Sunday, 11 August 2013

Quote of The Day

“People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as compensation.”
-Soren Kierkenegaard

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Exotic World of the Liar ; The Compulsive versus The Pathological Liar

Everyone has told a lie and everybody will continue to do so in moderation throughout their lives.
In moderation.
For most people,the need to fabricate is not an issue but a mere vocabulatory stumble every now and again to slightly embellish a story, to cover one's back or cover one's tracks.
Once in a while,we have the misfortune of crossing paths with a being whom at first we might admire for having a silver tongue, and rather exciting life experiences. But eventually an inkling of reality dawns on us -this person is a liar.
The odd story of his ex-wife cheating on him thirteen times got everyone to pity him. 'But don't feel bad', he rushed on ,' in the end I got a date with (famous movie star),and we have been happily married for 3 years.' His trail of stories were suspicious, especially after he touted that he is the love child of Jane Mansfield and Frank Sinatra. As a youth he remembered Sinatra arranging him marvelous birthday bashes scattered with baby elephants,exotic carnivorous plants and champagne squirting from the water fountains. Once,as a child he took his ball out to play in the backyard and found a drunk Marilyn Monroe crying on his father's lap. " Oh, I didn't see you there honey," the words escaped from her red painted mouth rather shamefully,he remembered .The former admiration of his captivated audiences turned to ridicule and whispers behind his back. Does this person believe his own lies? Does he snicker behind our backs as we laugh behind his? Or perhaps this person needs to lie and clock in as many outrageous lies in a day to fulfill some perverse compulsion.
If one steps away from being a simple 'audience member' to the liar and begins analyzing the situation, one must conclude that not all liars have the same foundation in terms of pathology. That is, there are different subtypes of liars.

Some who lie do so out of desperate necessity but otherwise would not be considered chronic liars if not for their circumstances. For instance,a drug addict may lie incessantly about his whereabouts and actions to his family and friends,and a pathological gambler may lie to his family about all the bank accounts he has sucked dry. If these individuals were not under the strain of such circumstances, their lying would be reduced into normal proportions  Others are not so lucky;

The Compulsive Liar- When I am not enough,a lie emerges

A compulsive liar fabricates stories big and small. He lies because he cannot face reality in other terms, and his lies act as a lifeboat in which he clings to. With little self esteem he has learned from a young age that lying elevates him in ways he cannot elevate himself and this rather pathetic truth lends him to feeling guilt and shame. Compulsive liars do not wish to hurt others with their fabrications but cannot face the feelings of inferiority or the habitual norm of saying the bleak outright truth. The truth is bent rather compulsively and reaches undeniable proportions when the liar faces life stressors. These liars are otherwise empathic individuals and may function normally in society,despite for their uncontrollable need to lie.

The Pathological Liar- I lie to 'get one over on you'

The pathological liar is not as benign as his Compulsive counterpart. His lies are designed to have an effect on the listener,if not to entertain or impress- then to persuade. Their lies come easily and tailored to the situation,and thus an expert habit is developed and honed from an early childhood age. The pathological liar is so skilled and familiar with lying that he will eerily be uncertain if the lie actually happened or if it is his fabrication.The pathological liar's verbal fantasy might sometimes sound believable , sometimes outrageous and laughable or at times without aim but underneath the lie is the intent to manipulate.Pathological lying is a sign of serious mental illness and personalities tied to the latter are usually those with personality disorders such as Antisocial personality disorder,Psychopathy and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. For these cold and self oriented individuals-namely the first two, stealing, aggression and other harmful acts of violating others is normally coupled with the lying. 

To further put a spotlight on the most ruthless and skilled liar is that of the Psychopathic liar. Here lies the psychology of the prototypical conman. Unable to bond,or develop feelings of compassion ,love,empathy,shame or guilt the psychopath has adequate tools in his arsenal and lying is a mere result in the latter deficits. His interactions with others cannot be sparked by a need to nurture and build an attachment,so they must only aim to garnish as many shallow and hedonistic needs as possible. Thus, the psychopath takes typically through stealing and other illegal acts of crime or/and interpersonal and emotional theft,in which deception and lies are are employed with heartless strategy and skill.

The consequences of lying is the person's loss of credibility and subsequently this destructive habit leads to the liar losing everybody's trust and relationships falling apart.Another consequence is the damaging effects on the feelings of others when faces with evaluating and sorting what was real or false in the relationship with the lying individual. Much research still has to be done on the topic, as psychologists are only beginning to unearth the aspects of compulsive versus pathological lying.

Below is the link to criminal and pathological liar John Schmidt during his stint in jail. He was dubbed Mr. Bullschidt

Quote of The Day

"What you are is God's gift to you,what you do with yourself is your gift to God."
-Danish Proverb

Monday, 8 July 2013

Cognitive Distortions ; When Thinking Becomes Either Black or White

Cognitive distortions are by definition one's distorted perceptions of reality.
To add some pulp and illustration to the vapid definition, one could take into account some examples.
A sex offender who vehemently adhers to the mistaken belief that the act of rape on a woman is justified because 'women love to be treated rough', or some women justifying a spouse's abusive behaviour and rationalizing that he is not fundamentally violent but in need for love and guidance - are all fruits of one or more distortions of reality.


