"THE BROKEN WHEEL: THE DANGERS OF DELUSIONAL THINKING"
1:42 am cdt
THE BROKEN WHEEL
(The Threat of Delusional Thinking)
By Reydon Stanford
Delusion: "A false belief that is based upon perception rather than truth."
On April 16, 2007, 23 year
old Seung-Hui Cho, a young man of South Korean decent, took two handguns and killed 32 people and injured many more before
placing one of the guns to his head and ending his own life. What became known worldwide as the "Virginia Tech
Massacre," was now something for families to grieve, law enforcement and other leaders to review and mental health
professionals to try and understand.
But what is being done today to prevent such events from happening all over
again? Gun laws, more security, new policies? I firmly believe that these answers are like chopping the top off
of a weed, in that they do not get to the root of the problem. The root of the problem is delusional thinking and therefore,
it is my opinion that unless we educate society to listen for, look for and provide help to people who are severely delusional,
events like The Virginia Tech Massacre will happen again.
How could a young man such as Cho, a fairly intelligent student at university, commit such acts of violence and do so without
any apparent personal link to his victims? The cold, calculated attacks sent shock waves of fear throughout the world, leaving
civilized societies wondering how something like this could happen. One thing is for sure; these events were being visualized,
perpetrated and carried out in Cho's mind, long before he loaded the weapons and walked off to do cold-blooded murder.
what was going on within the mind of Seung-Hui Cho that caused him to perpetrate such a violent act upon people he didn't
even know? It is a question that has most likely baffled everyone affected by his actions on that chilly day in
April of '07. Since he also died on that day in April of '07 it is impossible to ask him, but much of what he wrote
and said before that day gives us strong clues as to his delusional thinking. One thing is for sure about
the human being; where there is continued delusional thinking, it is almost always followed by delusional-inspired actions.
According to the panel appointed to study this case, many people knew of and were concerned about Cho's behavior for many
years, but still he slipped through the cracks. He had a long history with mental illness, but the knowledge of that
fact was kept quite because of privacy laws, laws that may have even facilitated his final acts.
Although the blame for
the massacre must rest solely upon the actions of Seung-Hui Cho for what happened on that day in April ‘07, I think
it's wise to examine the story more closely and see how his delusional thinking led to delusional actions. Only when
we understand this principle can we hope to help others who might be suffering likewise and might be a danger to themselves
My own opinion
about human behavior is that it is a function of three inter-connected events; Thinking, Emotions and Actions.
When a person's thinking becomes delusional, their emotions begin to empower those thoughts, which will almost always result
in like-minded actions. Remember, delusional thinking is a "belief based upon perception, rather than truth."
Whatever a delusional person believes is true, it is completely true to them, regardless of whether or not it is founded
in actual reality.
give you an example of delusional thinking and how it can adversely affect the emotions and empower our actions.
say that Sally Smith has just found out that her two best friends were invited to a party at the house of a new girl named
Carol. At first, Sally is upset by the fact that she has been left out by Carol. As time moves forward, Sally's
mind begins to expand its theories. "Why did she leave me out and invite my two best friends?" her
mind might ask. "I think she is trying to steal my two best friends...she is purposely trying to replace me
with herself!" As these thoughts are playing out in Sally's mind, her emotions are getting stronger and stronger
and feeling more and more unpleasant. Emotions such as: anger, jealousy and fear begin to increase, making Betty very
uncomfortable. The next time she bumps into Carol, her actions will reveal her thinking as she explodes with an angry
outburst. Secondly, when she is alone with her two best friends, she says horrible things about Carol, because she
has truly convinced herself that Carol is evil and that she (Betty) is trying to protect her friends. Now, what if Sally's
instincts were right? Was Carol trying to steal her two best friends? What if I told you that Sally was not invited
to the party simply because she had not yet met Carol? In reality, Carol simply did not know Sally, and therefore didn't
invite her to the party. In this case, the entire problem was in Sally's disillusioned mind.
As it relates
to Seung-Hui Cho, we find out that he felt very awkward in society and suffered from a major social anxiety disorder called
"Selective Mutism." This mental disorder made communicating with people very awkward for him, so that in most
cases he didn't communicate at all. To others, this behavior would have appeared to come across as egotistical, mean
or even rude. This odd behavior was thus met with suspicion from his peers who mostly chose to simply ignore him or
stay away from him because of the awkwardness. The alienation likely felt by Cho was followed by serious loneliness
and possibly led him to bouts of severe depression and worsened his social disorder. By looking and listening to his
own words, (found mostly after the murders), we see that Cho began to feel like he was a victim of society and that society
was out to get him for his own imperfections. To be ignored by society, by women and by his peers was more than he could
bear any longer and it was not his fault, (in his mind), it was now the fault of "spoiled rich kids," who
were to blame for all of his problems, (even though the students of VT were mostly middle-class income youth who got in based
upon performance, not money). Because of his years of suffering, (in his delusional thinking, his suffering was the
result of mean-spirited people); he was building up to an emotional explosion that would result in an explosion of anger.
It is said that Cho had even become sympathetic to the two killers involved in the Columbine High School shootings.
They had felt like social outcasts and now he did. They had acted violently against their supposed oppressors and now
he would as well. The horrific results are now etched in our minds forever.
What this teaches us is that delusional
thinking, when left unchecked can have tragic results. The old saying: "I'm driving myself crazy,"
would fit this profile perfectly, because it is unchecked thinking that leads to unchecked emotions and finally, unchecked
actions. It reminds us that not everything we think is real.
So how do you help someone who has delusional thinking?
In all honesty, this is a tough proposition because delusional thinking is based upon their beliefs. Beliefs are hard
to change unless you develop a deep trust with the person and then prove to them that their thinking is inaccurate.
It's not enough to just tell someone that their thinking is wrong. You truly have to show them why it is wrong in a
loving and compassionate way. The more they trust you, the more likely it is that you can persuade them to change their
Also, we all have delusional thinking from time to time. An example of my own experience with delusional
thinking can be related in the following story. One time I became very distraught over a friendship that I thought I
had ruined. I had developed a belief that this friend of mine was angry with me because I had been sick and couldn't
fulfill some things I had promised. My mind really ran away with me and I became frightened to encounter this person.
