A Counseling and Opinion Blog

Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

What’s wrong with people? Part 1

Part 1 of A Seven Part Series on Why People Do What They Do


Part 1
People don’t think things through

“What is wrong with people?” is what many of us think, say, or shout in the wake of a seemingly senseless, sudden action or comment we encounter by another person or persons.

It might be someone cutting us off while driving, using profanity in front of children, making rash or unthoughtful comments, making a senseless financial decision or wrongful action to a friendship or relationship.

On the grander scale, it might be a political decision you don’t favor, a disagreement with a theological or ecclesiastical (church) decision or a troubling socially and politically correct trend.
For many of us, these kinds of things not only upset us but make our blood boil with anger.

This often stated frustration made by many appears to be on the increase; in reality however, this “social-psychological” problem is as old and as common as man himself.
The main cause or ingredient to this problem is a lack of common sense or critical thinking; in essence, people simply don’t think things through. They neither think things through thoroughly and completely nor weigh the consequences of the subsequent action.

Some would say such critical thinking and evaluation is near impossible “on the run” or in the “heat of the moment”. Therein lies one of the most serious of this social-psychological problem; most of us need to slow down.

It is impossible to think a thing through if you’re living life at the speed of light.

The computer era has made the term of “multi-tasking” the common cliché. In reality multi-tasking is all too often the attempt to do too much at one time and like the old adage says, “A jack of all trades is the master of none”.

This multi-tasking develops an environment of increased personal pressure forcing many to toss critical thinking or  “common sense” out the window; the result is another common cliché of our day, “It is what it is”.

The reality of this nonchalant attitude of “It is what it is” is simply a “don’t care” attitude; seldom is what something appears to be reality.

When the majority of people develop this “It is what it is” attitude there is no base for establishing common sense or critical thinking and no reason for people to think things through thoroughly.
The failure to think things through thoroughly ends in negative results from not considering all the possibilities, ramifications and consequences of a possible action.

As stated in the introduction to this seven part series, you will not only find a discussion of what’s wrong with people but also answers.
People can only begin to use common sense and critical thinking if they have a standard on which to base their actions and decisions.

As a Christian Psychologist and counselor, I find no better standard than the Bible.

There are three verses which emphasize what people can do to think things through thoroughly:

Think:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”. (James 1:5 NIV)
Decide:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Act without anger:
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” (Ephesians 4:26)

Part 2 of “What’s wrong with people?” will discuss “Why people take the easy way out?”

© 2018 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

Advertisements

What is wrong with people?

A Seven Part Series on Why People Do What They Do

 

Recently my three sons and I were discussing in general the actions and attitude of people within our circle of friends, acquaintances and extended family. As we discussed some of the issues and situations in more specifics, we came up with more questions than answers but the overwhelming question was simply, “What is wrong with people?”

In general the question seems to be cross generational and cross cultural but overall the intricacy of the question can be broken down as follows:

What is wrong with people seems to be a result of :

1.       They don’t think things through thoroughly

2.       They seem to take the easy way out

3.       They tend to care more about themselves than the greater good of others

4.       They tend to care more about themselves than the law

5.       They tend to care more about themselves than God and their faith

6.       They care more about feelings than consequences

7.       They tend to believe the unbelievable but can’t believe in an all knowing and all powerful God.

In the area of psychology, we refer to this study of people and what sometimes appears to be a less than normal and lack of common sense approach to life as “Social Psychology”

Of course within secular psychology, the study of such is an attempt to scientifically understand and explain how thoughts, feelings, and behavior of people are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others within society.  Simply stated, social psychology is all about understanding how each person’s behavior is influenced by their social surroundings.

The problem within mainstream secular psychology however, is that there is no real defined moral base or ethical value from which to standardize such a study of an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behavior apart from fluctuating statistics in comparison analysis of the same given criteria among ones peers or an established psychological norm at any given moment.

As such, I will attempt to examine in a seven part series  utilizing both Christian and Secular Psychology, “What is wrong with people?” from a Social Psychological perspective and unlike many Psychological papers, I will attempt to answer the question.

Regardless of one’s philosophical, political, religious or psychological view, we have all been dissatisfied, disappointed or even frustrated by people either within or outside our social and family circle and we have asked the question or variation thereof, “What is wrong with people?”

Hopefully, over this seven part series on Drtruthman Counseling, you will find your answer to that age old question, “What is wrong with people?”

© 2018 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

 

 

 

I am an Epileptic

 

Having been one all my life, it is sometimes easy to overlook the fact that I am indeed an epileptic.

