Tag Archives: stress

“Sandy” As Cheap Entertainment

I think most people from time to time wish they could lock themselves in the house and never have to deal with other people again. I’d like to think that would make me feel better and lower my stress level considerably. We all know that is not very realistic. We still have to make money to buy the necessities in life and to pay for that roof and four walls we’ve surrounded ourselves with. Besides, I don’t think it would take very long before those walls started to close in on me and cabin fever would set in. My stress level would probably double at that point and totally defeat the purpose.

Normally, I tend to think this way when someone or just general circumstances in life become hard to deal with. I have recently found myself feeling just the opposite. Lately, I have had a “difficult person” in my life but instead of wanting to just stay away, I find myself wanting to be around more and more. It has become a form of entertainment for me.

This person, we’ll call them…oh, I don’t know…. “Sandy”….like the squirrel from the Sponge Bob Squarepants cartoon, because that is what happens to be on my son’s television at the moment.

Like the cartoon Sandy, this one is actually very intelligent and capable of doing what needs to be done and figuring out how to deal with more than your average day to day problems. The thing is, this Sandy loves to manipulate people, lie when it isn’t necessary and keep drama rolling at all times. All Sandy’s energy and brain power is devoted to these things rather than just simply taking care of the everyday tasks and solving normal daily problems. I’m sure it’s all very exhausting.

I’ve learned that there are very simple rules in dealing with people like Sandy. First you have to keep your nose clean and make sure you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Cross all your  T’s and dot all your I’s and by all means, re-check yourself often. Second, watch your back every second of the day. Never just assume that everything will be okay because people like Sandy can strike when you least expect it. Finally, the third rule is to be sure to give them plenty of rope with which to hang themselves. Then sit back and watch the show. All this checking and re-checking and watching your own back, does take a little extra energy, but it is necessary and the payoff is usually worth it all.

The Sandy’s of the world are a very interesting breed to observe. They seem completely oblivious to the tangled mess they make of their own lives in the process of deliberately trying to hurt someone else. They usually believe that they are winning the “game” until the very second before their whole charade is finally exposed.

If you happen to be the target of their deceit, take it as a compliment because they only attack people that they see as a threat in some way. Maybe they think you are smarter or more capable of something that they want for themselves. Maybe they envy you in some way. Sometimes they just want to get rid of anyone intelligent enough to see through their lies.

So, instead of Sandy making me want to turn into a complete hermit, she has accomplished just the opposite. I am beginning to very much enjoy the show. Who doesn’t like seeing justice served?


Styles of Thinking

Eastern Washington University has an article on their website called, “15 Styles of Distorted Thinking” and unfortunately I fit into most of those 15 categories. Who among us can say that their actions at some point haven’t fit into most of these styles. This article is a part of their section on stress management and according to the site, recognizing these patterns of thinking can help you to understand the things that cause stress. These are simply ways of thinking to avoid.

I would assume, in a perfect world, a person might recognize after reading this article that they must be “Catastrophizing” a situation and if they just stop doing that, their stress level will dramatically decrease. What if there is an impending catastrophe? (Yes, I realize the very wording of the previous sentence is Catastrophizing) If so, a person would be denying their inborn sense of fight or flight in an attempt to ward off stress. Essentially a person would then sit and wait for the catastrophe to happen. Like falling and not stretching out your arms to catch your fall.

Since I was a small child, I was told to put myself in the other person’s shoes and think about how they must be feeling or thinking. In a sense, that is the idea conveyed by “Mind Reading” in this article. I’d like to believe that the article refers to an extreme version of this, where the mind reader doesn’t leave room for the chance that the observed person could possibly be thinking or feeling differently than they would. In my opinion that would actually be classed as something a little more severe than a stress point.

Most of these styles could easily fit into a diagnosis much larger than a simple stress point. That statement reminds me of another article that I recently read concerning an experiment with sane people willingly being admitted as patients in psychiatric hospitals. It was called the Rosenhan Experiment. These people pretended to hear voices and such and were diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses and admitted to several hospitals in various states in the US. After being admitted, they suddenly stopped hearing the sounds and voices and reverted back to “themselves.” Several of these people were kept in the hospitals for months and all were forced to admit that they had one mental illness or another and agree to take medications before they could be released. After these patients were released, doctors and nurses were asked to find fake patients in their hospitals. These healthcare workers were unaware that none of these patients were still in their care. The caregivers then proceeded to find a large number of patients in their care that seemed to have faked their conditions.

Thank goodness the days of lobotomies are gone. I don’t think any of us would be safe and I wonder how many of us would be classed as sane at the end of the day.


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