I would not answer phone calls nor answer the doorbell. Finally, when I did encounter the person, I blurted out: "Are
you mad at me, since I couldn't do the things I promised?" My friend looked at me with true compassion and said,
"Why Reydon, I'm not mad at you at all! You're my friend and I care about you because of who you are...not because
of promises." It was then I realized that all my delusional thinking was just that...delusional. I was completely
wrong, but I had allowed my mind to take me into total deception and my emotions and actions followed.
My reason for
writing this article is two-fold. First to help any reader who might find themselves in delusional thinking and want
to feel better through truth. Secondly, it is to encourage all of us to become aware of those around us who might be
struggling with delusional thinking that is causing them great pain. Maybe, just maybe...we will be able to prevent
disaster in someone who has lost control of their own senses and is walking down a road to self-destruction, or the destruction
Copyright by Reydon Stanford 2010
this article can be placed in the ‘Comments' section of this website, or forwarded directly to Reydon through firstname.lastname@example.org)
Letting Go (of Lost Love)
3:33 am cdt
(Of Lost Love)
By Reydon Stanford
"goodbye" is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it is one of the more difficult things we have to do in order
to move on with our own life in healthy ways. Letting go of a long-term relationship after months or years of pouring
your heart, your body, your money and in many cases your freedom into it, can cause us to experience a painful series of unique
emotions and thoughts. These emotions can last anywhere from a few days to years, depending upon how quickly a person
chooses to move on.
A poet or a lyricist might use the term "heart-broken," to describe the excruciating pain
that losing love involves. If you've loved at all, you've probably experienced this painful event. The jukebox
is full of songs whining the ballads of ‘love gone wrong,' where for a quarter you can sooth your pain by indulging
in it. One lyric that comes to mind is from the Brooks and Dunn hit, "Neon Moon," which sadly states:
"No tellin' how many tears, I've sat here and cried, or how many lies that I've lied, tellin' my pour heart, she'll
come back someday..." That lyric accurately describes the emotional pain and confusion surrounding losing
someone we love...not through death, but through a choice of their own free-will to move on in their life, without us.
in the early days of a loving and fruitful relationship we dream of being "together always," and all kinds of eternal
promises are made, we sometimes find out that ‘always and forever' is a long time and people change and promises get
broken. Once in a while, people change to such a degree that they desire to move onto other things in their lives, leaving
someone else behind.
As human beings, we long for love. We long to feel desired, we long to feel valued and we
long to experience the beauty that comes when two people find an intimate connection. Just think back to how good those
first kisses felt with someone you cared deeply about. Think back to the excitement you felt at being chosen, of having
someone pay special attention to ‘just you' and the feeling that you really "mattered" to someone else.
It is the longing of the human heart and it feels unlike anything else.
When we experience this type of love, something
within us feels complete. Having someone love us gives us a sense of purpose for living and a feeling that someone finds
within us something worth exploring and loving. When that is lost...it can feel devastating.
Although some people
recover quickly from a lost love, there are others who just cannot seem to break free of the thoughts, undying hopes, pain,
jealousies, fears, and longing that comes with having to say goodbye to someone who has left us. For some, getting on
with their life is easy and they seem to move forward without a great deal of grief, sense of loss or hopelessness.
To others, however, the pain can be long-lasting and difficult to understand.
One of the reasons that some people get
over ‘lost love' quickly while others struggle is the human temperament; better known as the personality. If you
are a Melancholy or Phlegmatic personality (both introverts), you might find moving on from lost love much more difficult
than what you've witnessed in others. Since our personality is inherited, (yes it's in the DNA), the problem is not
recognized as a ‘character flaw,' or even a person simply being weak, but rather it is science and is a product of the
way introverts think and thus feel, versus the other temperaments.
Since you're reading this article, something stands
out in your heart or mind about losing love, or I will at least assume that is the case. If it's because you are tired
of having all the emotional pain associated with losing someone you love, I hope you'll read on.
Losing those we love
is painful, because our mind receives it as the "end" of something we feel we desperately need and can't bear to
lose. In short, the mind goes into panic mode and our emotions follow with sleepless nights, tears and overwhelming
One of the reasons for this great pain is that our mind and our emotions become so ‘inspired,'
by love that when the person that haa made us feel that way chooses to leave, the pain can be unbearable. It is in these
cases that our minds and our emotions really do begin to run away with us, telling us that we will never feel such great love
or personal value again, which leaves us feeling extremely lost and fearful. All of these emotions can feel overwhelming
and extremely painful, leaving us feeling out of control, at a complete loss, confused and in some cases, praying to die.
dilemma that often adds to this mixture of pain is the religious stigma that often accompanies divorce. Many people
are raised to believe that a failure of their marriage is a recipe for a lifetime of loneliness and that God would never allow
them to move on if they've failed. This is simply not biblical, nor healthy. We cannot make someone stay who desires
to go, regardless of the vows they may have taken, nor does the Bible require anyone to keep a covenant when someone else
has chosen to end that covenant. "If an unbeliever departs, let them depart. A brother or sister is not held
in bondage in such cases." (I Cor. 7:15) That statement couldn't be any more plain.
So how do you move on
when someone has left you and broken your heart? Begin by realizing that all people are human, including the person
who has left you, and that every person as a right to their free will. Making someone stay with you by using guilt,
fear or any other thing is not at all healthy and will end up very badly in the long run. As a Bonnie Raitt
song says well: "I can't make you love me if you don't, and I can't make your heart feel something it won't."
When someone has chosen not to remain with us any longer, giving them their freedom is not only what is right...but it is
the only thing healthy for our own recovery. To live any other way would be to live a lie and there is no peace in such
One of the reasons that we are so fearful to let go of someone that we love is that we are afraid we
will never have anyone make us feel that good again. Science and statistics, however, prove the opposite. The
majority of people, who have lost love, eventually find it again and usually under better circumstances with more long-lasting
If you still tend to think that the loss of someone you love is the result of something lacking in you, think
about this: every major Bible character also lost people they loved dearly. Adam and Eve lost their son Abel, murdered
at the hand of his own brother! Jacob lost, David lost and even Jesus lost people that where very dear to Him,
Judas Iscariot among them. Losing people we love as a choice of their own free will is ancient and happens to everyone.
know it can be very painful when someone you love deeply not only chooses to leave you, but does so to be with someone else.
This kind of event leaves even the strongest people broken-hearted, jealous, and fearful and their self-esteem in the gutter.
