The First Day

I’ve spent a few days recreating myself on the web.

Moving my art around,

creating a store, (http://www.jeraldblackstock.ca)

moving my blog (http://theartof.jeraldblackstock.ca)

This is cleaning up old business, similar to doing my taxes, getting ready for new.

I’m ready.

See you there!!

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A New Beginning

It’s Dec 31.

The end.

On Sept. 12 I had a serious stroke. Insert squalid details here.

After 4 months in hospital I find myself.

Ok that was odd.

I seem to be retired now from working for a living.

Hmmmm. No.

A comfortable retirement the accountant calls it.

A change of career I call it.

Full time art production with a stable income.

Full time physio and recovery.

Something to look forward to.

It’s called a life.

Time to Unravel That Thinking

Woke up ashamed. The conditional acceptance of me is I must have an arm that works perfectly, I must have a leg that works perfectly or else I am an inadequate worthless person. Time to unravel that thinking

REBT Self-Help Form

What is the situation that you are upset about?
Answer: Woke up thinking my body doesn’t work.

What are the unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing?
Answer: Shame, embarrassment, anxiety, hurt, depression, guilt, jealousy

What self-defeating behaviors would you like to change?
Answer: Withdrawal and avoiding social contact, exercise avoidance.

What demand are you making about the situation?
Answer: I must perform well or I am an inadequate worthless person.
Dispute: Why must I never have an injury? How does recovery make me inadequate and worthless? Is there any evidence?
Rational Belief: I am healing from a random event, so I am adequate and effective just by existing and my body doing natural processes is the conditional acceptance. Instead I choose to accept myself no matter what condition my body is in, because it changes daily, and I choose to get off the esteem roller coaster, and instead focus on my ability to create satisfaction.

What are you saying to yourself about the situation that indicates low frustration tolerance?
Answer: I can’t stand the time it takes to get better and recover.
Dispute: Just because I prefer a speedy recovery does that mean I must have a speedy recovery? What’s speedy? Who says?
Rational Belief: The experts are saying that this is a speedy recovery. I work hard and it has good effect. So as a patient I am adequate and effective.

How are you overgeneralizing about the situation?
Answer: I’ll never get well.
Dispute: Is there any evidence?
Rational Belief: There is absolutely none. All evidence points to healing and recovery.

What are your new healthy negative emotions?
Answer: Concern, disappointment, annoyance

What are your new self-helping behaviors?
Answer: Talking to strangers, making art, getting unpleasant tasks done without delay, applying for shows, grants, selling stuff, interneting, my blog, asking for what I want.


Warning: This form should not be considered a substitute for individualized treatment with a mental health professional. If you are seeing a counselor or a therapist, it is recommended that you print this page and discuss your responses with him or her.

Designed by Will Ross © 2006

Return to www.rebtnetwork.org

The Awakening of a Slave, to the Freedom of Art

No one can teach me how to draw, I can’t draw a stickman. Which means I tried and failed and was bitterly disappointed. (And so is everyone who ever said that).

Gary Ripley was listening, we were at a party for aspiring musicians, smoking dope and playing guitar. He said, ummm I can teach you, and for the next several years he became a friend, mentor, and instructor. And he did, teach me, using the same techniques that he was taught, the same way artists had been training each other for 800 years in the history and traditions of western European art history. It’s A professional responsibility to recognize and nurture talent, we take our responsibilities seriously, he said in the love bombing stage of our relationship.

His father was run over by a steam roller when he was 3 and my father died a lung cancerous coal miner when I was 2. He had a crazy narcissist Mom and so did I.

We became brothers.

I continued to study psychology, learn painting, and to heal from my family of origin. Gary belittled my study, continuing to drink, and finally did the narcissist manifesto learned from his Mom, overvalued (his star student), undervalued (academics is for losers) and dump. After 8 years my mentor, teacher and brother, threw me out of his life. I didn’t paint for 15 years. Total devastation.

My wife at the time, a psychologist going to law school, freaked out when Ripley and art appeared in my life, and left. I was devastated once again. Worst of all, I went from the joy of discovery of the essence of who I am, to a person dependant on art for my self esteem. Self esteem is the worst disease known to mankind. If you have it you can lose it. It turns out that it is impossible to lose deep satisfaction that comes with following your passions.

So bereft and bitter, sans wife and brother/teacher, I fell into a life of drugs and cab driving.

It took 10 years to heal, and when I was 40 I entered art school clean of substances. I was on the Presidents honour roll 3 times, gained employment in my 2nd year at a contemporary artist run centre, discovered the birth of the internet, and digital art. I was home.

Predatory narcissism played a major role in the psychological trauma of my life, over many relationships, having been groomed to that form of slavery from birth by my parent. I’m only OK , worthy and accepted, safe and happy if certain conditions are in place, but mostly it’s needing the love, approval and empathy of manipulators, who oddly enough, are incapable, but really good at faking it. Serial disappointment, to put it mildly.

The one that hooked me for 10 years with FOG, fear, obligation and guilt, had the gene for Huntingtons disease and would require a primary care giver. She was shopping (hunting) for a nuturing guy when she found me. Six months later we moved in together, I entered art ischool, for six years, damn the torpedos, grab another student loan, carry on at all costs.

