Monday, October 31, 2011

Monster mash-up

Until I found out I got an award, today was kind of sucky:

  • Went to buy batteries for the camera to take pictures of the Halloween costumes at work and found I didn't have my bank card. Turns out I left it at the bar where I watched football yesterday.
  • Where I work requires badge access and while I remembered to bring my costume and camera, I didn't remember to bring my badge.
  • Turns out they called off Halloween costumes at work and nobody told me. Good thing I planned on changing at work.

But focusing on the good:

  • I had my PayPal card with me and so was able to pay for the batteries anyway.
  • I remembered where I had left my bank card (after some thinking) and it was not abused in any way.
  • We do have a procedure in place where I work for allowing access without a badge.
  • I did dress for work normally and can use the costume for taking my granddaughter trick-or-treating tonight.

Happy Halloween!

Let's do the Mash. Let's do the Monster Mash.

I won an award




Sunday, October 30, 2011


I am often afraid.  This is not unusual.  Most people are afraid at one time or another.  I think part of my fascination with Green Lantern is that he is supposed to be without fear.  Must be nice.  Where I might differ than you is what I am or was afraid of.

I used to be afraid of getting fired.  My parents and their depression-era mentality gave me a palpable fear of being out of work, so much that much like the fear of rejection and abandonment in a relationship I would have done just about anything to keep my job.  I worked for an absolute ass and a petty tyrant for years longer than I should have, simply because I didn't want to get fired.  The cure as it turned out was to get fired anyway and learn that life goes on.

The next thing I used to be afraid of was quitting a job without having another lined up.  This comes from the same place as the above.  And eventually I got the cure via a similar means.  I was at a job and there was a change in supervisors from a woman with whom I got along famously to a woman who apparently took lessons from the tyrant.  I could see the writing on the wall and even though I had nowhere to jump to, I jumped.  I ended up back at the temporary agency that had placed me in the first place and got placed with my present employer and have been work-wise relatively happy ever since.

I fear disappointing my female significant other.  This goes back to my mother and has carried over to whomever currently holds the title of wife / fiancĂ©e / girlfriend.  I tend to value their opinions and affection over my own opinion and so I am afraid to disappoint.  This too plays into my wanting to be loved and fear of abandonment and rejection.  I am working on this.  That is not to say that I want to be a cad and dismissive of my woman.  I just need to remember that my power is mine and that it is my job to be the boss of me and not her.

And I fear succeeding.  Much like the first two, it is a fear of the unknown.  In areas that really mattered to me, I have succeeded so little that I do not know if I can achieve it or if I can handle it if I do achieve it.  Recently, through my work in ACoA, I have found that this is abating.  My confidence level is increasing and I expect there to be many positive changes for me soon.  As I am becoming fond of saying, the only way to do it is go through it.  Yeah, I am a sloganeer.


Here's a very Halloween appropriate song about fear.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Finishing touches

The last two entries on the Laundry List are:
  • Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics [co-dependents] and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  • Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors
I didn't respond to them in my post about Dirty Laundry because I was tired and was having trouble wrapping my head around what they meant and thus whether they applied. Well, I have had some sleep since then (at Kathy's insistence) and I can finally address these.

In looking at the first one, to me this is kind of self-evident.  We would not be in the program if we did not start acting like one.  I have mentioned previous the relationship addiction and the addict like behavior I had concerning it, the evasion, the craving, etc.  So this one too applies.

And the last one took a while to sink in, but it applies to me too.  I am a behind the scenes kind of guy.  I tend to keep balls rolling once they start, but rarely am I the guy to get things started, to make things happen.  Of course, with the assumptions I have been operating under about being able to get what I want, this is to be expected.

I have since moved onto Step 5 and Step 6 is upcoming, but I like to finish what I start and so I figured I would finish these.


Speaking of Kathy...

Friday, October 28, 2011

November is National Novel Writing Month

And I am going to try for the second time ever to write a novel in November for NaNoWriMo.  But that takes about two to three hours a night if I want to finish by Thanksgiving.  So all of November (at least until I finish the novel) will be a series of Monday style posts.

I hope that I do not disappoint you in doing this and if any of you would be interested in actually reading this thing, let me know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

If you leave me now...

I've talked a lot about my purported lovability deficit that lies at the heart of my relationship addiction and problems, but I have not talked much about my abandonment issues.  In truth, it's because I still am having trouble wrapping my head how I could and did feel abandoned in a family where both my mother and father were present growing up.

If someone loses a parent due to divorce, death, or actual abandonment, issues about it happening in love relationships are easy to figure out.  But how can a parent who is there not be there?  That is the question and I think I have the answer.  In looking at my family it was about rejection, a similar place as to from where the love issues come.

A kid does not get to rule the entire family. Adults have to make decisions based in information and situations that a child cannot understand.  That said, if a kid never gets his way, if a kid's ideas, desires, thoughts, etc. never count, then a kid feels rejected.  He is alone in a house full of people.

And I can count on one hand the things that I really wanted in childhood that I ever got.  Not just material stuff.  Approval.  Understanding.  Acceptance.  It was not "My way or the highway" with my parents.  It was more "My way and you will shut up and like it."  There was no highway.  The closest we got was "Eat what I cooked or don't eat," because at least we had the option of not eating (which I did do once).

I am sure I am exaggerating some on this.  I mean, I know we had Cap'n Crunch in the house, so I had to get my way about something (because I am fairly certain my mother would have rather eaten Crisco for breakfast than Cap'n Crunch).  But again it is important to remember that these ideas and conclusions come from a child's far from objective view point.

But at least it is less a mystery to me now.  And knowing this is the beginning of the end of my self-distortion to gain approval.


Tomorrow, I hope to talk about the last few items on the Laundry List and how they apply (or do not) to me.


Chicago, a great group and an area I hope to revisit soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Games People Play

I like to play games.  Game games.  Board games like Monopoly, although Monopoly itself I do not really like.  Card games.  Lots of card games.  I have played at least twice:
  • Bid whist
  • Poker (multiple variations)
  • Euchre
  • Gin Rummy
  • 500 Rummy
  • Canasta
  • Spades
  • Hearts
  • Pitch
  • Baccarat
  • (I Declare) War
  • Spider Solitaire
  • Klondike Solitaire
  • Uno
  • Phase IV
  • Sorry Revenge
  • Old Maid
  • Crazy Eights
  • 52 Card Pickup (I was slow to get it)
I play some computer games, like Zuma's Revenge and Freedom Force (the greatest computer game of all time as far as I am concerned).  I like sudoku.  I like game shows and some puzzles.  But there is a set of games that I do not generally play and I am not good at.  The human games.