That is human nature. However, what is important to remember is that you are a valuable person, not because of the person
who is leaving, but because God created you. Neither your love, nor your value changes simply because someone chooses
not to accept it.
Moving on from the loss of a deep relationship begins when YOU MAKE THE CHOICE TO MOVE ON. Too
often, we place our lives into the hands of others at our own expense. Sitting around praying, hoping, longing and believing
that they will come back to you is not a healthy...nor pleasant place to be, because it leaves all control in their hands.
Any time we, as humans, feel like our well-being is solely within the hands of others, we become emotionally unstable and
feel horrible. The more proactive we become, the healthier we become.
It is alright to grieve the loss of love, but not to the point where we continually lose precious days of our own lives grieving
on and on over someone who has already moved on. Think about it this way: For every day you spend grieving someone who
threw your love away, there is someone longing for someone ‘just like you,' to love them.
Secondly, I'd like to point this out: If you have to manipulate someone to stay with you through tears, suicide threats, and
so forth, your emotions are broken and you need serious counseling to repair them. Chances are they will eventually
leave you anyway and your hopes at even a cordial relationship will be gone for good. "But I just can't live without
them," you might say. That is simply not true, because you have before. I often tell addicts, "you have
not always been addicted, you were clean once." This realization helps them remember that they have been clean
before and can be again. Telling someone that "you can't live without them," is not even a healthy nor fair
amount of pressure to put upon anyone.
Finally, I'd just like to say that relationships are fragile investments to begin with, because they involve a very, very
weak link...human beings. Human beings make a host of mistakes throughout their lives and many of those mistakes involve
relationships. People hurt each other every day...sometimes on purpose, but I'm a dreamer, so I like to think most of
it is unintentional.
someone has hurt you and thrown you away, I want you to know that I truly feel for you. I've been there myself and it's
excruciatingly painful. However, you can move on...yes...YOU CAN MOVE ON, and find love again. Letting go is really
more about moving on than looking back, so determine in your heart and mind to move on. When you do that, your mind
will respond by saying, "Oh...okay! So now we're moving on? Awesome!" When that happens, tomorrow
will look much brighter.
Copyright by Reydon Stanford 2010
If you'd like to correspond with Reydon personally regarding a question or comment to this article, feel free to write at:
"The Passionless Marriage"
1:58 am cdt
THE PASSIONLESS MARRIAGE
NOTE: The following article covers adult topics including sexuality.
As a pastoral counselor for sixteen years, I've worked with my fair share of struggling marriages. Almost without fail,
the subject of intimacy comes to the forefront of issues the couple is struggling with. I can see it on their faces
as soon as the topic is broached...one usually rolls their eyes in disgust while the other seems flushed with frustration
Although it may
seem awkward for couples to be discussing their sex life with a relative stranger, a good counselor is able to turn the discussion
into a scientific look at human needs, behaviors and the emotions attached to intimacy. A good counselor should
also be able to help the couple take a disassociated look at sex...its pleasures and its problems, without appearing condemning
or accusatory. This approach is often a "breath of fresh air," since much of what a couple knows about sexuality
is limited to their own knowledge, supposed moral code or personal experience. This approach also allows the couple
to take an honest look at the issues surrounding their sex life without it feeling so raw and personal. This approach
also helps them to see that their struggles are common and what mental, emotional and physical steps can be taken to restore
a healthy, vibrant and endearing intimacy.
THE MORAL DILEMMA OF SEX
all heard the horror stories of sex. Perversions, addictions, lust, diseases, unexpected or unwanted pregnancies and
the moral dilemma that can haunt a person for years who is considered to have been sexually 'immoral' in their past.
With the knowledge of such stories, (or experiences), seared deep within our minds, it's easy to see why some people think
of sex as an ultimately evil part of human nature and therefore detest the feelings within themselves or others. Add
to this the prospect of years of unbalanced preaching, teaching and warnings on the subject and many become convinced that
their own need for intimacy or the needs of others is wrong and fundamentally sinful...yes, even within marriage. It
is even quite common for individuals with unhealthy or inaccurate views of sex to feel guilty when engaging in intimacy, even
within the covenant of marriage. Those feelings are simply not healthy. Since each one of us is directed by a
moral code written within our minds and hearts, it's easy to see why such a frightening belief system can leave some marriages
scarred and unhealthy.
truth however, is that God, Himself created intimacy through sex, not to mention the powerful hormones that inspire
the need for intimacy and assist in the desire for expressing love through sex. So, if you need someone to blame for
human sexuality...look up.
While many believe that God created sex for the sole purpose of reproduction and reproduction
alone, these same people have a hard time explaining why God allows the sex-drive to continue even after child producing years.
Either God made a mistake in this area, (tongue in cheek), or He deliberately put a huge stumbling block into the paths of
people, neither of which seems to hold any truth. At greater issue is...can misinterpretation of God's will regarding
love and the expression of love through intimacy adversely affect marriage and the answer is emphatically "yes."
that this very real dilemma exists, (the moral basis of sex), and is powerful, reveals that many of the problems associated
with sex are mental issues, not sexual or moral.
Although many positions exist concerning the theology of sex and what is appropriate or not, the main point of this portion
of the article is to reassure couples that their experiences of intimacy are not only empowered by God, (through the creation
of their bodies and hormones), but are necessary for keeping the marriage loving, close, happy and healthy. I often
tell couples: "If there's no love in your home, maybe it's because you're not making any."
THE MIND OF INTIMACY
Many...if not most of the problems associated with intimacy are in the mind. When thinking is flawed, emotions become flawed
and then actions become flawed. If the mind is not functioning properly in this regard there will be issues.
This is where good counseling can really make a difference in helping couples overcome their issues. The most powerful
part of human sexuality is the mind and therefore when problems arise, (physical health issues aside); it is usually due
to unhealthy thinking. Although I'd like to say that discovery of a person's mental ‘hang-ups' regarding intimacy
is as easy as a few answered questions...it is not. In fact, it is far from easy.
Because of the raw and
deeply personal nature of a person's thoughts regarding desire and human longing, I often discuss these matters with a couple
individually, (with their corporate approval). This is not done in order to ‘hide or keep secrets' from the other
spouse, but to allow for an environment that feels a bit more secure and safe. It also allows me to discuss issues that
might be hurtful to the other spouse. In short, it's just good technique.
