Accountability & Victimization

Accountability is to take responsibility usually for one’s actions, feelings and beliefs. It is a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results.

Victimization is to become the victim. Victimization occurs naturally when someone is duped, swindled or the necessary enforcements are not followed through. (I.e. victim blaming, etc.) However many people will cast themselves as a victim in order to make themselves feel or look better or to deflect a problem away from them. Victimization is also to deny, ignore, defer, criticize and blame.

Accountable Stance Victim Stance
Sense of reality Excuse Making
Ownership, commitment Projection onto others, Blaming others
Solutions to problems Deflection, Confusion
Determined Action Attitude of helplessness
Implement change Status Quo

People who victimize themselves have stories to explain why things go wrong, while people who hold themselves accountable are empowered by commitment and hard work. These types of victims will ignore their responsibility for a situation, often playing the blame game and creating their own reality where they are always portrayed as the victim. They often feel stuck in life feeling confused, asking for help, claiming that they can’t do something or they will wait to see if a situation will miraculously resolve itself.

There are four steps to moving from victimization to accountability. These can be related back to the Wizard of Oz:

Character Example Action
Lion Courage See It
Tin Man Heart Own It
Scarecrow Wisdom Solve It
Dorothy Means Do It
Wicked Witch Bully (or yourself/mind) Victimization

See It

This first step takes courage and involves acknowledging reality. This can also involve gaining feedback from others to keep yourself on track and gain insight. Accountable people gain other people’s insights and perceptions to add to their own to recognize when you might be acting like the victim

Own It

The second step involves heart and owning your circumstances.Recognize where you are at in life. Are you portraying yourself as the victim? Recognize this and take accountability for your actions and behaviors that have kept you from moving forward.

Solve It

In this step, you must use wisdom to solve the issues. This behavior stems from asking “What else can I do?” It pushes you to find solutions to your problems which leads you to step four.

Do It

This step is the means or way and  means accepting responsibility for your behaviors and actions. you follow through with your plans, implement strategies and execute ideas. Falling short indicates the lack of accountability and responsibility.

According to the Oz Principle, there are 16 traits of accountability. These are:

  1. Obtaining the perspectives of others.
  2. Being open and candid in communication.
  3. Asking for and offering feedback.
  4. Hearing the hard things so that you openly see the reality of the situation.
  5. Being personally invested.
  6. Learning from both successes and failures.
  7. Ensuring that your work is aligned with results.
  8. Acting on the feedback that you receive.
  9. Constantly asking, “What else can I do?”
  10. Collaborating across functional boundaries.
  11. Creatively dealing with obstacles.
  12. Taking the necessary risks.
  13. Doing the things you say you’ll do.
  14. Not blaming others.
  15. Tracking progress with proactive and transparent reporting.
  16. Building an environment of trust.

These steps and traits can be used in your personal and professional life.

https://www.ozprinciple.com/self/steps-to-accountability/

http://www.resourcesinaction.com/articles/PDFs/acctability_vicitm.pdf

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Reprogramming Me: My Issues & My Struggles

According to the doctors, I have ingrained personality traits that are causing my depression. This means that I have learned certain ways of thinking and doing things that are actually part of the problem. This basically means that I have to learn how to reprogram my ways of thinking and my outlook on the world. Here are a couple of things they believe I need to work on:

  1. Mindfulness
    1. I’m not very mindful. I’m constantly reviewing the past or worrying about the future, so I have a very hard time being present. I need to learn to stay in the moment and be mindful, to pay attention to what is going on around me and to what I am doing in the moment.
  2. Quick Fix
    1. I want a quick fix to everything. I don’t want to have to struggle for answers or solutions to problems, I just want them fixed immediately.
  3. Catastrophize
    1. This is one of a couple cognitive distortions that I have. I tend to view situations in the worst possible light and look for the worst possible situation to occur. You can read about Cognitive Distortions here.
  4. Avoidance and Fixations
    1. I tend to avoid situations that I don’t want to deal with and fixate on things I shouldn’t.
  5. Negative outlook and worst case scenario
    1. I tend to have a negative outlook on life and believe that the worst possible scenario will occur.
  6. Expectation for things to go my way, or the way I plan.
    1. I have an expectation for things to go the way I plan and for everything to work out exactly as I specify. This is often not the case, and I can get extremely upset when the plans I have made go awry.
  7. Fixation on connection.
    1. Because of a lack of friendships, I have a fixation on connection. I yearn to connect with people and make friends. Oftentimes this connection causes me more harm because I form connections quickly and often believe I have a close friendship with someone who may only consider me as a passing friend.
  8. I also need to explore why group social settings are so uncomfortable
    1. Despite my need for connection, I have a hard time thriving in a group social setting. I need to explore why this is the case. I yearn for connection, but feel uncomfortable in group settings. Why?

