Three life questions you need to answer.

Questions you should ask yourself. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

The answers to these three questions can change your life.

To figure out your path in life, you need to figure out where you’re going. Some people get lost along the way and end up in therapy, trying to find themselves. I’ve come to believe that the first task ought to be finding the answers to three basic life questions. Throughout this coming year, I want to talk a little bit about those questions and how you go about finding the answers to them.

Resolutions are not the way to go.

This is the time of year a lot of people are making New Year’s resolutions. I fear that if I don’t get this published quickly enough, you will already have broken some of those resolutions. Some of those resolutions are external. Habits you want to change and things you want to accomplish.

Most resolutions fail because they specify a result rather than a process for reaching that result. Resolving to lose a certain number of pounds, get out of debt, get more education all sound like great goals. There will be plenty of articles throughout the universe I how to reach these goals. It’s usually missing from all of that is any discussion about if when you arrive at that goal, if you ever do, will you be happy? Will it have been worth the effort?

For most people paying off the debt only opens the door to creating more debt. Losing the weight may make you healthier if you can keep it off, but most people don’t keep it off because the process of dieting makes them miserable. Many people get more education expecting that to lead to higher income and more happiness only to find they don’t like the job there now qualified for.

Why can’t people find the answers to creating a happy life?

Despite a higher standard of living and more material possessions today than ever before in the history of the world, we also see more mental and physical illness. Looking for something external to make you happy is looking in the wrong place.

The idea that someone who is miserable can achieve happiness by finding the right romantic partner often turns out badly. It’s common for people to go through multiple failed relationships wondering why they always connect with the wrong partners. Eventually, some of those people, by trial and error or as the result of personal counseling and therapy, discovered that the answer to their questions isn’t external, but it’s internal. If you need to change something in your life, that change will need to take place inside you.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of all the things I’d like to talk to you about. I hope I’ve learned a few things through the years, and one of the major lessons I’ve learned is that the journey of self-awareness is an ongoing process. So here are the three essential questions I think you need to consider; otherwise, everything else you’re doing may be wasted effort.

Who are you?

Ask most people who they are, and their immediate answer will be a job title. I’m a teacher, an accountant, a clerk in the store, or some other occupation. Take that job away, whether by unemployment or disability, and suddenly the person must figure out who they are when they don’t do that job anymore.

Other people define themselves by their relationships. Traditionally that was more the way women define themselves. Ask a woman who she was, and she would say she was Mrs. so-and-so. Or she might tell you that she was this boy or girl’s mother. This is changing as more men define themselves by their relationships, and more women see themselves as professionals in an occupation. Both things are important for people’s understanding of themselves.

While your occupation and relationships are important, who you are is so much bigger than both of those.

Who do you connect with, and how, and why?

Relationships can enrich your life, but they can also impoverish it. A recurrent theme in therapy is why people keep getting into the same dysfunctional relationships. Someone who grew up in an alcoholic home falls in love with Ethel alcohol or marries an alcoholic.

People from dysfunctional homes frequently enter relationships with other people who have those same dysfunctions. One name for that losing yourself in your relationships is codependency. There’s a lot of codependent people out there. The way they eventually escape their codependency, if they ever do, is not by learning more and more about the dysfunctional person in their life but by learning more about themselves.

What gives your life meaning, and purpose?

Last week I wrote a blog post about what gives your life meaning and purpose. You might want to look at that post. I suppose it’s entirely possible to have several things that fill your life with meaning and purpose. It’s also likely that the thing that gives your life meaning or purpose at various points in your life may change.

What I’m getting at here is it’s far more critical to learn about your relationship with money and debt and decide how that affects the rest of your life than it is to go on a tight budget for a month or two to get out of debt only to end up back in debt again.

As we move through the year 2021, I want to talk to you about some of the implications of these three big life questions and how you might go about finding the answers to them. I’m continuing to learn more about my answers to these questions through research and living life.

If any of this interests you, maybe you will want to subscribe to this blog. Feel free to leave a comment or use the contact me form. Whatever the challenges this year, let’s all work on making 2021 the year to get straight on what matters.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness, and they want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

What gives your life meaning, and purpose?

What gives your life meaning and purpose? Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Have you identified your life’s meaning and purpose?

People can go through some incredibly challenging times if they have a good enough reason to do it. But even the simplest tasks may be overwhelming if you don’t see a good reason to do what you’re doing. Another name for your meaning or purpose might be your passion. Is there something that you are passionate about?

