Freedom from Self-Lies

Engraved on the front of a building are these words: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

People who pass by that place look at those words many times. In fact, they originated from the Scriptures.

But we can’t be sure if people who read them really believed they’re true.

Therapy is truth work.

It’s a brave, disciplined effort to face one’s self-lies. And how truths can equip one to fight them.

Alan was over 300 pounds. He’s a food addict.

Doctors repeatedly tell him the truth that his overeating will ruin his health and make him unhappy.

Yet he kept eating too much even though it makes him miserable. He knew he had a problem he needed to change. But … did nothing to change it.

Eventually, Alan’s self-lies led to multiple surgeries. His pain worsened – physically, emotionally, financially, relationally, and spiritually.

He’s unable to be free to be his best self because he did not apply truth in his situation.

He hanged on to ways of acting and thinking even though they’re self-destructive.

Dr. Chris Thurman of Minirth-Meier Clinics explained about “tapes we have in our heads.”

He wrote, “These tapes are ones that continually play either truth or lies that affect every action and thought. When your program is faulty because of the lies in it, the daily ‘data’ it analyzes will trigger the wrong responses.”

I’ve lots of truth-seeking patients.

I help them get rid of their self-lies in their “tapes.” And … replace them with the truth.

But I also remind them that they need to commit themselves to “practicing truth.”

There it is … the way to experience freedom to be your real self.

The Mind of a Jerk

Jerks are known fools. Contemptibly obnoxious persons. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines them as “a stupid person, a person not well liked or who treats others badly.”

How do jerks think?

Jonathan is a certified jerk. Even with the slightest provocation, he’ll turn a minute or incomplete info into a basis to attack you. Verbally. Emotionally. Physically.

For over a year now, Jonathan has been verbally and emotionally abusing his two teenage children and their mother.

He abandoned his children since their childhood. Only to reappear last year in the guise of offering material support onwards.

Jonathan’s true state of mind thereafter is evidenced by his constant control and manipulation. He interprets interpersonal signals consistent with how he sees himself.

For example, when his children missed or forgot calling him, he assumed outright that they’re disparaging him. His expectations of them are excessively negative and unrealistic.

He also bad-mouths and blames their mother to no end, reading unverified threatening meaning into remarks or events. His lack of remorse and amend over past sins is so obvious.

Jerks are often deeply shamed-based. Their perceptual focus is always on the negative. All information they receive have symbolic meanings about their personal identity.

Psychologists/authors Dr. James Harper and Dr. Margaret Hoopes said that shame-based individuals guard against others’ discovering their shame. Much of it shapes the way they think.

Several cognitive patterns Drs. Harper and Hoopes describe as characteristic of shame-based jerks include:

• belief that “something is wrong with me” (impostor syndrome)
• an inappropriate matching of intensity of emotion with events
• label others negatively as if they’re the real thing
• distort incoming information in the perceptual process so that it fits with their world
• intention of others as well as themselves become very distorted
• overgeneralize and magnify
• poor reality testing
• frequent blaming of others and denying of one’s personal responsibility
• attributing ill will or motive to others without proper reason
• mind reading to the detriment of others and themselves
• believe even the most benign acts of others are directed against them to highlight their defects

Needless to say, jerks need a lot of help. But mostly, they fight it a lot.

Times Have Changed

Times have changed.

Bitcoin … the world’s largest bank with no actual cash.

Uber … the world’s largest taxi company, owns no cars.

Facebook … the world’s most popular social media, creates no content.

Alibaba … the world’s most valuable retailer, has no inventory.

Airbnb … the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.

I think you can agree with me. Times have changed. Something interesting is happening.

Speaking of Financial Therapy, consider the world’s coffee shop millionaires … has no office or inventory.

About a couple of years ago, I met a Fil-American medical doctor in the South of the Philippines.

His work in the U.S.? Provide medical services online as well as supervising hundreds of physicians doing it worldwide.

In the field of psychotherapy, counseling, and life coaching, online sessions are a growing trend globally.

Not surprising. We already know it’s possible, so accessible and convenient.

Times have changed.

We’re witnessing it every day.

To your best life change … and freedom.

Unchoosing Masks

Once, I met three brothers. Something seemed a little too regular or constant about each one.

The first brother is comic. Joke by joke, he uses laughter to wall himself off from others’ inattention or admiration. He plays the clown to avoid the burden of facing his dependency and lack of productivity.

The second brother is a cynic. He claims to know your agenda, motivation, or knowledge. Posturing himself as an expert with special knowhow, he discredits even others who offer authentic support.