Eventually she found cause to dump me, asking for what I want isn’t allowed, and since her Dad paid for the house, hit the curb, loser.

Art sustained me. I got a gig making gifs for ads, mostly email spam. It was awful but the money was good and I needed it, but 12 hrs a day on a computer made me prediabetic and heart diseased. Fortunately India came online and scooped all the spam business for peanuts and I went courier driving.

Courier gave me a healthy body, the freedom to learn image capturing, and photo equipment so I could follow my love, digital fine art. The Internet gave me the freedom from galleries, the slavery of the artist stable, the politics of the wall.

Art is my freedom from slavery of all kinds. When I was taught at the hospital (!!!) to accept myself without those conditions ( Www.rebtnetwork.org ), freedom from the slavery of self esteem essentially, I was sent on an assertive training course as well. The cure for a narcissistic upbringing. You have the right to hurt people. Huh? Sure, the slaves in the south hurt their masters by being free. Big time.

If I think that every time I express my freedom, God kills a puppy, I’m a slave looking for a master. Jerald, you are an artist, you can do anything you want. The most valuable thing I learned in art school.

Cool.

The True Meaning of Christmas

I must do well and win the approval of others or else I am no good.

  • Summary
    1. Inflexible
    2. Places unrealistic expectations on oneself
    3. Over-concern with others’ opinion of oneself
    4. Self-worth measured by achievement and popularity
    5. Non-self-accepting
  • Sub-beliefs
    1. I must have love and approval from everybody
      1. I need someone to love me.
      2. I must not do anything that would cause others to think less of me.

      I must be competent and successful.I must have an important skill or talent.
      I must successfully avoid unpleasant or undesirable situations.

      1. Unpleasant and undesirable situations upset me.
        1. I can’t control my emotions in difficult situations.

      I must avoid dangerous or life-threatening situations.

      1. If I do encounter such situations, I must worry about them to make them go away.

      I must think, feel and act the same as I always have.

      1. My past has such a strong influence on me that I cannot change.

      I must find order, certainty, and predictability in life.

      1. If I don’t find these things, I cannot feel comfortable or act competently.

      I must depend on other people because I can’t depend on myself.

      1. I must rely on superstition and religion especially in difficult times.

      I must understand the secrets of the universe.

      1. I cannot be happy unless I understand the nature and secrets of the universe.

      I must rate myself as either “good” and “worthy,” or “bad” and “worthless.”

      1. To be “good,” and “worthy,” I must be competent, successful and popular.
      2. If I am not competent, successful or popular then I am “bad” and “worthless.”

      I must never feel depressed, anxious or enraged.

  1. I must have an important skill or talent.
    I must successfully avoid unpleasant or undesirable situations.

    1. Unpleasant and undesirable situations upset me.
      1. I can’t control my emotions in difficult situations.

      I must avoid dangerous or life-threatening situations.If I do encounter such situations, I must worry about them to make them go away.
      I must think, feel and act the same as I always have.
      My past has such a strong influence on me that I cannot change.I must find order, certainty, and predictability in life.
      If I don’t find these things, I cannot feel comfortable or act competently.I must depend on other people because I can’t depend on myself.I must rely on superstition and religion especially in difficult times.
      I must understand the secrets of the universe.I cannot be happy unless I understand the nature and secrets of the universe.
      I must rate myself as either “good” and “worthy,” or “bad” and “worthless.”To be “good,” and “worthy,” I must be competent, successful and popular.If I am not competent, successful or popular then I am “bad” and “worthless.”
      I must never feel depressed, anxious or enraged.

  1. If I do encounter such situations, I must worry about them to make them go away.
    I must think, feel and act the same as I always have.
    My past has such a strong influence on me that I cannot change.I must find order, certainty, and predictability in life.
    If I don’t find these things, I cannot feel comfortable or act competently.I must depend on other people because I can’t depend on myself.I must rely on superstition and religion especially in difficult times.
    I must understand the secrets of the universe.I cannot be happy unless I understand the nature and secrets of the universe.
    I must rate myself as either “good” and “worthy,” or “bad” and “worthless.”To be “good,” and “worthy,” I must be competent, successful and popular.If I am not competent, successful or popular then I am “bad” and “worthless.”
    I must never feel depressed, anxious or enraged.
  1. I must avoid dangerous or life-threatening situations.
  2. If I do encounter such situations, I must worry about them to make them go away.
    I must think, feel and act the same as I always have.
    My past has such a strong influence on me that I cannot change.I must find order, certainty, and predictability in life.
    If I don’t find these things, I cannot feel comfortable or act competently.I must depend on other people because I can’t depend on myself.
  3. I must rely on superstition and religion especially in difficult times.
    I must understand the secrets of the universe.
  4. I cannot be happy unless I understand the nature and secrets of the universe.
    I must rate myself as either “good” and “worthy,” or “bad” and “worthless.”
  5. To be “good,” and “worthy,” I must be competent, successful and popular.
  6. If I am not competent, successful or popular then I am “bad” and “worthless.”
    I must never feel depressed, anxious or enraged.
  1. I must be competent and successful
  2. I must have an important skill or talent.
    I must successfully avoid unpleasant or undesirable situations.