A few people are fortunate; they discover their meaning and purpose for life early on and then devote the rest of their days to pursuing that purpose. Some people find their life purpose after a series of trials. I think it’s sad when I see people who have lived their whole life and never discovered anything that gave their life meaning or purpose. If you haven’t put some time into thinking about this, I would encourage you to do so.

The work you do may give your life its purpose.

For some people, the work they do is their life’s purpose. Other people work a job, so they have enough money to support themselves and their family, and then they spend every available moment pursuing their passion. Your life’s work doesn’t necessarily have to be the same thing you do for your paycheck. Just make sure that what you devote your life to doing has some meaning.

Relationships are an important source of meaning and purpose.

Caring for others can give your life its meaning. This can be a child, a pet, or an older person. Caregiving, loving, and being loved are significant sources of meaning. Few relationships will be with you your whole life. Make sure you put effort into maintaining your relationships with partners, family, and friends. However long that relationship is a part of your life, it needs to be nurtured. When you look back on the life you’ve lived, ask yourself, “have my relationships been a source of meaning and purpose?”

Religious or spiritual beliefs can guide you to life’s meaning.

For some people, the anchor that holds them to a purposeful life is their spiritual beliefs. If this life is all there is, then it’s essential to live it well. But if you believe in a life after death, then this life should be a process of growth and perfecting yourself. Do your best to live your life in a manner that is consistent with your spiritual beliefs. Feeling connected to something greater than yourself is a significant contributor to a life full of meaning and purpose.

More things don’t equate to a more satisfying life.

In this era of rampant consumerism, it’s become apparent that having more things does not equate to more happiness. Having more resources certainly provide you with more options. But money and things do not equal happiness. Every day you hear about some rich and famous person whose life was empty and meaningless. It’s not the things you have but what you do with those things that matter.

These days people are focusing more on getting rid of things, decluttering, than on accumulating them. Once a year, our city has a citywide cleanup day. On that one day, the city residents pile all their unwanted items out onto the street to be hauled away to the dump. One curious feature of this free trash removal day is at the piles of refuge are higher and wider in the poorer parts of the city. The pleasure you get from buying things is temporary.

Volunteering can be better than having.

Doing for others can be a significant source of life’s meaning. Being of service to others pays dividends long afterward. The things you buy can end up owning you, but the acts of kindness you give away will be with you forever.

Have you found your life’s meaning and purpose? If not, don’t you think it’s time you started your search?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Will this winter be a catastrophe or a challenge?

Winter
Winter. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

How will the coronavirus and potential lockdowns affect you?

For many people, winter is a challenge every year. But this year, it’s likely to be a tough challenge. Coronavirus has had a horrific impact on our society. How long this will go on and how it will affect you is probably outside your control. But how it affects you mentally, there may be something you can do about that.

Currently, there’s a glimmer of hope. Over the long haul, one or more of the vaccines now in development may prove to be the solution to our coronavirus problem. But even if the vaccine works perfectly, it will be a long time until enough vaccine doses become available and enough people are vaccinated to have any impact on the prevalence of the illness. Until then, life can be a challenge.

Depending on where you live, you probably experienced one or more lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, or disruptions in your job or education. Some people would prefer the option of going ahead with their life knowing there’s a chance they will catch the infection and either die or pass it on to someone close to them.

Other people would prefer to hunker down, isolate as much as possible, and ride out the viral storm waiting for safer days. Regardless of your preference, some things are going to change. Some of these changes will be severe short-term losses for some and minor inconveniences for others. Other changes may be permanent. Businesses have closed, and more will close. Many jobs have been lost. Some will return, but other jobs may never come back. People have died. More and more of us know someone who has lost a family member.

I believe that some of these changes we’re seeing will turn out to be permanent long-term changes. The coronavirus has just accelerated the rapid pace of change. The trend toward online education was already well underway, with some colleges offering their entire curriculum as online classes. In the future, I think working from home and learning at home are going to be long term trends. These are things we may just have to get used to.

But between now and the time we reach our new normal, we will face some extraordinary challenges.

The challenge of seasonal affective disorder.

A significant portion of the population typically suffers from seasonal affective disorder. While we often think of this as seasonal depression, commonly called winter blues, there are also seasonal increases in anxiety disorders, OCD, and other mental illnesses.