I also have issues with my primary support group (my family) which I have discussed here and problems related to social environment which I will be discussing in a later post.

Some of the ways the doctors and therapists have suggested that I work on these issues is by focusing on and accepting myself. I’m holding onto ideals and an old relationship with myself that is only hurting me now. By focusing on myself, something I’m not very good at, I can form a new relationship and connection with myself that will make me a stronger person, and help me fight depression

All of these problems are works in progress and I will continue to update you on my progress in my journey to mental healthiness.

Forgotten

I often feel forgotten; by my friends, family, even acquaintances out in public. It’s almost like I fade into the background of life. Perhaps because of this, I long to be a priority to someone. I long to be important because I rarely feel that way.

As you know, I have my best friend and my boyfriend. They are my two biggest supporters and I rarely feel forgotten when I’m with them. Recently, my best friend just got a girlfriend and while I’m happy for him, I’m desperately scared that I’m going to be forgotten. Based on past personal experience, I’m usually forgotten about when a ‘friend’ finds a new significant other, so because of this I’m afraid I’m going to lose my best friend.

Only having two good friends, I long to make more and am scared of losing the ones that I have. They are very important to me and because of them, I feel stronger in my fight against my depression.

In a world where people just don’t pay attention, I don’t want to be one of those people lost in the crowd. I want to stand out but so often I feel like I just fade into the background, like I’m just another face in the crowd. Feeling like you’ve been forgotten is one of the worst feelings in the world because being forgotten leads to loneliness.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that I have depression. I have been forgotten and ignored by so many people whom I once called ‘friends’. Maybe someday I won’t be one of the forgotten. Until then, I will continue to do what I can to stand out in a crowd. I will continue to fight against my disease and against the stigma that is attached to mental illness. Hopefully, my voice, my fight, and my non-profit will one day be heard. Maybe then, I will no longer be forgotten.

Cognitive Distortions: Fixes

Now that we know what cognitive distortions are and how this way of automatic thinking affects our moods, we must now find a way to counteract and change these thought processes. Here is a list of the cognitive distortions and steps that you can take to prevent  these types of thinking.

  1. All or nothing thinking
    1. Instead of categorizing things in black and white, try rating them on a scale from 1-10. By rating the situation, you are considering all sides instead of instantly picking a side.
  2. Overgeneralization
    1. Instead of making a judgment and reacting on that, view the evidence. Examine how others are behaving to the situation and why. Is there another perspective?
  3. Mental filter
    1. Am I only noticing the bad stuff? Am I filtering out the positives? What would be more realistic?
  4. Disqualifying the positive
    1. Am I exaggerating my negatives and minimizing the positives? How would someone else see it? What’s the bigger picture? It can also be helpful to minimize social media usage, where we compare our worst to other people’s best.
  5. Jumping to conclusions
    1. Mind reading
      1. Am I assuming I know what others are thinking? What’s the evidence? Those are my own thoughts, not theirs. Is there another, more balanced way of looking at it?
    2. Fortune teller error
      1. Am I thinking that I can predict the future? How likely is it that that might really happen?
  6. Magnification
    1. Thinking that the worst possible thing will definitely happen isn’t helpful right now. Ask yourself, “ what’s most likely to happen?”
  7. Emotional reasoning
    1. Just because it feels bad, doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad. My feelings are just a reaction to my thoughts – and thoughts are just automatic brain reflexes.
  8. Absolute Statements
    1. Am I putting more pressure on myself, setting up expectations of myself that are almost impossible? What would be more realistic? Avoid using words that have no meaning. Please see the list at the end of this article which shows what words are more helpful than others.
  9. Labeling & Mislabeling
    1. Instead of labeling the situation, look at the evidence. Also avoid double standards, these will only make a situation worse.
  10. Personalization
    1. Would most people who really know me say that about me? Is this something that I am totally responsible for? Instead of blaming yourself or another person, consider the circumstances. Look at the situation and view the evidence.
  11. Memories
    1. This is just a reminder of the past. That was then, and this is now. Even though this memory makes me feel upset, it’s not actually happening again right now.