Since I always felt apart from people, I never learned the social rituals and expectations.  In truth many of them still do not make sense.  So to figure out why other people do what they do, I read a book on a psychological discipline called Transactional Analysis.  The book was titled Games People Play.

It helped me make "sense" of some behaviors that puzzled me.  I put sense in quotes because in my meaning / thinking they still do not make sense, but I understood better why people do them.  The games have very good descriptive names like Why Don't You? Yes, But... and Let's You and Him Fight.  But there were many they did not write about, ones I have seen in relationships, including my own.

One is asking a question for reassurance and not the actual answer.  I would just as soon you say to me "Honey, I am feeling a little insecure about my attractiveness.  Please pay me a compliment" than you ask me "Does my blank look blank in this?"  Fortunately, I think I may have found someone in Kathy who would actually do that, or at least not ask me a question with a loaded answer.

Another I first saw in a movie and only years later did I live it and figure out why it struck a chord with me.  It was in the movie A Star Is Born, the Barbra Streisand version.  Toward the end Barbra's character wanted Kris Kristofferson's character to fight with her to somehow prove that he cared.  In that scenario to her, fighting with her meant that he loved her.

I did not understand it when I saw it, and I only intellectually understand it now.  But that is because of how conflict habituated relationships are bad for me emotionally.  I think fighting is a false indicator of passion, because I know some people who do not really care what they are fighting about; they just like to fight.

So I try to avoid games whenever possible.  The exception is my infrequent trips into deviousness, such as at work, and in deciding whom gets to really know me.  But unlike the other games I play, human games I do not ever hope to be good at.


The Spinners

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet dreams

Without explaining the whys or revealing the business of my employer, suffice it to say I have been up for about 40 of the past 48 hours...working. So you get a Monday installment on Tuesday.

More ACoA goodness tomorrow. Good night.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Married to the mob

Never be so wedded to your beliefs that new information contrary to your beliefs is dismissed out of hand before dispassionate examination. — me


Speaking of weddings...

And by the lady who wrote it.

The gift that keeps on giving

At the ACoA forum I frequent a poster asked the question "How do I raise my children to not be ACoA?"  This is a very important question.  One of the first exercises you're asked to do in ACoA is chart how the effects of alcoholism have propagated across your entire family.

Beyond alcoholism and marrying alcoholics, things such as rage addiction, perfectionism, and gambling appear as the scars of the ravages of the disease.  It leaves a mark in many different ways.  And naturally one would want to contain something so powerful and virulent.  But how?

Well, first of all, we need to learn new behaviors.  We need to find out how we should have been raised and do that.  This is no easy feat.  We know the way we were raised and that's the first thing in our arsenal.  And learning new behaviors from the outside starts out feeling artificial and stiff.

But eventually new behaviors may be internalized and accepted as our own.  And the old adage applies here: fake it until you make it.  Because otherwise you are planting the ACoA seed.  Beyond learning new behaviors, it is important to understand your old behaviors and where the come from, so that you might actually be motivated to change a behavior that otherwise might work for you.


I think it funny that there are now ads appearing on my page for a dating site when I just recently admitting to having a serial relationship problem.


For those that have interest in my love life, suffice it to say that things with Kathy and me have been going well.  I am trying not to fall too far too fast, but it is hard with a such a nice lady.


Besides not letting your children grow up to be ACoA, you probably want to keep them away from the whole cowboy thing too.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Family time

I spent a good part of the afternoon pumpkin carving with my grandchildren, my niece, my son, my ex-son-in-law, my ex-wife, and her first ex-husband (and current paramour).  It was a nice afternoon, but a little strange because of the combo.

Because you don't want the little ones using the little saws and little knives you use for pumpkin carving, it was adults doing the carving.  And as often happens on the ex-wife's side of things, the alcohol came out.  It was just beer, and everyone who drinks the stuff (which does not include me) stayed relatively sober.  I'm thinking the fear of removing an appendage might have helped that along.

But it reminded me of my younger times.  We did not ever carve pumpkins when I was younger, but there were other family occasions like the one I was just in, only the alcohol signaled the beginning of bad times.  My father would act odd or look bad.  My mother would get angry and frustrated.  And everyone would suffer, because, as the saying goes, "if Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy."

The truly sad part about it all is that it was entirely preventable.  Yes, of course if my dad had not had the beer in the first place.  But also if my mother had just realized that she was not in charge of the rest of the world in general and my father in specific.  I mean, in all honesty, my dad when he was drunk would at first get stupid and hard to understand and then eventually if unprovoked he would just fall to sleep.

I know that others had more belligerent or cruel alcoholics in their lives and that even a peaceful drunk is still a drunk, but it just seemed a little kindness and a little remembering what you could and could not have controlled could have saved us from some misery (and me from a therapist's bill).


Here is one happy mama!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Make Me Lose Control

A recurring theme with this week's step work in ACoA is control.  One of the things that causes a problem is the misunderstanding of what can and cannot be controlled in an ACoA's life.  The Serenity Prayer is the cornerstone of that effort:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Often in an ACoA's early life they have had to take on a role they were not supposed to have, whether it was an adviser to a drunk parent, a protector of the household, a chancellor of the exchequer, or a replacement companion for an absent spouse.

This is how ACoAs can be so reliable and yet so naive about the human condition.  They have learned life out of order.  In my case, I would have to say that my relationship with my mother took on an inappropriate level.

My father worked a lot.  Early on, he worked two jobs.  He would come home tired and not be worth much.  Back then I didn't think he drank on work days, but I could be mistaken.  Later, instead of working two jobs, he would salvage scrap and valuable items from the trash route to make extra money.  This involved a friend of his and drinking.

I was my mother's favorite child.  I was a literal answer to a prayer in that I was the first biological child of she and my father's together to live (my older sister is adopted).  I was also fairly smart and so I represented to my mother a hope for the entire family.

I became a confidant of sorts, not about my mother's relationship with my father, but just someone to talk to who actually understood many of the things she was saying.  My love for having philosophical conversations comes from her imparting her wisdom and that of my grandfather.