Changes in the weather, especially changes in the amount of daylight each day appear to naturally alter human being’s moods. The large number of holidays during the winter may be an effort for us, humans, to cheer ourselves up during an inhospitable time of year.

What if our attitude toward the winter season is an important factor?

Not everyone, everywhere, seems to experience seasonal affective disorder. This article in the Guardian shows us another way to look at challenging circumstances.

If you approach the winter season with the attitude that it will be difficult, you’re predisposed to negative mood states. But if you take a different view toward it and view the winter season as another situation full of possibilities, you may experience a different set of feelings.

When it comes to mood, your mindset matters.

How you think about things alters their effect on you. The way you look at things can affect your mental health and your physical health. Your attitude affects your blood pressure and heart rate. People who think of things as catastrophic and tell themselves that this thing mustn’t, shouldn’t, happen experience it is much more negative than those who see the event as an opportunity.

Is it a threat or an opportunity?

How you approach things often depends on the resources you have available. By resources, I don’t mean just financial ones. Education, available opportunities, and your support system, can also alter the way you view challenging circumstances. Having a good support system, developing coping skills, and improving your resiliency all buffer you against stressful times.

Telling yourself, you’re excited reduces anxiety.

Many people experience having to make a speech in public as terrifying. Public speaking is the number one fear in America. And yet, other people enjoy speaking in public. If you are terrified of getting up on stage, becoming an entertainer will probably be a highly stressful career. But if you love the applause of the crowd, you won’t experience it as anxiety-provoking but as energizing.

Some athletes become anxious before competing, and they are at high risk of choking. But those athletes who interpret those butterflies in their stomachs as excitement can use that energy to propel them to even more remarkable achievements.

Planning positive activities reduces the impact of challenges.

Whatever your challenges this winter, and many of us will face a great many challenges, plan for some positive activities. Those little bits of pleasure and happiness, you should pay attention to them when you find them. Amid all the struggles, you should plan on becoming a happiness expert.

Admittedly the winter ahead will not be easy. There will be costs, and there will be losses. Let’s all keep our eyes peeled for the pockets of happiness ahead.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Do you trust your intuition?

Intuition. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Intuition makes up half the decision-making system in your brain.

People who study brain functioning have investigated two different ways in which people make decisions. This is sometimes called the dual-process theory. One system, the deliberate decision-making system, is slow and requires a lot of information to arrive at a decision. The other system, intuition, reaches a conclusion rapidly, often based on very little conscious information. Relying on only one of these two systems can get you into trouble. The challenge is to decide when to use the slow, deliberative decision-making model and when to use the fast, intuitive model.

When might ignoring intuition get you into serious trouble?

You’re in the big city, walking across the street. You glance up and suddenly realize a bus is speeding towards you and you are about to get hit. Which decision-making model do you think you ought to use?

If you’re a very logical person, you might want to think this over a bit. How many feet away as the bus? How fast is the bus traveling? You look ahead and see how many feet it is to the other side of the street to get out of the way of the bus. You might also want to look back to estimate if you turn around and jump back onto the sidewalk; how far must you go? While you’re gathering all this information, the bus driver is slamming on the brakes, and you are betting your life on whether he will stop before impact.

What if you decided to use your intuition?

People who use an intuitive decision-making model would leap one way or the other without thinking. If you pick the right direction, this improves your chances of survival. Of course, you could choose the wrong direction and run directly into the path of the bus. Or you might decide to turn around and run back for the sidewalk you just left. One of these decisions, maybe both, might save your life.

Are there other situations in which you might want to use your intuition?

Social situations are a time when you want to rely on your intuition. You meet someone, and they say hello. If you stand there too long thinking over what the proper greeting would be, you’re going to appear socially inept. In the pre-Covid days, if someone put out their hand, you wanted to put your hand out and shake. Now your automatic response might be to bump elbows or perform some other gesture. What you don’t want to do is stand there staring blankly.

Making good decisions in life involves using both decision-making systems.

Relying too much on one decision-making system and not enough on the other are characteristics of two specific mental illnesses. Research on decision-making tells us that people on the autism spectrum rely heavily on thinking things over. They are high on rational decision-making, but that leaves them unable to make automatic decisions based on their intuitive systems.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who make almost all decisions emotionally or using the intuitive method. Relying solely on the intuitive decision-making system is one of the characteristics of schizotypal personality disorder.

You can improve both decision-making systems.

