I have always been interested in the subject/discipline/pseudo-science of psychology.
I have been through my own dark nights of the soul. I have had various diagnoses for conditions caused by biology, physiology, environment, upbringing, life challenges and issues…most of us have. But in going through all of these, I made a concerted effort to understand myself, the effect that various experiences had on me as an individual, and I explored every possibility and option for healing myself, without allowing myself to entirely fall prey to the victim mentality that I was completely helpless.
I have also known many people who struggled with various psychological issues, and I have endeavored to understand them as well, as someone on the outside, looking in. Frankly, I think that mental and emotional instability is more prevalent in our society than ever before. Part of that, I believe, is the nature of our society–what our society has become in response to technological growth, the nature of being in a “global village,” and all the demands of life that seem more and more urgent and taxing.
I have been asked for advice many times about how to deal with people who are behaving in a certain way that is damaging to themselves, their relationships or to other people. This is because I have made no secret of my experiences in that regard, and I am happy to provide insight whenever asked. I have been on both sides of that coin. While I don’t have all the answers, I do believe I have a few. With that in mind, I want to share a couple of situations that seem to arise the most.
- If you find yourself dealing with someone who is unstable, and you suspect they might have some kind of disorder– whether personality disorder or some other organic brain issue–be aware that you should mention it, but that timing is crucial.
Let’s say you are in a new sexual relationship, and your partner is manifesting some odd psychological symptoms. You want to mention it, talk about it, offer a suggestion that they talk to their doctor about it– whatever the case may be. One caveat is this: don’t EVER bring it up while that person is “Triggering” (manifesting those symptoms and in a negative state of some kind). They will be incapable of processing the information in a healthy way. The best time to bring this up is AFTER you have had sex, and she has had an orgasm.
(for real, I mean it).
The reason is, her positive/euphoric brain chemicals (neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, mostly) will be flooding her brain–dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine–some of them, the same chemicals that are normally unbalanced. She will be much more likely to be receptive to a difficult subject. (If she responds with resistance, saying you are ruining her good moment, or the like, then just know that you probably have no other recourse, as she must meet you halfway in order to make any positive changes. You have then made an effort to do the right thing, and you can walk away with no regrets, or should-haves lingering in your mind).
Also, DON’T have this conversation in BED. Suggest the two of you go into the living room, have a glass of wine, and talk on the sofa.
The reason for this is, you don’t want to create a contradictory or negative association between love/sex and pain/discomfort. Creating this negative association can adversely affect the sense of comfort, safety and pleasure that should reside in the bed.
Also be aware that if this person is unwilling to seek help, there is absolutely NOTHING you can do. Improvement only follows their own ability to be proactive and help themselves.
- Often, the negative behaviors of people are predicated on their own damage. If someone is treating you with disregard, is being abusive, disrupting your stability, being insensitive, passive aggressive or otherwise becoming a toxic element in your life, you have the right and the responsibility to demand better. This usually means walking away from that person, and never looking back. You truly do teach people how to treat you, and if you allow mistreatment, it’s the same as telling them it’s okay to treat you badly.
- If you are dealing with some kind of disorder yourself, then know that no matter what others may tell you–professionals and laymen alike–you DO have the power to turn it around, and create at least a portion of the life you would like to have. Hiding it will never be an effective means of dealing with it. Sooner or later, you will not be able to maintain consistency and the truth will emerge, and is likely to damage anything positive you might have created up to that point.
We are all struggling. We are here to learn and evolve. If at any time we cease to do that, we are merely going through the motions, and not really living at all.
The human mind is a fascinating, and as yet, largely uncharted mechanism. What we do know about it is incredibly inspiring, interesting and helpful. What we don’t know is the promise of a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the Universe and on this particular time-space continuum. Don’t think for a moment that everyone else but you is stable and healthy. We all have our issues. The only difference is in how we choose to deal with them. That’s the distinction that can create a life of pain, strife and conflict, or a life of joy, love and happiness.