Friday, May 15, 2009

Can I Tell If You Are Lying?



Can I Tell If You Are Lying?

By Brian Lynch, M.D.


Actually you can’t. Now the thing is you can’t tell if I am lying either. You may think you can but I am sorry you can’t. Who says? Well, all the people that study these types of things. Mr. Paul Ekman for one. He is a world expert on “reading” the face. There are some things I disagree with him on but about lying I do believe he is probably right and that is that almost no one can judge if someone is telling the truth or not.

What are the consequences of such an insight into human interaction? I think they are many.

I think we should think a lot about the consequences of this fact. That said I think if we really accept the fact that we cannot tell if someone is lying it can be very liberating as it frees us in many situations to leave the consequences of the lie solely to the person lying.

For example as a physician I know patients lie to me all the time. A long time ago when I accepted that I really had little hope of telling the truth tellers from the liars and really accepted that my job was much easier. I did not “fight” so much. My job is to do the best I could; if someone is lying it is their burden to bear. That is not to say I let myself be made a fool.


This has helped in my private life in that “I accept” my role in “the play” knowing that it is most likely that the lie will come out eventually and the “hurt” will be exposed and the fact that I did not force any issue at the time of the lie very much makes it so much more clear who actually was dishonest.


Let me be clear: Dr. Ekman certainly can teach most people to detect to a very high degree of certainty that someone is concealing something or engaging in some kind of deception but always remember we do not know why they are doing it. We should not and cannot be quick to judge even if we know this evolving science of lie detection. So to be clear almost no one, maybe one in one thousand people can naturally detect deception otherwise pretty much forget it and relax. Then if you do learn it be very clear about what you have learned.


Copyright 2009



References:


Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.


Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)


W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090


How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why do those young girls do that?






Why do those young girls do that.


By Dr. Brian Lynch



This is sparked by something I saw on T.V. It was a common story. On a talk show there was the mother; middle aged, single, overweight and worried about her 13 y.o. daughter. The daughter dressed somewhat provocatively and looking at least a few years beyond her years.

The discussion was over the girl’s relationship with a much older man, through the Internet. The mother was frantic that the girl was going to go down the same path she did.

I wished I could have taped this interview, albeit not an uncommon one. Certainly the issues are not uncommon. What issues? There are several: 1) the idea of someone this age having a relationship of any kind let alone someone much older, 2) the issue of privacy and 3) her sexuality.

This is not about sex, nope, not about sex, at least primarily. No, all the participants are ships passing in the night. A lot of “don’ts”. “Don’t dress like that.” “Don’t do what I did. “Don’t talk to those people on the Internet”. And “Don't have sex.”

If you listen to the young women it does have little to do with sex. It has to do with the fact that someone is interested in her. She feels recognized. She feels she is somebody.

The sad fact is she too is a ship passing this man in the night which makes it all the more tragic. Why? Because she really does not realize her sexuality. All she knows is that she feels good due to this mans interest. Interest makes us feel wonderful.

All we want is for someone to be interested in us.

She loves her mother and her mother loves her but telling people not to do something no matter the interest in them sends a message of no interest. Why? Because my interest is not your interest.

We first and foremost know that the mind is a ‘positive” reciprocal. The mind wants to go with the flow. It wants to accept input as reality, as true. To say “no don’t do that” makes the mind work very hard. It is the old “pink elephant” problem. I tell you not to think of a pink elephant. It is then impossible not to think of a pink elephant. The mind has to do double the work. It has to think of the pink elephant and then think about not thinking about it.

If, however, I ask you what you want, what your goals are and where you want to go, I might get a lot further. There might be a conversation in which I can advise and share instead of scold.

But back to sex. We mistake sexuality for our feelings. Sex is a drive. A drive we need to learn about through feeling about it. We presume these young women know what they are doing as they “act the part.” Many do. Many are quite sophisticated. But to know you have to really talk to them and respect them. Most do not have much of a clue. They are their bodies among other things. But if I can so seemingly “effortlessly” gain others interest, what power!

Of course life is strewn with the aftermath of divorce, poverty and single parenthood when all I wanted was your “interest.”

And why? Because somehow I missed it from those who raised me.

But too it is complicated by the family image I have. Where, that is, do I belong in the cosmos? Our answer is often only what we know and that is to follow “the clan”, “the tribe”, the family. No matter the problems I see in my parents “this is who I am” and I must be the same. In fact to do different would humiliate them and myself.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Black Hole of Shame


The Black Hole of Shame

By Brian Lynch, M.D.

What is a “black hole?” Albert Einstein predicted the existence of black holes and later doubted that prediction. It turned out that he was right, they do exist. They are very large objects in space that have very powerful gravitational fields, so powerful that everything that comes near them falls into them, even light. So it is very hard to distinguish them form the black space around them.