Problems associated with intimacy are vast and can be complicated, because on the surface they might not seem connected, while
others are more apparent. Issues such as: low self-esteem, experiences with incest, molestation, rape, humiliation,
guilt, fear, self-condemnation and so forth, can leave a person feeling emotionally too unstable to easily engage in frequent
intimacy. However, not dealing with these issues through counseling can still have the same negative effect on a marriage.
With that said, much of the counseling I do with couples concerning this topic will involve helping them rearrange their thinking.
When thinking is corrected, emotions are corrected and then actions are corrected.
The ROLES get in the way. I'm not talking about the added weight many married people put on after the
honeymoon is over, but that many marriages fall victim to placing greater importance upon the role of HUSBAND/WIFE, MOTHER/FATHER,
than the roles that brought them together in the first place. While many people fall into the rut of fulfilling the
roles of family...we often neglect, to the point of death, the roles of MAN AND WOMAN. You've probably heard the saying:
"Whatever it takes to get them, it takes to keep them."
Before we were a husband or wife, or a mother or father, we were simply a man and a woman. The needs of a man and the
needs of a woman are deeply personal and do not go away simply because we signed a marriage license or gave birth. Take
the time to remember back when you first became attracted to your mate, (assuming you ever where). Flirting was so much
fun, it felt good and met a fundamental need in us; the need to be wanted, desired and known. It also fulfilled the
need to be the center of someone's attention...to be a mate.
Although it is great to be honored on Mother's Day or Father's Day, or even on our wedding anniversary...it does not, nor
cannot replace the need to be honored as a simple man or a woman. It is when these needs become so starved that people
become vulnerable to extra-marital affairs, whether sexual in nature or simply in heart and mind. An example of what
I'm talking about here can be seen in two simple statements: "I'm so glad you are my wife," versus "you
are such a beautiful and incredible woman." The first statement is a statement of ownership and role fulfillment.
It is actually selfish in nature. The second is a statement of raw love and desire that does not give a selfish connotation.
Although there is a proper time for both...neither should go unfulfilled.
Interestingly, when couples have embraced this concept and re-energize their intimacy based upon the role of a man and woman,
the other roles vastly improve, because the first and fundamental needs are being met. Great lovers become great spouses
and great parents.
Another serious road-block to intimacy is past hurts. Every relationship is vulnerable to hurt but none more so than
where intimacy is involved. When couples have experienced issues such as neglect, feelings of abandonment (emotional
or physical), constant ridicule or being placed last in a long list of priorities...hurt results, it is human nature.
Left unchanged or unattended, these hurts turn into bitterness and are expressed through anger, frustration and eventual coldness.
In the worst case scenario, bitterness has remained unchecked so long that the healthy emotions needed to continue a serious
relationship fade immensely and sometimes completely end. When this happens, reconciliation is extremely difficult.
In many cases, intimacy dies and the couple becomes nothing more than bitter roommates instead of lovers. Without deep
and serious forgiveness and reconciliation, marriages in this shape are likely doomed.
The obvious key to this dilemma is prevention. It is much easier to repair a house when the damage is minor, versus
when there is nothing left standing. The main reason bitterness becomes established within a relationship is communication
failure. It's amazing that we can sense when our children are upset about something, yet oftentimes we are oblivious
to the serious issues affecting our most intimate relationship. To say we often take our relationships for granted is
Another serious roadblock to intimacy is manipulation. When intimacy becomes something that is given or withheld, (whether
sexual or emotional intimacy), based upon a certain set of circumstances, danger looms. Intimacy; both emotional and
sexual are deep-seeded needs and withholding them allows serious temptations and bitterness to enter into the relationship,
leaving it fragmented. What we must remember is that withholding our emotions or intimacy is a choice, it's within our
are exceptions to every rule), a woman needs a great deal of emotional intimacy to feel loved, fulfilled and desired within
the marriage. In other words, she needs to talk, hear and be listened to in order to feel valuable and fulfilled.
A man, on the other hand, often expresses his intimate needs through sex. Sadly, when emotional intimacy is withheld,
sexual intimacy is likewise withheld and it becomes a vicious cycle of blame, shame and naming names. It becomes a game
of "give me your heart and I'll give you my body," while the other says, "why would I give you my heart, when
you won't give me your body?"
The answer to manipulation is simple: don't do it. Mature adults should be able to successfully communicate their needs
to their spouse. Expressing true feelings goes a long way in helping another person understand your real desires, versus
expecting them to know how you feel. With that said, once true feelings are communicated, it becomes our ‘choice'
as to what we do about them. Allowing intimate needs to go unmet as a conscious choice of our own will, permits the
relationship to fade further until there is nothing left but the lawyers with no one to blame but our self.
At the end of the day, intimacy is a value issue. Is this person worthy of my love? Have I been worthy of his
(her) love? Love begins when two people value each other above everyone and everything else, shy o f God. When
we allow other people, issues, roles, work, play, family or ‘things' to become of greater value to us than our lover,
the value of marriage fades. Although many couples live this way, the empowering dynamic of their relationship has been
reduced greatly and they are usually unhappy.
Human nature is often very selfish, yet an intimate relationship can only thrive in the dual sacrifice of meeting
the others most intimate needs.
So, the question is: "Is there hope?" The frank answer to that question lies within the choices of the man
and woman. Will each one choose to push past the roadblocks of their fractured, intimate relationship and return it
to the high priority it demands? If the answer to that question is "yes," then there is hope. Many people
fail to realize that it is free choice that moved us into an intimate relationship, and free choice that keeps us there.
Sadly, (on most occasions), it is only when the relationship is dead and on the verge of ending for good that one part of
the couple rises up, desperate for help. By then it is often too late because the other part of the couple is too far
removed. There are scientific elements to these behaviors as well, that are coping mechanisms versus character
flaws, so we should not be too quick to judge. For example, feeling abandoned or neglected for long periods
of time causes the mind to deal with this loss by first grieving and then with moving on. Survival is inherent in the
human being. Therefore, some people move on from a neglectful relationship as a result of science...not human weakness.
Copyright by Reydon Stanford 2010
The Pain of Rejection
12:59 am cdt
THE PAIN OF REJECTION
The word "rejection"
actually means to "throw something away." With that in mind, what is the term for something thrown away?