 

Replace… with…
Should Like or Want
Should not Do not Like or Want
Have to Would Like
Must Wish
Must not Wish would not
Deserve Desire
Always Usually/Frequently
Forever Until/Unless
Never Rarely
Awful Disagreeable
Horrible Unfortunate
Terrible Unfavorable
Perfect Successful

http://jayuhdinger.com/chapters/faulty-thinking/

http://getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/FindingAlternativeThoughts.pdf

 

Cognitive Disorders

Cognitive Distortions are thoughts that cause reality to be inaccurately perceived. These inaccurate thoughts are usually reinforcing negative thoughts or emotions. This can lead to an anxious or depressive mental state when they combine to give an individual a negative outlook on their world. Cognitive distortions are also known as automatic thoughts. These thoughts are ingrained in individuals and affect the way they think. It takes time and patience to overcome these automatic distortions.

Here is a list of just a few of these distortions.

  1. All or nothing thinking:
    1. Also known as black and white thinking, it is ignoring all forms of in between or the ‘shades of grey’. This thinking also involves using absolute terms like ‘always’, ‘every’ or ‘never’. The thing to remember is that there is usually some grey in a situation and all or nothing thinking leads an individual to ignoring that.
  2. Overgeneralization
    1. Also known as categorizing, it is placing judgements or evaluations on an event, person or thing rather than describing the item or person. This thinking usually involves absolute terms such as ‘always’ or ‘never’. Overgeneralization causes individuals to ignore the facts and evidence in favor of their distorted vision.
  3. Mental filter
    1. This filter allows an individual to focus on a single detail (usually negative), about an event or person so that they overlook any positive. This thinking blocks out what doesn’t ‘fit’ with our ‘filter’ and is also known as looking through dark blinkers or ‘gloomy specs’. A mental filter causes individuals to ignore the positive or anything outside of what that filter provides.
  4. Disqualifying the positive
    1. This distortion causes individuals to overlook their positive experiences in favor of negative ones. It is also known as compare and despair, seeing only the good and positive aspects in others and comparing ourselves negatively against them. This can often be seen via Facebook, where people compare their everyday life to their friend’s ‘highlights reel’.
  5. Jumping to conclusions
    1. Mind reading
      1. Mind reading is assuming we know what other people are thinking, usually about ourselves. This distortion causes people to believe they can predict a person’s reaction or attitude.
    2. Fortune teller error
      1. Fortune teller error is assuming that a situation is going to end negatively despite lack of evidence. This can also be known as a self-fulfilling prophecy; because you assume a situation won’t end well, oftentimes it doesn’t because of that mindset.
  6. Magnification
    1. Also known as exaggeration or catastrophizing, this distortion causes individuals to overlook the one side in favor of the other. For example, overlooking the negative in a person by exaggerating the positive. It’s also known as making mountains out of molehills or imagining and believing that the worst possible thing will happen.
  7. Emotional reasoning
    1. This distortion causes individuals to take feelings as fact and base your decisions and actions on them. An example would be ‘I feel bad so it must be bad’. Individuals use this distortion to often put off doing something because they don’t ‘feel’ like doing it.
  8. Absolute Statements
    1. Absolute statements are words such as ‘should’, ‘must’, or ‘ought’. These statements raise expectations, and if these expectations are not met anger, frustration and disappointment occur. Absolute statements set up unrealistic expectations and can make people feel guilty.
  9. Labeling & Mislabeling
    1. Labeling is another form of black and white thinking. This is done by assigning either good or bad labels to yourself or other people. Again, there are no shades of grey and outside circumstances are not taken into consideration.
  10. Personalization
    1. Personalization is blaming yourself or taking responsibility for something that wasn’t your fault. Blaming others for something that is your fault, also falls under this category. This distortion is taking things personally when perhaps they didn’t involve you in the first place.
  11. Memories
    1. This distortion is when current situations or events trigger upsetting memories and lead you to believe that the danger is in the present rather than in the past. This causes distress in the present when the situation isn’t in the present, but in the past.

Perhaps after reading through these cognitive distortions, you realize that your way of thinking tends to lean towards these distortions. The first step to fixing these distortions is to realize that you have them. Please read the following article, Cognitive Distortions: Fixing the Problems for information on how to retrain your thinking away from distorted thoughts.

 

Cognitive Distortions

From: The Feeling Good Handbook

By: Dr. David Burns

 

http://jayuhdinger.com/chapters/faulty-thinking/

http://getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/AutomaticThoughts.pdf

http://getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/UnhelpfulThinkingHabits.pdf

http://getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/FindingAlternativeThoughts.pdf

 

My Story: Part 6

This is a continuation, part 6, of my daily journal of life after outpatient treatment for depression, and anxiety. Please click for Week 1Week 2Week 3, Week 4 and Week 5.

