Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Filter: 9
PCI: 25

Negative Mission Statement:

I will be sent away, left alone and abandoned by people that should love me. I must be lectured and coerced into doing the right thing. I am used by others for what services and goods I can provide; I have no intrinsic value to others. Things I love and cherish will be taken away from me. The only person who consistently cares for me is myself. The things I enjoy are wrong and bad.

Positive Mission Statement:

I am loved and accepted and people like to be around me. I can make the right choices. I am kind to others but I don’t allow myself to be taken advantage of. I am intrinsically valuable. I will keep the things I love and cherish. I care for myself and allow others to help. I enjoy many good things.

Well, I’m not sure of the value of that exercise. The negative mission statement comes from my egg. It seems to make sense so far. The positive statement is a reverse mirror of the negative statement. It seems much easier to believe the negative one. In fact the whole affirmation thing is hard to buy into some days. I’m writing a book of LDS affirmations and I’m questioning the value. Irony. I look at the positive statement and I wish that they were consistently true but the fact is that only parts of it have been true so far in my life.

I have lately been falling into the trap of negative self talk. It has been harder to believe in positive outcomes in my life lately. Part of the reason for that is that I got out of the habit of reading my list of personal affirmations during the holidays. I’ve kept up with the ones from the book and converting them into LDS versions but long ago I wrote thirteen or so personal affirmations. I was reading them every morning during my personal time. I was reflecting on that this morning and realizing that this may be part of my negative feelings lately. I’m going to write them down again and put a copy of it with my daily affirmation book so I have them handy to review.

I’ve also been thinking about boundaries because of what the guys in my group were trying to teach me last night. I’m not very good at my boundaries yet. I need to set some more I think. One of them has to do with talking with my wife. Often when we talk lately we fight instead. We go around and around the drama triangle. I need to set a boundary before hand that when I feel that I’m in a triangle I need to say: “Being in the drama triangle isn’t good for me so I need to stop now. I would like to continue our discussion but I can’t do it like this. Let’s take a break and talk about this later.”

This boundary is hard for me since one of my core issues is trying to win approval and affection from my wife and my old brain tells me that when I do something risky like that I’m jeopardizing that goal. My old brain doesn’t understand that I’ve been doing it his way and it hasn’t worked either. It’s time to try a rational approach instead.

Friday, January 14, 2005


PCI: 27
Filter: 7

So I feel lost. I don’t know if I should trust my own feelings or if I should trust what my wife tells me or if I should look for some other reference frame or what.

I argued with my wife the last few days. She found an excel spread sheet with the names of books and their authors that caught my eye at one point in time or other. Some of the books had content that just isn’t good for me. By that I mean that some of the books had elements of sex or bondage or drug use or slavery or other concepts that I have a hard time getting out of my head once they get in there. Basically those are bad for me. Some of the books were completely harmless. Some of the books would some people wouldn’t like and other would. For example murder mysteries or forensic pathology detective work or creepy supernatural horror stories.

The place I’m at is like this. I though I was hearing the message that I can’t like any of those books above and still be a good person.

I don’t believe that. I agree that it would be a mistake to read books with unhealthy content but what about the others? It was a mistake to even list a book that I knew might feed my lustful desires. And I hope that if I came across some of the books I had put on list then that I wouldn’t now.

I believe that it’s not inherently wrong to enjoy the fascinating blend of science and detective work found in a compelling story of forensic pathology, or to enjoy the story of a contest to stop a killer before he kills again. I don’t think it’s wrong to enjoy a story where the hero faces monstrous or frightening supernormal phenomena wondering all along if he can escape the dangers. Or to enjoy a book discussing social and political relationships or structures set in the guise of science fiction.

I know that my wife really doesn’t like the type of stories I just mentioned but I really do and I always have.

Her point, as best I understand it, is that these stories violate her principles of goodness, respect (especially towards women), kindness, reality, purity and nobleness and she doesn’t want them in her life.

My point is that some of them are OK for the occasional use as entertainment and those that aren’t I want to avoid.

My fear here is this: I am afraid that this argument is just a justification for her to believe that I’m some sort of creep and that I’m hopeless and unable to improve. Furthermore, I fear that if I agree that all the stories I like are bad that something else will be next. Maybe sports, or the way I do things around the house or how I interact with the kids, or the kinds of friends I have or the way I dress myself or something else. Perhaps that fear is irrational.

I don’t know. That is the point of my first sentence. I feel lost. I am lost; I have no refuge, no shelter. I feel unsafe. I feel bereft of comfort. I reread her point and my point above and I don’t know if I’m crazy or not.