Trash. No wonder rejection is such a painful experience! When someone rejects us, it leaves us feeling like we
are ‘trash' in their eyes; something of no further value and that leaves us feeling extremely hurt. How could
that ‘not' hurt?
Sadly, within our society, there are those who seem as good at throwing people away as they are
at skipping nameless rocks across a pond. Moving from one ‘favorite friend' to another or dumping one love for
another, it's all "part of the game," in the selfish minds of people who have little regard for the feelings or
lives of others. As long as they are happy and excited, any damage done to others is all part of the game.
The inspiration for rejecting someone is selfishness or in some cases, the inability to love any more for whatever reason.
This shows up in the story of Adam and Eve, just after the creation. Eve, for whatever reason, listens to the serpent
assure her that she doesn't need God...she can be "like God," all on her own. All she had to do was throw
God under the bus and take a bite of fruit.
Ever since, some people seem to carry the same mindset as Eve...believing that "what I want," is much more important
than what is good or right. This sets the stage for massive amounts of rejection. In psychological thinking...rejection
is the ‘action,' being rejected is the ‘response.' Being "in control" always feels better than
being "out of control," and being rejected is out of our control.
are close to seven billion people living on the Earth. Why then does it hurt so badly for us to be rejected by
just a few of them within our life-time? Doesn't it make sense that we would just say, "Oh well, I have billions
of others who will love and value me," and go off seeking someone else to fill the void? That's the problem...human
emotions don't always make sense. They are not cut and dried like that. As one person said, "Love does not
play by the proper rules of moral society."
Like all emotionally painful experiences, the level of pain involved in rejection is based upon "who" in our life
is rejecting us. For example: I might feel bummed out by being rejected for a job, but I can get over that pretty
easily. However, if someone very close to me...let's say one of my sons said, "Dad, I no longer want to have anything
to do with you. In my mind, from this day forward you do not exist." That would obviously be devastating
based upon the value I give to that relationship.
On a larger scale, being rejected by society as a whole can be equally painful. When someone is ‘cast out' of
society as a bad person, (whether or not it is true), it can be devastating. This is why such things as true racism,
(regardless of which direction it comes from or is pointed to), rejection because of religious beliefs, social status, financial
status, education, or location, can leave humans feeling...sub-human. No one could explain this pain any more vividly
than the lepers who rotted away in the leper colonies of history, rejected by their families and society. I believe
the story of "The Scarlet Letter," was written to show the de-humanizing effects of those who can't or don't live
up to societies standards, but that is just my opinion.
The main reason rejection hurts is because is it a value issue. When we are rejected we feel like
what we had to offer as a person has been studied, appraised and rejected as invaluable. This, in turn, can
cause us to feel a variety of unpleasant emotions from anger, wrath, revengeful thinking, confusion, sadness and grief.
It can leave us wondering what we did wrong, what we could have done to be better and a host of other unanswerable questions.
It can also cause us to question our own self-worth, and in most cases...leave our self-esteem in tatters. Just ask
the model who is her twenties, is being suddenly overlooked for younger women.
When it comes to intimate relationships, such as marriage, the pain of rejection is magnified and not only painful but also
potentially dangerous. History tells us the horror stories of ex-wives and husbands who have been violently murdered
because a rejected spouse lost control of their emotions through the enormous pain of rejection. Many suicides can also
be attributed to people unable to bear the emotional pain of rejection. This is evident in one suicide note which read:
"It's not that I want to die...it just hurts too much to live."
Often-times, rejection comes as a result of our own actions. Many alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, porn addicts
or mentally ill people have known the depths of despair that comes with being rejected by family members or friends that no
longer have the capacity to bear the embarrassment and pain that comes with the actions and the behaviors these diseases bring.
In these cases the despair can seem even worse, because the rejection is nothing more than a confirmation of what the person
has been feeling about their self for a long period of time. (Obviously, mental illness or brain injury is not usually
a result of a person's own actions).
why we are rejected, the pain is still intense and can be long term. So is there anything a person can do to recover
from the pain of rejection? Thankfully, the answer is yes.
One of the first things we need to understand about rejection is...it happens to everyone. Although that might not seem
like a comforting thought at first, think about it this way: If everyone has been rejected at times during their lives
and KEPT LIVING, you can too!!! Sadly, rejection is a part of the human experience and because you are human, you must
eat of the same bread.
Secondly, rejection teaches
us to be very careful about placing our own value into the hands of other people, so in that respect...rejection is a great
teacher. When we place who we are and what we're worth solely into the hands of those we choose to love, we are taking
a huge risk that they will see how fragile our value is and take very good care of it. This is worse than a dangerous prospect...it
is almost certain to fail at some point. In all honesty...placing our value into the hands of others is more than they
Thirdly, spirituality plays a very important
role in our own self worth. If our self-worth is grounded in the fact that we were created by ‘Someone' whom cared
deeply about us, we can fall back onto that truth and feel comforted. Interestingly, Jesus spent a great deal of time
speaking to His disciples about this topic, trying to provide them comfort. Saying things such as: "I will NEVER
leave you, nor forsake you," and "I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am, you may be also," Jesus
was using psychological words meant to bring comfort and reassure the disciples of their value.
Fourthly, it is important to know that "anything of value we lose, we will grieve over." Technically, the
larger the loss we experience...the longer the grief will take. Grieving is a natural part of the human experience and
believe it or not...is a very honorable part of life. When we are saddened at the loss of someone we love, we are legitimizing
that loss through our grief. Although it might sound brave for a friend or family member to ask you not to cry at their
funeral, your tears are an honor to your love for them. Loss hurts...deeply. When someone rejects your love...that
doesn't make your love cheapened or devalued...it shows they didn't deserve it.
Recognize that who you are and the love you have to give is your greatest gift. If it is rejected it is a loss on the
part of the person doing the rejecting...not you. Recover your love and offer it to someone who will treasure you, honor
you and desire your love.
Copyright by Reydon Stanford 2010
11:15 pm cdt
By Reydon Stanford
An addiction or multiple addictions
are directly connected to psychology in that they are the direct result of personal, human behavior. Although in rare
cases someone may become addicted to a substance that is given them against their will...most addictions are a direct result
of our own behavior and mentality towards the thing(s) we become addicted to. Although society often gets the blame
for ‘creating the addiction-prone environment,' it is hard to place blame upon society alone, for our own choices, where
addiction is concerned. To believe that our current generation has a more difficult time adapting to the hardships of
our lives, than say those travelling across America in covered wagons would be a stretch. I'm not sure that we could
scientifically prove that the current levels of addiction within our society are the result of a greater need for self-medicating
than previous generations.
