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Depression can be a dangerous thing

In follow up to my previous article, “Depression is everybody’s problem”, this article will point out the danger of depression when gone unchecked.

The 2015 crash of the Germanwings  Airbus A320 flight 4U9525 on March 24, 2015 which killed all one hundred fifty persons on board is a stark reminder of the need for closer scrutiny of those who are put in charge of the lives of others.

In the crash of the Germanwings  Airbus A320 flight 4U9525, the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had apparently been struggling with mental  illness and depression for some time. He even received a letter declaring him unfit for work (at some point)which somehow officials are only finding out about now as a result of Lubitz hiding the letter.

Like many depressed and psychologically distressed people, Lubitz apparently was able to hide his illness all too well; many who knew him, found him, normal, capable and even fun.  

Even when he was originally hired by Lufthansa in 2008, the company said Lubitz was psychologically sound and completely fit to fly.

As of today however, after the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bild (a German  Newspaper) citing unnamed sources claiming that Lubitz had suffered severe mental illness, Lufthansa has now admitted they learned in 2009 that Lubitz had suffered  a “previous episode of severe depression”.

Although Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, knew of Lubitz’s battle with depression, they allowed him to continue training and ultimately put him in the cockpit.

Lufthansa contends however, that because “Lubitz had a valid medical certificate, had passed all his examinations and “held all the licenses required”; there was no reason not to let him fly.

This is a staunch reminder of the need by every one of us to take a proverbial pinch of our mental capacity to see if we’re really ok. We all need to maintain good mental and emotional health but unfortunately not everyone is willing to check their mental and spiritual compass.

If you doubt your mental stability for even a minute, for goodness sakes talk to somebody professionally. Don’t be so proud that you endanger yourself or those around you.

On another level of mental health, too often like the recent German Air crash, someone with less than competent mental capacity gains control of people and either limits or ends their lives.

The potential for anyone with power over people to take such control to the extreme is just too fragile to allow incompetency to be put in control.

Having worn so many professional hats over the years as a pastor, theologian, psychologist and insurance adjuster, this writer has seen far too much incompetence among those in charge of others.

The old saying of “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is so true.

This writer has seen good men and women totally collapse under the obligation of power and control.

I’ve seen pastor’s attempt suicide after major catastrophes like hurricanes which wiped out their churches and homes, theologians who couldn’t handle a flaw in a theological truth they once held firm, attorneys who lost major cases, athletes who lost the big game, parents who lost children and on and on.

In short, everyone is vulnerable to mental illness and associated depression at some point in their life.

When life becomes more than we can handle on our own, that’s when we need to talk to someone professionally.

But what about the professionals who think they’re above talking to someone?

Does this not support the need for a required mental assessment of every major professional?

Certainly all pilots, bus drivers, train operators, ship captains and personnel, doctors and hospital staff, law enforcement, attorneys, prosecutors and certainly all politicians should be required to have an extensive mental health screening; not just a  criminal background check but an intensive mental health checkup.

Most of all both the Democratic and Republican Parties should include in their Presidential Candidate vetting process a mental health checkup made public to all.

Good mental health is very important and should never be taken for granted because the mind can indeed be a dangerous thing.

Please, if you are having strange or unusual thoughts, feeling depressed or lonely, call someone today at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org.

Also call your political party requesting that a mental health checkup be required in all political candidate vetting processes; especially of those running for the office of president.

© 2019 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

What’s wrong with people? Part 3

Part 3 of A Seven Part Series on Why People Do What They Do

PART 3


People tend to care more about themselves than the greater good of others


As we continue to investigate this “social-psychological” problem of “What’s wrong with people?”, it has become evident to many in both mental health and pastoral care that people appear more self-centered than at any time in history.

It seems that in western civilization especially, we have become a “me first” society; this is not to disparage President Trump’s America First agenda which has been sorely needed. On the world stage, the United States has been and continues to be the most caring and giving nation in the world. On an individual basis, however, people, in general, seem increasingly less concerned for their fellow man and more concerned about themselves.

This “Me, me, me” attitude has developed an increase by smaller side culture groups (too numerous to mention) promoting their cause(s) in such great emphasis that their particular cause and need seems far greater than what it is in actuality.

