Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Get out of my head!
In the wise words of DBT's creator Dr. M. Linehan; 

"The less you know, the more you worry, the worse you feel, the more you can't decide what to do, the more ineffective your are, the more you worry...

The more you experience non-giving, authoritarian environments, the more you worry, the less you practice, the less you know, the worse you feel, the more you can't decide what to do, and so on.."
This post has been more than a little bit difficult for me to write. I have scoured the internet looking for others views on this topic and came up with nothing except confusion. You see, I am ashamedly, immensely self limiting when it comes to my interpersonal relations. This is mostly due to my crippling inability to be NON-JUDGMENTAL. The resounding tone from the group today when introduced to this module with FACTORS REDUCING INTERPERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS, was an echo-chamber of the like-minded, nodding heads and understanding smiles.

Of the five factors covered; LACK OF SKILL, WORRY THOUGHTS, EMOTIONS, INDECISION, ENVIRONMENT, I feel that the one which stands out is clearly WORRY THOUGHTS for me. 

I am always worrying about what others think of me, how I look. "Do I fit in?" "Am I acting right?" "They wish I wasn't here" "They would rather not talk to me". These thoughts distract me from being able to met the social demands of an interpersonal situation.

Mr. Worry!
Another way that I feel my judgments impede my ability with regards to dealing with people, is what I think about others. I am very quick to generalize people based on very little information! I suppose this is the diagnostic criteria of black and white thinking rearing its nasty head. When someone comes out with something I deem unattractive, I am altogether too quick to totally write them off. One acquaintance recently came out with;  "Children are so annoying!". We were in Starbucks, and the local toddle waddle team had set up base beside us. Making lots of noise and very distracting. All of a sudden, I was dismissing my friend and blanking on all her great qualities. All I could think about was, how awful a person she was for saying that. "What a horrible person she must be if she doesn't like children!". I let my judgments get in the way of having a good time and a nice chat. I was stand-offish for the rest of the time we spent together. I short. I wasn't very personally effective! 

What happens when I have a judgment about someone is that I then search for proof of it. I look for ways that that person then conforms to my judgment, and I ignore ways that he or she doesn’t conform. I build a case for my perception and create a story about that person, which then interferes with my reacting purely and simply and EFFECTIVELY in the moment to that individual. My ideas and story get in the way of seeing the whole truth about that person. Furthermore, my reactions to him or her are bound to be quite negative when the story is a negative one, whether I am conscious of that or not. What happens when I feel negative or react negatively to someone? Usually, I get a negative response back, which reinforces my negative feelings. I don’t realize the part I played in creating that negativity. If you were being judged, or even just sensing the negativity behind an unspoken judgment, how likely is it that you will feel positively toward someone and act accordingly? Judgment produces judgment, while love produces love. 

The trouble I see with judgments is that they keep me from connecting withothers. They maintain a sense of separation because what I am judging is the fact that I or the other person is different from me or different from an idea or ideal I hold: either myself or he or she “should” be this way or that way.

I am looking forward to learning how to get past these factors, and with Christmas fast approaching, the timing couldn't be better!

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