Passive-Aggressive Behaviors

So, once again, a counseling session reveals more to me than expected.

During my most recent session, we began discussing aversion behaviors, or ways that people act when they REALLY don’t want to do something.   There are two basic ways people deal with aversion:

1.  They just say, “No, I don’t want to do that”.
2.  They say they will do it, and then they don’t.

The first option happens more often when the person being asked feel at least equal if not more so to the person doing the request.  The second option happens more often when the person being asked perceives themselves, (either correctly or incorrectly), as being in a lesser position than the person asking.

mask01

So here’s the thing… if you lack confidence in things that require confrontation, (as I have been), you ALWAYS feel that you are in a lesser position of power, regardless of the usual standing you have with the person asking/confronting you about something, so you get into passive/aggressive posture anytime something happens that can be construed as confrontational.

Let me give an example, (a personal example :( )

My wife Jennifer asks me to take out the garbage. 

Either consciously or sub-consciously, I would rather not do that, and I weight her reaction to me NOT doing and getting my way, against doing it and making her happy. 

If I chose NOT to do it, because I don’t like confrontation, I say, “sure sweetheart, I’ll do it”, and then leave it for “later”, which inevitably never comes.

The classic defense to this passive-aggressive behavior being pointed out is to say, “oh, sorry, I FORGOT”.  The aggressive part is that you are rebelling against what others want you to do/say, but the passive part is pretending you aren’t rebelling, that you have had a moment of amnesia and have suddenly regained the memory of the promise. 

I feel bad now, about all this, when I look back and see how many times I have used the phrase, “I forgot”… possibly in this manner.  I mean, there are times when I truly do forget, but there are definitely times to, BOTH consciously and subconsciously, (if I’m honest with myself), when I “forgot” as an excuse just not to do it.  The end result, usually, was my wife just doing it herself, cutting into our relationship and setting up a more mother/son relationship, (not good for the intimacy, BELIEVE ME).  Anyways, my prayerful and diligent hope now is that I can be more mindful of this passive/aggressive tendency in my daily dealings with the people around me, and to take a more direct approach to confrontation and interaction. 

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

          Ephesians 4:22-25

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Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer… 22 times in a row!

So here is the first blog post regarding my daughter Zoe.

rudolph

Zoe is a typical 4-year-old in that Christmas equals hyperactive excitement and anticipation!  We have been in Christmas-mode for about 2 months now, (around Halloween… don’t blame her though as WalMart has had the Christmas stuff out since about that time as well), and things are starting to escalate now… snow on the ground and Nonni is starting the Christmas cookies…

It is really awesome to have a young one in the house now during Christmas time, I didn’t really understand why my mom use to always say Christmas was fun because her sons were so into it… adults enjoy Christmas, but children just RELISH every moment of it, the anticipation up to and including Christmas Eve, and watching out the window for Santa and his sleigh.

Opening presents is the great too… the ripping paper and the presenticde, the laughter and the all that, Christmas with kids is awesome :)

Anyways, here is the reason for the post and my dilemma: Zoe is starting to get to the point where she is already questioning whether there is really a Santa or not… she asks things like “how does he get down such a small chimney” and “how does he get to all the children in one night”… and I am all about being the traditional parent and saying MAGIC, but I am starting to feel, (possibly needlessly), guilty at technically lying to her… it’s one thing to lie to a person who doesn’t question your answer, but when that person starts kinda calling you out and making you explain, things get a little harder, (just like “real” lying LOL). 

My wife has always been a little “anti-Santa” with our daughter, saying Saint Nicholas was a person who went around giving out gifts and whatnot, so she isn’t in the same conundrum I am… all I can see in my mind is someday my daughter is going to catch on and do the whole, “you lied to me Daddy!” routine and slightly break my heart.  Christmas angst!!!

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Filed under Family and Family Values, Parenting, Television

Stay Surrendered

I just got done reading an email from a very good friend of mine, who is definitely been a great help to me as I have undergone huge transformations both physically and spiritually over the course of the last few months.  He has gotten into a great habit of just emailing me every 2-3 days and dropping huge encouragement onto my life; just giving me a huge boost for the rest of the day.

Today, he said something that, at first, didn’t seem that profound… but the more I pondered upon it, the more I realized that my whole life should be dedicated to this one ideal: strive to “stay surrendered”. 

surrenderMy friend knows I have had to give up alot of the things I use to cling to in my life… things that were either unhealthy, unwise, or just plain sinful.  I had to “surrender” these things, and to “surrender” my entire life to the Creator.  The surrender, (in my humble opinion), was as complete as a surrender could be, and life-altering things have happened now because of it. 