The result is very “in your face” and sometimes profane and vulgar bumper or rear window stickers used to intimidate; the intention is usually to emphasize, “I’m more important than you” or “My cause is greater than yours”.

We used to be a “Good neighbor” society. New neighbors were welcomed to our neighborhoods, villages or towns. If someone moved in next door to us, we introduced ourselves; made a cake or casserole and let them know we were there “for them” should we be needed. This usually resulted in men exchanging tools needed for repairs and children playing together.

In the current trend of “Me, me, me” and self-gratification, there is little if any concern or even acknowledgment for our neighbors or anyone else. This attitude results in people shoving or stealing someone’s place in line, needlessly cutting in and out of traffic, not obeying traffic signs and failing in general to acknowledge our own bad behavior.

In essence, we have become a Narcissistic personality disorder society.

I had a Psychiatrist friend who used to say; almost every patient he saw had Narcissistic personality tendencies. My experience as a psychologist was very similar and we would often have long discussions about this very serious subject and bear in mind, this is a serious subject.

Since most murderers, rapist, and thieves are usually diagnosed as a narcissist, just imagine the problem of an entire society with this disorder; it certainly helps to answer the question of “What is wrong with people?”

The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) , which is often utilized by most of us as mental health professionals to diagnose psychological disorders, suggests that narcissistic personality disorder causes significant impairments in personality in terms of functioning and is accompanied by a number of pathological personality traits or symptoms (which will be mentioned later).

Although it is estimated by the National Institute of Mental Health that only one percent of those diagnosed with personality disorders actually have Narcissistic personality disorder, it is important to point out that less than ten percent of the population actually receive any actual mental health treatment (even though nearly fifty percent have enquired at some point about professional counseling). This brings to question such a low estimate of those with an actual Narcissistic personality disorder.

Most of us in professional mental health agree the problem is far greater than one percent.

Regardless of the percentage, the problem is real and increasingly affects our society; so what do we do?

First of all, never hesitate to obtain professional psychological help.

Here are some of the symptoms of a Narcissistic personality disorder:

  • An exaggerated sense of their abilities and accomplishments
  • Constantly seeking attention, affirmation, and praise
  • A belief that he or she is unique or “special” and should only associate with “like-kind”
  • Persistent fantasies about attaining success and power
  • Exploiting other people for personal gain
  • A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment
  • A preoccupation with power or success
  • Feeling envious of others, or believing that others are envious of him or her
  • A lack of empathy for others

If you or someone you know demonstrates any of these traits, Narcissistic personality disorder might be the problem and it is not to be taken lightly.  Seeking professional help is essential and can make a difference.

There is good news,  many counseling and psychotherapeutic techniques have been proven effective in the treatment of Narcissistic personality disorder.

These treatments include:

  1. Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  3. Psychotropic medications

There are also the words of Jesus from the New Testament, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” Matthew 7:12.

© 2018 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

What’s wrong with people? Part 2

Part 2 of A Seven Part Series on Why People Do What They Do

Part 2

People tend to take the easy way out

 

People do tend to take the easy way out; often making both their life and the lives of others more difficult.

In the continuing look at the ““social-psychological” problem of “What’s wrong with people?” it’s not only evident that people don’t think things through but that they also tend to take the easy way out. If there is an easy way to accomplish something most people will take the easy road to their intended accomplishment.

This is not to say that the easy way is never the best way; sometimes it is. Even the problem-solving solution by the thirteenth-century English Franciscan friar, William of Ockham stated that “when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the answer that makes the fewest assumptions”. In other words, what has become commonly known among scholars as “Occam’s razor “suggest that the best solution or answer to a problem is often the simplest or most obvious conclusion that sometimes the simplest and easiest way to a solution is the best.
Occam’s razor does not seek to offer complete and absolute proof, but to find the simplest probable answer to a question of why an event happened.

Although the good Friar was a man of God and quite learned for his day in the fields of science, math, philosophy, and theology, the overall theme of the church was that every choice man made should be attributed to God or the church. As a result, everything people did that was bad for them was due to their disobedience to God.