I am on medication and live a fairly normal life. I do most everything that non-epileptic people do; in fact after eleven years and seven attorneys attempting to get this “Grand General Epileptic” disability, the state and federal governments denied such because they declared that I was a “functional epileptic”.

“Functional epileptic”, is there really such a thing? That’s a topic for another discussion.

None the less, most epileptics will tell you it’s not necessarily the seizure that’s the great concern but everything leading up to and afterwards such as pre and post seizure auras that are truly debilitating and hinder the ability to “be normal”.  

For the non-epileptic, it’s important to note that epileptic auras are for most, more dreaded than the seizure itself and like a seizure they can occur unexpectedly at any time with or without medication with no reason as to the cause.  

One thing for certain is that there is nothing fun about an aura. They can last from a few minutes to hours or even days. The average aura time for most epileptics I know is about 15 minutes. My average aura last 24 hours but I have experienced a pre-seizure aura which lasted 2 days and a post-seizure aura which lasted almost a week.

Auras are terrible. They can be mild to migraine headaches, the proverbial “seeing stars”, visualizing “saintly” like glows or halos around people, visualization can take on a yellowish hue as well as experiencing  strange sounds and odors.

But the worst aura experience of all for most epileptics is dissociation; the feeling of uncertainty of where you are or what many epileptics describe as a sensation of being in multiple places at the same time. Some have suggested it is like you’re here but also somewhere else. The bottom line is if you haven’t experienced it, you simply can’t understand.

The aura often causes an epileptic to lose momentary thought, focus and concentration.

Some research now suggests that due to their debilitating effect on the epileptic, these auras are actually partial seizures. Regardless of what these auras are, they can certainly slow a person down, delay or even force a change or cancellation to plans.

It is important to note here that some epileptics never experience an aura.

In addition to the auras and seizures, there is also the emotional trauma sitting in the epileptics unconscious mind constantly asking the question, “Will I have a seizure today”? And “If I have a seizure today, what kind will it be”?  

Those questions usually give rise to more questions which give rise to more questions such as, “Since I feel kind of strange today, should I go out in public and chance having a seizure away from home”? If you drive, “Should I try to drive today and possibly have an accident or even hurt or kill someone”?

“I’m feeling constantly sleepy, do I need sleep or am I trying to pass out and seize” and “if I take a little nap, will I have a sleep or wakeup seizure”? “Should I go to the ER or should I call my neurologist or am I just being silly and paranoid”?

Although life for everyone is filled with uncertainties, for the epileptic these uncertainties become magnified.

For this epileptic, the past month had gone very well; between my medications of Depakote and CBD oil I was stable and feeling great. I had gone to church, out to eat, a birthday party or two and even driving during day light hours. Being an epileptic simply wasn’t on my radar and didn’t seem to matter.

Then suddenly out of nowhere last Saturday, I experienced the worst aura since 2008. My hands and arms shaking, visualization suddenly yellowed, found myself staring for long moments into space, then the dreaded feeling of disassociation; the feeling of being in two separate places at once.

The feeling was horrible and quite frightening. The last time I had an aura that intense was prior to a “Grand Mal” seizure while driving in 2008. There was nobody hurt and no damage except to my van which was totaled. Thank God a police officer witnessed the entire thing and called the paramedics who took me to the ER immediately.

That recent Saturday aura suddenly brought me back to reality reminding me that I am an epileptic.

Then this very morning, with plans in process, my day is interrupted by having a moderate morning wakeup seizure with a traumatic follow up post-seizure aura destroying both my plans for the day and possibly my future.

It is totally debilitating, destructive and often humiliating (as it was for me today), this thing we call epilepsy.

But once again, I am an epileptic and as most neurologists tell us, we can have a seizure at any moment of any day; unfortunately for some repeatedly throughout the day.

Cancelled plans and appointments, inability to keep commitments, feelings of inadequacies and indecisiveness, frustration and associated depression; all associated with epilepsy.

Take the meds as prescribed, get eight hours sleep, try and avoid naps and seizure causing meds and still a seizure and/or an aura is possible.

I can never forget I am an epileptic.

© 2017 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

Too much information

10-qual-social-media

As a Psychologist, I am continually amazed at the amount of information people are willing to post about themselves on social media. Having observed this phenomenon for nearly a decade, it seems people become more emboldened each day with what they choose to tell the world about themselves.

