Archive for September, 2010

Personality Maps

Posted: September 18, 2010 in Basic Concepts

     This concept of “personality maps” is my own as far as I know.  Of course, I spent quite a bit of time “reinventing the wheel” in reference to anxiety before somebody said, “oh that is exactly what Freud said.” So maybe this is something that I haven’t read. It is a collection of ideas that I have gathered from all of my reading. By “personality map”, I don’t mean the “what type of person are you?” flow chart.  I mean the each and every decisions you make can be traced back to birth.  The influence of both nurture and nature play their role on what leads you to those self imposed rules that become your personality.  Most often these influences occur in very indirect and or subtle ways. 
   If you could actually “See” your personality, it WOULD look something like a flow chart.  The decision to do what you do, say what you say, and do them in your own special way are all the result of expanding this flow chart.  There is a long way between crying to get food, and getting up in the morning and going to work in order to get food.  But it is a learning process.  After awhile you learn to mouth basic words.  Then your vocabulary developed and you learn to ask more precisely for what you want.  No longer are the parents trying to figure out if you need changed, are cold, or are hungry.  BUT, of course our world around us isn’t stagnant either.  Our parents have varying moods, behaviors, and reactions.  As we grow demands to fend for ourselves are slowly increased. By the age of 1 we are no longer allowed to just cry for our food.  By 10, you are expected to at least get it yourself out of the fridge.
      So, for example,  say it is your personality to be quick tempered.  You weren’t born with this destiny.  Maybe you were a “colicky baby”. That turned into frustrated parents. However, a baby doesn’t understand the words and emotions their parents are feeling.  They just understand getting their needs met. But as the baby watches their parents answer their needs with this look of frustration in their faces, they attach that look to getting attention.  As they grown they learn that they need to get that look to get the response they feel they need.  Of course parents get used to the level of reaction and the baby now a child learns more intense ways to get the response.  This spiral of action/ reaction occurs until the behavior becomes so natural, that it is a “personality trait”.
   As evidence that this is the case, I offer shows like “Super Nanny” where children’s behavior is changed.  It is changed not only by a new way of “punishing” the children, but in the way the parents react to the children.   They stop getting the response they expect.  This cause an “insecurity” that forces them to try something else. So children stop hittting each other or throwing things, because it doesn’t work to fulfill their need.

  As we get older, changing those behaviors become harder and harder.  As a new born crying to get what we need has worked 100% of the time the first time we do it.  If that baby gets beyond that early, well it can be a huge impact.  Of course a new born hasn’t much in its repertoire, so it will most likely key trying the crying gig.  But as a child get to be 1, 2, or 3 the “formative years” happen.  Children of that age have a large pallet of emotions and expression to test out.  This leads to confirming or rejecting behaviors.  On this pallet is mimicking their care givers on the nurture side, and natural expressions driven by chemical and number of receptors on the nature side.  All of this behavior is to ensure the person gets food, sheltered, and clothed.  The goal of any system is efficiency of understanding.  Effiiciency means “gained with least effort”, “path of least resistence”, or “eating the lowest hagning fruit to first”. “Understanding” meaning, to do without further thought.  Think subconscious. 

  So, how a person goes from being a helpless new born baby to the CEO of a rising company is a series of choices and results.  That same child could have become a serial killer or career soldier with just nuances in the environment that surrounded him. Just as something as seemingly innocent as a pushing a fairytale about Santa Clause to a young impressionable mind can lead in some people to traits like lying, untrusting, or clinging to irrational beliefs.  Interpretation is based on a repeated history. But that will wait for a different post for sure.

    So i guess the homework for the reader is to think about your fears, or personality traits that are obvious.  What in your past could have happened to encourage that behavior.  Were you droped as a kid? now maybe yoiu are affraid of heights? Did you recieve anxiety that one of your parents had.  Again, for future expressions.

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We are all born.  Upon this event we know 3 simple facts.  We just left a place where we were nourished (food), protected from harm (sheltered), and were personally warm (clothing).  From the moment we are struck to breath, we are on a quest to return to that status we left just prior to birth.  Everything we do from that point is a learning process. We cry, people swoop in and wrap us with a blanket, hold us in their arms, and shortly there after feed us.  So our very first lesson is that if we cry, we get our needs attended to.  (Many of us never move much beyond this reaction.)  From there the lessons get more and more complicated.