Over time, people began to blame God or the Devil for everything that was good or bad in their lives. God and/or the devil were the obvious “easy answer” to all of life’s situations, difficulties, and problems. In essence, the most obvious answer to “What’s wrong with people?” was simply they weren’t obedient to God.

That trend continued over the centuries which followed and continues today; only now God becomes less and less the “easy way out” and other people, places, and things become the easy road or solution to humanity’s problems or accomplishments. After all, man has moved beyond God (or so most think).

Generally speaking, the easy way out for many people is the “blame game”; the idea that “it wasn’t me”. It was somebody else, it was a professor, a parent, a college, a pastor, a love relationship, the car they were driving or the road on which they were driving. For others, it was the job or the lack thereof, the foods they eat, the stress in their lives, sibling rivalry, bad genes, not enough money or too much money, alcohol, drugs or sex.

Unfortunately, Psychology, the very profession I’ve been a part of for over forty years has made the blame game the top “easy way out” for most people.

After all, it was the father of Psychiatry, Sigmund Freud who concluded that all of our problems can be traced back to our parents and our childhood; we could now blame our parents for our flaws, our frailties, and our failures.

Even though Carl Yung attempted to emphasize that personality traits and behavior were learned through social interaction and environment, the tendency within the Mental Health Community has continued to allow the blame game a significant area of emphasis.

Although blame is a simple and easy road on which to escape responsibility, it isn’t the only “easy way out”.

One of the easiest ways out of any situation in life for many people is the age-old art of lying. I use the term “art” here as opposed to sin because even though everyone does it in one form or another, some people have indeed made lying an art form due to their pathological infatuation with its use.

For far too many people today, the failure to keep the ninth commandment is not even considered a sin since everybody does it. Even many theologians argue that technically there is no “Thou shalt not lie” found anywhere in the Ten Commandments or anywhere else in the Law of Moses. These Theologians would argue that the ninth commandment is about “Not bearing false witness against one’s neighbor”; in other words claiming or saying your neighbor said or did something they had not done; most would even argue that the commandment was primary about land and property disputes. Of course, lying is still implied even though not stated specifically.

So choosing the simplest way of doing something, blaming someone or something else for our mistakes or failure and lying are all ways of taking the easy way out. The most common way of taking the easy way out, however, is simply never committing to a task or quitting after the task has begun.

As we continue our look at “What’s wrong with people?” it’s obvious that people all too often tend to take the easy way out leading to mistakes and difficulties which affect themselves and everyone around them.

If more people would slow down their lives and stop to think things through, they’d be less apt to take the easy way out making life better for everyone.

© 2018 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

What is wrong with people? Introduction

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

Updated September 5, 2018

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

 

After writing this article almost two years ago, I felt it necessary to take a break from my current seven part series on “What is wrong with people? and time for an edit and update. It seems to me the flagrant and frequent use of profanity on social media is certainly another issue “wrong with people”.

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.
Since the original writing of this article back in February. 2017, I’ve noticed there are now even Facebook pages and websites all dedicated to the “F-bomb” with such titles as WTF, IDGF, WFC and many others. I even know several author friends that have incorporated this vile disgusting word into their email addresses and user names; how degrading. Why would any normal, rational and decent human being want to be known as “F’n this” or “F’n that”; it seems rather demeaning.
In addendum, it’s interesting that Facebook will allow the pursuit and use of profanity over their social media platform in defense of “Free Speech” while removing and blocking conservative news articles and those with differing intelligent opinions, including many Christian website posts.
Ok, it’s true on this point I’m extremely unapologetically conservative. I am also unapologetically a Christian. But right is right and wrong is wrong and profanity is simply wrong; don’t even try to justify its use. Nothing good ever results from the use of profanity; only those with uncontrolled anger issues and people given over to corrupt thinking feel the need for its use.
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 67, 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, seminary and grad school, the body men, painters and techs were horrible with their use of profanity. Much of this filthy talk resulted from the difficult,frustrating and often dangerous work. For me, I simply chose not to curse or use profanity and I continue that same refrain today.
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 descriptive 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.
As a psychologist certified in the treatment of “sexual dysfunction” (and I’m not referring to the popularized medical ED term here), I have found in group therapy all too often the degree to which people are vocabulary ignorant. Men and women often can’t even describe their own sexual organs because they have been so used to a few descriptive profanity words.
The bottom line is there is simply NO need for the “gutter style language” so 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.
I am proud to say that my great grandfather, grandfather, father, myself and my oldest son as well as thousands of other men and women throughout the South were named after this Christian gentleman.
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.
© 2018 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD
Once again, as a side NOTE, I will no longer tolerate rude, crude and distasteful language on any of my social media sites from ANYONE.