I am not the first to think of shame, in it’s intense form, as causing a person to become a human black hole. Many times I have noted that when we feel bad and feeling bad can be expressed as feeling a sense of shame, we can only move through a series of possible activities that are remarkably restricted and those activities are, we can "withdraw", we can "attack" ourselves or others or we can "avoid" and all these can be can be envisioned as such:





Now envision a circular rail connecting the four poles of this “Compass” that enables the person to go from one pole to another in a clockwise fashion starting at “withdraw.” Now imagine the “train” that is taking the person around this rail going faster and faster. The faster the train goes the more centripetal force there is holding the person in and like a black hole everything that comes in contact with it will be drawn into the circle.

It seems at times that all the love and interest in the world one might heap on the person is of no avail, it simply gets sucked up into to the black hole of shame. Why shame? Because shame is the fuel for the train, shame that turns to guilt and embarrassment and being ashamed for even existing. Nothing matters but the pain of my shame. I cannot see the pain I cause others as mine now has become so great and it continues to feed on itself.

This is the toxic shame that should never have been for shame is not meant to be toxic. Shame is meant, and this will sound strange, it is meant, to be a friendly reminder that something is out of place. Shame is that feeling that things are not going right and we should pay closer attention and fix the problem. Not that we should turn away or blame ourselves or someone else for the problem. These “solutions” only delay getting back to life’s pleasures; back to love, friendship productive work. Yes, easier said than done but nevertheless true.

This is not to say it is easy or that the pain that people have is not incapacitating. People do not choose this pain. It is hoped that at least now that we can write about it and understand it that reading and understanding about it will empower some to be able to control the pain. How? We can begin to take action on the fact that it would be impossible to have such excruciating pain without the fact that that pain has to have a cause. What is the cause? It is the desire for something just as good as the pain we are suffering. Just as powerful. Powerful enough to cause such pain! Take the first step to regaining that which you lost. The pain gets better.


Copyright 2009


References:

Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.

Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)

W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090

How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Getting well is tough. Getting well emotionally is tough. It can take years. II

Getting well is tough. Getting well emotionally is tough. It can take years. II

By Brian Lynch, M.D.

It is often said you have to be “ready” to get help. “The person is not ready.”

I deal with people many people that are addicted so drugs and in this area of treatment it is very common to say that the person was or was not simply ready or not ready.

If one is not getting help what can anyone do?

A very important perspective to take to help anyone is that why should the person think they need help when the reason they are having trouble is not their fault?

Yes, yes, yes there is the “abuse excuse.” It is the only excuse. People are “bad” because they have been treated badly. There is a great deal of “proof” now that this is indeed fact. There is in fact an “abuse excuse.”

At some level we know that we have been harmed and many of us know that we have been greatly harmed. Now what are our responses to this harm? Well, we have been able to classify these responses into some generic reactions. It seems that humans can only do one of five things we can try and run away from the problem, we can abuse ourselves even to the point of suicide, we can lose ourselves in addiction, we can blame others, hate others. Finally we can face the problem, the pain, and try and solve the problem.

Now, if you have been harmed it is very hard to see the need to “solve” the problem as you did not cause the problem. But then what? Well, what we do not know is that we are simply left with our pain and if left with our pain and with the four not so good responses mentioned above. These not so good responses will throw us into more confusion.

Basically, the logic here is that mostly people do not have much of a chance if the abuse is significant. I like to say how do you get a “positive” out of a “negative?” Well, you don’t. Many give the retort “well I had it bad and I am ok.” I say your not ok just because you say that! Yes we can overcome adversity because we want to connect but the argument is like saying a wiring system in a house is always going to work without being maintained. That you can abuse it all you want and the current will flow. Not true. So to with humans, human interest will not continually flow if it is abused sufficiently.

So it is quite a thing to “be ready.” Magnificent in fact. The person is having a birth. They somehow are able to birth into an independent world. How this can take place is somewhat miraculous. They have to trust themselves to what is a completely unknown world. Indeed “Better the devil you know than the angle you don’t.” That is until it isn't

Joy, love, kindness and trust have to be lived and experienced. Because you have enjoyed them does not mean that person next to you has any concept of that experience. And so why should they trust you or me if we ask them to change?

Once again staying the course, not punishing, not being negative not confirming their world is the only way.





Copyright 2009


References:

Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.

Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)

W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090

How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree

Getting well is tough Getting wel emotion is tough It can take years. I

Getting well is tough Getting wel emotion is tough It can take years. I

By Brian Lynch M.D.

