Even though absolutely anybody from AA and Co-dependents Anonymous to most PhD psychologists would tell them that it can’t be done, it CAN be done by those who have great self-control and great patience.
Curiously enough, like so many of the things that I’ve seen work in humans as well as animals — like offering conditioning — they have their forerunners in the ancient wisdom coming from My-Grandmother-Of-Blessed-Memory. If she heard someone say something stupid or do something stupid and talk about it, she would mutter in Yiddish something that sounded like, “Af alle narishkeit eaft’min nisht anferin!”
What this means is, “You don’t answer every single foolishness!” Read more on How To Change Your Husband…
No small part of the life of psychiatrists (and other doctors, I suppose) is made up of writing papers and reports. A rather astonishing part of this are reports that are supposed to predict other people’s behavior.
This is basically impossible. I remember hearing and never forgetting, early in my training, a supposedly ironclad rule of behavior prediction.
“If they did it before, they will do it again.”
Sometimes it had slightly different forms, made to appear more authoritative. “Past behavior is the solidest predictor of future behavior.” Read more on Prediction and Propinquity…
She was beautiful. Early forties, slender, blond hair with a few streaks of gray. She could not stop crying and could not think of any way out of her predicament. Several had been suggested. The one she kept thinking about, however, was suicide. She thought it was the only one, and I believe it never is. This woman literally could not look at an electric cord without thinking how to choke herself with it. She could not look at a plastic bag without thinking how to asphyxiate herself with it.
As far as I am concerned, this is a biological problem. It has something to do with low serotonin in the central nervous system. I remember years ago, reading about a study done in Detroit, comparing the serotonin in the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord) in people who had been gunshot victims with levels of the same chemical in people who had shot themselves. Those who had shot themselves had less.