Some people believe that they are using logic to make their decisions, but their decision-making is so full of logical errors and flaws that it’s not very useful. Studying logic and how to make better decisions can improve the slow, deliberative decision-making system.

Many people don’t realize that the fast, intuitive decision-making system can also be improved. In some upcoming posts, I want to talk to you about improving your intuitive decision-making and deciding when to trust those fast decisions and when to use the slower logical decision-making system.

Other posts on related topics can be found under the following categories.

Overthinking               Rumination                 Worry              Finding Yourself

Personality                  Inner Child                  Intuition             Personality Disorders             

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

You can change your personality.

personality disorder

Can Personality Change?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Your personality is not as fixed as many people believe.

We used to think that you were born with a specific personality characteristic. You might be an introvert or an extrovert. Long-term studies have shown that people’s personalities do change across the lifespan.

Some personality traits change more readily than others. But why those personality characteristics change has been unclear.

Some personality characteristics change as you age.

One research paper – Trajectories of Big Five Personality Traits: A Coordinated Analysis of 16 Longitudinal Samples examined these changes.

Extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness all decline with time. Not every person shows the same level of decline, and various studies have come up with different results. Neuroticism, on the other hand, seems to be the highest in both the very young and the very old. I read other research which tells us thoughts of death are highest at those extremes also. It would seem that the very young and the very old have more to worry about.

Life experiences can alter your personality.

Research has detected a significant number of cases in which is a result of life experiences people’s personality changes. If you are forced into a situation where you have to interact with a large number of people every day, and you can’t escape that situation, over time, you may become used to this, and gradually you might become more extroverted.

One of the treatments for various fears and phobias is exposure and response prevention. This treatment is especially effective in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Something that initially was scary, and overwhelming, becomes less fear-inducing the more you’re exposed to it, especially if that exposure is in the company of someone who reassures you.

People who have a fear of public speaking and take a class in public speaking often get over that fear. There are also groups you can join to help you overcome your fears.

Which parts of your personality change most readily?

Most researchers study personality using the Big Five Personality Characteristics, Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Some of these characteristics change more readily across the lifespan as a result of life experiences.

Can you deliberately change your personality?

Recent research in the area personality conducted by Nathan Hudson at Southern Methodist University and his colleagues, some aspects of personality change more readily than others. It’s not enough merely to wish that your personality was different. Some of these characteristics, like muscles, require exercise to develop. Taking deliberate, intentional action to make yourself a better person can also result in a change in your basic personality.

The two traits which most people wanted to change were neuroticism and extraversion. People would like to be more emotionally stable, that is less neurotic. And most people wish they were more comfortable in social settings and, therefore, more extroverted. Interestingly, in one study of how people could deliberately change their personality, almost no one wanted to become more agreeable.

Tasks that challenge one of your personality characteristics, such as openness, vary in difficulty just as exercise for muscles can vary in difficulty. The more difficult the task you undertake, and the more often you undertake a behavior of any difficulty, the more likely it is to shift your personality.

The conclusion of the study was:

“The single largest implication of our study,” said Hudson and his team, “is that actively engaging in behaviors designed to change one’s personality traits does, in fact, predict greater amounts of trait growth across time.”

There were some qualifications in this study. People who tried a task but were unsuccessful in completing it moved their personality in the opposite direction from what they intended.

There’s also a limitation to this study in that it was conducted over fifteen weeks. While it’s likely that some people would continue to undertake tasks to improve themselves in a particular direction, whether these changes would last over a long period or be overridden by typical life experiences is still an open question. The participants in the study were psychology students, presumably young and with an interest in the outcome. I have to wonder if personality may be more changeable in young people both because of their lack of experience and the larger deliberate efforts that it would take among people farther along in the lifespan.

What do you think about changing your personality?

Are you happy with who you are and your personality characteristics? Is there some part of your personality you’d like to change? If you could change something about yourself, what would that be? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or feel free to use the contact me form.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Signs of gaslighting.

Gaslighting
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is the attempt to manipulate a person or group psychologically. The perpetrator wants to get the victim to doubt their own perceptions. Gaslighting is done to obtain power and control over the victim. The process happens slowly and gradually until the victim comes to question their perception of reality.

The origin of the term is a play from the late nineteen-thirties, which was later turned into a movie. When someone is gaslighting, they are trying to convince you that you are insane and that what you’re seeing happen isn’t happening.