But I always felt I was too responsible for my mother's happiness.  I felt a lot of pressure to succeed and felt alienated when my definition for success did not meet hers.  Childhood is precious and should not be about pressure.  It is easy to see how a kid can get confused.


Cleveland's own Eric Carmen.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's on my mind.

I am going to do some freestyle stream of consciousness writing tonight, as I don't have a specific topic ACoA-wise or otherwise (as I am not in the mood to tell the tale of the Wally Wood cartoon yet).  I am feeling off tonight and that usually means there is something to talk about that I have not brought to the surface and stream writing generally brings that to the fore.


I have tried to write this paragraph several times.  I keep stopping and starting, which is against the whole purpose of the exercise.  I want to talk about it not going well with my granddaughter's school work.  I want to talk about my unassigned sadness.  I want to talk about letting a friend down in his hour of need.  I want to talk about all of that.  But the fact that I am being careful seems to me to say that I am afraid of what the answers will be.


Regarding my granddaughter, I think that I am lamenting that being average will probably be an achievement for her.  I hope that I am giving her tools to help her survive in this world.  But I just feel inadequate right now and ineffectual.  Perhaps I am having more of an effect than I can perceive.  You never know.


My friend is in a battle for custody of his children and while at one point he had sufficient funds to see it through, he has, through delays by his ex, lost his funding and now, just a few weeks from trial, will probably lose his attorney.  He came to me for funds, but between the arrangement I made with my ex-wife and a very expensive car repair, I just could help him.  It's not my fight, but I still feel culpable.


I am sad about the unpleasant things I have to remember about my family life.  Kathy's first impressions about my parents have come from this blog and that saddens me.  But she had a wonderful attitude about it, saying that my parents must have had something going on right or I would not be as okay as I am.

I know my parents loved each other but somehow in exploring their flaws and our family pathology I have made it seem that they were emotionally absent monsters.  There were good times too.  And I guess while I need to work through the bad things I need to occasionally stop and remember the good things too.


I'm starting to put some pressure on myself regarding Kathy.  I think it goes back to yesterday's blog about that dumb cartoon.  Now that I think well of her, I am really wanting things to work out with Kathy and I am feeling the fingers of pressure at my throat.  But now is where my ACoA learning has to come to the fore and I just have to hand my fears and my tendency to try and force things up to the Higher Power.


I really do not have a song that fits what I am doing here, so I am just going to think of a song I would like to feature and feature it.  Got it.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

That dumb cartoon

Considering my affiliation with graphic arts over my lifetime, it is only fitting that a lot of my life and world out look was colored by three works of graphic art.  I talked earlier about my challenge to accrue wealth coming from that stupid sign my father put up.  At some point, I will explain how a Wallace Wood cartoon from Mad Magazine forever changed my perceptions of female pulchritude.

But this time I would like to talk about a cartoon that has kept me at bay from achieving almost everything I have ever truly wanted for many, many years.  Back in my day, one of the "strips" in the Sunday comics section was, in fact, a weekly horoscope.  Besides listing a prediction for the week for every sign, it also spotlighted a sign for some feature or purpose or another, accompanied by a single panel illustration.

Well, being a clever young toddler (I forget how early I started reading but I was an old pro at it by Kindergarten), I knew my astrological sign, which is Cancer or Moon Children depending on who's laying out the horoscope.  And on the fateful Sunday in question the feature was on my sign.

The illustration was of a young boy looking wistfully into the inside of a toy store IIRC, but it could have been a candy shop.  It was clearly something that a young kid would yearn for, long for, desire.  And the caption was something amounting to my sign being forever frustrated in achieving our desires.  I don't remember the exact wording, but the line from the song Desperado always remind me of it: "You only want the things that you can't get."

Now I think astrology is without merit or basis in much of anything.  So now, with my adult brain, I believe that dumb cartoon was a bunch of hooey put together to meet a deadline.  The problem is that poor little impressionable toddler did not realize that he was reading bunkum.  And he believed it.  And he owned it.

And for most of my fifty years to one degree or another, I have lived it.  The more I really wanted something, the harder it seemed for me to get it.  The knowledge of the adult has never triumphed over the fear of the child, at least until recently.

The thing I have been doing for a number of things lately has been turning over my needs and desires to the Higher Power, operating with the understanding that I will be given that which I truly need and that which I desire that is within the Higher Power's greater plan for me and everything else.

And so now, many years later, I believe I will soon be free from one of those three drawings.  Good bye, dumb cartoon.


Linda Ronstadt again.  And I've also included the Eagles.  Your pick.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dirty Laundry

One of the key documents in the ACoA compendium is The Laundry List, which is a list of behaviors and traits common to an adult child of an alcoholic.  While an ACoA may have some of the behaviors, no two have to have the same ones.  The Laundry List is this:
  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened of angry people and any personal criticism.
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and "rescue."
  10. We have "stuffed" our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics [co-dependents] and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.
    Part of the step work that we do requires that we identify which of these apply to us with examples.  And so, if I may...

    Number 2 showed itself in my tendency to try to warp myself to my woman's expectations in order to keep the relationship going rather than being myself.  If I was with a woman that liked, say, the Atlantic Monthly, then I would start reading the Atlantic Monthly.  There was a time when my first girlfriend broke up with me that I had to actively rediscover what was me and what I had added to me in order to get along with her.

    Number 3 applies, except frightened is not quite the right word.  The best replacement that means how I felt it is kryptonite.  Anger and personal criticism weakened me, it robbed me of my vitality and resolve.  There was one particular son of a female dog in radio who would ride me so hard that on my lunch hour I would drive someplace relatively far from the radio station and just cry.

    Number 4 happened in a couple of different ways.  There was a time that I got briefly serious with an active alcoholic in a relationship.  She was a great gal when sober but a complete mess when drunk.  And I was seriously trying to figure out how to make it work.  (After all, my mother made it "work" with my dad.)  Her dumping me for questioning the viability of the relationship may have been the biggest favor ever done me. The other way it happened is that I found a woman with rage issues to basically "play the part of my mother" in my family drama.

    Number 6 has manifested itself over and over again.  I am constantly doing things for other people without making sure I have time for myself.  I do homework every night with my granddaughter, not at all an easy thing to do.  I thoroughly cleaned the ex-girlfriend's house for her twice and seemingly always had a chore to do when I visited.

