to treat others the same way. As paradoxical as it sounds, abused children, as adults want and expect abuse. Without it, they get anxious. It is like going through life waiting for the other shoe to drop. Until we get what we expect we are uneasy. Most of this process is unconscious.

When we becomes consciously aware of these tapes, of these internalized objects, we can then choose whether we want to continue to act according to them or change them. To change them takes repeated effort over time. It is a challenge.

To cut oneself to obtain psychological relief seems totally nonsensical until you understand that somewhere along the road, the person learned that they are a bad person who deserves to be punished, to suffer, to experience pain, "because that's what you deserve!"

Exorcising these psychological demons is not so much a rational process although reason helps, but rather it is more a psychological process. Like ducklings following its mother after birth, we are impinted, and reconfiguring the neuropathways of the old imprint takes repeated effort over a period of time, resisting the old behaviors and developing new, more constructive and functional ones. Practice makes perfect.

As Tom Robbins, the author wrote one time, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."

You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have a high quality life. To create a better life for yourself is a challenging project but one well worth pursuing.

Quote of the day

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

Pat Robertson

Scott McClellan, former Press Secretary to Bush, finally confesses and tells the truth.

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan is a huge disgrace for shilling for the President and the Bush administration. He will now make millions off his book saying that the Bush administration was spewing propaganda rather than being straight with the American people. This is nothing new, but it does validate those who have been saying this for some time. Talking Points Memo TV gives highlights of many of Scott's press conferences. It is this kind of mystification that makes Americans crazy. The video lasts 9:30 and is worth watching if you are interested in this kind of stuff.

Army suicides at all time high


Marine Jeffrey Lucey killed himself in June 2004 after serving in Iraq.

Today, May 29,2008, Pauline Jelinek at the Associated Press reported that Army suicides are at an all time high. Here is part of what she wrote:

The number of Army suicides increased again last year, amid the most violent year yet in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Two defense officials said Thursday that 108 troops committed suicide in 2007, six more than the previous year. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the full report on the deaths wasn't being released until later Thursday.

About a quarter of the deaths occurred in Iraq.

The overall toll was the highest in many years, and it was unclear when, if ever, it was previously that high. Immediately available Army records go back only to 1990 and the figure then was lower — at 102 — for that year as well as 1991.

The 108 confirmed deaths in 2007 among active duty soldier and National Guard and Reserve troops that had been activated was lower than previously feared. Preliminary figures released in January showed as many as 121 troops may have killed themselves, but a number of the deaths were still being investigated then and have since been determined to have resulted from other causes, the officials said.

Suicides have been rising almost steadily during the five-year-old war in Iraq and nearly seven-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The 108 deaths last year followed 102 in 2006, 85 in 2005 and 67 in 2004.

Army suicides reported up again — at 108 - Yahoo! News

Love can be hurtful and a screwed up thing.

Hurtful love "It isn't until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems - the ones that make you truly who you are - that you're ready to find a life long mate. Only then do you finally know what you're looking for. You're looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person - someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, 'This is the problem I want to have.'"

Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions, p.39

I learn more from my clients than they learn from me.

It took me years to learn from a client that one of the biggest tragedies in life, and we never talk about it in our culture, is to fall in love with someone who isn't any good for us. And it happens all the time. Andrew Boyd is one of the few people I have ever read or heard, write or talk about this.

I have witnessed people on their third alcoholic marriage who, after the first, swore to God they would never marry another alcoholic. I have witnessed people get out of one abusive relationship and within a year get into another one just as abusive, if not worse.

I muse: What does it take for people to learn?

As Andrew Boyd says, you have to get your own stuff straigtened out first. Until we get our own stuff straightened out, we are bent, we are crooked, and we are looking for someone who will complement our deficits, our weaknesses, our blind spots. And in an uncanny way, like gears in a transmission or the cogs in a clock, life grants us our wish.

As Tina Turner sang, "What's love got to do with it. It's just a second hand emotion."

As Andrew Boyd says, "I find that special person for me who is wrong in just the right way."

So, when I do pre-marital counseling, I am looking for some special awareness in the partners in the couple. I ask them three questions:

  1. How is your partner going to hurt you when they get angry, resentful, bored?
  2. How are you going to handle it when they do?
  3. How is your partner going to handle his/her guilt when they realize that they have hurt the most the one they claim to love the most?

We all have a shadow side, a dark side. So many people say to me, "If I knew then, what I know now, I wouldn't have done it." And I wonder to myself and sometimes ask, "Why didn't you know?"

Love can be a hurtful and screwed up thing. It takes two to tango. The heart often has a reasoning all it's own. As Socrates said, "Know thyself."

Loving someone is not a good reason to marry someone. People do it all the time and in 50% of the situations, it doesn't work out. There is much more to marriage than love. Love is the icing on the cake, but not the cake. Marriage is about committment, not love. When love comes to marriage, it is a decision not a feeling.

Before you get married, choose wisely. Otherwise, just hang out, get to know each other, and help each other come to understand and exorcise your demons.