Although I'm certainly
not trying to sound condemning or accusatory towards those struggling with addiction, I do think it's important to begin
recovery by admitting that the addiction is the result, (except in rare cases), of our own choice to self-medicate, rather
than find healthier ways to adjust to our stress. In most cases addiction was not intentional, but the result is
still the same; intentional or not. Whether or not someone set out to get addicted to something, addicted is still addicted.
reason it is important to embrace our own role, (in our addiction), is that we will use those same personal ‘decision-making'
processes to overcome the addiction. In short, it was personal decisions, (and thus behaviors), that trapped us in an
addiction and personal decisions that will bring about our freedom. Freedom from addiction truly begins when WE choose
to break the cycle of our actions.
WHY WE BECOME ADDICTED
Just as with any major issue, there are multitudes of theories as to cause of the event. Addiction is no different.
My personal theory revolves around several triggers that tempt us, (as a society), toward addiction.
and Peer Pressure: In our society there are multiple things that are a threat to become an addiction that we participate
in on a social level or as the result of peer pressure. Gambling, drinking and recreational drugs, for example, are often
engaged in for the first time within a social setting. The "everyone's doing it," syndrome seems to be the gentle,
(or not so gentle), shove many need to engage in these potentially dangerous things. This is even more dangerous for people
who feel socially awkward already and have a greater desire to fit in. With alcohol or recreational drugs to ‘take the
edge off' of their awkward feelings, they can quickly associate one with the other. In these cases it is not a ‘real
party,' until they have used a substance to help them feel more at ease in the social setting. Addictions that come from this
dilemma usually involve a low self-esteem or great feelings of awkwardness in a social setting. These issues can be resolved
in counseling through healthy learning skills.
- Self-Medicating Against Stress: There are many addictions that
are associated with self-medicating against stress. Food, alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, tobacco, sex, pornography,
video games and television are a few of the things people use often to give themselves a short drop in their stress level,
or at least it seems that way. The greatest...and most obvious problem with these addictions and their cause is that is does
not DEAL with the stress, it only MASKS it for a short while, wherein another round of self-medicating is called for. Left
unchecked, these addictions almost always lead to much more serious issues down the line. Major health issues, relationship
failures, career losses and even death have been directly linked to addictions.
- Character-Masking: Some addictions
are the result of people who are deeply saddened by what they perceive as an ‘unlovable and non-valuable' self. Because
such feelings are so emotionally powerful and painful, addictions are used to ‘change the personality' of the person.
In short, they like themselves much better when they're drunk, (for example), than when they are sober. In many ways, the
addiction is an avenue for an ‘alternate state of being,' that allows them to hide from their true self...if only for
- Hiding from Guilt, Shame, or Painful Experiences: Some addictions are the result of self-medicating
against the mental torment of horrible past experiences such as war, rape, molestation, incest, family tragedies, mental illness,
physical illness and so forth. Many people who have suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have also fallen victim to
addictions as a way to ‘quiet the mind,' from the horrible ‘mind movies' that haunt them, regarding their past...or
even their present for that matter.
- Self Defeating Attitudes: On some occasions, people engage in dangerous
addictions as a form of rebellion against society. "This is my life and I can live it any way I choose." "Live
it hard and fast, that's my motto." These kinds of rebellious actions are usually the result of an immature psyche that
is crying out for acceptance and visibility. It's almost as if they're saying: "If you won't notice me when I'm normal...I'll
start killing myself slowly to get your attention." Sadly, in many of these cases...the behavior is fatal.
Regardless of "how" or "why" people become addicted, the results are rarely healthy or good.
In fact, if you're reading this article now, it stands to reason that you, or someone you love dearly, (or both), is struggling
with an addiction(s) that is slowing stealing your life from you and you desire to get it back. I applaud your bravery
and pray something written here will inspire you to begin taking the steps toward your freedom.
SIDES OF ADDICTION
I truly believe that in order to tackle addiction successfully, we must usually deal with two issues. First is the "chemical
side of addiction," which can require hospitalization, medications, (such as anti-withdrawal meds), and plenty of
rest. Chemical addictions are difficult to break, there is no question about that and will-power alone is usually no
match. Getting your body detoxified is essential to breaking an addiction. Counseling is equally important for
long-term success due to the mental and emotional dependencies associated with addiction.
The other side of
addiction is the "mental and emotional dependence," which requires good, structured counseling to help a
person understand what thinking processes, behavioral and environmental aspects of their lives contributed to their addiction
and how to reverse that cycle. IT IS MY STRONG OPINION THAT DEALING WITH ONE SIDE OF THE ADDICTION WITHOUT DEALING WITH
THE OTHER LEAVES A VERY SMALL CHANCE FOR REAL OR LASTING SUCCESS. Working through the mental and emotional dependence
aspects of addiction is so important because it teaches us what mental and emotional processes and decision-making got us
into our addiction in the first place. It also helps us restructure our thinking to avoid the same pitfalls in the future.
TAKING THE STEPS TOWARD RECOVERY
- 1. Admit (out loud) that it was choices that
brought about your addiction and choices that will bring you out.
- 2. Realize that recovery from addiction does not
have to be accomplished alone. Supportive friends, family, medical professionals, medications and counselors can help you
make the journey. If you don't know how to find this help or fear you can't afford it, find someone who can direct you to
these services. If support seems elusive, keep looking. Many people have dedicated their lives to helping, many without asking
for a single penny.
- 3. Studies show that prayer and renewing your faith can greatly improve your chances for success.
Healthy spirituality helps to provide peace, hope and strength to face our environment...and more importantly...one's self.
Be prepared to do whatever is necessary to get yourself free. If that involves a stay in a rehabilitation facility and long-term
counseling, be prepared to say "Yes," to your treatment.
- 5. If your addiction has a chemical element, such
as alcohol, drugs or nicotine, steps must be taken to achieve detoxification.
- 6. Once detoxification is complete,
good counseling is needed to help you learn mental and emotional skills to alter your tendencies and behaviors.
