Friday, April 15, 2016

Self Analysis Growth: Journaling

Analysts, student analysts, investigators, and other professionals can become discouraged at a simple error.   I noted something like this during the week with a simple statement.  

Some did terrific profiling work deeply pressing into the statement, while still missing a simple standout.   Others circled and circled it, but missed. One circled and circled, and like a shark on a scent,  grabbed it. 

As I said to many of them: No worries.  This is an easy error to rectify.  The formula for repair is simple:

Repetition and Time. 

It is not likely to respond to more concentration.  It is something that goes into the classification of "brain recognition" that effort and concentration may actually work against you, than for you, as it is far better to simply trust the training:

The issue at hand will show itself again, and again, and again after that.  
It will take both repetition (many statements) and it will take time, not just time to get to these statements, but time for the brain to, in reflex, recognize the classification of the words in question, and when it is cemented in, it will take no concentration, nor will it be missed. The time passage is critical; not simply to process, but to have the "high and low" of hormonal response to the word:  "Wow!  This just revealed that...!"  

"This just revealed..." is accurate.  "I did not find it, but it revealed itself..." is truth in pattern recognition and yes, it can be exciting which means a cool-off period will help.  

This is because the words in this particular classification are so simple and common that the brain will quickly pass by without much thought at all.  When the pattern recognition takes place, it is, sometimes, a stunning and beautiful thing. 

It was not an error of misapplication of principle, or the more common, conflicting principle.  It was something that I actually do not want any of them to concentrate on repairing, but to let time and practice do the work for them.  

There are other errors that will not be corrected with Repetition and Time.  Specifically, looking within oneself, and recognizing error within our own intellectual and emotional responses, is something that an instructor can only point out:  it is up to the individual to do the necessary work to facilitate change, including in depth processing, either with a trusted loved one, or, as I often recommend:


Journaling allows for us to uncover our own weaknesses, in private, and in ways that Statement Analysis may recognize where even well heeled professionals miss. 

I have a particular weakness that sometimes surprises me how often it raises itself from the dead; or at least, from the place I thought I buried it. 

Contrarian Thinking

Contrarians are those who wish to take an oppositional point of view, not for healthy debate or disagreement, but because they need to.  It is not always that the topic needs a contrarian opinion, but that the person, himself, has a need to take a position.  We sometimes get tip offs ahead of time when one announces, "I'm not a yes man."  It generally does not end well. 

Some contrarians feel a 'threat' in life and react this way, not always, but enough to need some assistance. 
Others are contrarians because they are pedantic; know-it-all types who have low self awareness and rarely, if ever, see how offensive they can be as they dawdle on and on to others who's eyes have lost focus.  

The Lonely Contrarian 

Some contrarians have few if any friends, or deep relationships in life.  This is something we deal with in analysis.  Books are written recommending how you can deal with them in life, labeling them as "toxic" (they are) and, basically, how to avoid them entirely.  This is something I find quite sad and am not always wiling to do. I would hate for others to give up on me, so I do not wish to quickly hoist the white flag up for others.  

It sometimes gets me in hot water.  

A particularly weakness of mine is in dealing with the  trouble-making contrarian.  

This is one who has few close relationships, and wears it as a badge of honor, with "people stink!" mentality, and sometimes cling to pets who cannot talk back, or disagree.  

These are those who, when hired, become a morale destroyer.  The self awareness is very low.  When it comes up in a seminar, it puts me in an awkward place:  

do I continue the lesson, which will not humiliate the contrarian, or do I spare his or her feelings and send the information via email, to the others?

I find that I most always change my teaching schedule by not going through with it.  

I have even tried to pre-empt this by getting people to raise their hands before speaking.  This way, if I sense a contrarian about to 'step into something embarrassing', I can say, "just hold your thought a minute" and address the person privately, to spare embarrassment.  Here are a few examples: 

I was teaching on "I love you" in analysis, and had reminded the audience, again, to "please raise your hand and do not just call out", because I knew what to expect.  The notes had been prepared weeks earlier, and specific topics were asked to be covered, including the relevant for this audience, 'children' and relationships in analysis.  I had a short session and it was to focus on 'relationship language', including social introductions, greetings and salutations. 

I said, "When someone writes or says, "I said 'I love you' to my son and kissed him goodnight in a statement, it is indicative of some trouble within the relationship.  This is because the subject feels a need to persuade us to the contrary.  We all say "I love you" to our children, making it unnecessary, particularly in a police statement where a domestic is indicated..."

A woman called out (interrupting the class), "I say I love you to my daughter!" in defiance.  I looked over at one of the managers who averted her eyes.  