These are the same everyday people that when I was in the ministry and private practice would come to me with a problem(s) yet reluctant to say anything; it was often near impossible to pry any information out of them. Many times, it would take weeks just to get a patient to open up enough for the two of us to have a meaningful dialogue much less the “Nitti gritty” of the problem.  

Today however, people post any and everything on the web and especially social media; every conceivable personal problem (emotional or physical) is posted, elaborated, sometimes with photos and hundreds of comments from around the world are given.

It’s simply ridiculous. People on my social media pages have posted everything imaginable from their problem with toe fungus, corns and calluses, constipation, hemorrhoids, hurt feelings, depression, anxiety, what they’re having for dinner, their pet’s illnesses, whether they think someone is a liar or not,  questioning or diagnosing mental disorders of friends or relatives, sexual dysfunction and  so much more.

Again, these are the same people that will not seek out professional help.

With no apology, if I were still in private practice, I would consider having about half my social media friends temporarily committed for observation.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people? I know many of you and some things you have posted on my social media pages, I just can’t believe.

I don’t want to hear about how your cat vomited all over you and the bed during the night, or how your hemorrhoids kept you up all night or why you think Uncle Jed or sister Sue is definitely Bi-polar or Schizophrenic or how you hope your boyfriend doesn’t find out about your one night stand with the guy you met at Starbucks on your way home from work; duh? He does now and so does everybody else.

The problems people used to bring to their ministers, psychologist, psychiatrist and counselors is now simply thrown out on social media like confetti being dropped from a tall building in a parade with their social media post dropped on anyone and everyone consequences be damned.

This is to say the least frivolous, irresponsible and (excuse the expression) just crazy.

Let me be clear, it’s not that I’m not concerned or don’t want to be your social media friend but frankly if you want to talk to me about it, contact me privately and personally.

I will be happy to listen as a Minister or Christian Psychologist or Addiction Counselor (take your pick, I’m all)  but be prepared to sign both a hold harmless agreement and non-disclosure statement along with my fee of $125.00 CASH (I also take Pay Pal) per hour (for a fifty minute counseling session) which I will be happy to conduct in person or via video chat.

Then and only then will I l be willing to listen to your earth shattering problems and difficulties which you feel  are so troubling that you must broadcast to the entire world over social media opening yourself to every Troll, Phishing scam, hacker, malware, ransom ware or worse and possibly losing everything you have including your very life.

Seriously people, grow up and stop thinking all of us as social media friends want or need to know everything about you; we don’t.

Posting too much information on social media is dangerous and psychologically speaking can speak volumes as to your mental and emotional state of mind.

If you are really troubled about something, please seek professional help.

© 2017 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

NO Profanity Please

quote-profanity-is-the-parlance-of-the-fool-why-curse-when-there-is-such-a-magnificent-language-theodore-roosevelt-127-66-83

Say I’m a prude if you choose but there is nothing more unpleasant and distasteful within social media today, than people using unnecessary profanity within their online post to make a point.