Part 6, Day 1:

I feel like my life is a rollercoaster. Somedays I feel good and other days, the IBSC is out in full force. I hate the IBSC so much. It messes with my mind. It makes me think things that aren’t ‘normal’. It makes me hate myself and my life. It makes me feel unwanted, unimportant, and unloved. The IBSC whispers in my ear telling me that I’m not a priority and making me wonder why anyone would  want me around. And unfortunately, my life experience agrees with the IBSC. Experience has taught me that most people don’t want to be friends with me; that for some reason, I fade into the background of their lives and am forgotten.

My BFF just found himself a girlfriend, and while I’m thrilled for him, I’m also scared for me. Am I about to lose my best friend? Because that is what experience has taught me will happen. I get dropped like a hot potato when something or someone else comes along. What happens if she doesn’t want him to be friends with me? And I know that this might not even be an issue, but my mind is constantly thinking the ‘what ifs’ of every situation. I’m just scared that I’m going to lose my best friend and then I’ll only have one person left. I’m so lonely lately.

Day 7:

I’ve been in a funk lately. Yesterday was a bad day. After my boyfriend left, I just sat on the couch and cried. I was so lonely and alone. Getting on Facebook and seeing everyone else having fun doesn’t help and I realized that I don’t have anything fun to post on Facebook.

I’m so frustrated with my life. I have 2 friends who I rarely get to see. I never have any fun and that’s all that I want. I want to have fun hanging out with my friends. Instead, I get to watch everyone else have fun, while I’m alone.

When I first started working nights, it was a huge change but now I’m grateful for it because my schedule is backwards. I’m usually asleep when everyone is out having fun so I don’t feel so alone, but now that I’ve adjusted, that feeling is starting to return. Forgotten, lonely, worthless.

I feel like I’m not worth people’s time or attention. I feel like there’s something wrong with me and that’s why I don’t have friends. I wish there was something wrong with me because then I could fix it and everything would get better.

Maybe the medication isn’t working anymore.

Day 11:

I’m excited and nervous because I’m going on vacation. Why would I be nervous about vacation? It’s the first time that I’m going on vacation having planned and paid for it myself. It’s actually my BF’s birthday present and I hope he enjoys it, I’m just nervous because it’s my first time saving up money and spending it on something that could be considered  frivolous. But I’m also excited to go on vacation with my BF. I could really use a break after the move and a weekend/weekday getaway (called such because we’re actually going during the week), will be perfect. Hopefully I will relax!

On the depression front, I’m still struggling. It’s better when I’m busy and don’t have as much time to think, which will make relaxing interesting. I think I’m going to see my doctor when I get back. I’m not sure if I need a higher dose of the medication or if something else could be the problem. Guess I should probably figure that out!!

Please stay tuned for Week 7. Here are the links for Week 1Week 2Week 3 and Week 4 and Week 5.

Perceptions

I once sat in on a communications college level class where the teacher said that when you communicate with someone, there are actually 6 ‘people’ involved in the conversation. There is you, the other person, how you perceive the other person, how they perceive you, how you perceive that they perceive you and how they perceive how you perceive you. That’s a lot going on in one conversation, but perceptions are a huge part of communication. How we perceive ourselves and others can color our views of ourselves, others and how we communicate.

Our perceptions are often not based on reality. What we perceive is often based upon our own personal realities and not based on fact. Our perceptions are colored by our experiences, feelings and beliefs, none of which are the exactly the same as another person’s. Perception is defined as ‘the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding’. Perception is a cognitive act and can therefore be distorted. Cognitive Distortions are thoughts that cause reality to be inaccurately perceived. Please see the article “Cognitive Distortions.”

Perceptions can cause problems because oftentimes one person will perceive something one way while another person may perceive it in another way. This can cause complications and confusion especially when the two people are not actively communicating with each other. Active communication can clear up any issues caused by misperception. By making sure that your perceptions are communicated clearly, and by understanding other people’s perceptions, you can have a better understanding of the world and environment around you.

Perceptions are a fact of life. Everyone is going to perceive ideas, beliefs and actions in different manners based on their experiences. Just because their perception is different from yours, doesn’t mean that either perception is wrong. The world is full of perceptions and beliefs that help us view and understand our worlds. Perceptions are not good or bad, black or white. They are what they are and it is helpful to understand that to better communicate with the world.