Abusers often resort to gaslighting techniques to try to convince their victims that they are not doing anything wrong. By destroying the victim’s sense of reality, the abuser gains control over that individual. Cults often engage in gaslighting to convince their followers that only the leader correctly perceives things. To be effective, the person doing the gaslighting has to get the victim to doubt their own perceptions. Gradually the judgment of the victim is invalidated, and they look to the abuser for their sense of reality.

One technique that is used for gaslighting is to repeat a lie that they want others to believe continually. Repeating something often enough and loudly enough can convince many people to believe that lie and to doubt their perceptions.

Gaslighting techniques, sometimes called disinformation campaigns, have become extremely common on social media. Something completely untrue can spread rapidly when an altered video or non-true news story is reposted often enough. Both antisocial sociopaths and narcissists make extensive use of gaslighting methods. Here are some ways that you can spot attempts to gaslight.

They tell blatant lies.

The lies are often so extreme that they are hard to believe. No matter how often they are challenged, the perpetrator sticks to their deception and attacks the victim. By using huge lies, they keep the victims from knowing when they’re telling the truth, and when they are lying. The goal is to keep the victim emotionally off-balance.

When challenged, they deny everything, even if you have evidence.

The person using gaslighting techniques never admits they’re wrong about anything. They explain away the evidence. Tell you that you miss read something or you are misinterpreting things. Their repeated denials can get you to question your perceptions.

They tell you that you are wrong, crazy, or just imagining things.

When confronted with something the gaslighter has done, they will deny that the actions ever took place. You may know you saw them doing something, but they will offer a different explanation. They’ll tell you that you didn’t see what you thought you did. That makes excuses that you’ve been stressed out recently, that you’re taking things too seriously. They may even tell you that something you remember didn’t happen or didn’t happen the way you remember it.

They withhold information from you.

The person doing the gaslighting will tell you that you don’t need to think about that. They will try to handle everything for you. As with other forms of abuse, they’ll try to cut you off from other sources of information. Abusers often take over controlling the finances and may object to your seeing your family or friends.

They wear you down over time.

The person using gaslighting never lets up. The lying and contradicting you, coupled with attacks on your perceptions, are relentless. They stick to their script, gradually wearing their victims down.

Their actions don’t match their words.

They often give you stories of what they’re going to do and why it’s for your benefit. But when you look at their actions, they don’t match the promises they made and are primarily for their own self-interest.

They distract from their behavior by projecting it on you.

Do you think your partner is cheating on you? If you confront them about this, they’re likely to accuse you of being the cheater. Criticize their drinking or drug use, and they’ll find something you do and accuse you of being addicted to reading books, watching your TV show, or eating your favorite dessert.

Degrading comments are followed by positive reinforcement.

They’ll tell you that you’re stupid or crazy. Often these degrading comments come in the form of jokes. After running you down repeatedly, they’ll offer you a small amount of praise for some minor things you did. The goal here is to get you to doubt your abilities and to be hungry for their praise and approval.

They block or are unsupportive of your growth.

Anytime you try to develop a new friendship or new interest, the abuser is likely to tell you that that person is no good for you, and you will never be able to handle the new activity.

Gaslighters hide things from their victim’s.

People who engage in gaslighting may have secret bank accounts, a second cell phone, and develop other ways to hide information.

Abusers try to change you.

They may tell you that you need to change your appearance, your habits, or your interests. They will often use derogatory comments about you to undermine your self-esteem, gradually changing their victims into the person they want them to be.

Abusers try to isolate you.

Techniques frequently used by those people who are gaslighting others are to cut them off from their families and friends. They tell you that people you are close to are jealous of your relationship and out to harm you. They may also tell friends and family that you’ve been acting crazy and are close to a mental breakdown. The goal is to eliminate any contact you have with other people so that no one supports your version of reality.

Have you been affected by gaslighting? What have you done to try to reestablish your independence?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Is perfectionism ruining your life?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Perfectionism.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Shouldn’t striving to be better be a good thing?

The word perfection is used in two very different ways. Striving to be the best you can be and make things better sounds like a good thing. Saying that a summer day or vacation was perfect sounds like a high compliment. But there’s a dark underside to the quest for perfection. When your focus shifts from making things better to an emphasis on detecting flaws, perfectionism can make you and the people around you miserable. Perfectionism can turn out to be a very destructive form of self-sabotage. Here are some ways in which perfectionism may be harming you.

Not doing something until you can do it perfectly is destructive.