I hope I can be of some help here through a simple thought. I talk a lot about “feelings”, “emotions” and sometimes I use the word “affect.”

I believe in psychology we have been missing a very valuable tool that has been right under our noses. I have just mentioned it and it is our feelings. We live in a world of images and we get very much caught up in those images. These images can control our lives.

Of course in psychology we are interested in those things that make us feel bad. We have all experienced unpleasant moments in our lives. Many of us have experienced horrible moments. All types of abuse has been experienced by any number of readers. To name them might only serve to upset some.

Some abuse is intentional. Sometimes things happen to us and we are just there. That is horrible things happen and nothing at all was intended. For example maybe we were in a natural disaster or were in a war or exposed to someone else’s violence. Mostly we were very, very little and had no control. No control at all over what was going on.

What stays with us is the picture, the video clip, the image. This is “trauma.”

I say that what we do not understand is that the image has behind it feeling. What are we feeling when we are experiencing the video clip?

Think of going to a movie. Movies almost always have a score. The music that accompanies the movie. Most of the time we are not aware of the music except subconsciously.

This is the way we live most of our lives We are, unfortunately, often controlled by traumatic images that are driven by fear, terror, shame, disgust, contempt, startle, and rage that we pay no attention to. No attention at all to because we are so focused on the “image.” The image is always there. The image continually recalls the negative emotion and moves us to act in ways we have learned to act from a very early times. Usually these actions are quite “dysfunctional.” They often control our lives.

We feel that much can be done if we focus on the feelings instead of the image.

The image, unfortunately, will never go away. What can change is how we feel about it. If we get “interested” in the image we will start to move aside the negative feeling and start to “understand” what went on. Understanding leads to healing. We, in short, replace, anger, fear, shame, contempt, disgust, with interest.

Copyright 2009

References:

Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.

Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)

W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090

How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree

Friday, February 20, 2009

“A Sept Forward and Three Back”

“A Sept Forward and Three Back”

By Brian Lynch, M.D.

Why is it that we do not progress in life? Why is it that we might take a step for forward maybe three and fall back? Is it that the world is just overwhelming?

That is an important question. Many times it is just overwhelming. Presently we are in very difficult economic times. Are these any individual’s fault? Not entirely and often not at all. One losses their house and they “did everything right” or everything they could.

But we do come from a family; we do have an inner psychological world that can play tricks on us.

Some years ago a teacher of mine said to me, “you know Brian it is often very difficult for children to do better than their parents.” I understood this to have a great deal to do with shame and humiliation. That it might be understood by all that it would be humiliating to the parent if the son became more than the father. There are many works of art that demonstrate this. The father does everything to sabotage the son’s efforts to leave the farm or not stay on at the family business. “What boy you think you’re better than me?”

Shame can “bind” us to the family. We can actually feel it is wrong or bad to improve ourselves. We see a better world out there but if I leave will I not hurt my parents? Will I not disrupt all the family is? After all it is “the family.” Even those that do leave and are successes oft times will struggle for years with guilt and addiction because of their betrayal. If these thoughts seem insane they might just indeed be the basis of a great deal of what we call “insanity."

We know and see the “the good” and the healthy but we cannot bring ourselves to achieve it for to do so would be to break the bound with our primary caregiver. With that which was the healthiest and loving and giving to begin with. But what happens when we quickly learn “the family” as a whole is not so loving and healthy. There are many types of intelligences and anyone of these can inform us that there is a “better life over the hill” but again “how do I leave this life for that life?” “Who is my guide? Who can possibly be my guide?” Today I would think it is more and more difficult to find those guides as “pop culture” is devoid of “heroes”, for the most part, and the act of “humiliating” others in public is now taught nightly on Television.

Who do we turn to, to be taught to be interested in each other?

So it is quite a bind; I continue terrible brutal family traditions of abuse and unhealthy habits all the time knowing there is a better way. I continue this out of “love.” But this love, although it is genuine and healthy at its core, as these are your primary care givers it is now a love based greatly on guilt. There needs to be a new birth through, yes, interest, interest in self to bring about a rebirth. Today it seems we have to be our own hero, and find like mined souls, like-minded heroes. They do exist. Then we can return to the family and not change them but be their model, their “hero” even though they at first might “hate” us for it.

Brian Lynch

brianlynchmd.com

Copyright 2008

References:

Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.

Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)

W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090

How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree

"Getting Back to the Good Times"

"Getting Back to the Good Times"



By Brian Lynch, M.D.

I would suspect that most people would not know that most of what is practiced in what is called clinical psychology or psychotherapy has not been proven. That is when doctors and therapist treat patients the methods they use have not been “tested” in any rigorous way. Are you surprised?