Sometimes when I get sick I get dizzy. When that happens to me I reach out my arm and touch the wall near my bed. Somehow that helps me. Knowing that the wall isn’t moving proves to me somehow that I’m not spinning around either. I need a wall like that now. I’m keeping up with my daily spiritual activities hoping that they help me find that wall and I believe that God loves me and will help me find what I need.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Stick Art Genius

I found a new favorite web comic. It is something to be excited about in my currently dreary life. I’m absolutely in love with “The Order of the Stick”. This is a strip done by Rich Burlew. It’s roughly a D&D comic but the way they consistently break the fourth wall and the insightful humor just kills me. I tried to read the archives in one sitting when I first discovered it but I had to stop. I couldn’t breath I was laughing so hard and I had trouble explaining the tears on my face to my cow-orkers. (I'll give 5 points to the first person to identify that reference!). I finished off the archives the next day after I found the site and I’ve never looked back.

Rich has made plans to publish a book containing the firsts 123 strips plus some bonus stuff. I feel a little embarrassed to admit my level of fan-boyishness. I pre-pre-ordered a copy. I then pre-ordered a copy so that Rich would personally sign my copy of the book. But even worse I was so excited that I did all this early enough that I’m pretty sure I got one of the Elan buttons he is giving to the first 500 orders. Things that make you go w00t. (And another 5 points there.)

Even now I’m resisting the terrible temptation to re-read all the archives before my book comes but I’m resisting so that I can do it all in glossy color with paper in front of me. I love re-reading comics I love and I’m eagerly looking forward to having TOotS as a comic book on my shelf.

I have found myself singing songs like Elan does to improve my skills at something (write, write, write, my existential angst blog!). And laughing at odd moments when a line from a strip bubbles up in my mind like: “If I don’t look it can’t kill my brain.”

Check it out if you haven’t already. It does helps to have some knowledge of D&D but it’s not necessary to be a master of the game. Heck I haven’t played since high school (if you could call what we did role playing) and I love the strip.


Filter: 3
PCI: ?

I need to start tracking my PCI again. I feel a bit out of control, I’m not acting crazy yet but I feel the edge getting closer. The PCI helps me see where I’m getting close to that edge and makes it easy for me to change specific behaviors.

I think the worst think I’m doing right now is living in fantasy. I’m facing a personal crisis in my primary relationship and I just don’t know where to take it. I’m having a hard time staying in the present and instead spend time wondering about what life would be like if I were divorced and what will happen at kids birthdays and what kind of life will I live and how will I feel about it.

I am afraid of that eventuality. I’ve been separated for over a year now and mostly I hate it but there is a secret part of me that loves the independence. I hate being so far from my wonderful kids though, and I worry what affect this will have on them later in their lives.

I don’t feel like I can be me much though. I just finished a really hard exercise with my therapist where I symbolically drew all the shameful and traumatic experiences in my life. It gushed out of me when I went to draw it but I’ve felt stressed since then. Having the symbol of my pain in front of me to look at is both comforting and stressing. In this exercise I discovered that I have a very hard time trusting people, in fact I usually only trust them to betray or hurt me in some way. So I preemptively withdraw to avoid that pain. I also discovered that I have a great tendency to allow myself to be used by others. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by that but there it was in color in front of me.

Since then I’ve noticed a few interactions with people in my life where I felt used. I haven’t felt safe enough to confront either of the people that I felt were doing this to me but I did notice it happening and I could identify the source of my anger. My anger is manifesting as depression and, I suspect, a biting sense of humor.

So what to do? Well, first of all I’m going to start tracking my PCI again so I don’t use my anger as a way to get crazy. Last year my goal was to learn to play stones (a song from the Ultima series of games), and I did manage to learn the right hand part. I feel pretty good about that goal, not a stunning success but nevertheless something I was able to do. This year I think I’d like to loose two inches off my waist. My 34 inch pants don’t fit so well anymore. I’m going to do crunches and leg lifts and eat better portions in addition to the upper back exercises I do.

None of that helps my relationships directly but I guess I’ll feel better about myself and I expect that will have some relevance to my relationships.

I’d like to feel safe with someone though. I wonder what I need to do to be able to trust someone fully. I can’t expect someone to read my mind and do it for me. I am more in touch with my own feelings and I’m getting better at sharing them but there are times when I don’t since I don’t feel safe doing so. That is perhaps a weakness that I should work on, sharing my feelings even when I don’t feel safe. Hmmm, but I have to be careful there since sharing feelings is a chance to build relationships but it also makes me vulnerable to being hurt and that tears down a relationship.

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