    1. Unpleasant and undesirable situations upset me.
      I can’t control my emotions in difficult situations.
  3. I must avoid dangerous or life-threatening situations.
    If I do encounter such situations, I must worry about them to make them go away.
    I must think, feel and act the same as I always have.
  4. My past has such a strong influence on me that I cannot change.
    I must find order, certainty, and predictability in life.
  5. If I don’t find these things, I cannot feel comfortable or act competently.
    I must depend on other people because I can’t depend on myself.
  6. I must rely on superstition and religion especially in difficult times.
    I must understand the secrets of the universe.
  7. I cannot be happy unless I understand the nature and secrets of the universe.
    I must rate myself as either “good” and “worthy,” or “bad” and “worthless.”
  8. To be “good,” and “worthy,” I must be competent, successful and popular.
    1. If I am not competent, successful or popular then I am “bad” and “worthless.”

    I must never feel depressed, anxious or enraged.

  • Emotional Consequence
    1. Depression
    2. Anxiety and/or panic
    3. Self Downing
  • Behavioral Consequences
    1. Risk-avoidance
    2. Shyness
    3. Procrastination
    4. Unassertiveness
    5. Workaholism

http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/musts.html

The tools to combat these self defeating concepts are here:

http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/dibs.html This one is particularly good for unravelling each one of these concepts.

For unraveling situations that are activating events then this form is very helpful.

http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/shf.html

Disputing of Irrational Beliefs

I was at the coffee shop in my neighborhood yesterday where I show my art. I was using a walker instead of a wheelchair, it had only been a week, and I felt unsteady, anxious, and vulnerable, the centre of attention, which I hate anyway.

A woman acquaintance was there alone, without her husband, 94 years old and a friend of mine. He had passed away in my absence. She said to me, life has been unkind to you, staring at my walker. She seemed pleased by the notion. In reply I just asked her how she was doing, and the response was horrible and terrible, her life was over.

Oh. Well you are talking to me, that seems like a life, I replied. Don’t tell me how my life is!!!! She said and stormed off.

It occurred to me that her emotions and mine were caused by similar irrational beliefs.

What irrational Belief do I want to Dispute and surrender?
Answer: I must have the approval of virtually everyone. Particularly those I ‘need’ to care for me. Therefore I must have the use of both my arm and my leg perfectly or else they won’t love me, I will die abandoned and all alone.

Why is this Belief inaccurate?
Answer: There is no law in the universe that say I must have love and approval. If this person decides not to love me, I can build a loving relationship with someone else. It will be unfortunate to not get the love I want but hardly fatal. There is no reason I must have everything I want, including love and approval.

Does any evidence exist for the truth of my Belief?
Answer: There is no evidence for the truth of my belief. It’s true that I prefer to be popular and adored but there is no evidence that I must be loved and liked. Having others approve of me has its advantages but it’s by no means a necessity.

What is the worst that could happen if I don’t get what I think I must have (or do get what I think I mustn’t have)?
Answer: Not being loved has several disadvantages none of which are fatal. These disadvantages include:

  • A) I will miss out on the companionship that love and friendship bring.
  • B) Other people may look down on me for being alone and for having a stroke.
  • C) I will have to attend social events alone.
  • D) I will have various disadvantages but I need not define any of them as awful and unbearable.

What good things could I make happen if I don’t get what I think I must have (or do get what I think I mustn’t have)?

  • Answer: If the person I care about doesn’t return my love I can seek out others who will love me.
  • I could devote more time to my hobbies and other enjoyable pursuits.
  • I could teach myself to enjoy life without lovers/friends then when I do find lovers/friends I will be twice as happy.
  • I can practice unconditional acceptance and accept myself with or without lovers/friends.

www.rebtnetwork.org

Rational Thoughts for Today

I dodged several bullets. When I was overweight pre diabetic and heart diseased, I quit sugar, grains, dairy, lost weight and avoided a life of horror of shitty diseases.

When I had a charming lover with personality problems I simply asked for what I wanted, I was assertive. She promptly left.

When I was a procrastinating smoker, I sought out my doctor, and learned to quit.

When my wife turned out to be a predator, I not so promptly started a new life.

And now I had a severe stroke, affecting my right side, mobility and hand. I entered hospital gave up my former life and worked on recovery, still there, and having success with walking, dressing, toileting, and eating to the point of independence. Soon to have my own home again.

All of these events accompanied emotions caused by irrational thoughts and corresponding fears: this shouldn’t happen, I can’t stand it, I’ll never get over this. All these concepts are lies. Based on evidence I have created my own pain.

The worst thing that happened is I had disappointment, sometimes severe, and I work consistently to overcome it.

Talk to strangers, ask for what I want and cease shitting on myself for overcoming obstacles, by simply focusing on, I am overcoming obstacles.

I have gratitude that stroke left me with a mind and a body I can work hard to recover with. It gave me retirement and an income for life and my education gave me a career in the arts for life.

And I am getting well.

This is a rational life.