More than one writer who waited to send their book off to a publisher until it was perfect died with their book never submitted. Continuing to work on something until it’s perfect, means that that one project will never be finished. Perfectionism is a prime enemy of creativity and productivity. In generating new ideas, it’s essential to allow them to grow and develop, not keep them bottled up until every flaw has been filed away.

Focusing on outside appearances instead of inner quality is harmful.

Whether it’s the perfect look or the latest fashion, focusing on outside appearances rather than the intrinsic qualities of things can cause you a lot of harm. Character, whether it’s in people or things, comes from the wear and tear of life.

Living life by lists, schedules, and absolute rules will make you miserable.

Trying to govern your life by rigid control standards is not a way to be perfect, it’s a way to make you and all those around you miserable. Lots of arbitrary rules don’t improve performance, but it does destroy creativity and spontaneity. A life ruled by long lists of musts and shoulds is oppressive.

Rigid perfectionism means you are never able to relax and enjoy life.

The constant emphasis on perfectionism can end up being a mental filter in which you never see the good in anything but instead always detect a flaw. The focus on perfectionism in everything can rob you of the ability to accept people and things the way they are. Allow each person to be unique and individual rather than require them all to meet your preconceived notion of the correct way to be.

Perfectionism is the father of procrastination.

Saying you will wait until something can be done perfectly, is an alibi for never doing it at all. Perfecting any talent requires repeated practice. Saying you won’t do something until you can do it perfectly, robs you of all the opportunities to practice and improve on what you’re doing.

The search for the perfect prevents you from ever deciding.

This is sometimes called paralysis by analysis. You go on searching for years for the perfect piece of furniture or the ideal automobile, all the while coping with a rickety old chair or a car that needs repeated repair. Part of life is developing the ability to make decisions. Some of those decisions will turn out better than others. But not deciding is a decision to do nothing. Rarely is doing nothing the perfect solution.

The belief in the perfect prevents you from changing your mind.

Don’t let your belief that there is only one correct way to do something, prevent you from seeing other opportunities when they present themselves. The “correct” way of keeping financial records on green column paper from the nineteen fifties is a very inefficient way to keep those same records in the modern computer era. New technologies, new materials, and new environments all call for changing your mind. Businesses that fail to change with the times eventually ceased to exist.

Perfectionism says if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.

Trying to do everything yourself severely limits what you can accomplish. Perfectionists can be very hard to live with. Since they believe the way they do it is the one and only way it should be done, they find it very difficult to delegate anything. Whether it’s at work or in relationships, there needs to be a sharing of tasks. If you insist that you will do everything, you’ll become cynical about other people and risk ending up living and working alone. Loneliness is not on the path to improvement.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Loving yourself is OK.

By David Joel Miller MS Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Low Self-esteem

Low Self-esteem.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Loving others requires loving yourself.

People in a positive, loving relationship need to develop a skill which we used to call Healthy Narcissism, today we might call this high self-esteem. Researchers in the mental health field, believe that a thing called healthy narcissism exists in mentally healthy people. Freud said that our love for others develops from the way we feel about ourselves.

Parents who feel good about themselves can share that love with the children. Parents who feel inadequate find it hard to approve of anything their children do. The more you judge yourself, the more you judge others. High self-esteem or health narcissism is quite different from the unhealthy narcissism we see in people who develop Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

When you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s hard to like others.

People with low self-esteem find it difficult to have good relationships with others. A negative view of yourself carries over into negative attitudes towards other people, the world, and the future. Having good relationships with others bolsters your self-esteem. Taking good care of yourself increases your ability to care about others.

Developing an extremely narcissistic personality is one way people protect themselves when they have low self-esteem. Feeling yourself with positive feelings creates a surplus that you can share with others. When you see the world through the lens of negativity, everything looks dark and unhappy.

How do you tell healthy self-esteem from pathological narcissism?

Healthy self-esteem results in good mental health. People who feel good about themselves have less anxiety and are more positive and optimistic. People with pathological narcissism, have shaky self-esteem. Someone with narcissistic personality disorder needs to feel superior to others to feel okay about himself.

If you are high in self-esteem, you have plenty of love to share. When your self-esteem is fragile and is based on the beliefs that you are the superior person, and that others should admire you for your greatness, your ability to love and care for others is limited. A pathological narcissist does not love other people; they see others as things they are entitled to use to meet their needs.