And the last brother, a depressive. He is unable to think and feel well about himself. He feeds on idle time. He wallows in self pity in the tearful room where he isolates himself. The troubles he experiences inside himself are deep.

Comic. Cynic. Depressive. Three brothers, three masks.

Healthy self esteem is usually non-existent for those walled in by psychological masks. The comic, cynic, and depressive are often ones whose low self esteem prevent them from all they can be. The masks they wear keep them self-centered rather than take responsibility for providing their lives with meaning, product, and accomplishment.

Does these have to be with these three brothers?

Of course, not. All three of them can choose more than they are today. It happens when they learn to unchoose their masks.

Money and Mental Health

Howard, a senior citizen, hoards. He stashes money in the bank, which he says is for his future. He does not want to let his adult children know about it. So when he flies away, his children will not be aware of any of their father’s huge savings.

In the meantime, Howard makes his children feel obligated to give to him a monthly allowance. He always feel insecure and worried regarding his material needs.

Money often reveals your state of mental health. Money “drug” can be like sex, power, alcohol or marijuana. The more you lust, the more you become dissatisfied!

It never stands still. It keeps grasping. It is addictive. To be fulfilled, you’ve to keep increasing the dosage of this drug-of-choice. That’s when it develops into a kind of mental health problem we can call “greed.”

In Howard’s case, the problem is not the saving of money. There are indeed times in our lives that need economy. The problem is the greed that motivates the saving of money.

This greed is both psychological and emotional as much as it’s also spiritual. The anxiety over money that underlies the hoarding has much deeper roots that need to be attended to.

Can You See The Addict’s Denial?

Addiction often influences the way one thinks. Thoughts become compulsive and obsessive as an addict pursues his or her “drug of choice.”

An addict who is not willing to see his or her addiction as it really is defends the continued use of the chosen addictive substance, behavior, or person – both in his thoughts and in relationship with affected others.

A father and husband, for example, goes downstairs of the house after his wife and children are in bed to indulge in internet pornography.

If you ask him why he’s doing it, he may likely engage in denial claiming that it’s just adult entertainment normal for men and not going to negatively affect family and work.

Furthermore, there may also be companion, grandiose thinking assuring his wife or anyone that it’s something he can control by himself.

Remember that denial is a hallmark symptom of addictions. Addicts, especially the unremorseful or resistant ones, will typically hide the truth, refuse to talk about the problem, rationalize around, or minimize his condition.

Indeed, once a person becomes addicted, he is bound to “mask” the strong hold the addiction has on his life. Denial is used by the addict to provide himself a false sense of confidence as he tries to convince his self and others that everything is fine.

So if you’re a loved one or friend of an addict, be careful and discerning!

For an addict to rehabilitate or heal, an essential first step is acknowledgement of the addiction and the damaging effects the addiction has in his life.

Compulsory psychotherapy/counseling or treatment program is ineffective if the addicted person refuses to get past his denial and recognize the reality of his problem.

The unrepentant addict will typically comply with treatment or counseling to avoid unpleasant losses or consequences, such as losing his family, going to jail etc. But he will resume his addiction after buying some time or even after the program is completed.

Natural Mental Health

When I reviewed the studies on psychiatric drugs and treatments most commonly used for mental health patients, I found very little or no evidence of effectiveness. The “disease model” of psychiatry and mainstream medicine does not work.

In fact, numerous patients even got worse with synthetic brain drugs. And a number of human rights legal cases have even been filed against brain drugs over the decades.

Why are people so readily satisfied with the short cuts and simplifications of the medical disease model of mental health?

It seduces us to our wish for a quick fix. The instant gratification that does not require us to struggle with life issues — as if changing our lives are as simple as popping a pill or abstaining from a substance or activity.  It gives the appearance of magic.

In addition, although insights from psychotherapy can be useful tools, I see a need to go beyond them too. You will surely need to work on your addiction or psychological disorder specifically.

But what I believe the most crucial work is lies in what you need to think, feel, and do in regard to the direction of your overall life, of which addiction or a mental health problem is just one expression.

To heal beyond the drug-based or disease model concentrates on strengthening the “life skills.” A person needs to replace an addiction or emotional dysfunction with deeper satisfactions and better ways of coping.

These include personal, marital, and family therapy; emotional and social skills training; job skills; spiritual life savers; and stress management.

Then, there is what I call a “community reinforcement approach” or involvement in therapeutic groups where people’s lives are addressed as a whole as well as their addictions.

The ultimate goal is “whole life” natural recovery and transformation — which disease-oriented treatment says is impossible. There is no reason why you are unable to shed the “addict identity,” for instance.

You  altogether can put your self permanently on a new, healthy plane of existence. It is within reach. If you believe it, and act on that belief.