Remind yourself that you were not always addicted. You can be free again. Also, remind yourself that your addiction is a problem,
but it is not the real you. Refuse to allow your addiction to define you any longer.
by Reydon Stanford 2010
2:12 pm cdt
For the sake of this article, I'd like to break down typical stress into two categories: First is "Life-Induced
Stress," which is stress that arises from real-life events that we have to face and that initially are out of our control...such
as a car breaking down, plumbing issues, an unhappy partner, etc. Secondly, there is "Self-Induced
Stress," which is a result of our own uncontrolled thinking, or of mishandling issues that are in our control.
In regards to "Life-Induced Stress," the best answer is to become pro-active against whatever is causing the stress.
For example: If your car is broken down, make a plan to have it fixed as soon as possible. Remember it is "in-action"
or "not knowing what to do," that causes the brain to start working faster and faster trying to solve a problem,
which causes us to feel greater and greater amounts of stress. Becoming pro-active allows the brain to see that we are
working on a solution to the problem and it (the brain) will begin to slow down, thus alleviating the stress to a more bearable
level. Just the simple act of ‘having a plan' or ‘developing a plan,' can help the brain slow down, even
if we are not able to act upon our plan right away, due to finances or other issues.
In regards to "Self-Induced Stress," there are several dynamics that we need to examine and understand in
order to even ‘realize' when we are subjecting ourselves to this uncomfortable...and unnecessary stress.
Most ‘phobias' for example are the result of an uncontrolled or irrational thought process that can cause us great stress
and emotional discomfort, without ANY REAL OR IMMEDIATE THREAT TO OUR WELL BEING. For example: I live in West
Texas where the nearest beach is some ten hour drive away, which is the Gulf of Mexico. If I have a terror of sharks
and allow myself to sit around thinking of being eaten by a shark, it is the result of an uncontrolled mind. It is extremely
doubtful that a shark will walk, drive or fly into West Texas with the goal of eating me. My fear therefore, is unfounded
and the stress that results is self-induced. In other words...I'm doing it to myself.
Another example of "Self-Induced Stress," comes from the ‘what-ifs' that our mind wants to continually engage
in. Although the mind's desire to engage in ‘what-ifs' is a mechanism for preparing for possible danger, it
can become a nasty habit that serves no real purpose and only adds stress to our lives. Let me explain.
One time I was driving on the Interstate highway and had several people in the car. I moved out to pass a large truck
and as we were passing it, one of the passengers said, "Man, that truck is really close! If one of those tires
blew out it would kill us all." Although this supposed event ‘could' happen, the likelihood was very low...let's
say 1%. That means this person was focused upon the 1% rather than the 99% chance that it wouldn't happen. This
kind of thinking causes this person great self-induced stress. This is not a character flaw in this person...but a bad
habit of allowing their mind to go uncontrolled. This is a person who has travelled thousands upon thousands of
miles down Interstate highway, over many parts of the Country, without a single accident, yet continues to fear too much.
To alleviate this type of stress, or at the very least reduce it...this person should focus more upon the reality than the
example of "Self-Induced Stress," is a result of our own inaction in certain areas. Let's say that ‘being
late,' causes your stress level to rise dramatically. This is self-induced stress because it is a result of our own
actions, (at least in most cases). The obvious answer to alleviating this type of stress is to become proactive.
Allowing plenty of time to get to where we're going will alleviate the stress of being late. If we are late, it is usually
nobody's fault but our own...therefore the stress is self-induced.
One area where I find myself becoming stressed-out is in the area of ‘leaving something unfinished.' Much of this
is due to my Melancholy personality, which is steeped in perfectionism. (Our personality is inherited and not a character
flaw, thank goodness). Whenever I'm trying to accomplish a certain task and am being hindered through interruptions
or other issues out of my control, I find myself beginning to feel stressed. "We need to finish this!" my
mind shouts while I'm rushing to deal with whatever is hindering me. This is self-induced stress, because life does
not stop just because I'm trying to finish a project. This is caused by becoming "too focused" upon a
task, bordering on mild obsession. Allowing for these interruptions would help me greatly. If I'll take
a few deep breaths and relax, I can assure my mind that I will get back on task when it's appropriate. Usually, my mind
will respond by relaxing, because I have taken control of the situation and assured my mind it will get finished in reasonable
time. One thing I have learned: If we don't control our mind...it will control us.
The problem with allowing "Self-Induced Stress" to continue in our lives is that it can ultimately be deadly.
Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and a host of other serious issues have all been directly linked to stress in
RESOLVING SELF-INDUCED STRESS
Try to catch yourself when you are feeling stressful and decide whether or not the stress is self-induced
•2. Take control of your
thinking by focusing upon reality versus the "what-ifs." Do not even allow yourself to get into ‘what-if'
•3. Learn to focus on the now...rather
than the future. If you're having a nice dinner with friends, focus on that, rather than ruining the moment by stressing
about the future that does not even exist yet.
a plan for being proactive against events that are causing you stress. This will cause the mind to slow down.
When under heavy stress, take plenty of time to rest and allow your mind and body to recover before re-engaging
in the task. We handle all issues better when we're rested.
Limit the time you spend around people or events that add stress. Stress is contagious.
Continually remind yourself that YOU control your thinking, and not the other way around.
Copyright by Reydon Stanford 2010
1:15 am cdt
By Reydon Stanford
Problems that result from relationships have the potential to be extremely distressing; due to the amount of importance they
play within our lives as a society and the emotional investments we make into them. Relationships are an important part
of healthy human existence and let's face it...we were born into relationships. It was through a relationship that we
were conceived, carried and birthed.
are an important part of our development having direct links to our security, growth, physical and emotional well-being, livelihood
and spiritual, physical and emotional health. As a society we are dynamically linked to other people and require relationship
to prosper. Although some people like to think of themselves as "ruggedly individual," without much need for
help from others, this is a fallacy that can easily be exposed. In short...we need others to thrive, succeed, prosper,
reproduce and be happy. Just to put a cotton shirt upon our backs takes a great number of people working together from
the farmer who planted the seed, to the gin that processes the cotton to the factory that turns cotton into material, to the
trucker who transports it to the factory where it will be dyed and sown into a shirt, to the person who purchases the shirt
and then has it transported again to a store where someone sells it to us for about twenty bucks...whew. We need each
Relationships have the potential to bring
us great joy and fulfillment or great pain and disappointment. If you've lived very long at all, you've probably experienced
This article is meant to explore some of the dynamics of relationships and why we often suffer when they
It has been my own experience and
observation that the number one problem in relationships is IGNORANCE. We are not born, (nor usually schooled), in the
dynamics of healthy relationships so we enter into them blindly, ignorant of what we need out of a healthy relationship or
how to provide what is needed from others. This is like asking someone to take-off and land an aircraft with no previous
training. Not a good idea. In all honesty, if I had my wish, everyone would be required to take relationship classes
throughout school. I truly believe this would improve such situations as bullying, verbal abuse, racism and so forth
and even turn the tide of failed marriages that are prevalent within our society.