Narcissists think they are better than others. People with high self-esteem can see their good points and the good characteristics of others. Narcissists always believed they are better at things that they are. People with high self-esteem feel good about their accomplishments and can see the areas that need improvement.

Narcissists are selfish and believe they deserve the best of everything. People with high self-esteem take good care of themselves so that they will be able to take care of others. People with high self-esteem what their relationships to be caring. Narcissists have little interest in warm, close relationships and see their connections with others as tools they use to get what they want.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions, and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                           Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology.

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Posts about having a happy life will be found in the category – happiness.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

The meaning changed again – concept creep.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Concept Creep.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Problems increase when the definitions expand.

Recently psychologists have been studying an idea called concept creep. The principle involved is that once we have identified a problem, more and more things are included in the definition we are using. This expanding definition can be either good or bad depending on your point of view. It’s possible that once we recognize the existence of a problem we begin to find more cases of that problem. Problem recognition is related to the expert effect; if you don’t know what something is, you may not recognize it when you see it.

It’s also been suggested that having once created a category of problem, additional things which used not to be considered a problem get defined into the category. Besides expanding a problem category by adding things to the category, our view of problems may increase as milder things get defined as problems. Expanding categories creates the impression that there is an “epidemic” and that we are all now at risk to experience this problem.

When a concept expands, what used to be normal, is now a part of our definition of problems. I am not arguing here that these changing definitions are a bad thing. But what we need to look at is how these definitions have changed over time and how these words may have very different meanings to different people. Remember that looking words up in the dictionary will not help us here. Various dictionaries will have different meanings for the same word, and the dictionary creates its definition based on the way people have been using the word.

Let’s look at some categories of problems that have expanded.

Mental illness used to be rare.

The term mentally ill used to be roughly equivalent to the label crazy. Today professionals don’t use the term crazy because it implies the condition is not treatable, and this labeling appears to be a case of blaming the victim. Originally mentally ill people were labeled psychotic. The kinds of emotional problems normal people had, were defined as neurotic. Today’s list of mental illnesses includes over 400 separate conditions with an additional 400 or so issues included in a list titled “conditions for further study.”

Increasingly mental illnesses are seen as falling along a continuum from mild to moderate to severe. Mild clusters of symptoms are now considered cases of illnesses where in the past these symptoms might have been attributed to the person’s personality. A person who in the past was described as having a sour, negative attitude might today be diagnosed with Persistent Depressive Disorder or even as having a case of Major Depressive Disorder – mild.

Is that self-abuse?

Our definitions of abuse, both abuse of the self and others, have not just changed, some of them have been turned upside down. Masturbation was once the poster child for the evils of self-abuse, a practice parents frantically sought to contain before this behavior sent their children to the torments of hell. Today masturbation is seen as a normal expression of sexuality.

Beating yourself with whips and chains along with cutting your skin and crawling across broken glass has moved in the opposite direction. These kinds of self-inflicted pain used to be viewed as “mortification of the flesh” a positive spiritual behavior. Today pretty much any episode of self-inflicted damage to the body is viewed as “nonsuicidal self-injury” a symptom of a serious mental disorder.

Sometimes abuse of others doesn’t involve abuse.

Abuse of someone else used to be extremely clear-cut and easily recognizable. Abuse back then referred to beating someone, resulting in visible physical harm. Hitting children with a small stick was considered disciplining that child, a parental responsibility. Such beatings were often accompanied by the old biblical adage “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

Today we are all reasonably clear that any hitting of a child that leaves marks meets the criteria for child abuse. Some people will even argue that any corporal punishment is child abuse. Please don’t misunderstand me here; I’m not suggesting that abuse is okay. What I’m trying to do here is chart the way in which our understanding of the concept of abuse has changed.

Abuse now includes not just physical beatings but also includes neglect and emotional abuse. The concept of abuse has also been expanded to include spousal abuse, elder abuse, and animal abuse. When it comes to elders, financial abuse is also a recognized form of abuse that triggers reporting by a mandated reporter.

“Goldsmith and Freyd (2005) considered emotional neglect, or “emotional unavailability,” to be a form of emotional abuse.” Quoted in Haslam, 2016.

Some of these expanded definitions of abuse spilled over to inform the next example of concept creep, bullying.

Would you recognize bullying if you did it?

I looked up the word bully in my trusty old “Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia” from 1898. It gives us two separate definitions of the word bully depending on whether the word is used as a noun, the person doing the bullying, or it is used as a verb, the act of bullying.