Yes Lee, there are crazy people

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In light of the Christmas season and our recent Presidential Election, it seemed somewhat appropriate to examine in a slightly satirical way an often protected and politically correct aspect of the mental health care field known as “psycho-babble”.

So in the spirit of the New York Sun response to eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon’s question as to the existence of Santa Claus, in 1897 entitled, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” this article is a reflection on the mental and emotional state of many people today and their inability to deal with life and react to difficulties and disappointments.

Following the recent United States Presidential Election with the surprise results of a Donald Trump victory and the accompanied whining, whaling and protesting from the losing liberal left, a Psychiatrist colleague of mine from Florida (now retired and living in Costa Rica) chatted online with me about his thoughts on the matter. He stated his view of the general mental and emotional state of people in America today. In our discussion, this MD, PhD Psychiatrist friend unexpectedly says to me, “You know Lee, some people are just CRAZY”. He went on to say, “And those that aren’t crazy are just MEAN and there isn’t enough psycho-therapy, anger management, Xanax, Prozac or even Thioridazine in the world that’s going to help”.

Now 75 years old, my friend and colleague admitted he was sitting on the beach of his beach house sipping on his fourth Corona of the afternoon but he continued to reiterate that after forty years in the mental health field he was fed up with all the “excuses” and “psycho-babble” of psychology and psychiatry. He just kept saying, these whiners and protestors were just crazy and mean; this mind you from a board certified Psychiatrist.

Although somewhat surprised by my friend’s very stern conclusions, most of us as colleagues know him well for his candid remarks.  Those of us in the mental healthcare field will usually be quick to tell you  we don’t use terms like “stupid”, “idiot”, “ignoramus”, “moron”, “retard” and definitely not “crazy”. We were taught the correct mental illness designations and as such over the years we’ve been told it is “insensitive”, “inappropriate” and simply wrong to use such terms; in fact we have been taught it is not “politically correct”.

To some degree, it has been much like one of those “big secrets” we hold on to and hide from our young or don’t want people to know about ; you know, like the “tooth fairy”, “Easter Bunny” or even “Santa Clause”.   There seems to be evidence or at least the inference that these mythical entities exist but most people don’t really believe it.  

Freud told us there is no such thing as normal, only what’s normal for you.  The  result over time has been the development  within the world of mental health and psychotherapy that there are no “crazy people”; there are only individuals which are mildly neurotic with any number of associated phobias or phobia of the day or neurological or psychotic conditions such as delusional (or other variations)  of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder (or syndrome) OCD, OCS, HDD, HDAD, etc.

The result is the so called “millennial snowflakes” which simply can’t accept reality, the consequences of their actions or the disappointments and sometime failures of life; they believe life should be fair and when it comes to wealth everybody should share. The American people watched almost with amazement as thousands of these individuals suffered an entire emotional and mental breakdown live on Television and streaming media following Hillary Clinton’s loss.

As my friend and I concluded our on line chat, he went on to blame the psychobabble of mental health care for the state of these individuals and their inability to cope.

He sees this problem as very serious for the future of our country and has a suggestion to solving this problem for our President elect. He recommends that all colleges and universities which receive any Federal financial assistance or research funding be mandated to teach “hands on” courses on “How to handle life and failure”; not just class room instruction but courses required for all students regardless of major or minor which puts them in the non-academic real world, getting their hands dirty and being exposed to both success and failure.  He pointed out that many Christian and private institutions already have similar required courses and turn out some of the finest and most stable graduates in the world.