    Number 8 tends to show when I am participating in internet forums.  I would post a strong opinion.  Someone would counter.  I would furiously type back again.  I would refresh the page over and over again, looking for a response so I could pounce and immediately defend my position.  It was in such a situation at the ACoA board that I finally realized that this was one of my problems too.

    Number 10 is the corked bottle phenomenon.  I try not to feel things because when I feel them it hurts too bad.  Feelings are irrational and uncontrollable.  There was a reason I found Star Trek's Vulcanism fascinating.

    Number 11 I have tried to explain to people is split for me.  I am easily my own harshest critic.  It was a fear of my eviscerating myself that kept me from completing even this simple exercise.  However, my self esteem is not really low.  You at this point would point out my unlovability problem as evidence to the contrary.  But I would argue that my belief of unlovability was a conclusion based on evidence and not a belief that there was something wrong with me.  I guess I am saying that I was unlovable, but that was the world's problem and not mine.

    Number 12 is the relationship addiction that I have talked about several times here.  I have done a number of questionable things to keep a relationship alive.  I somehow need to have tangible proof of my lovability in order to believe it.

    The last two are phrased so differently than the others that I cannot decide if they apply or not.  I will revisit them when I am less tired.  (This is being written at 1:17 AM on Monday Night / Tuesday Morning).

    So far, so good.  No overwhelming flood of emotions.  I have decided that this is my week to get moving again on the ACoA steps and so I am doing my step work out loud, both here and at the ACoA board.


    I'll light a candle for good luck...

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    I'm a bad boy.

    I'm an addict.  Even after I was supposed to stop talking to women, I kept talking to one that I was talking to: Kathy from yesterday.  I believe she is different than what has gone before, in part because I am different than what has gone before. As she is fond of saying, you never know.


    Dedicated to Kathy:

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Yes. I must admit it's getting better.

    The most encouraging time in self-improvement is when you can actually see it, when you know the difference between how you were and how you now are, it being how you wanted to become.  Today I had an illustration of how much I have grown over time.

    After my first girlfriend (who made it all the way up to fiancee) dropped me I met a number of women on line and had little to no success.  I then met a woman I will call Ellen.  She was what I thought at the time I wanted in a woman, by looks, by lifestyle, by attitude.  I struck up a conversation with her and we hit it off.

    We had made plans to talk on line at one point via chat, but she did not appear at the designated time.  And I panicked.  Not a little bit.  A lot.  I had decided that she hated me and I had lost my only chance at happiness in the entire history of recorded time.  I tried to contact her via every means I possessed.  I was seriously freaking out.

    Well, when I finally got in touch with her, she was not amused.  I was reeking with the abandonment and lovability fear that I now know is the result of being an ACoA.  She dropped me and never looked back and I thought this was just another in my hard luck world view going all the way back to "that dumb cartoon", which like "that stupid sign" will be the subject of a future essay.

    Fast forward to today.  I have been talking to a woman I will call Kathy.  She is beginning to mean quite a lot to me.  On Friday night, I talked to her until the late hours.  On Saturday I took my granddaughter to the North Carolina State Fair.  Since I have met Kathy, we have been in fairly regular contact.  I would send her a text in the morning.  She would send me one.

    Well, after it would be a reasonable time for her to be awake, I still had not heard from Kathy.  And that same old panicky feeling returned.  I did the normal things, including calling one time instead of texting and trying the home phone instead of the cell, in case the cell was lost.  Nothing.

    And I was ready to go to the nut house.  Only now I knew what was kicking in.  From a purely fact base basis this woman liked me and if she was not available, there was a good reason.  I knew I was being irrational and I lifted up my fear to the Higher Power and went back having my day with my granddaughter.

    Well, as we went to the Ferris wheel (a favorite ride of Kathy's as it turns out), there was a fun-house type of ride called Surf's Up.  I have, for reasons that do not entirely make sense, associated Kathy with Beach Boys music and so that prompted me to check my phone.  Kathy was alive and well and simply had forgotten her phone that morning.  I gleefully texted her that we were getting on the Ferris wheel and wishing she was there.

    Was I still in a bad place as far as freaking out goes?  Yes.  But now I can handle it differently and see this as the beginning of the new me.  And I have ACA (and Kathy) to thank.


    Sir Paul again

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Everybody wants to rule the world

    In the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, I am an INTJ.  In the Keirsey Temperament Theory, this equates to a Strategic Contender Rational Mastermind.  This type is a plotter and planner, a schemer who operates behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.  Their backup plans have backup plans.  They tend to play poker or chess with the world at large, trying to stay a move ahead.

    One example of this is my campaign of following a direct order that is in my estimation stupid.  After having tried and failed to argue the issuer out of their stupid command, I conclude that the quickest way to be done with the stupid rule is to implement it as quickly and thoroughly as possible, so as to cause the train wreck that I have foreseen, thus requiring the issuer to reevaluate based not on my projections but actual reality.  Around my office this has come to be known as "My evil plan."

    This trait of strategizing the world is the source of my dichotomy between being honest and being devious.  As I said before, I am honest but only to direct questions and only to people I first meet or people who afterward have demonstrated that such candor is desired.

    Because I hold things back, reserve an ace to play, I guess I lie by omission.  I have always had difficulty with that definition of a lie.  Since I was raised that people who did not need to know my business did not need to know my business, I tend to undershare and I reserve the right to evaluate what is or is not germane, whether or not you would like to know what I am reserving.

    Thus there are some people who think that I am laconic, that I hardly talk about anything and I am unwilling to be open and intimate.  The problem is that I shared something that I thought was important and received a reaction that I felt undermined the intimacy that I was giving.  It could have been a negation of my feelings, something that happened a lot when I grew up ("Oh, you don't mean that").  It could have been hysterical (for lack of a better word).  But whatever it was, it made me say "Forget it.  I'll talk to somebody else."

    On Doctor Phil there was a couple where the man confessed to being obsessed with internet porn and his wife was distraught, thinking that it would be the end of their marriage, issuing ultimatums and from my perspective generally being unpleasant about the whole thing.  At one point, Doctor Phil told the wife that it was how she was addressing the problem that was causing the greater problem.