The root of the word bully comes from an older word which means noise. Bullies were people who were blustering, quarrelsome, and overbearing. A Bully was someone who was trying to dominate others. In common usage, back then a “bully” was a term for a pimp, someone who lived off the earnings of a prostitute.

The thing a bully did, when he was bullying, was to be overbearing, blustering, or menacing. A bully got what he wanted by making others fear him.

The concept of bullying is exploding. In the 20 years, 1990 to 2010, the annual production of research articles on bullying increased 100 times, (Olweus (2013) Quoted in Haslam, 2016.)

Today the definition of bullying has expanded. Bullying now includes cyberbullying, actions not only to intimidate but to make people feel bad and which happen in the online world. The concept of bullying has also expanded into the workplace were things that used to be considered typical workplace politics may now be construed as “a hostile work environment.” Some researchers have suggested that excluding someone from the social group, or efforts to get others to exclude that person should also be included in our definition of bullying.

Why are they calling the police about that?

Media reporting on crimes, conspiracy theories, and a rash of calls to police reporting things that don’t meet most people’s understanding of crime may all be examples of concept creep in the area criminal behavior in public safety. More on these topics in an upcoming post.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

High self-esteem or narcissism?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

a narcissist

Is he a Narcissist?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Trait or State Narcissism.

In the field of psychology, there has been a good deal of study of a personality dimension that psychologists call narcissism. The way the term trait narcissism is used is very different from the way mental health describes Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This difference has caused some problems when people look at the results of personality tests, theirs or other people’s, and see that there is a score for narcissism.

Trait narcissism is meant to be a measure of how good you feel about yourself. For most people, this trait will be relatively stable over time. State narcissism is how much you are thinking about your own needs now and can vary with the situation. Sometimes you should think about your needs first, and other times you need to include other’s needs in your calculations.

This difference between the way psychology defines narcissism and the way it is described in mental health and recovery literature has created a good deal of confusion.

High trait narcissism is mostly a good thing.

People with low self-esteem, score low on measures of trait narcissism. As your self-confidence and self-esteem rise, your scores on the narcissism inventory rise. People with high trait narcissism are likely to be extroverted, emotionally stable, and mentally healthy. High trait narcissism correlates with improved functioning and an increase in life satisfaction.

Only those at the extreme high-end of the scale begin to resemble those with malignant, pathological narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. How much is too much may be open to interpretation but in the tradeoff between low self-esteem and being highly Narcissistic being in the middle, balancing your needs with the needs of others is the healthiest place to be.

Trait narcissism is rising.

Worldwide there appears to be a rise in the levels of trait narcissism. This principally reflects the shift from Eastern collectivist cultures to the Western competitive, individualistic society. We have encouraged everyone to feel good about themselves by bolstering self-esteem, but despite these efforts, there is more depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. When you keep raising the standards for what you expect from people the result is not universal high self-esteem but a society where no one can measure up.

The concept trait narcissism is chiefly studied using verbal questionnaires and tests. This raises the question if everyone responding to these questionnaires understands the concept in the same way. To refine the research results, the trait of narcissism is often studied by separately analyze various subscales, each of those subscales is defined using other words.

The subscales of narcissism.

These various factors are used in measuring the level of narcissism a person has and the components of this condition. There has been some debate about whether these are all distinct factors or how much these concepts may overlap. Here are my thoughts, not specific diagnostic criteria.

Authority.

When do you take command, insist on leading, and assume you are correct, and how much do you defer to the judgment of others. Do you always think you are right?

Self-sufficiency.

Do you think you can do everything? Do you always need someone else’s help? Can you balance self-sufficiency and cooperation?

Superiority.

Feeling better than others is not the same thing as confidence. No one is the best at everything, but highly narcissistic people think they are inherently superior.

Vanity.

More focus on looking good than on substance.

Exhibitionism.

Balancing the search for applause with a tendency to do things specifically for attention.

Exploitativeness.

Is there give and take in your relationship or are you all about getting what you need?

Entitlement.

Do you accept that you need to work for what you get or do you feel that you are superior to others?

One interesting study examined the difference between people in the community who are high in trait narcissism and a group of prison inmates also high in narcissism. The subscale of Exploitivness mostly predicted which of those people who were high in trait narcissism would end up in prison.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions, and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                          Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology. (coming soon)

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

T

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel