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About Strokes: Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is an act by someone else that lets you know they are there.

Dr. Calude Steiner , in a book called  ” A Warm Fuzzy Tale” names pleeasant strokes ” Warm Fuzzies” because you feel warm and fuzzy all over when you get one.  He calls unpleasent strokes ” cold pricklies”

An example of a warm fuzzy :

touch

hello

a compliment

a warm and friendly look

a smile

What we say and the way we look at each other as well as the way we touch each other can all be pleasant strokes(Warm Fuzzies)

The very best strokes (Warm Fuzzies)are the ones you don’t have to earn – the strokes you get from people important to you  just for being . These are free strokes .  These strokes are not only for being good, smart or winning  but just for being you .

Strokes are vital to your physical and mental health and you need them every day to be healthy and happy


Author: Jill • Filed under: Featured, Narrative Matters • Posted: May 13, 2017 6:52 pm

Passivity

Passive Behaviours

The Schiffs identified four behaviours that were particularly passive.

Passive behaviour 1 – Doing Nothing

You can’t get much more passive than doing nothing eh?! Well as the Schiff’s see it there are two ways in which you can do nothing. The first way is to have a problem and then to passively not respond to that problem. Imagine a rabbit in the headlights sort of scenario. Quite often when people are in this place they say “I can’t think” or “I’m confused” – a survival response clicks in.
If you are doing nothing in this way it is likely that you will feel uncomfortable and anyone who attempts to help you with this is likely to get dragged in and end up doing nothing too.

The second way of doing nothing is not passive behavior. You can decide to do nothing. This is from an Adult place and there is an active decision to do nothing. In this scenario you will probably not feel uncomfortable because you have taken action. The action you have taken is to decide to do nothing!

Passive behaviour 2 – Over Adaptation

Over adaptation is when you do not work out what your goal is when attempting to solve a problem but instead you try to achieve what you believe is somebody else’s goal.

Here is an example. Frankie and Benny are deciding what to see at the cinema.

Problem: Which film to go and see.

Frankie’s response: “I’m not at all bothered – I guess you would like to see the Cowboy film so let’s go see that”

Benny’s response: “Yep – I would like to see that film so if you are happy let’s do that.”

Only Frankie hates cowboy films and spends the next hour and a half feeling very annoyed that he has to sit through one.

Frankie’s over adaptation was very hard to detect because he made no indication of what he wanted to do. As a result he had to suffer a film he knew he would dislike. If he had been more active in the decision about what film they both saw and discussed it he would have found out that Benny also loves Science Fiction and would have been happy to see the new Star wars movie that Frankie really wanted to see.

Passive behaviour 3 – Agitation

When we feel agitated we do things that are pointless and have nothing to do with the goal we are trying to achieve. We usually feel uncomfortable and confused.

We behave this way because we are defending the symbiosis we have formed with another against a threat . We know we could solve our problem by taking action but we just don’t feel adequate enough to grab the bull by the horns and do it.

What’s also can be present is the belief that what we are doing is actually achieving something.

The agitated person needs another individual to step in and give clear instructions as to what to do. This restores them to a overadapted place which is far less serious. The difficulty with agitation is that if it is not dealt with it can esculate into the next stage of passive behaviour: violence.

Passive behaviour 4 – Violence or Incapacitation

When I read this stage I couldn’t get my head round how violence was passive behaviour – surely it’s the ultimate in doing something right? Wrong, when we become violent we actually change nothing. It is the release of energy built up from passivity.

Violence does not require thinking and no responsibility is taken for it. Just think of the way people describe their violence after the event;

“He made me so mad I couldn’t help myself hitting him”
“I punched the wall because I was so frustrated”

Quite often after the violence, once all of the energy has been released and they have calmed down, the person is quite able to have a rational conversation about what happened.

Violence is a grandiose act and really buys into the idea that “I can’t stand it any more” – a great example of a passive statement.

How can knowing all of this help me?

I think the first benefit of knowing this information is being able to identify passive behavior in yourself. If you can identify that you are acting passively then you can decide (make an active decision) whether you want to continue doing this or act differently.

In order to do this you may find it useful to track your feelings about a situation. Your feelings hold the key to what is going on. It may go something like this:

I feel ill at ease about something that is going on in my life.

I sit for a minute or two and just track my feelings. What am I feeling? Where am I feeling it (in my body)? Is this a common feeling that reminds me of something from my past?

If the feeling is agitation then does this have something to do with inaction? Am I feeling very angry? Do I feel like I want to hit something (or someone)? Do I feel like I’m completely stuck and can do nothing?

If the angry feelings are there then the first step is to do something to expend that energy somewhere else and prevent an explosion. You might do this by going for a walk, taking yourself to the cinema, listening to calming music or whatever else you know will calm you down. The same can be said about agitation, which is you being on the verge of violence or incapacitation.

Once you have done this and your brain is more able to think logically about your situation. See if you can identify one single thing that you can do that will help your situation. This will move you away from passivity to action and may help shift the block that you feel. If you can’t even do this then it may be that you need help and advice from someone trained in this area. A therapist or counsellor should be able to help you look at your passive behaviours and facilitate decision making.

Recognise any of the passive behaviours mentioned?

How has this post impacted on you?  Do you see which passive behaviours you mostly carry out?  Have you got some great ideas for moving yourself out of passivity?  Please leave your comments about passive behaviours below.

 

Author: Jill • Filed under: Featured, Narrative Matters • Posted: January 3, 2017 10:45 am

Perspective is everything

by Claude M. Steiner

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two happy people called Tim and Maggie with their two children, John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were you have to understand how things were in those day

You see in those happy days everyone was given a small, soft Fuzzy Bag when born. Any time a person reached into this bag they were able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever someone was given a Warm Fuzzy it made them feel warm and fuzzy all over.

In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up to you and say, “I’d like to have a Warm Fuzzy.” You would then reach into your bag and pull out a Fuzzy the size of a child’s hand. As soon as the Fuzzy saw the light of day it would smile and blossom into a large, shaggy, Warm Fuzzy. When you laid the Warm Fuzzy on the person’s head, shoulder or lap it would snuggle up and melt right against their skin and make them feel good all over.

People were always asking each other for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them was never a problem. There were always plenty to go around, and so everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of the time.

One day a bad witch who made salves and potions for sick people became angry because everyone was so happy and feeling good and no one was buying potions and salves. The witch was very clever and devised a very wicked plan. One beautiful morning while Maggie was playing with her daughter the witch crept up to Tim  and whispered in his ear,

“See here, Tim, look at all the Fuzzies that Maggie is giving to Lucy. You know, if she keeps it up she is going to run out and then there won’t be any left for you!”

Tim was astonished. He turned to the witch and asked, “Do you mean to tell me that there isn’t a Warm Fuzzy in our bag every time we reach into it?”.

And the witch answered, “No, absolutely not, and once you run out, that’s it. You don’t have any more.” With this the witch flew away on a broom, laughing and cackling all the way.

Tim took this to heart and began to notice every time Maggie gave away a Warm Fuzzy. He got very worried because he liked Maggie’s Warm Fuzzies very much and did not want to give them up. He certainly did not think it was right for Maggie to be spending all her Warm Fuzzies on the children and other people.

Tim began to complain or sulk when he saw Maggie giving Warm Fuzzies to somebody else, and because Maggie loved him very much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often, and reserved most of them for him.

The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give  Warm Fuzzies any time you were asked or felt like it. They too became very careful. They would watch their parents closely and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many Fuzzies to others, they felt jealous and complained and sometimes even had a tantrum. And even though they found a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag they began to feel guilty whenever they gave them away so they reached in less and less and became more and more stingy with them.

Before the witch, people used to gather in groups of three, four or five, never caring too much who was giving Warm Fuzzies to whom. After the coming of the witch, people began to pair off and to reserve all their Warm Fuzzies for each other, exclusively. When people forgot to be careful and gave a Warm Fuzzy to just anybody they worried because they knew that somebody would probably resent sharing  their Warm Fuzzies.

People began to give less and less Warm Fuzzies, and felt less warm and less fuzzy. They began to shrivel up and, occasionally, people would even die from lack of Warm Fuzzies. People felt worse and worse and, more and more, people went to the witch to buy potions and salves even though they didn’t really seem to work.

Well, the situation was getting very serious indeed. The bad witch who had been watching all of this didn’t really want the people to die (since dead people couldn’t buy his salves and potions), so a new plan was devised.

Everyone was given, free of charge, a bag that was very similar to the Fuzzy Bag except that this one was cold while the Fuzzy Bag was warm. Inside of the witch’s bag were Cold Pricklies. These Cold Pricklies did not make people feel warm and fuzzy; in fact they made them feel cold and prickly instead. But the Cold Pricklies were better than nothing and they did prevent peoples’ backs from shriveling up.

So, from then on, when somebody asked for a Warm Fuzzy, people who were worried about depleting their supply would say, “I can’t give you a Warm Fuzzy, but would you like a Cold Prickly instead?”

Sometimes, two people would walk up to each other, thinking they maybe they could get a Warm Fuzzy this time, but one of them would change his mind and they would wind up giving each other Cold Pricklies instead. So, the end result was that people were not dying anymore but a lot of people were very unhappy and feeling very cold and prickly indeed.

The situation got very complicated since the coming of the witch because there were fewer and fewer Warm Fuzzies around and Warm Fuzzies which used to be free as air, became extremely valuable.

This caused people to do all sorts of things in order to get Warm Fuzzies. People who could not find a generous partner had to buy their Warm Fuzzies and had to work long hours to earn the money.

Some people became “popular” and got a lot of Warm Fuzzies without having to give any back.  These people would then sell their Warm Fuzzies to people who were “unpopular” and needed them to feel that life was worth living.

Another thing which happened was that some people would take Cold Pricklies–which were everywhere and freely available-and coated them white and fluffy so that they almost looked like Warm Fuzzies. These fake Warm Fuzzies were really Plastic Fuzzies, and they caused additional problems.

For instance, two or more people would get together and freely give each other Plastic Fuzzies. They expected to feel good, but they came away feeling bad instead. People got very confused never realizing that their cold, prickly feelings were because they had been given a lot of Plastic Fuzzies.

So the situation was very, very dismal and it all started because of the coming of the witch who made people believe that some day, when least expected, they might reach into their Warm Fuzzy Bag and find no more.

Not long ago, a young woman with big hips came to this unhappy land. She seemed not to have heard about the bad witch and was not worried about running out of Warm Fuzzies. She gave them out freely, even when not asked. They called her the Hip Woman and disapproved of her because she was giving the children the idea that they should not worry about running out of Warm Fuzzies. The children liked her very much because they felt good around her and they began to follow her example giving out Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it.

This made the grownups very worried. To protect the children from depleting their supplies of Warm Fuzzies they passed a law. The law made it a criminal offense to give out Warm Fuzzies in a reckless manner or without a license. Many children, however, seemed not to care; and in spite of the law they continued to give each other Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it and always when asked. Because they were many, many children, almost as many as grown ups, it began to look as if maybe they would have their way.

As of now its hard to say what will happen. Will the grownups  laws stop the recklessness of the children?

Are the grownups going to join with the Hip Woman and the children in taking a chance that there will always be as many Warm Fuzzies as needed?

Will they remember the days their children are trying to bring back when Warm Fuzzies were abundant because people gave them away freely ?

The struggle spread all over the land and is probably going on right were you live. If you want to, and I hope you do, you can join by freely giving and asking for Warm Fuzzies and being as loving and healthy as you can.


 

Author: Jill • Filed under: Featured, Narrative Matters • Posted: October 30, 2016 4:39 pm

Thought for July 2016

Nurture and Nature

Without the touch from passing insects our flowers would not reproduce and die.  Without the pollen from our flowers our insects would shrivel up and die.

Every person has the need to be touched and to be recognized by other people.  These are biological and physical needs which can be thought of as “hungers”.  These hungers can be appeased by recognition – a stroke. Strokes can be given in the form of actual physical touch or by some symbolic form such as a look, a word, a gesture or an act that says “I know you’re there”.

Do you know some one who holds resentments and then blows up at slight provocation?

Do you know someone who rejects compliments when they’re given?

Do you know someone who shows appreciation and is a pleasure to be around?

If you do you have observed people giving and receiving positive, negative and counterfeit strokes.

People need strokes to survive. Positive strokes leave the person feeling good, alive, alert and significant, feeling “I’m Ok”.

So my stroke to you all today is: a smile and an acknowledgment that you are there.

 

Jill D-P

 

Author: Jill • Filed under: Featured, Narrative Matters • Posted: July 14, 2016 4:24 pm

Transactional Analysis – life positions

Life positions are basic beliefs about self and others, which are used to justify decisions and behaviour.

When we are conceived we are hopefully at peace, waiting to emerge into the world once we have grown sufficiently to be able to survive in the outside of the womb. If nothing untoward happens we will emerge contented and relaxed. In this case we are likely to perceive the world from the perspective of I am OK and You are OK.

However, perhaps our mother had some traumatic experiences, or the birth was difficult or even life threatening. This experience is likely to have an effect on the way we experience the world, even at the somatic level. In which case we might emerge sensing that life is scary and might, for example, go into “I am not OK and You are not OK either”.

Let’s take it that the pregnancy went fine, and the birth was easy enough. What then? Well life experiences might reinforce our initial somatic level life position, or contradict it. If we were treated punitively, talked down to, and not held, we may begin to believe “I am not OK and You are OK”. This might be the only sense we can make of our experiences.

Let’s take another situation. Perhaps we were picked on and bullied as a child. We learnt that the way to get by was to bully others and that way we felt stronger and in control. Our behaviour then comes into the I am OK and You are not OK quadrant. Of course this may cover up our belief that we are really not OK, but nobody sees that. They just see our behaviour, and in fact we may have forgotten all about our negative feelings about ourselves as we have tried so hard to deny the pain of believing we are not OK.

These life positions are perceptions of the world. The reality is I just am and you just are, therefore how I view myself and others are just that “views” not fact. However, we tend to act as if they are a fact. Just like when somebody says “I can’t do this, I’m useless”. Rather than “I don’t know how to do this. Will you show me?” The latter is staying with the fact that they do not yet know how to do it, whilst the former links being useless with not being able to do something.

There are a number of ways of diagramming the life positions. Franklin Ernst drew the life positions in quadrants, which he called the OK Corral (1971). We have put these into red and green to show the effective and ineffective quadrants for communication and healthy relationships. By shading in the quadrants according to the amount of time we think we spend in each we can get an idea of the amount of time we spend in each. Ernst used the term ‘Corralogram’ for this method of self-assessment using the OK Corral matrix.

 

the ok corral (franklin ernst, 1971)

transactional analysis OK corral i'm ok

 

Berne talked about the life positions as existential positions, one of which we are more likely to go to under stress. This is significantly different to the concept Ernst uses, i.e. that we move around them all during the day. Whilst there is some truth in this we could agree with Berne that there will be one major position we go into under stress, with perhaps another position underneath this one. These positions can change as we develop and grow. The difference between Berne and Ernst is important.

 

Author: Jill • Filed under: Featured, Narrative Matters • Posted: 3:00 pm

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