I think I did pretty well on this latest unscripted video… but afterwards I felt concerned that I hadn’t talked about how awful the advice of “block and never talk about it” actually is. This tactic of dealing with people by simply cutting them out of the picture is a signature tactic of narcissists, and it’s not how normal healthy minded people operate. Normal healthy people talk things out, they discuss, they negotiate, that seek out common ground, and they often find agreement. However, narcissists don’t do this. They shut down all communication and terminate the relationship. This is because narcissists see any form of compromise or negotiation as them losing. “To the victor goes the spoils” as the saying goes, and a narcissist won’t tolerate not getting their own way on their own terms: thus a total end of communication seems desirable to them because they think it prevents their mind from ever being changed again and this inflexibility is somehow “winning” or revealing of personal strength.
The counter point to this perspective is that when you remove yourself from the conversation you don’t empower yourself, in fact, you are putting yourself in the least powerful position possible with no ability to influence the outcome whatsoever. I might have easily concluded that my ex was just a lying cheating whore and told everyone that, simply because she didn’t advocate for herself, and the scant information she provided to me can easily be interpreted in that direction. It wouldn’t even be malicious for me to draw that conclusion from the facts on the ground, and several of my friends have already reached that conclusion about her: she was all fake and lying to me from the start. Personally, I don’t believe this because I think I know her better than that. I’m certain she isn’t a narcissist doing this to be maliciously controlling. But all the same, by not explaining herself, she lost all control over the narrative and now history will be written by someone else and her voice silenced because she didn’t speak up for herself.
Years ago dating red flags used to be all the rage. It seemed as though everyone collectively came to the conclusion that if we all compiled lists of qualities we found undesirable in the opposite sex it would somehow magically make dating a lot easier. Sadly, I think it has done the opposite. I wasn’t going to write a “What I Forgot To Mention” post for this particular video because I think I did a pretty decent job this time. However, an unsettling thought occurred to me just now. What if making lists of red flags was itself a red flag? It fits perfectly with my video about the ultimate red flag, because what could be more entitled than having a list of red flags to look out for in a partner.
I was reading a thread on Reddit today about “I like this guy, but he doesn’t look attractive to me, should I keep dating him or just stop now?” The thread was full of happily married men and women all saying they felt the same way about their spouse in the first few dates after meeting each other, but later when they got to know their partner said they discovered he/she was actually incredibly attractive they just hadn’t noticed it when they didn’t know him/her. Could it be that the people making lists of things they want in a sexual partner, namely “must look attractive” are just declaring their entitlement? Almost certainly that is the case.
This is a bit of a tragic thought to finish on, but take a moment to think about how many beautiful couples never got married because of entitlement. How many children were never born because “I could do better” or “I deserve everything I want”. The perfect is the enemy of good. It’s time this culture of entitlement came to an end. Please help end it by sharing my video anywhere you think it should go and helping to point out to other people the dangers of unrealistic expectations from life and other people.
Continuing on from the rabbit hole I stepped into after reading “The Naked Communist” I’ve made the first of what will probably be several videos about psychological warfare. That is deliberately bad ideas being spread through the media: in newspapers, television programs, advertisement, memes, social media, government outlets, mental health professionals, focus groups, political parties, magazines, and through the education system. These are ideas that would have made our great grandparents’ stomachs churned with revulsion. In this video I shared a couple of a insights into feminism I’ve had since finishing the book.
So what did I forget to mention? Well, at first I thought I had said everything I wanted to say, but as always, while uploading this video I suddenly thought to myself, “what about the other women who have been harmed by feminism?” Mrs. Browder obviously had suffered the consequences of the bad ideas she was putting into women’s heads, most notably her abortion, and she wrote this book to right a wrong in her past. However, there are millions of miserable, lonely, childless, family-less, women who naively followed feminism’s advice and it left their lives in the inevitable Hell it was designed to create. Where are these women? Why are they silent? Are there organisations of “ex-feminists” out there campaigning against feminism to right the wrongs of their past?
After a week long break, I’m back to uploading videos on my YouTube channel. Today’s video is a shorter video, part of my goal of having short form videos that are only about 10 minutes long, and occasionally producing long form videos that are about 30 minutes in length. The reason why I want shorter videos is because I have to compete with a lot of other people on YouTube and so I want my videos to be easier for people to consume so they can get a sample of what my channel is about. Then also have something in longer form for the people who are interested in getting into the depth of things. Because of this shift in formatting I recorded this video no less than five times. The first version was over 20 minutes long and contained a lot of material I didn’t upload, but with each subsequent take I started to omit more, especially when it was getting overly complicated. Often the best videos examine just a single concept in precision. All the material I omitted from this video I decided to shift it into the next couple of videos in order to keep this one focused. I will probably make another video tomorrow with the material I didn’t use today. I’m pretty happy with the finished product, except after uploading it I realised I had forgotten to mention at least one really important point!
I have to confess, it’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be, however, having published nine videos at the time of writing this, I’m starting to feel confident that I can produce regular video content. The hardest part for me was to sit in front of the camera and talk to an empty room. I felt quite silly at first, and worried every time I heard footsteps outside that my audio recording would be ruined. Which, in the first few attempts, it certainly was, and so I had to change my microphone to one that wouldn’t pick up the sounds from outside my apartment. This article is mostly a summary of the trials I’ve had to work my way through in the process of building my vlog channels. Now I’ve got the technique under control I’m going to start posting short articles about the videos I’ve produced with some extra material and notes about them as every time I publish a video I remember a dozen things I wish I had mentioned because I think they’re so important to know: so have a look for those articles on this site over the next few weeks.
Continuing with the series I started a couple of days ago; another aspect of mental health that I believe to be very important is the topic of morality. Now, morality gets almost no mention whatsoever in psychology textbooks and again I’m highly suspicious of this. The suggestion here is that morality is somehow outside the purview of psychology, however, I would argue that morality, or its lack, is actually at the heart of a lot of what we call mental illness. Consider how many times you hear about criminals pleading insanity in court to justify their crimes. Psychologists are often brought in as expert witnesses to give weight to such claims. Yet, why the lack of mainstream academic discussion among psychologists about morality and it’s relationship to mental health?
The first issue is of course defining what morality is. In the simplest sense, morality is about doing the right thing based on a set of rules. There are two major competing schools of thought about what rules count as moral: one that is very popular in academic writing and trendy social circles, and the other which is considered by many to be old fashioned, out of date, and ridiculous. The popular definition is that morality is socially defined, it is a set of rules that have no objective basis to them, they are just adhered to by people because of traditional and political authority. This is subjective morality, while the supposedly out dated version of morality is called objective morality and the argument here is that morals are not mere popular whims, but come from reason and are universal. Continue reading →
One of the infuriating things about cracking open most authorised textbooks on psychology is that they are preoccupied with defining abnormal psychology: narcissism, sociopathy, depression, anxiety, borderline, bi-polar, dissociative personality disorder, and so on. An endless litany of things that could be wrong with someone. Curiously they don’t often, if ever, make positive claims as to what mental health is. What is a mentally healthy person? How does a mentally healthy person behave? The reasons for this are fun to speculate: maybe they don’t know, or maybe the mental health profession is full of narcissistic, autistic, and other abnormal people and so they can’t describe mental health themselves, or maybe human nature is so varied there isn’t truly a healthy condition, just lots of shades of mental grey?
So, I’m going to make sure to write about the few things which I’m confident fall in the category of mentally healthy processes and behaviours. Today, I want to write about trust, and hopefully illustrate why being able to trust is an essential component of overall mental health.