Because of the "Ignorance Factor" in relationships, we often see two very good people fail to successfully maintain
a growing, healthy, and prosperous relationship. This is sad, since simple training could greatly improve the odds.
We are drawn to relationships through mutual
attraction. In intimate-driven relationships we are drawn through deep attraction and a desire to be solely involved
with the other person. In friendships we are drawn by mutual interests and a need to have like-minded companionship.
In family relationships we are engaged through love, loyalty and belonging. In short, we each have a desire to feel
a sense of belonging among our peers, family and intimate relationships. When that falters...emotional and mental pain
result and usually leads to bouts of depression, anxiety and stress that will ultimately take its toll upon our physical health.
COMMON CAUSES OF RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS
Ignorance: As I stated earlier, most people are not trained to understand the
dynamics of relationships and therefore either do the wrong things or nothing.
Poor Communication Skills: Communication is the primary way we express our
own thoughts and feelings and come to an understanding of the thoughts and feelings of others. If this dynamic breaks
down, trouble results. It is impossible for us to read the minds of others, or for others to read our minds. Many
relationships are destroyed through bad communication. (More on this later).
Uncontrolled Emotions: Many relationships fail because of uncontrolled emotions.
Nobody wants to live in a volatile environment where fear, anger, continual sadness, or abuse occurs. We cannot expect
others to control OUR emotions. "If you do what I say, I won't get mad!" That kind of statement reveals
a very immature and very insecure person who expects others to control their emotions. This leaves people "walking
on eggshells" and usually results in a quick and ultimate termination of the relationship, because it becomes mentally
and emotionally unbearable.
On some occasions, people simply become disengaged from a relationship
for various reasons. The inability to maintain
more than one friendship for example can leave an "old friend" out in the cold as the person moves onto someone
else. Anytime someone disengages from a relationship it leaves people hurting and confused and can ultimately result
in the end of the relationship.
Selfish Ego: It's hard for most people to believe that there are those who enter into relationships
solely for what it provides to them. The ego can be a strong force and when it is stroked, it makes people with low
self-esteem feel good. The problem with ego is that it can become like a drug, feeding off the people around it without
giving anything meaningful in return. Many marriages and other relationships end when a person who is addicted to ego-thrills
becomes bored with their current relationships and move onto something that feels new and exciting and strokes the ego afresh.
It's heartbreaking...it's sad...and it's reality.
Role-Playing: When two people get together it is because they are attracted
to one another as one individual to another. In the case of a typical relationship, a man becomes attracted to a woman,
and a woman becomes attracted to a man. Sadly, when these relationships develop into marriage or shared parenthood,
the two people often allow the "manly" or "womanly" role to die off and trade it for the title of "Wife,
Husband, Mother and Father." Although these roles have their place...they DO NOT nor should not replace the individual
needs of a man or woman. A man has unique needs and a woman has unique needs. Simply believing that entering into
the roles of marriage or parenthood meets all these needs is an often tragic mistake. Regardless of marital status...a
man is still a man...a woman is still a woman and both have dynamic needs that often get lost in the role-playing of modern
Outside Influences: Many relationships fall victim to outside influences that often exceed proper
boundaries and that problem is very unhealthy. Too much interference from parents, grandparents, co-workers, friends,
etc., can permanently ruin an otherwise good relationship. While it is true the Bible says, "Children obey your
parents," I would like to draw attention the word ‘Children.' Once we are grown we are to LEAVE our mother
and father and cleave unto our spouse. If a couple needs to seek wise counsel, it is better to do so through a counselor
or third party who is unlikely to take sides without knowing all the details. With that being said, if a couple keeps
seeking advice (or more likely Allies), from friends or family, they shouldn't be shocked when they get advice that is counterproductive,
or infuriates the spouse, leaving them feeling ‘ganged up on' and very angry.
Unresolved Conflict: One of the first things I learned in counseling is "Empathetic
Hearing." This is the ability to ‘hear' how someone is feeling, versus what they are saying. Most people
are not communication experts and do not express their true feelings very well. This can result in issues becoming arguments
with no resolution, rather than intimate times of communication and caring that produces greater love, correction and lasting
change. If a wife, (for example), tells her husband she feels neglected, and is tired of him playing golf, he will often
get defensive and then the ‘fight is on.' Instead, he should listen to what she is REALLY saying, which is: "I
miss you and need you and want to spend more time with you." Leaving any hurt feelings unresolved leads to bitterness.
Bitterness, over a long period of time, will shut down a person's emotions and love, and can end with a final separation.
If you simply cannot resolve the issues on your own...seek counseling. It is a wise person who seeks answers to what
they do not know.
As you can tell, I did not address
issues such as: cheating, adultery, flirting, pornography, and a variety of other issues that might seem like huge problems
in a relationship. The reason for that is this: If we pay attention to building a healthy relationship, with deep
love, continued desire, mutual respect and hard work...these issues rarely happen. I once asked a friend, "How
do you deal with the weeds in your yard?" His response was classic: "I grow good grass."
If we want a healthy, happy relationship...we need to focus on doing the right things and what is good, rather than continually
focusing upon the weeds.
New Site Dynamics
2:26 am cdt
As most of you know, I have spent the last sixteen years researching psychology and ways to help
people who are struggling. For that sixteen years I've had a pastoral counseling service that has...and continues to
reach out to many hurting or struggling people.
This site is changing in that it will now serve as a "touch-point"
to all who have internet access to be able to read 'down-to-earth' information about human behavior and struggles and how
to approach a healing process.
It is our prayer that over time, this site will not only bless those who
are struggling with common emotional issues, but will also serve to train and help pastors, school counselors or other social
workers in how to help those who come to them for help.