However, the initial surrender was a hard thing to do.  It hurt.  It hurt my pride and ego, my decidedly wrong assumptions about self-reliance and my stubborn mentality.  But as hard as this surrender was, the continual struggles I now go through staying away from these things, while not as hard on a daily basis, is a struggle that nonetheless adds to more than just a casual effort in the long haul. 

I think of the ol’ bandage analogy: the initial surrender was like someone ripping a bandage off quickly… it hurts like crazy for a short period of time and then the pain is over.  The continual effort to “stay surrendered” is like someone taking a bandage off VERY slowly… it might not hurt as much on the short-term, but if it takes and hour to take the bandage off, you are probably in for more pain in the long run then if you had just ripped it off.

I can’t help but think of the post I made on the “slow fade” that can happen when a Christian becomes complacent in the face of the worlds evils.  This slow fade can only happen if the initial, fully unconditional surrender is not followed up by continued surrender… the daily re-evaluation that can only come through a close walk with God.

If I play a word-association in my mind of the word “surrender”, the first word I think of is prisoner of war… as in to surrender to the enemy and allow him/her to dominate your actions.  I think that a human spirit, stained by the Original Fall, bucks against God as it initially comes into contact with Grace… as it says in the gospel of John,

And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.

John 3:19

Isn’t that a funny idea… before we are saved, our spirit may see God as an enemy combatant?  I might be way off saying that… but before we are redeemed, aren’t we of the world?  And if we are of the world… who do we pay tribute to?  The enemy?  Sure, we are under the dominion of Satan, they enemy of God. 

So that is pretty deep and provocative stuff, (or maybe it isn’t… it seems profound to me as I haven’t spent much time until lately pondering ANYTHING related to God), but I think that our own egos, our own feelings of self-reliance, our own spirits, can begin to rebuke and rebel against God if we do not continually work to “stay surrendered” to God, for this surrender is the only true way to find true freedom.

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“Darkness Pulls the Strings…”

So I’m a little behind the times, because as I am typing this, a friend is pointing out this song has been out for awhile now. 

I heard Casting Crowns’ “Slow Fade” for the first time this weekend.  My wife had heard it before and when she heard the opening bars of the song, she cranked up the volume and gave that, “oh, this is a good song” comment, (lol, this is a vital co-pilot behavior, and is pretty universal ).

I am really bad at hearing and understanding the lyrics that are being woven into the music at the time of hearing a song for the first time, especially when I’m driving, so I went home and pulled up the lyrics… they were very penetrating and meaningful.

castingcrowns

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Lyrics made available via. Lyrics Time

 

I feel these words are so haunting to me, because this is how I feel my life had been up until a few months ago, when things just broke and I was forced to look at my life from a MUCH different perspective then before.  And Casting Crowns has it EXACTLY right when they put the focus on the man in a relationship, (“Daddies never crumble in a day”, in case you missed it). 

We had a conversation in a recent bible study about the father’s position in society, and how it has been the case that men have really fallen from the leadership position in both the family and in society as it relates to the relationships that are entrusted to them.

Divorce, pornography, addictions, extra-marriatal affairs, and just general irresponsiblity all tend to develop in small increments… no one (hopefully) plans or wants to be addicted to porn, or have an affair, or run away from their parental responsibilities, but small compromises put fathers on a steep slope downward away from the responsibilities and, ultimately, the kingdom of Heaven.   Sad but true.

Check out the music video at YouTube.

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Filed under Editorial and Reaction, Faith and Religion, Family and Family Values, Music

Not an Addiction? A New Development in the Treatment of VGA/VGD

"Make Love, Not Warcraft - South Park (He-Who-Has-No-Life)

From: "Make Love, Not Warcraft" South Park, (He-Who-Has-No-Life)

A few days ago, I was reading through some of the links I keep on hand to read up on VGA (Video Game Addiction), just skimming around for new info/new possible blog material when I found this news article just posted a few days earlier.

Compulsive gamers ‘not addicts’ BBC News Online – November 25th, 2008

In the article, Mr. Keith Bakker, a familiar face in the landscape of VGA and it’s treatment, has done a variable 180′ on his attitudes towards VGA, stating his clinic in Amsterdam, (the only one in the world that treats specifically VGA), is seeing a trend that has caused Mr. Bakker to rethink VGA in general.  He states:

“Ninety per cent of the young people who seek treatment for compulsive computer gaming are not addicted. “

and

“…the clinic is changing its treatment as it realises that compulsive gaming is a social rather than a psychological problem.”

and finally indicates

For the 90% [of those in treatment] who may spend four hours a day or more playing games such as World of Warcraft, he no longer thinks addiction counselling is the way to treat these people.