I said, "Yes, but it is the need to tell others this, that makes it so important..."

She interrupted me again.  "I want the world to know I love my daughter!"

I said, "Ok, let's move on" and found my bearings and went to other portions of the teaching, lest I tear her heart out in front of an audience. 

The manager who looked away had approached me some time before this to ask whether or not what she had heard between the woman and her young daughter warranted, as a mandated reporter, a call to Child Protective Services. 

Very sad, indeed.

Recall, on a more comical side, the investigator who interrupted the seminar to report that the seminar was great, "but" the teaching about "I swear to God was wrong because me and my sister..."

For 40 years, she and her sister had a rule that they took from childhood to adulthood that said if one of them used the phrase, "I swear to God", they absolutely could not lie to one another. 

Although this one led to open laughter in the audience, I lost the investigator as she did not laugh, even though she had, by interrupting, just proven the principle to be true:  She and her sister had been lying to each other their entire lives with the only exception being when they take an oath to Divinity.  

I have long thought of how I could have handled that situation to reduce the embarrassment but other than the two warnings I give (1.  "You will be tempted to say "but I", sometime in the seminar.  I urge you to simply suppress this until after the entire seminar" and 2.  Please do not interject, but raise your hand and wait to be called upon!). 

To this day, I do not know if she even 'gets' how deceptive she and her sister had to be in life, towards each other (besides developing a very nasty habit of lying!) all these years.  

When I do "stop" the lesson to avoid seeing someone humiliated in front of others, I do commit myself to 'make up work' and address the principle, generally in email, or in MP3 recording, so that no one unjustly loses out on the teaching.  

Toxic Man in the Glass Cage 

In one state job, a man was so toxic to his fellow employees and had no self awareness and no response to warnings, threats, counseling memos and even his fellow employees "boycotting" him (no one would speak to him) stopped him, that the department finally gave him a remote office in another building that was near vacant where he played computer games (mostly solitaire) all day.  State workers in the building began to complain because his office was a renovated nursing station of all windows.  This meant that when anyone walked by, they could see him, at every hour, playing solitaire.  

State workers do not need any reminder about entitlement or laziness, so when the public walked by, they would point and laugh and disparage all workers because of him.  In the new building, people complained to his off site supervisor as well as to HR, but to no avail.  (He fit into 'victim class' loudly, and claimed 'discrimination' at each complaint but the tension reached the point where no work was getting done so they 'isolated' him in a glass 'cage' of sorts, and found that by removing him from the office, productivity returned).  

Years later, I interviewed him.  

I have a "certainty" that if I reason with the trouble maker, he or she will see reason and exhale, and stop the stirring of the pot.  He would reason with me, and stop the toxic behavior.  

It never works, yet I always think it will.  

There is a common denominator of some of the difficult contrarians that help you to understand:

They are lonely, but it is never their fault.  

They blame others. 

This is a verbal (or written, as in job applications) that the person is entrenched in his or her own position and is not going to budge just because you or I show kindness and employ reason.  At the job, it is a morale destroyer.  

"Those who will have friends must show themselves friendly."

This above statement is thousands of years old.  

It completely removes the blame shifting that toxic personalities do.  

I need to recognize this almost inability to 'give up' on someone who is determined to trouble others.  Whether it be in writing, in person, at seminars, in employment, or in relations, it is a personality trait that is very difficult to deal with in this form. 

There are many lesser elements of it, and all of these do respond well where motivation exists.  

One young analyst did the necessary work once he was shown that, on occasion, he would take positions that did not seem to need an opposing voice; not always, but just every so often.  It was enough to see a pattern in his work and it could have impacted his "expected", even within the investigatory interview process. 

He was intelligent, friendly (actually, quite popular) but every so often he would catch himself almost enjoying a disagreement.  


But  he discovered his need to 'stand up for himself' as if he was back to being a kid again, and having his older siblings incessantly correct him, giving him a desire to assert himself.  He found that by taking on the source of this, he was able to pause and ask himself, "Do I really disagree with this?" first, and then,

"Is it necessary for me to voice my disagreement?" on to the final key:

"Is it wise for me to disagree here?"

It is here that he found his freedom.  Not only did he get to the source and 'check' himself, but he grew to the point where he learned, young in life, that sometimes others that are wrong, have no desire to be corrected.  There was something "freeing" in all of this, he said.  

The journal should be of such that you write down everything you can about the topic.  

If, for example, you struggle with trust, take weeks, or even months, to journal the history of your life, including painful betrayals and heartache. 