Trust is a complex subject because it isn’t only a philosophical concept, it is actually also a feeling mediated by the neurotransmitter oxytocin. Because of this trust is not a simple concept to nail down, but for this article let’s keep it simple: trustworthiness is the quality of a person/animal/thing to display consistently beneficial behaviours, and therefore “to trust” refers the capacity to bond with a trustworthy person/animal/thing. Johnathon is trustworthy when it comes to turning up to work on time, being non-violent, and moderating his alcohol consumption, but don’t leave money lying about in view because Johnathon is notorious for pinching every unattended penny he lays eyes on. Mary is trustworthy when it comes to money, but is almost never at work on time, and should not be trusted when drinking with young men. Johnathon trusts Mary with his wallet and is not disappointed, but when Mary trusts Johnathon with her purse, she’s a few dollars less wealthy than before. Continue reading →
One of the surest ways to start a conflict with someone is to start talking about politics with them. Taxation, state secrecy, police powers, welfare, immigration, traffic laws, healthcare, voting rights, industry regulations, minimum wage, tariffs, separation of Church and state, etc… these are all wonderful topics that can ruin a friendship in just one night. Yet why do political conversations seem to raise the stakes so high that even good friends can become bitter rivals? What is it about politics that makes it only a safe topic to talk about if two people share exactly the same political views as each other?
Well, I could do a well researched piece into this and talk about the neuroscience, but I’m eager to simply finish my blog entry to watch some TV so instead, I’m going to write about something I remember hearing on the History of England Podcast where the people were arguing with the kings repeatedly over the issue of the laws always changing. This struck me as odd because I’ve always lived in an era when the laws seem to be changing all the time. It never occurred to me that there might have been a time, indeed centuries, where the laws hardly changed at all, and that these state of affairs was seen as the ideal. Continue reading →
It’s a new year, and with all these jokes about having 2020 vision I find myself thinking about how I would benefit from working on my own vision for 2020. Not that I need glasses, well, not yet at least, but I mean working on my mental 2020 vision, or more commonly called empathy. Empathy is a complex set of skills and abilities allowing a person to make accurate guesses about what other people know, don’t know, desire, loathe, and how they’re likely to react to specific news. Generally speaking, people are not bad at empathy, however, considering just how mentally taxing empathy can be, it is commonplace that we get things wrong when attempting to understand how other people think.
One thing I used to get wrong was that I used to assume everyone valued honesty as much I do. It seemed rather ridiculous to me that anyone would lie. Certainly, lie to teachers and bullies if you must, but why on Earth to anyone you work with, want to be friends with, or live with? I mean, it just never made good sense to me. If you want to get along with people, to live and work co-operatively together, then you should just tell the truth to each other. That way you can both plan your days, and indeed even your lives, to be as productive and stress free as possible. But as soon as someone starts lying or withholding information it becomes difficult, nigh impossible to plan even your day, much less your life with other people. With the wrong information, you will inevitably make the wrong decisions no matter how well organised you are.
But was it their failure to be honest or my failure to understand why they preferred to lie? Was I not standing in their proverbial shoes for sufficient mileage to appreciate where they were coming from? Continue reading →
When it comes to the topic of narcissism, you might be surprised to learn that psychologists still hotly debate what narcissism actually is. Some say they have very high self-esteem, others that they have very low self-esteem. Others that they are self-aware and clever, others that they’re cognitively deficient and barely aware of themselves as active participants in their lives at all. Object relations theory suggests something is fundamentally wrong in their perception of objects both internal and external. Some say they don’t have any empathy, others that they have empathy, but they just don’t care. More importantly for a therapist; some say they can be treated successfully, but others that they are completely beyond rehabilitation. Then there are countless others who take up various positions between those ranges, and some additional views that I haven’t even mentioned. The only things that psychologists seem to agree on regarding narcissism is that they’re very difficult people to get along with; they tend to avoid therapy, they’re very easily offended, they are horrible parents, they’re almost never happy, and they’re controlling and destructive.
So when I talk about narcissism it is important that I am clear about what I am talking about, but also I often think with all the debate and disagreement among experts in the field maybe I should use a new term altogether in referring to them. I tend to use the term “tyranni” to refer to narcissists because for me the most distinctive aspect about a narcissist is not their supposed “self-love”, which is hotly debated, but their pervasive desire to dominate and subvert all their relationships: to act as little tyrants so to speak, hence I call them tyranni meaning “the little tyrants”. For this article I will use the term narcissism, but rest assured if I ever write a book about them I will probably call them tyranni instead. Continue reading →