“These kids come in showing some kind of symptoms that are similar to other addictions and chemical dependencies,” he says.

“But the more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers – this is a social problem.”

In response the clinic has changed its treatment programme for gamers to focus more on developing activity-based social and communications skills to help them rejoin society.

This doesn’t seem like that much of a change in stance for Mr. Bakker in that a dependency and and addiction are very similar.  However, whereas an addiction is something that has become in many cases a physical and psychological need, and in which there is little choice in the matter of whether to succumb to the addiction or not, the dependency Mr. Bakker refers to in this article seems to focus more on an emotional need and the choice these gamers make to break ties with real-life.

“If I continue to call gaming an addiction it takes away the element of choice these people have,” he says. “It’s a complete shift in my thinking and also a shift in the thinking of my clinic and the way it treats these people.”

The main emotion that seems to fuel this phenomenon is “isolation”, and in an increasingly social and open society, these people find videogames as the intermediary between complete loneliness and the socialization they crave.  They seek out others who also feel “alone” and form a kinship in the “aloneness” together, creating the vastly social networks that define MMORPGs. 

I believe that this only serves to validate the conclusions I came to upon completing my blog series A Conspiracy Theory on the Addictive Qualities of WoW: Part 3 in which I put forth the idea that people who suffer from VGA, or maybe better labeled now as VGD, (Video Game Dependence), CHOOSE to play and CHOOSE to continue to play, even beyond the point that it begins to destroy their lives.  The dependency on how playing makes you feel, (accepted, a part of a bigger group of individuals), plays like an addiction, but without the physical and psychological manifestations.

An interesting article that works to continue to hone our understanding of the VGA/VGD phenomenon.

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Filed under Addicted to Wow, Editorial and Reaction, Gaming and the Internet

The Amazing(ly More) Transparent Man

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This is kinda an ironic post to be putting up here right after Thanksgiving, but funny nonetheless.

Thanksgiving was an interesting time for me… a real crisis of character as I struggled internally with partaking to the fullest extent, (as I use to), and balanced against my newfound interest in portion size control and exercise.  In the end, it was a compromise as I ate a little more than I should have, but probably only 50% of what I use to… so I was fully stuffed but only a LITTLE guilty :)

Since I started this undertaking to regain my health, I have gone from 349lbs down to 285lbs, (64lbs lost!) Which in itself is an awesome accomplishment, (thank you, thank you), but there are alot of intangible benefits I have gained from all this that aren’t as noticible. 

For example, because of my strength training, I feel stronger and have gained muscle mass.  Since I am still losing weight, but gaining strength, I am obviously losing body fat, so that is awesome :)

So I went to the doctor’s office about a week ago; I had decided a few week previous that I would stop ignoring the fact that I was having issue with blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL etc.

I figured I would have SOME kind of improvements, since I had very high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides from my last blood screen from like 3 years ago, and losing 60+ pounds MUST have an effect on these types of numbers.  Here’s what happened:

                               Previous Reading                        New Reading                         Range

Blood Pressure              Unknown                                   128/78                               120/80
Triglycerides                           282                                          116                                  30-190
Cholesterol                               270                                          148                                 120-199
LDL                                                162                                            91                                  65-130

So needless to say, I, (and my doctor for that matter), was astonished at the progress I have made in only FOUR months!  I told him I have been exercising pretty regularly at 4 days a week, probably about 2 hours each time, mixture of cardio, (treadmill, bike) and weight-training.  I have also modified my diet to include the following:

Breakfast – serving of Quick Oats Oatmeal with raisens, water and/or sugar-free juice.

Lunch – either a salad from my work cafe, or a serving of fruit, vegetable, and TUNA :)

Snack – I usually have a snack about an hour before starting a workout, consists of either an apple or a low-fat granola bar.

Supper – sensible, pretty much whatever Jenn and Zoe are having, only 1 portion and cutting out fatty meats, processed foods, pastas and refined grains.

Suppliments – I take a variety of suppliments to bolster my system.  Things such as:
                            – Multi-vitamin
                            – Nutrilite Double X Vitamins
                            – Body Fortress Creatine
                            – Whey Protein
                            – L-Glutamine
                            - LOTS OF WATER

I want to get down to around 225lbs, so I have roughly another 60lbs to go, but this is a great starting point and I feel so encouraged!  Thank you to all who have supported me these last few months, and only more good things are on their way :)

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Filed under Health and Fitness

UGH

dirtydishes

We saw.  We ate.  We slept.

We didn’t post today because we are Turkey-lazy.

Have a great weekend!  Christmas is 27 days away!

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Filed under Weird and Silly