Remember:  every life worth living is worth telling.  It is why I love reading biographies and autobiographies.  I don't think I have ever personally met a single person who's autobiography I would not want to read.  Life is fascinating and complex.

Then, put the work away.  

Allow for time to erase the emotional connection you had with those words, and then go back and do the work of a dispassionate analyst.  

Highlight the areas of sensitivity, names, times, places, and so on.  Note your pronouns; order, priority, and so on. 

It is something that anyone who has done it and reported back has said how valuable it was in life.  

It is invaluable for the analyst, who must confront his or her own shortcomings and struggles, while simultaneously removing some of the sting from the event, bringing its own measure of freedom.  

Whatever it is that you spot as your weakness, go after it.  Contrarianism, or one that is 'disagreeable' who actually sees himself in this, is already in a great place for growth; by recognizing himself, he is not lacking the self awareness. 

This is just one issue among many.  For me, I have to counter the 'banging head on wall' syndrome where I refuse to accept that one who enjoys troubling others actually does enjoy troubling others.  I project my own willingness to learn upon those who do not have such willingness, and I must be aware of this in my own work. 

Trust issues, whether hyper suspicion or extreme trust into gullibility; or other personal projection, from our own experiences, can all be successfully dealt with in the two part process:

1.  Journal

2.  Analyze the statement as you would any other statement.  

You may be amazed at how effective this can be, both personally and professionally.  Make certain you have given time between the writing and the analysis so that emotions have lost their strength, as you have experienced other difficulties in life which took up your attention. 

What we learn about ourselves in analysis of our own words is both helpful, and insightful.  


mom2many said...

I have always considered myself to have contrarian tendencies, but not quite the way you have defined it. I do love a healthy debate with a willing opponent. I also am one who pursues the truth and have made sacrificial choices when necessary to obtain it. That particular quality about me tends to be the reason I hesitate at embracing what often appears true or right to many, simply because many choose to believe it.

More than a decade ago, I read a quote that put interactions with certain types into perspective for me. It went along the lines of, "You can't reason people out of an idea they have not reasoned themselves into." Many people prefer to follow emotions and allow others to do the thinking. I avoid arguing with them. It is a waste of time.

I have never been a trouble maker. I save my debates for appropriate people, times, and audiences. I usually keep my contrary views to myself, unless I sense someone open to dialog. I don't know where that puts me in your contrarian scale above.

I will try the journaling. I had a traumatic upbringing that I can't manage to recover from. I'm a little uncertain where to start and how much. I suspect my journal will be very long.

*Noting my use of 'try.' I am hesitant to dig it all up, even though I know it rattles around in me daily.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

mommy, my daughter has a healthy dose of it ever since she took to debate.

It is not really what I am describing here, though, and it does not sound like you, either.

mom2many said...

Thank you for the reassurance. I do have others in my life who fit your description to a 'T.' They are not pleasant, and have made their own lives unnecessarily more difficult.

Tania Cadogan said...

I love a debate when someone has a reasoned, well thought out or logical point of view and who is willing to explain why they believe such and such.
I hate when someone says anything along the lines of "cuz" or resorts to name calling and childish behavior.
It is like arguing/ debating with a brick, i get nowhere fast and they outclass me with their stupidity.

I love to ask people why they believe in something or why that have such and such opinion, some have a genuine idea for their belief and some do it simply to be contrary and picking a fight.

Sadly some people are beyond help and spend their whole lives with their fingers in their ears going lalalalalalalala and walking into walls and posts as they have their eyes closed.

Hey Jude said...

I can be pretty contrary, and I know I come across as insensitive sometimes. It's easy to do on-line, when only ever beginning to articulate anything - when if it is unpacked more, what a person is trying to say, and why they are saying it, might seem more understandable. We know the rest of our thought, others can't always fill in the missing pieces, which is easy to forget. If we aren't able, or don't want, to share all the missing pieces, it's obviously going to make it more difficult again to know where someone is coming from. I just added to a post I made earlier, which, on reflection, took insensitivity to a whole new level. I doubt it fixes it, but at least I have tried.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend like that who every few years repackages her lifelong contrarian (perfect descriptive!) ways claiming some new philosophy.
But as I tell her, it's the same old negative crap with new excuses.

When she again took pride in the latest version - her "duty" to play devil's advocate, offer that perspective to every good thing, I told her opposition for the sake of it, without intelligent thought and life perspective behind it, is nothing more than a linguistics exercise, and a sixth-grade one at that.

It actually seems to be helping. We'll see what comes next. :^D