    Phil pointed out that the guy wanted to save the marriage and come to an understanding (and that he even went on the freaking Doctor Phil show) and that she needed to change her perspective and help him rather than antagonize him.  He then offered them professional help.

    Because she was stuck on being hurt and fear of losing the marriage, she had stopped listening to him and relating to him.  And that is the kind of thing that for me results in not telling the truth.


    What else?

    Friday, October 14, 2011


    I have two personality traits that are in conflict with each other.  I am honest.  Very, very almost painfully honest.  If a cashier gives me back more change than I am due, I will bring it to her attention and return it. If you ask me what I think and you are in the group of people 1) that want to know the honest answer and 2) that I care about enough to give the honest answer, you will get the answer.

    But that answer there is illustrative of the conflict and the second personality trait.  I am devious.  I am almost Lex Luthor devious.  I am not criminal.  I am not evil.  But I play a sort of mental chess with you based on how much I value you in my life, how much you seem to value the truth in communication, how emotionally you react to things, etc.

    In my last relationship, my former girlfriend lamented that she wanted the relationship with me that I had with my closest male friend, in terms of intimacy, candor, and philosophical conversation.  What she did not know and I did not tell her was that she lost that chance not all that long after we started seeing each other.

    If you are angry with me, I do not expect you to not show it.  But if you want to talk to me about what you are angry about, you have to be able to talk to me, not yell, scream, fight, etc.  And if you are in a place where you cannot do that, you have to possess enough adult restraint to know that, announce that, and revisit the topic when you can talk about it without throwing something at my head.

    Well, early on in the relationship I "confessed" to something that I thought she would be displeased about.  She reacted very emotionally and while she said she wanted to talk about it, all talking about it in that moment did was make it worse.  She then stopped talking to me at all, the best decision of the whole skein, and then the issue was sort of glossed over and never resolved to my satisfaction.

    But that is not the only way that I am devious and in (hopefully) my next post, I will enlighten you further.


    Billy Joel sings the title song today.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Good bye

    I finally quietly made official something I had been avoiding.  My not-yet-ex wife and I will finally, officially be divorcing.  We came to handshake terms on the financial end of it over dinner at our favorite restaurant when we were a couple.

    After laying out my proposed adjustment to what she was originally asking for, to which she agreed, I asked her the question that I already knew the answer to but the ever hopeless romantic felt it needed to be asked: was there any going back?

    In truth, I know in my head that there was not.  First, it has been quite clear that she has moved on in her life.  Someone else is in her picture.  External circumstances which led to us ending have not changed for her and she has vowed she will not be marrying anyone until they do.

    But even if none of that was true, I knew there was no going back because really and truly, I would not want back.  We had some good moments together.  She makes a heck of complimentary teammate in hard times.  But we did not work.  It is just that cut and dried.

    But most importantly, I am a different person now.  Working with ACA and going through therapy, I know that I want a relationship that (unless she has changed more than I thought) could not happen.  For one small example, I need less drama and turmoil.  For another, I need to be willingly heard.  As much as I care about her, and in truth I still do, that would not be happening for the foreseeable future.

    And this is okay.  Things run their course and I believe a bright future still lies ahead.  For both of us.  Just not together.


    Mary Hopkin.  Yeah, I did not know who she was when she was famous either.  But Paul McCartney wrote the song and he just got married, so enjoy.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Only You Know and I Know

    Part of the stock in trade of being in a FOO with alcoholism is that there are secrets.  Everything is a secret.  Did your dad get so drunk he passed out on the floor and could not deliver the morning papers?  You cannot tell anyone.  Did your mother crack your father's head with a hot sauce bottle because she thought he was flirting with a female family friend?  Keep it under your hat.

    My parents were beyond private.  They were paranoid.  My youngest sister told me the last time I was back home that her late husband and her current boyfriend would not believe her when she told them that we were not allowed to have friends over to the house.  And the funny thing is, by the time she came along my parents had (relatively for them) mellowed on that point.

    Part of that problem beyond the family alcoholism secret is that my mother stopped keeping house to her liking right around the time that I actually managed to make friends.  My mother started out being a fastidious housekeeper, but her perfectionism could never be adjusted to the realities of her current ability time wise, nor the number of people now living in the house (six), nor could she overcome her Depression-era born clutter problem (she couldn't throw anything away). So she gave up.  And the house looked like it.

    So candor was not a viable option with anyone.  Talking about what happened in that house was a betrayal and could result in punishment, because you did not put their business "in the street."

    Part of the reason that I love people in my life to whom I can say anything is because for the longest time I could not say whatever I needed to.  Even now the specter of putting my business in the street has me discuss sensitive things with only a few select close adviser friends.  So that is kind of the ultimate joy and irony of what I am doing now.  Because here I am literally declaring my business to the world.

    My hope is that anyone reading this who does not know me personally get something useful out of it, if nothing else than the realization that they are not alone and that there is hope.


    Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Dave Mason.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    That stupid sign

    I have always said that while it is important often to know the source of an issue, the question that always arises afterward is "Now what?"  You know why you are the way that you are.  What are you going to do about it?  Never has this been more evident than in the case of my millionaire obsession.

    I am haunted by wanting to be a millionaire.  And the thing is, I am not avaricious.  I am for the most part more than happy with my circumstances (other than my retirement picture).  But still, I read books like Think and Grow Rich and the Millionaire Mind.  I attend seminars on real estate and investing.  I have tried a couple of times at starting a mail order business.  But why?

    That stupid sign.  My father was a garbage man and he did a lot of salvaging old items.  At one point, he found an old front license plate (which we could not use in Ohio, a two plate state) that he wired to our back gate.  It said, and I quote "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?"  This question has altered my life forever.

    See, I am smart.  How smart?  Smart enough.  I am not the smartest man in the world, but I am closer to him than the dumbest man in the world.  (How close I am to the wisest man in the world is up for debate, BTW.)

    And so, even though I have ample empirical evidence of my intelligence, I rose to the debate.  If the ultimate proof of my brain power to my father's stupid sign is becoming rich, then I am going to become rich.

    Over time, this has morphed a bit into my own desires beyond that: freedom, financial security, largess for others.  But that is at the core of it.  It has served me well.  As I said, I have a pretty comfortable life, especially compared to my distant relatives in Africa for instance.  I have managed to avoid some of the financial pitfalls of life (but not all, let me assure you).  But I still want to prove I can do it.