This very learned counselor went on to say that much of the problem (as he sees it) is and has been over the past three decades the teaching by colleges and universities of too many Positive Mental Attitude and Eastern philosophy courses which he calls a “cancer on the reality of life”.

He closed by saying, “Yes Lee, let’s be honest, we can call it whatever you like but the reality is, there are crazy people”.

Thank you Dr. G.K.

© 2016 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

Martyr syndrome by any other name

martyr-syndrome3

Martyr syndrome by any other name

by

Dr. Lee Outlaw

Most of us are aware of the old saying, “Misery loves company”. For many people that saying can often move one step forward turning dependent and becoming, “Misery needs company”.

The idea of course, is that some people focus their entire life on either previous and present problems or difficulties attempting to draw attention to those life experiences. In turn, these individuals seem to enjoy and are even insistent on sharing these experiences anytime, anywhere and with anyone who will listen.

This personality disorder is referred to by many names: Martyr complex, Martyr mom syndrome, Martyr Victim complex, Martyr Personality Disorder, Relationship Martyrdom, Romantic Martyr Syndrome, Hero complex, Heroic Martyr Syndrome and even to some extent, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissism and Social Anxiety Disorder (or SAD).

Although each varies slightly, regardless of the associated label, they each tend to fit into the general “learned behavior” classification of Martyr (or Martyrdom) syndrome. The important thing to emphasize here is that this is a real and genuine personality disorder and a legitimate mental health issue which should not be taken lightly.

Because this is generally a “learned behavioral problem”, it is important to remember that these individuals are unstable and can be dangerous (extremely dangerous) to both themselves and others.  The very use of the term “martyr” with the associated disorder is indicative as to the limit that these individuals are willing to go in order to emphasize their condition.

Generally speaking, Martyr Syndrome is a condition in which a person uses their suffering, self-sacrifice, and role as a victim to manipulate others into psychologically rewarding them for their ongoing misery. In other words, these individuals actually enjoy their suffering and unconsciously see it as a means of self-gratification and (to some degree) personal accomplishment.

Just like full blown narcissism, these individuals usually hide their personal belief that they are superior to everyone else and entitled to the very things for which they claim no desire. They actually hide deep emotions of envy and the desire to exploit their situation. They are controlling and manipulative without empathy, guilt or remorse.

Many of these individuals also tend to laugh at everything, leading many psycho-therapist to believe that some with Martyr Personality Disorder might also have a degree of  connected Hebephrenic Schizophrenia due to the fact many of these individuals appear at times as almost emotionless. Their drive and determination are lost and goals abandoned, so that the patient’s behavior becomes characteristically aimless and empty of purpose. Many patients will often refer to even serious situations with, “Let’s just wait and see what happens”.  There is also a superficial preoccupation with religion, philosophy, and other abstract themes which may add to the patient’s difficulty in keeping with an  obvious train of thought.

Unfortunately, these individuals also self-label themselves with fad, neo-religious or pseudo-philosophical identities such as minimalist, naturalist, Universalist, poly-ist (contemporary term for non-religious modified polygamy) and even veganism (as opposed to vegetarianism). Most with Martyr Syndrome usually know very little about such lifestyles or philosophies but associate with them simply because (for the moment) “it sounds good”; some would even initially say, “It’s the right fit”. As a result, they will often force themselves and their families into an associated lifestyle which they then emphasize and project to those around them; whether intended or not.  

The two current philosophies being mentioned by many Martyr Syndrome/Martyr Personality Disorder patients is minimalism and poly-ism; both are extremely dangerous philosophies and lifestyles because they’re pseudo-religious with roots in religion. There is also much about these philosophies on both cable television and the internet which simply adds fuel to a Martyr Syndrome fire.

As an example, some individuals who identify with “minimalism” will get rid of everything they own; just give it away and not even try to sell it. Their philosophy usually goes like this, “I don’t like things or I don’t need things I don’t use”. The problem is these “minimalist” (as they call themselves) are selective. They might give up chairs, beds, use only minimal clothing, no TVs, cars, have only one cup, bowl or plate for each house hold member to give an outward appearance of “being without or doing without”. But they also have high speed internet, thousand dollar phones, tablets and selective appliances of conveniences. In other words unconsciously they want to talk the talk but not walk the walk; a hypocrite by any other name. This usually ends badly.