What amazes me most is that people who wouldn’t dare utter a “damn” or “hell” in public seem to have no problem utilizing the often known “Favorite Five” words of profanity without hesitation and cursing on-line like the proverbial sailor (no offense or disrespect to our men and women of the Navy; many of which I know seldom use profanity.)
Even more alarming is the use of the “F” word; used so much today, that it’s often referred to as the “F – Bomb”.  It seems some people can’t speak or write without using it. Especially upsetting is the ease and frequency of it’s use by women and children.
Ok, it’s true on this point I’m extremely unapologetically conservative.
Women might be equal to men and share the right to freedom of  speech but “SHAME on you”!  Stop with the proverbial “potty mouth” and be a lady. By the way, we need more women becoming ladies again.
As to our children today, they simply need their mouths washed out with the soap that Man paying a swear jarfloats (completely harmless- can’t say the name because the company doesn’t advocate the practice) every single time they use a vulgar disgusting word. If we returned to that practice, we’d have most kids speaking correctly, decently and without profanity.
Call this practice abuse if you like but  my late mother, father and both grandmothers used that practice on me and it worked. By the way, at age 65, I don’t have any physical, social or psychological problems resulting from those experiences.  In Psychology we simply call it “Behavioral modification” and those that know me know I don’t curse. I find no need for it and find the whole thing disgusting.
Even in my time working in the auto body industry  while working my way through college and grad school, the body men, painters and techs were horrible with their use of profanity because of the potential for anger and frustration from the hard and often dangerous work we did but I simply chose not to curse or use profanity.
That’s not to say I’m a saint, I am not. I am a sinner saved by grace and yes, I have thought in profane words on rare occasions. Even in anger however,  I usually refer mentally to other descriptive words; words that actually have meaning, descriptive value and purpose.
The truth is, most people who use profanity actually have no idea what they’re saying. They’re simply repeating  words they’ve heard others say since childhood and because profanity is basically simple one or two syllable words, they became easy to learn and pronounce. If parents or grand parents didn’t squelch such use through stern reprimand or behavioral modification, the words were assimilated into their everyday vocabulary.
Most people only think they know what the curse words they use mean; in reality the meaning is not at all what they have been led to understand. The etymology (origin and history)  of the word is actually surprising to most people.
The bottom line is there is simply NO need for the “gutter style language” so often prevalent in today’s society.
If you’re a frequent user of profanity, ask yourself WHY ? Is your vocabulary so limited that any words containing more than 4 or 5 letters with the occasional adding of “ing”  are beyond your comprehension or ability to pronounce?
If that’s the case, start reading a Dictionary or Thesaurus  and develop a QUALITY vocabulary. Then, you can be stern, firm or “pithy” in your postings without the use of profanity. Vulgarity is never necessary and should not be tolerated by any of us; especially in on-line social media.  It is unbecoming, disrespectful and demonstrates a lack of character and morality; both which are sorely needed in social media.
I realize all of this is very Non-Politically Correct these days especially with regard to millennials and  those on the Progressive Left; so be it.  As a result, let me dig in a little deeper  in being Non PC by sharing a true story of one of the South’s favorite sons, General Robert E. Lee.
As the Civil War was winding down, Confederate General Lee was meeting with some of his key officers discussing serious strategy. The language was very hostile, frustrating and “colorful” (profane & vulgar) to say the least. In the midst of this very important and strategic meeting, history records that General Lee turned around and began to walk away. A Colonel called out to him and said, “What’s wrong General Lee, there are no women or children here?” General Lee turned around and responded, “No sir, there are no women or children here but there is a Christian Gentleman”; the general turned around again and walked away.
God’s Word reminds us, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”. Colossians 4:6
There simply isn’t any reason ever for profanity.
May God both guide and guard your speech.
© 2017 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD
As a side NOTE, I will no longer tolerate rude, crude and distasteful language on any of my social media sites from ANYONE.

There is no time like the present

There is no time like the present

by

Dr. Lee Outlaw

5612075_f260

Christians must speak out

In light of the upcoming election and recent events pertaining to it, I thought an update and reposting of this article was both in order and appropriate.

Within the past five years since this article was written, there appears to have become a near withdrawal from reality by many within the Christian church.

Although many Christians today remain concerned that there’s not enough attention being paid to the negative going on throughout the world, there has also developed an almost escapism attitude by others. Many so called Christian churches have become nothing more than repositories of universal truth, Eastern mysticism and metaphysical thought.

Pastors and preachers of many mega churches have become more “New Age Free Thinkers” than proclaimers of the good news of Jesus Christ.

One well known pastor of one these churches recently Tweeted, “If you cannot be positive, then at least be quiet”; a kind of new age version of the old adage, “If you can’t say something good, then don’t say anything at all”.

The problem is, if what you know is considered negative by some or even the majority and you fail to say something or acknowledge such a negative reality, it might actually hurt you or someone else.

There have been decades of emphasis away from discerning truth and reality among Christian people; it’s been more of a “let’s just get along” approach to life. According to many believers, this has separated fact from fiction with more emphasis on what could be rather than what is.

Again, if there is a failure to acknowledge a negative situation, it can destroy both growth and progress. Many people, including an increasing number of Christians are refusing to discuss anything which they consider negative while withdrawing from the real world all around them.

An important point to remember here is that refusing to talk about the negative does not remove a negative situation and denying the negative does not eliminate it’s reality.

It’s quite amazing that the “Tell it Like it is” Christian youth of the 60’s and 70’s have grown up with such a complacent, compromising, politically correct mentality that has put the Christian church in a sad state of decline in this country.

The country’s difficult financial situation hasn’t helped in the past several decades either. Church memberships are rapidly declining leading to reduced giving. At the same time there has been increased overhead in church operational expenses for things like utilities, office expense and even higher salaries for full-time pastors and clergy. As a result, the church is often seen by many as living in a world of fantasy rather than fact.

Some churches will not even discuss finances with their congregations simply for fear they will be interpreted as being “negative”.

As each week goes by and everyone puts on the proverbial “Happy Face”, they rarely discuss the real problems being faced by everyone in the country for fear of the “negative” label.