    Although I would take lottery winnings.


    Much like with My Life, there's only one song to play here.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Occupy yourself with this thought

    Before you blame Wall Street, racism, your parents, capitalism, or your significant other for any disparities in your life versus where you want to be, first look at yourself, as it is the only thing you can change without anyone else's help aside the Higher Power.



    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


    I apologize for not posting Sunday's essay until Monday morning. 

    I don't need you to worry for me 'cause I'm all right.

    I dropped out of college.  Depending on whether you knew me before I dropped out or after I dropped back in (if you know me personally), you either had no idea whatsoever or were all too painfully aware of the whole ordeal.

    In between my dropping out and dropping back in I spent a year doing, essentially, nothing.  My greatest accomplishment of that year was listening to or watching every single Cleveland Indians game on radio or television.  This is not exactly a star on my resume. However, the year is significant in one aspect.  It is the dividing line between my sad life and my mostly happy life.

    The year (which was more like a year and a half) started in the spring of 1979.  I dropped out of college (technically I got kicked out) and came home.  I went to my first college out of that world famous ACoA people pleasing and living up to someone else's expectations.

    My high school, a private school, had at the time (and may still have) a 100% college attendance rate.  So I was encouraged to attend college.  And of course, my parents urged me to go, particularly my mother, who had zero faith in my ability to earn my living drawing.

    But I had no idea at that point what I wanted to do for a living, as the only thing I had wanted to do, draw comic books, had been ruled out. So I majored in the course that I did the best in in high school, Physics.  Trouble is, while I have the mind for physics and math, I didn't have the love.  Without any reason to be there other than supposing to be, I cratered, gathering the lowest GPA ever in my family or extended family (until a nephew by marriage did me spectacularly one better).

    So I came home with my tail between my legs.  My parents made up a lie they could live with about what happened to peddle to family and family friends.  I did not care enough to set the record straight then.  I not long after let myself get conned out of some money by trusting some people and trying to help them (which is why I always take umbrage with the idea that people who get conned deserve so).

    Then, in the late summer my cousin died.  My cousin was in many ways my twin brother.  He was born two weeks before I was and we loved so many of the same things, especially comic books.  He was a masterful storyteller where I was a good artist.  Our mutual family (my mother's side) seemed to always pit us against each other.  He apparently incessantly heard how wonderful I was.  Meanwhile, my family was constantly asking why I couldn't be like him.

    But he and I never competed against each other.  He did his thing.  I did mine.  He was the writer.  I was the artist.  We had mutually agreed upon boundaries and did not cross them.  But when he died, it opened an opportunity for me.

    I could not be an artist (I had not yet developed the strength to swim against that current), but I could be a writer, as long as nobody knew about it.  So I wrote in secret as I delivered newspapers for my parents to earn my keep.  I tried to get a few jobs but nothing came of it.

    Meanwhile with my younger siblings in the heart of being teenagers, tensions ran very high in the house.  My father's drinking was probably his worst, which meant my mother's bitching was probably her worst.  I did not like my life there and I needed to find a way out.  But I was convinced I had missed my chance.

    Another male cousin, the one a year older who with my late cousin and myself made up the Three Musketeers, told me there were programs for people with no money to go to college and to talk to a mutual adult friend about how to do it.  I did.  And she helped me get back in school, this time into a community college. (To cap this year off, in September as I was going to start college, my brother died.)

    But this year had changed me.  As much as I had no faith that I could escape my fate, I also knew that I had to.  I decided that if I was to succeed at all, I had to do what I wanted to do, whatever it was, not just what I was good at.  I decided that while I was not as talented at it as my cousin, I was a good enough writer to make a living doing so (and I did for years).  And I adopted Billy Joel's song My Life as my personal anthem.

    My life improved the more I rejected the onus of living up to anyone else's expectations.  I still had a long way to go to reconcile everything and to get past my scars.  I still do have a long way to go.  But it is amazing to me that my biggest failure was the seminal moment to all of my adult successes.


    There is only one song that could go here.  So here it is.

    Sunday, October 09, 2011

    When Will I Be Loved?

    One day later and the realization I came to is still sinking in.  It is a hard thing for me, as I loved my mother quite a bit despite the problems between she and I and she, in once sense of the word, did love me dearly.

    But it was crystal clear she had no faith in me or my abilities and while loving me just did not accept me as I was.  Perhaps she was just suggesting ways I could be a better person.  But I did not feel that underneath if I never changed I would be welcome.  It was something I needed and did not get.

    When the person you are supposed to receive unconditional love from seems to put conditions on it, where does that leave you exactly?  What are you supposed to conclude, at least from the vantage point for a child?  That you are not good enough?  Maybe.  It seems that is what I figured out.

    This oxymoron (a contradiction that is nonetheless true) has ruled my life for a while now.  It has been hard to reconcile.  But as I have often said, even if you realize the why of something, the next question is still "Now what?"

    As much as I would love to find an unconditional love out there with another human being, that is just not possible.  And yet, if I still need such unconditional love, I need it.  And so, using the foundation of reparenting, I need to unconditionally love myself.

    If I do that, then maybe I will have my answer to my musical question.


    Just in case you forgot the question:

    Friday, October 07, 2011

    Do you love me now that I can dance?

    Well, I had an epiphany today, a rather sad and perplexing one.  I know I was my mother's favorite child (not bragging; just a fact) and I know that she cared for me dearly.  I know that a lot of the ACoA issues in my life come not from the alcoholic (my father) but from her.  But what I did not know until my epiphany today is that I do not feel lovable by women because I did not feel that my mother loved me in the way that mattered.

    This is a serious charge and it is because I have to say things like this that I have not told my family that I restarted this blog nor have I told them its purpose.  And I need to make sure I explain myself lest you get the wrong idea.  My mother loved me.  But her way of doing so made me feel on a key point that she did not.

    While she had legitimate reasons for doing so, it was nonetheless disheartening for interactions with my mother to focus on my shortcomings.  It was just bizarre to hear her talk about me glowingly to everyone else but yet somehow in dealing with her never be good enough.

    This manifests itself all over my life.  For instance, I have what I call my cleaning problem.  I hate to clean because I can never stop.  It's never good enough.  No matter how much I do, I only see what hasn't been done.  It's maddening.