Over the years as a counselor/psychologist, I have seen marriages end, children run away at an early age, unwanted pregnancies occur, the elderly, children and disabled abused or abandoned, criminal acts committed, deaths (that didn’t have to occur), suicide and homelessness result as a direct result of the minimalist lifestyle.

Still others will become fascinated with a different sexual lifestyle such as “poly-ism” which is a contemporary non-religious modified form of polygamy (this includes almost every sexually deviated relationship imaginable involving multiple partners); usually this lifestyle is chosen because of previous bad relationships and/or failed marriages. Like “minimalism”, this usually ends badly and often leads to another bad and ended relationship. Almost with certainty, someone usually ends up hurt and out on the street.

Martyr syndrome patients unconsciously want to be hurt and in pain. As such they recognize the potential for pain and suffering in both these lifestyles resulting in a desire to experience them both; it’s like another reference in their mental resume of pain and suffering.

What is important to remember here is the “martyr” aspect of the syndrome.  The person uses their suffering, self-sacrifice, and role as a victim to manipulate others into psychologically rewarding them with outward expressions of appreciation or sympathy for their ongoing misery. It’s because of the martyr syndrome, that a person’s actual (unconscious) enjoyment of their misery; their pain and their suffering that they desire to experience more of the same in these unusual lifestyles.

It’s also important to point out that these individuals might seem normal in every aspect of the word. They might occasionally desire things of convenience or comfort, express a need to have physical pain stopped or even to emphasize their enjoyment of the lifestyle or relationship they have chosen. But as soon the opportunity arises and the unconscious desire kicks in to be the martyr, everything is given or thrown away, philosophical talk and reasoning begins about mentally removing pain, changing to a diet that can eliminate an illness and any positive relationship is suddenly considered wrong.

The result is the reversion to full blown “Martyr Syndrome or Martyr Personality Disorder”.

It should be noted that the reversion factor in most patients comes without warning like most syndromes and personality disorders. A person diagnosed with Martyr Personality Disorder can be undergoing therapy, be making significant progress and then suddenly and out of the blue revert back to their former condition.

The great irony of Martyr Syndrome and Martyr Personality Disorder  is the patients don’t know they’re sick and when a person doesn’t realize they have an illness it is difficult to treat the illness. Part of the reason for this is that like most mental health problems, there are denial and avoidance issues.

When someone attempts to confront a person with Martyr Syndrome about their condition, they deny they have a problem. They subsequently avoid any further discussion about it or their related lifestyle.

Of special importance to those in the healthcare and home healthcare industry is the fact that many of them suffer from Martyr syndrome. Very often these individuals which give so much of themselves  get so caught up in the daily process of giving and witnessing the pain of others that they develop a Martyr Personality Disorder.

Groups which teach Eastern mysticism, unified or universal philosophical thought (or truth), self-healing, miracles, minimalism and advanced or “super-spiritualism” usually attract those with Martyr Syndrome and Martyr Personality Disorder. Such teaching is almost like a magnet to these seriously troubled people. It is unfortunate that many of these groups attempt to “counsel” these people increasing their pain, hardship and the inability to face reality.

Sadly, many of these people search their entire lives trying to “find their way”, seeking approval and the proverbial truth while just trying to “fit in”. Because most never find the answers they want (or need) their unconscious mind takes over and many end up in cults or dictatorial communes just to survive; still others end up as part of the tens of thousands of homeless which walk America’s streets every day.

Again, it is important to realize that Martyr Syndrome is a very serious Mental Illness which requires real, genuine professional Psycho-therapy. All the Eastern mysticism and the like will not solve the problem.

If you know someone or personally identify with “Martyr Syndrome or Martyr Personality Disorder”, please seek out a professional mental healthcare counselor immediately. Remember, your pain and suffering is real but does not have to continue.

I will have more to say on this subject in future articles.

 © 2016 Dr. Lee Outlaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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