Every single action, (conscious or unconscious, voluntary or involuntary) addresses at least one of these needs if you trace back thought your decision map. Ironically the one we are least consciously aware of is the one that seems to have the most profound affect on our behavior.  That is “protection from harm”.   Nobody sees how sitting on the couch watching football as stemming from that “protection” need.  But as Dr. Brizendine explains in her books, getting attention from our caregivers is key to our feeling secure.  This dates back to our less evolved family members who needed strength of numbers to increase the chance of survival.  (While the reasons have changed, the need for popularity hasn’t changed much.)  If one of your primary caregivers is watching TV on the couch every Sunday, then getting that persons attention may have come in the form of enjoying the game with them.  They may have even encouraged you to do it, giving you reassurance for participating and mimicking their own behavior.   Depending on the time, environment, age, or mental state of the child, this could have happened as little as only few times or even once to associate “watching football” with being secure.

My father always brewed wine.  My ex said to me, “you are just like your father.”  I tongue in cheek said, “No way, he made wine, I brew beer.  That is completely different.”

I want to deal with “security” (shelter) in much more detail now. I will probably address it over the the course of many posts on various issues.   But it really ties the other two together.  People don’t watch sports, participate in hobbies, or go shopping because they are hungry.  But, they do eat beyond their needs to feel secure.

Happiness is fulfillment of all three of these needs.  If one doesn’t have a need met they feel anxious.

So, it seems to me that in this instance, I disagree with Freud. (Although this is out of context.) I think we all suffer from “vaginal envy” or more accurately womb envy. We are all trying to recreate that general feeling we felt before we ever knew there was any other way TO feel.

“Women! What can you say? Who made ’em? God must have been a fuckin’ genius. The hair… They say the hair is everything, you know. Have you ever buried your nose in a mountain of curls… just wanted to go to sleep forever? Or lips… and when they touched, yours were like… that first swallow of wine… after you just crossed the desert. Tits. Hoo-ah! Big ones, little ones, nipples staring right out at ya, like secret searchlights. Mmm. Legs. I don’t care if they’re Greek columns… or secondhand Steinways. What’s between ’em… passport to heaven.” (Al Pacino- “Scent Of A Woman”)

Introduction to The Human System

Posted: September 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

    So many of our problems that we face today are the result of a multiple factors we try to categorize and rationalize down to a single misunderstanding. Noting exist in a vacuum.  Every political issue has social ramifications. Ever social solution has individual, complex, and often very different outcomes. Every individual contributes to one side or the other of the grand political issues.  Often times I hear somebody argue a favor for one side without realizing they are contributing very directly with their actions to supporting the opposing argument.

  In the past on “Logic and politics” I have tried to pick these issues apart from the grand social, cultural, and political scale down to the individual.  Often times with people only getting lost in the argument because it was too big to wrap their heads around. Often ending with my opposition saying, “I don’t know how to explain or why you are wrong, I just know that you are.”

  The events of the last year have had me forced to switch my focus from “saving the world” to “saving myself”.  It was a radical change that didn’t come easy.  It forced me to wrap my thoughts around “what makes us who we are?” “Why are there ideologies that are 180 degrees opposed?” “Why under the exact same criteria do I make a certain decision and the next guy make a completely different one?”  “What defines an idea as being rational?”  “What makes us who we are?”

   If we can grasp these questions we can start to grasp why some of the most perplexing issues that face out race exist and keep us from a near state of heaven on Earth. To understand, we can’t just look at the whole system and just know.  I felt the need to understand the pieces parts that make up the pieces parts.  So here it is, “The Human System”. A blog and hopefully a book about how each of us are created and then fit into the parts of the social system that we belong to, and how those fit into the grand human race. Of course, it wouldn’t be work worth doing if the system ran flawlessly.  So the point is to identify the blatantly dysfunctional or incompatible parts of us and figure out why.  Sometimes in light of obvious dysfunction we still continue. 

   I am a system designer by education, trade, and really birth.  I was the little kid that never stopped asking why.  In my mid life, I found myself waking up in a world completely different from the one I fell asleep to. I saw a single person transform basically over night. None of the answers other so called professional gave me as to “why” were satisfactory or complete.  So I turned my system troubleshooting skills towards the fields of psychology and neurology. I have read endless volumes of data, research papers, and text books. I have participated in endless debates and discussions with doctors and patients alike.  Three books have been crucial to the conclusions I have reached to date. Two from the same Author, Louann Brizendine, MD “The Female Brain” and “The Male Brain”.  And the book, “I hate you. Don’t leave me: Understanding the Borderline Personality”.  These 3 books can easily attainable and can be understood by almost anybody.  I have also become a fan and believer of Freud and Pavlov.  I am not a mental health professional by any stretch of the word.  It is a situation I hope to rectify. But for now I am a system designer.  And I am here to reverse engineer that which god and/ or science created. (I hold no religious preference here.  I could make a case for either perspective.)  So without further ado, I give you THE HUMAN SYSTEM.