    But I digress.  What this all ends up boiling down to is that I felt that my mother loved me conditionally, that she did not love me if I was to do and be what I wanted to do and be.  We touched on that a little while ago when I talked about going to New York to draw comic books.

    And so, since conditional love is all I appeared to ever be able to get, I have apparently on some deep lever decided that it is all that I can ever have.  Well today I actively choose differently.  I choose that someone can love me for who I am and not a chimera.  Just because I never had it doesn't mean that it is not possible.


    But now I'm back to let you know I can really shake 'em down!

    Thursday, October 06, 2011

    Both Sides Now

    I've looked at life from both sides now,
    From up and down and still somehow,
    It's life's illusions I recall.
    I really don't know life, at all.

    — Joni Mitchell

    I had occasion these past few days to revisit my youth by rereading a script I wrote based on my experiences in high school.  I don't know how good it is as far as a script goes, but it did an excellent job of accessing and giving voice to everything I was feeling and doing back then. I found the emotions so powerful that just listening to the music that would make up the sound track would send me into a blue funk.

    I was depressed back in those days.  More than any other teenager of the time?  Maybe, maybe not.  But I was depressed.  I was different and demonstrably so.  I did not feel I fit in anywhere, and in truth I really did not.  I went to high school at a private school on a scholarship.  I was a blue collar guy in a white collar world, a black kid who did not fit in his own neighborhood surrounded by white kids he also did not fit with.

    When you are not home in your own neighborhood, not home in your own family, and not home in your school, what do you do?  Well, eventually you grow up and find there is a world out there, a world of people and possibilities.  But before that, when it seems that the universe starts and ends with high school, you join the freaks, because if nothing else, you can be freaks together.

    Eventually I came to the realization that unlike Groucho I would not want to be a member of any club that would not have me.  And suddenly, long before time robbed the in-crowd of their superficial advantages and proved this thought better than I could, I realized they were not better than I was, only different.


    While Joni Mitchell wrote the song, it's Judy Collins's version I know the best.  Enjoy.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011


    As I continue through ACA, I am finding little coincidences and fingerprints related to it throughout my life.  And one of them is that my favorite recording artist is Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

    I remember hearing a snippet of Surfer Girl on the television as a child and it was as if I had heard music for the first time.  Never mind that there's no surf in Cleveland, I was hooked bad.  The Beach Boys fostered my love of vocal harmony which led me later to the Manhattan Transfer (but that's another story).

    As I got to know Brian and the boys, he became a sort of personal symbol to me.  He was considered a genius.  He was misunderstood by his band, Mike Love in particular.  He was in competition with another group that people seemed to like better (a hint: they were from Liverpool).  And right when he should have blown the doors off of the world, he crumbled and did something else.

    I was considered bright.  I did not feel understood by my family.  I was in a perceived competition with my cousin whom everybody liked better (or so it seemed).  And right when I was going to go to New York and draw comic books for a living, my mother "forbade" me.

    To be fair, my mother never said I could not go.  She just indicated she disapproved, and back in those days I needed her to approve.  She did not think that I would be able to earn a living drawing and so, much like Brian and the album Smile, I took my dreams of drawing and put them on a shelf and became a writer.

    And even though I did well as a writer, it was not what my life could have been if I had just been encouraged a little in pursuing my dream.  And Brian scrapped Smile and the Beach Boys became pretty much irrelevant from that point forward.

    I later found out that Brian, my idol, suffered from a horrid family life.  Brian's father Murry Wilson was an alcoholic and abusive, even cruel, to Brian, Dennis, and Carl (the brother three-fifths of the band).  The reason Brian talks out of the side of his mouth is because he is deaf in one ear.  The reason he is deaf in one ear is Murry Wilson, who reportedly smacked him upside his head with a piece of lumber.

    Brian eventually fired his father as manager of the band and saw his father go into competition with him with a band called the Sunrays, with as much as Murry could remember of his son's sound.  Given all of this plus Mike Love's manipulative nature, the wonder is not that Brian had his mental breakdown.  The wonder is why it took as long as it did.

    Brian eventually fought back from psychosis and a manipulative psychiatrist to have a meager solo recording career and then complete the album Smile as solo project, the uncompleted legendary album that was supposed to be Sergeant Pepper before Sergeant Pepper was Sergeant Pepper.

    I knew about Brian's troubles as an adult child of an alcoholic long before I knew of the term or that it was the basis of some of my problems, but it is kind of comforting to see one more basis for my empathy for Brian.

    By the way, later this year Capitol Records is supposed to release the original Beach Boys recordings of the Smile material, much long after it would have expanded the world's understanding of the talent of Brian Wilson.  But it is welcome nonetheless.


    One of Brian's songs has been one of my personal anthems: I Guess I Just Wasn't Made for These Times.  I felt I was outside of my time as he does in the song.  I do not feel this way anymore, but for the longest time I did.  Enjoy.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011

    I've got a secret.

    One of the things I have been doing since I became aware of the set of behaviors linked to being an ACoA is reflecting as to how much of that is an influence in my regular life.  One area where it seems to be a surprising factor for me is super hero comic books.

    Comic book fans love super hero comic books for many different reasons.  Some like the soap opera aspect of them.  This has never been much of an attraction for me for much the same reason that soap operas themselves lost their fascination for me.  Part and parcel of soap operas is that something always has to be happening to the lead characters.  But at some point the only way to keep having dramatic things happen to characters is by changing a character's defined characterization.  In wrestling parlance this going from good to bad is called turning heel and it is also a reason that I am not fond of professional wrestling, too.

    Some people like super powers.  For those people the genre is similar to fantasy.  And while I like the idea of powers and people being able to do more than a regular person, that is not the only nor even the chief attraction to me of super heroes.

    What I like the most is the dual identity, that by day people think you are one kind of person, generally a meek or ineffective one.  But yet by night or when the chips are down, you actually have a reservoir of abilities and aptitude undreamt of by those around you.

    The sight of Christopher Reeve unbuttoning his shirt, or Adam West sliding down the pole, or even Ryan Reynolds materializing his costume gives me a thrill.  I think I empathize because people don't have a true picture of me and underestimate me.

    Now sometimes that is deliberate.  I believe in the Montgomery Scott philosophy of under-promise and over-deliver.  But sometimes it is just people looking at the surface and not at all paying attention to what they are really seeing.  Call it Lois Lane syndrome if you like.  Sadly the most recent place I experienced this was in my relationship.