Churches simply don’t want to get involved politically either; they fear someone is going to call them on the carpet for doing so. Individual Christians might involve themselves in “The Tea Party” or a similar political movement, but if they’re at church, they’ll talk in code and say things like, “Do you TP?”, If you don’t know what that means, you might consider the person is either a little off or just getting way too personal about personal hygiene.

The point is, Christians must stop being so laid back and speak up. Just because we who call ourselves Christian speak out about a topic does not mean we are either negative or against everything. We demonstrate love, care and concern for people better than any group in the world.

Christians give the most help to people the fastest and stay longer following a catastrophe than any other group. Government groups like FEMA usually show up late and leave quickly. It is the Christian church that builds and maintains most of the hospitals and universities in America and much of the world.

As a result of all that the Christian church does and has done, it is time for Christians to speak out openly. We need to “Tell it like it is”. When something is negative, politically incorrect, wrong, something is bad or something is evil, we need to stop side stepping, stop avoiding the controversy and simply say it.

Jesus said, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one”. Matthew 5:37 In other words, don’t try to put a positive “spin” on something that is actually negative; to do so is to lie.

There is no time like the present to take a stand for Christ.

© 2016 Dr. Lee Outlaw

The suspicious mind Part II

The suspicious mind Part II

Paranoia – The poisonous partner

by
Dr. Lee Outlaw

paranoia

The pretense to suspicion in most people is certainly filled with a variety of feelings; everything from fear to delusions of grandeur and even a sense of false security.

Nothing however, is more conditioning and even poisonous to the mind in producing temporary or permanent suspicion than paranoia; the sense or feeling that someone or something is out to get you, cause you harm or even destroy you. Rather real or imagined, this person or thing can ultimately achieve the same result; impregnate your mind with suspicion.

Once the mind is filled with suspicion, it is often difficult to remove.

Paranoia comes in all shapes and sizes and has a tendency to rare its ugly head in almost everyone at some point in their life. It’s because of this near epidemic reach of paranoia and its destructive power that so many therapist and counselors try to eliminate any chance of paranoia being the root cause of their patient’s problem from the very start, giving support to the old adage that, “It’s not what you know but what you don’t know that can harm you”.

In other words it’s the fear of the unknown; the feeling that something or someone is out to get you but you just don’t know who or what it is and in most cases “how” the harm will come.

The obvious effect is the onset of emotional or mental instability which can ultimately lead to Paranoid Personality Disorder, delusional paranoia or even more serious mental illnesses.

Unfortunately, paranoia most often makes its appearance when our minds are most vulnerable such as times of stress, emotional instability, non-clinical depression (a.k.a. “the blues”) and relationship difficulties or changes, such as a break up, separation, divorce or the loss of a family member or close friend.

Most of us have heard someone say (or maybe thought our self), “Everything is falling on me, and everyone just picks on me or dumps on me.”  “Why doesn’t it stop?”

Does this sound familiar?

Paranoid MovieA perfect example as to the destruction  paranoia can have in  developing a suspicious  mind is the novel Paranoia by Joseph Finder from which the movie of the same name was made; starring  Liam HemsworthGary OldmanAmber Heard and Harrison Ford the emotion of “paranoia” is seen from nearly every level.

Although it bombed at the box office, “Paranoia” the movie is actually very good. It brings to light all the aspects of the entanglement of paranoia, secrecy, doubt and the conspiratorial mind as they weave their way deep into the unconscious of not just one but most of the characters, almost to the point of no return. It is only after one of the characters actually utilizes his suspicious mind for good that he’s able to turn his life around.

Just like in the movie, sometimes as the burden of no answers coupled with the slightest thought that someone besides you is causing your problems and suddenly paranoia takes root. If such thoughts are not eliminated, they dig deeper into the unconscious implanting a wave of successive suspicions until a once stable mind is totally and completely suspicious.

Everything becomes doubtful and no one can be trusted. Eventually things become extremely serious and even dangerous as reality and fantasy begin to merge and the ability to reason and rationalize become void, leaving the mind to wander aimlessly without purpose or direction.

The end result is the birth of a suspicious mind.

Although the movie “Paranoia” tends to demonstrate a positive effect from a suspicious mind, for most of the characters (as is the case in real life) the outcome was negative. Read the book or watch the DVD to learn more.

In Part III of “The Suspicious Mind”, we will discuss how doubt and secrecy play an intricate part in producing paranoia and ultimately developing a mindset totally controlled by suspicion.

© 2015 The Outlaw Observer and Opinion