Dichotomous thinking

A common cognitive distortion is Black and White or Dichotomous thinking.It is an extreme all-or-nothing mental conception which some employ when approaching situations , events and other individuals.
A healthy individul with a rightly cultivated state of mind and mature perceptions of reality should be able to integrate all negative and positive aspects of individuals and events.
A coordinated personality with healthy and developed defense mechanisms sees shades of grey. Such is able to positivly oversee threats to his ego ,and is able to form mental compromisations.
Those who adhere to the rigidness of Dichotomous thinking can only relate to or judge circumstances based on primitive and extreme generalizations.
One's husband is not necesarily prepping his wife for an impending divorce if he is working overtime most nights and a minor tiff with a close friend should not be met by total denounciation and cessation of all further apointments ,brunches or diner dates.
Many individuals can fall victim to this cognitive distortion,but when it is applied consistantly and severly in one`s everyday life,it may be pathological and a symptom of a personality disorder.

Dichotomous thinking in relation to Personality Disorders

A personality disorder effects perception and cognition ,impairs judgement, causes interpersonal problems as well as emotional problems to the afflicted and to those who cross paths with them.  There are 3 clusters of disorders related to one`s character and notably 'Cluster B' are those who would make use of interpersonal Dichotomous thinking the most. Those disgnosed by legend of Cluster B are carefully named the 'dramatic-erratic' grouping, as they struggle to relate to others and additionally struggle to keep impulsive behaviours in check.The personality disorders in this cluster are ; Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder,Histrionic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder

It goes without saying that the most infamous personality disorder is Borderline Personality Disorder. The media has turned this illness into one that is both glamourised and demonized by the media and

by cinematography . Due to the Borderline`s impulsive and dramatically destructive nature it is admittedly fitting when displayed in Hollywood projectories.
Not only is Black and White thinking a suggestive consequence of living with a character dysfunction but for Borderline personality disorder specifically it is it a main diagnostic criteria.
Borderlines use interpersonal Dichotomous thinking as a central defense mechanism to regulate self esteem. When a close friend fails to keep an appointment or return a phone call, the afflicted will assume the worst and will not be able to integrate other factors into the circumstance. Fear and over sensitivity to threat are big factors in Dichotomous thinking as the Borderline cannot handle any personal pain and will be prompt when erradicating the source of displeasure. He is unwilling to gamble with such an emotional Russian Roulette and would rather dissociate and recline into the comfort of rejecting the other. The 'offending' other is devalued and seen as `bad` or as a threat , and thus the relationship is ended to ward off dissapointment. Not surprisingly, interpersonal conflicts are another  troubling criteria in the Borderline checklist .

Those who suffer from Narcisstic Personality Disorder are also no stranger to distorted thinking. While inflating their own self image, their notion of emotional survival is based on the precarious view that they are superior and others are menial,ordinary or below them. Narcissists must induldge in actions which promote the belief that they themselves are most worthy,and any evidence that indicates that they are parallel or inferior to others launches them into exagerrated forms of self
shaming and self hate.The adult Narcissist is reminiscent of each one of us as a child, we expected to be cattered to and we were self perceived as the sun in which our parent`s lives orbited. We judged those who slighted us as `monsters`, and those who came to us ladden with gifts,treats and affection as a positive figures-dependable and trustworthy. Our childhood imaginations did not stretch beyond what we did not know and what we did not care to suspect; those we considered monsters might have had a bad day and those who bestowed us with gifts and compliments might have to our better knowledge been sexual perverts. Like the Borderline,the Narcissist`s ego-driven universe would be much more stable,harmonised and realistic if their perceptions and patterns of thinking were less dramatic.

Including the coquettish Histrionic and brash Antisocial personalities,all four disordered subtypes follow a certain pattern of relating to family,friends,lovers and peers. The closer the bond or attachments ,the more intense and pathological the defense mechanism.

Idealization and Devaluation

Idealization and Devaluation is a product of Black and White thinking when applied in the interpersonal sense. The `Cluster B` troup are extreme thinkers as we have established,and when one is lowering their boundries in attempt to bond and trust another,there is too much to lose for an already disordered individual. A method of defense will certainly be inaugerated-even if it is dysfunctional and detrimental in the end,the goal is instant self preservation. For many suffering with personality disorders, planning for the long term and anticipating consequences is simply not part of their mental processing.
When someone is being idealized, the disordered person sees them in an overall positive manner,a savior and someone which to channel their dreams and unrealistic fantasies. Flaws are overlooked at first,which is unrealistic.
Along the way the disordered individual must realise the truth;the person that they have bestowed to a knighthood is failing them. As dissapointment creeps about and reality becomes clear one is forced to see that the intimate is human and perhaps does not have the capacity to fulfill their every dream and ever changing whims.
Instead of accepting the realization and still having the tools to persue the relationship after the `honeymoon phase` wears off, the disordered individual usually responds to this by hurting the other,villainizing the other for distroying his chance at happiness,or walking away from the relationship and repressing or dimishing any ties to the former intimate.

To wrap up;
Black and White thinking causes conflict and impairment in relationships,it is not a flexible mental framework as it is established in early stages of child development.
Thus ,Black and White thinking is characteristic of children,but early childhood events which are traumatic or somehow instigators in altering a child`s state of mind or `christalizing it`may lead to problematic coping mechanisms in adults.

Quote of The Day

"It is only when we no longer compulsively need someone that we can have a real relationship with them."
~  Anthony Storr

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Quote of The Day

"The difference between genius and stupidity is ; genius has its limits"
-Albert Einstein

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Quote of The Day

                "I refuse to tip-toe through life,only to arrive safely at death. "