    As I was telling my closest friends about how the break up occurred and the charges about my behavior laid down by my ex, they pretty much all said that it sounded like she did not really know me at all, which is sad indeed, because if anyone is supposed to see me with the mask off, it is the woman I love.


    Here are some Japanese kids playing This Could Be the Start of Something Big a song written by Steve Allen and used at one point as the theme for the game show I've Got A Secret, that point being when Steve Allen himself hosted the show.

    Monday, October 03, 2011

    Once you get started...

    I believe the most effective and helpful habit I ever deliberately gave myself is the habit of "Do it now."


    It is amazing that once you start doing something you dreaded doing because of time how quickly it actually gets done.


    Here is Rufus featuring Chaka Khan on Soul Train back when I had hair and everyone else had a lot of it.

    Sunday, October 02, 2011

    If only s/he would...

    It is a tempting trap for us as ACoA to fall into.  I have been ensnared by this many times myself.  It is the thinking that my life and my happiness would improve if only she would whatever.

    Reluctantly I have come to realize that there is some validity and merit to the power paradigm of personal relationships and conflicts therein.  We waste a lot of effort trying to control other people and control other things only to relinquish that which we actually have control over.  It is why the Serenity Prayer is an integral part of the recovery.

    Why we tend to succumb to this allure is because it is very sound logically.  If this other person would actually do this other thing or actually be this other way, then undoubtedly things would be different.  But they are who they are and they will do what they will do.  If they were different they would not be who they are.

    This is not to say that people cannot, will not, and do not change; they can, will, and do.  But the impetus for change is internal and all of your pleading, begging, and wanting will not make it happen.

    On the show Intervention, family and friends gather in an effort convince an addict that he or she needs to go into recovery.  The way that this is accomplished is through change not of the addict but in the people that surround them.

    Most substance abuse addicts would not be able to sustain themselves without their unwitting co-dependent support group.  The interventionist works with the individuals in this person's life to get them to give up their supporting behavior and change their own lives.  Often a bottom line is created and presented to the addict.

    On the surface it appears as blackmail, but it is really the individuals taking control of their own lives, leaving the addict with the situation of where since things are going to be different from this point forward, he or she might as well fix things anyway.

    How successful these interventions are often are dictated by how well the surrounding people stick to their bottom lines.  And where interventions fail, it is invariably because a participant lapses themselves.

    Getting personal about it for a moment, there was a period as my marriage was ending where I had convinced myself that all that needed to happen to save it was for my wife to start being nice to me. That made her the bad guy and absolved me from any responsibility of repairing my own life.

    But I had a choice and I was not using that power. I did not have to take the unpleasant behavior I was receiving. I could refuse to accept it and change the dynamic and ultimately that is what I did. In the short term I was worse but now with some time on it, it was what I should have done and I am much better off for it.

    However, it would be highly unfair to put it on what I perceived as my wife's failings. When I look at the insane women getting married on Bridezillas, yes, I think that they need help, but I also look at the people around them and ask "How in the world did you let her get this way?"

    And if nothing else, Bridezillas should give everyone who is single hope, because if these women can find someone to marry them, then there really is someone for everyone out there.

    Saturday, October 01, 2011

    Making a list and checking it twice

    Officially I am on Step Four of the ACA Twelve Steps and have been there for a while.  I have waited in part because it is the first step I have really wanted to do with a sponsor, but also because I am very much afraid of it.

    The fourth step is as follows:
    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    As to why this scares me, I am just beginning to realize how much I have hurt myself and more importantly those around me.  I do not know that I want to know just how much I have screwed up and just who and how many I have hurt.

    I am also afraid that because I am so hard on myself as a matter of course that I will be overly harsh and punishing on taking my moral inventory.  That is why I would like outside eyes to help me with this step. I am slowly working my way up to it.

    I ended up teaching myself how to ride a bicycle without training wheels. (Trust me, this will be germane in a minute.) I was pretty old relatively when I learned how and my sister that was two years younger than I was had already learned how.  So I really looked kind of goofy not knowing how

    Much like later with driving a car, my father was the absolute wrong person to teach me (not that my mother would have been much better) and I was too busy being afraid (of him and of falling) to learn. Eventually he gave up.

    Once it was just down to me, I was able to relax, I went down to a smaller bike, I was able to figure out balance, and I learned how to ride. But no matter how much my father wanted it for me, I could only learn how to ride when I was ready.

    Since I am reparenting now, I am going to afford myself the same luxury with the steps.  I will complete them.  I cannot afford not to.  But I will have to take my time.

    She drives me crazy

    During my time off from the relationship scene, I have been reading advice from various sources on how to meet, greet, and keep women.  And I read something today from David DeAngelo that stopped me in my tracks for a second:
    To further confuse things, you'll often hear a woman say something to the effect of "I want a strong guy who is also sensitive" or "He needs to have his own life, his own interests, and his own friends, but also be totally focused on me."

    Women often talk about wanting a combination of things in a man that just don't seem to fit.  So what's going on here?

    Are women crazy? (Yes.)

    But seriously, what are they talking about?

    How is it that women seem to always talk about wanting men who have these qualities that don't fit together?

    © 2011, David DeAngelo
    It stopped me because I had heard this before.  I mean I had literally heard this before.  Back when I was last on the loose, I myself saw personal ads by women asking for these diametrically opposed things.  DeAngelo goes on to skirt the issue by saying women really do want both of these things.  But this in no way addresses that they want things that are, if not mutually exclusive, rarely found in a guy not suffering from fragmented personality disorder.

    Looking at some of his and other people's dating advice, a consistent theme is for you to be different than you presently are.  To a degree this makes perfectly logical sense.  If you were O.K. from a dating perspective, you would not need advice.  However, for me it poses a problem in that one of the things I am working on in therapy and ACA is being myself, genuine.

    This presents a contradictory message: it is all right to be yourself vs. it is not all right to be yourself.  The way out of this seeming contradiction is to become that which you are pretending to be in order to get women.

    But other than my luck with women, I kind of like who I already am and I do not know that I want to be anything or anyone different.  However, as I have quoted in a different context "Nothing changes if nothing changes."


    We're going back to the 80s with Fine Young Cannibals.