Well, this whole business of trying to help people in this way is barely a hundred years old and the idea of having organized systems of doing and paying for research on a large scale is much less than that. Then realize that we are mostly dealing with face-to-face, one-on-one encounters, conversations between two people. How do you compare one conversation with another and decide if one is better than another? It is pretty difficult. But we have made some progress.

I have talked a great deal about two positive emotions joy and interest, mainly interest and about “testing.”

The exciting news is that it seems that there is some “proof” that these ideas are indeed valid. Through a therapy called “Control Mastery Theory” (don’t bother about the strange name) they have been able to do studies through which they conclude that people in therapy are indeed trying their best despite many, many things they might do to demonstrate the opposite. Like do what! Like call the therapist names, leave therapy, and not pay the bill. The conclusion in all of these cases is that the person is “testing” the therapist. They are testing whether or not it is “safe” to move forward in life. Now, I just say we all do these things, these "tests" with everyone in our lives if we are not acting in a healthy way toward them.

We start out in life with a good deal of “interest” and “joy.” These feeling are not attached to much “thinking” or reasoning for a very long time. They are attached to “doing” things. To “play” for example, again enjoyment in the world. But through much of history and much of our own lives there has been much interruption of this “interest” and “joy” that from an early age has taught us that the world can hurt and can “hurt” a lot. Here I can only suggest that what the theory suggests is that we have a deep subconscious master plan to get “back to the good times.” We will charge forward wanting and hoping for love and connection but will then “test” the environment, the desired object” to see if they or the environment is safe. I say often too, it is “just” that what happens is that old memories of the bad times, of the old hurts of pain and abandonment come back. The feelings of fear of more loss, the feelings of shame and distress return and they are too much and we either runway into a pit of self hate and blame and often addiction or we strike back.

That is each human is innately “healthy” due to innate “interest.” That is we are born with the absolute biological need to connect with other people through “interest.” That is this is not the Freudian sex drive. This is “I am interested in you.” This is our healthy state. We can never lose this except in extreme cases ( This is what I call the most damaged of us such as a Sadam Hussien. His mother tried to abort him and he knew this!). So we subconsciously are trying always to recover this primary interest despite the fact that in any given family we might have learned many, many rules that teach us that to connect is not healthy or is dangerous. Again we learn the dysfunctional rules that to connect is not healthy and is dangerous. This causes great internal conflict as these thoughts and feelings are always fighting our biological nature to connect and to be healthy.

Brian Lynch

brianlynchmd.com

Copyright 2008


References:

Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.

Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)

W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090

How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree

Sunday, January 4, 2009

We Have to Learn to Give

We Have to Learn to Give

By Brian Lynch M.D.

Whenever I write I wish not to be “pointing the finger at others” although it is natural to first see “wrong” in others  but very often I will write something and then be so surprised to be thinking about what I wrote and find that I remember doing a similar thing to someone just recently.

Today I am thinking about stories I have heard and experiences I have heard concerning people that just seem to be unable to, well, share very much.

In the extreme form it might be that you could not expect them to walk across the room and get you a glass of water.

People who might live with you a week and maybe, just maybe wash their dish that they ate from. Otherwise they feel that they need every last cent that have as “who knows what might happen tomorrow?”

People who know all about a given profession, are professional and yet after 20 years and claim you as their “best” friend but I bet you, you have not gotten one bit of “free” advice from them. You might be “picking their brain!" Yet you have freely given of your knowledge as you see this as part and parcel of “friendship”, of sharing.

Over and over you hear, “I’d love to help you out” with this or that. I know how to do this or that. “You really should get this organized.” etc., but nothing ever comes of it.

A relative is full of advice. You’re desperate for tuition money but you just hear criticism. Had you done this or that? They are going to give all their savings to the poor in India when they die. That is the only solution they can see. “Otherwise people just hurt you?”


So why are “we” like this so much of the time? Well, the last statement says it all. “Otherwise people just hurt you?” If we are not creating the good times now, today. Why is it that we are not creating the good times now today? It must only be because we have learned to be cautious. A little logic must tell us that there should be a balance to this but then who is to tell us what that balance is? Where do we go to find out?

If we have been severely abused how do we even know we have been severely abused and we are over reacting? How do we know that we should be more giving and if we were more giving we would be better off? The thought is those that don’t know don’t know and are not “evil”, “mean” or “doing it on purpose” they just do not know. Those that can give in the moment and experience the “interest” and the resulting “joy” of giving and hopefully of receiving only know it through doing. The receiving part is very important because the down side is that is almost as dangerous and “sick” to give and give without receiving as to not give. We need balance the year round.


Copyright 2008


References:

Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.

Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)

W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090

How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree