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Nov 11

The World Doesn’t Work Anymore | Part 3 Learning a Healthier Language

This article is dedicated to all of us who are bilingual.  Almost all of us are!

A Brief Review

The business cards arrived.  The new phone system from Concord Communication is wonderful, as is their team of reliable and responsive staff.  Our website is being viewed frequently and is being expanded as I write.  Next up is the www.stopglop.com shop coming soon to cyberspace.  www.williampenzerphd.com is back up too, although in need of a makeover.  It’s all good.


Not quite.  Without boring you with the numerous frustrations I’ve encountered recently (as I’m confident you have as well), I’ll tell just one tale.  I have been in the same office complex in Plantation since 1978.  Three or four times a year, Silvan, our friendly maintenance person, takes the small refrigerator out of the closet in my office and lays it in the grass outside to defrost.  He comes back the next day, dries it and puts it back in my closet.  He doesn’t even charge me.


Last Monday he did just that.  By Tuesday my refrigerator was gone.  Who done it?  Did someone really think it was abandoned because it was caked up with ice.  Who knows?  The world just doesn’t work as well as it used to.  May the SOB use it in good health after the hernia operation that he needed when he lifted it into his pickup truck.  Such is life in 2005.  In 1978 our hair was longer, but so was our honesty.  Its become a pretty greedy world, I’m sad to say and I’m sure you are sad too.  Next time I’ll chain the refrigerator to a tree!


No Time To Lament


We don’t have the time to feel sorry for ourselves.  Nor do we need to.  It’s still a good world.  We still have much for which to be thankful.  We live in the greatest country in the world.  Despite its faults, it is at the strongest point in its history.


We are, in many respects, the transitional generation.  We are part of the second great industrial revolution.  We stand teetering on the rope bridge of incredible technological innovations ever in the history of civilization.  Don’t believe me?  Go check your email!  That should convince you.


There is no doubt technology has potentiated pornography and pedophiles.  It has spawned spam and the techno crazy making of the virtual virus.  But, it has also facilitated communications with loved ones far from home.  It has given all of us admission to the World Wide Web of everything and then some.  And, it’s only just begun.


Eliminating the Illusory Protection of Glopfulness


As you recall from Part I and Part II a key component of our survival strategy in a world no longer working is to minimize glop from our lives.  Until recently we defined glop as anything that tempts us toward unhealthy and self-defeating behaviors.  There’s glop on a plate, in a glass, prescription pill bottle, bedroom or boardroom.  Glop of all kinds calls our name.  Our job is not to answer.


There is also another form of glop that my colleagues and I have identified that is critically important.  There is also glop in our mind.  It distorts and exaggerates our thoughts and feelings in negative and self-abusing directions.  These in turn push us toward glopful behaviors.


Two examples show the back and forth patterns.  Someone drinks too much.  It fosters angers that are dumped on a partner in an ugly way that contaminates the relationship.  This causes the partner to overeat, which causes the other to drink more which cause more rage to explode.

A second example.  A person hates themselves irrationally.  They feel like an “idiot,” “loser”, “inadequate” person.  They were taught to feel that way growing up in an abusive and demeaning family.  None of these names applied.  They still don’t.  Try telling that to the little boy or girl that  lives deep within.  We all carry our child and teen parts with us our whole lives.  Of that, we are firmly convinced.  These self-negating thoughts and feelings fuel a variety of glopful behaviors which further reinforce the self-negation in a vicious cycle of self-defeat.


Despite their well-protected armor plated image, The Donalds of the world can be as vulnerable and child based as we.  No one is immune.  No position of power, and no amount of fame and fortune frees people from the architecture of the human mind.  Like computers, we are all programmed similarly.  What varies are the specific genes and scenes that makes us differ slightly one to another.  But, none of us are immune to our younger parts influence, irrational as they can be, on our adult parts efforts to cope and survive a difficult world that doesn’t work all that well.


What’s An Adult To Do?


We enter adulthood incomplete based upon the gaps of our youth.  Our early experiences leave indelible and undeniable influences for better and for worse.  Our goal needs to be to complete adulthood in our lifetime.  Sadly, most people do not achieve that as completely as they could.  My goal as a therapist/coach and our goal at the Center for Self-Control is to help people move forward in their quest to take charge of their lives and become more complete adults.  We have developed a variety of tools and techniques-we call them prompts-to help people achieve their goals, once and for all and forever.


As we see it most people are out of control in at least one important area of their life.  They are over doing something; they are thinking and feeling negatively.  The people I see in my office are actually doing better than those that aren’t visiting me or some other professional.  At least those with us are trying.  Those not with us have given up or are stuck in the muck of their mind.  Tow trucks exist, but they need to be called.


Are you stuck?  Can you look in the mirror with pride?  Can you say, “I like me, I love me?”  If so, YEA and HIGH FIVE!  If not, seek support and assistance.  Life is complicated.  It always has been.  It is even more so in a world that no longer works very well.  It is no shame to admit to a problem and commit to a course of help.  The shame is to ignore it and stay in denial.  What’s an adult to do?  Be adult, face realities, and address your issues before they undress you!


A Whole other Language You Already Know


When I was a kid, I was told people who talk to themselves were crazy.  Two adults in my apartment building in the Bronx walked along having intense conversations with themselves.  They made the mistake of talking out loud.  They were very incomplete adults.  Most of us talk to ourselves silently or out loud if we are alone.


Unfortunately, most of us speak a language based upon forked tongues.  We talk one language to others and another to ourselves.  We aren’t always aware that this is the case, but take our word for now.  You have ample time to disagree after you have heard us out.


Subjective Negativism:

Almost all of the people we meet are “good people.”  By that I mean they are honest, hard working, high functioning, basically kind, caring and loyal.  They try their best to do the right thing.  Assholes rarely visit therapists, although some become therapists.  Fortunately, they are in the minority.


These basically good folk have a propensity to talk to themselves in very self-negating terms.  Their words flow automatically and reflexively like a knee jerk as they call themselves jerk, idiot, loser, stupid, selfish, bad and the like.  They are in fact none of those, but they persist in dissing themselves on a regular basis.


When they are not calling themselves names, their subjective negativism floats their boats of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, relationship conflicts, underachieving at work and the like.  Their self-talk is flooded with, “I can’t,” “what if,” “I’m an imposter,” “the sky is falling,” “I don’t deserve,” “I’m inadequate,” “I suck,” “Life sucks,” etc.


All of the words of subjective negativism are a set up for disaster, misery, and failure.  They are self-fulfilling prophecy in its darkest hour.  They come from the darkest part of our psyche.  They are glop personified.  Such self talk promotes and perpetrates glopfull behaviors.  The mechanism is, “I hate me…take that.”  It’s just another way to hurt and punish us for crimes we didn’t commit.  We wouldn’t take it from others, but we take it from ourselves.  It is time to stop taking it, if it is truly undeserved, which I believe it is in almost all cases. It is time to unhook from its toxic and sabotaging influence.  We deserve better.  The time to get there is right now.


Objective Positivism:

Here’s the kicker-and there is always a kicker.  Those of us who talk subjective negativism to ourselves automatically and reflexively talk objective positivism to others.  The others can be relatives or friends, work associates, or even strangers.  To them we talk a language of hope, reassurance optimism, support, kindness and caring.


Here’s an example.  You gain ten pounds and call yourself a “fat, disgusting pig, whale, and elephant.”  You rail at yourself morning, noon, and night.  All this angst doesn’t push you to Weight Watchers, South Beach or Dr. Atkins.  It pushes you to keep glopping so ten becomes not quite twenty, but getting there.  Subjective negativism is doing you in.


Your friend gains ten pounds.  She calls him/her self a “fat, disgusting, pig, whale, elephant” You say, “Bro/sis/dude don’t be ridiculous.  Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.  You put on a little weight.  I agree, but you still look good.  You’re strong.  You’ll go back to the gym, cut back on your portions and you will be fine and back to your weight.  Don’t be putting yourself down.  You’re my friend.  I wouldn’t lie.”  Isn’t that the most annoying thing?  We friggin know just what to say, be supportive.  We just don’t say it to us!


Here are some samples of the two languages so you can catch the drift.



Child/Teen Speak

Healthy Adult Speak

I’m a stupid idiot.

I’m a smart person who made a small and understandable mistake.

I’m lazy compared to others I know.

I’m “dancing as fast as I can”. Life is not a competitive event.

I’m a fat disgusting pig.

I’ve gained some weight and plan to address it.

I’m a total failure.

I’ve succeeded in living this long.  I’ve done many things well. I will resolve this problem.

I’m a worthless piece of shit.

I have much worth.  I’m kind, caring and a decent human being.  I have some glopful habits that I need to address.

I’m nervous about this meeting.

I do meetings well.  If I don’t know an answer it is OK.  I’ll get the answer.

I’m real scared about…

I will be OK.  It will be OK.  I will think positively.

I can’t do this…

I can do whatever I set my mind to.  I have in the past and I will now.

People pick on me and put me down.

No one is out to get me.  Some people are insensitive, uncaring, and unappreciative.  I won’t take it personally.

I’m so depressed.

Life isn’t easy, but I need to push past this.

No Need To Call Berlitz


It’s not like you need to learn Italian or French, cause it’s not Greek to us.  We have

the language in our brain.  We just have to point it self-ward.  But it’s not easy to do that.

Subjective negativism may be an irrational voice, but it is a loud, booming voice that can own us-mind, body and soul.  Especially soul.


Subjective negativism comes from our more primitive parts that got there first.  It’s our parent’s voices vibrating through time, space and reality to deal us outdated, untrue and unchained melodies that are out of sync and inharmonious with who we be in 2005.


As adults it’s hard to believe we were once kids childed and demeaned for all kinds of things.  I was yelled at for banging my head, dropping or spilling something, opening a birthday present before the card, not doing well in school, wanting to be a bit more independent, wanting to go play ball in the school yard.  And my parents, though overprotective, were not mean or abusive.


What were you yelled at for or called names for or shut down or ignored or abandoned, threatened, or demeaned?  Right there are the cross hairs of the subjective negativism we speak to ourselves.  It is subjective because it is typically old and outdated, based in the distorted feedback of our history.  It is negative because it is laced in the parent to child language of frustration, impatience, and at times abuse and abandonment.  It is the cold fuzzy generator that contaminated our youth and continues to contaminate in adulthood via this distorted, self-negating language.


Objective positivism, on the other hand, is based in the objective reality of the new moment!  It is our healthy adult voice of optimism, reassurance, patience, and perseverance.  It blows up our emotional balloons, instead of deflating them with pinpricks of negativity.  It supports us, rather that sabotaging us at every turn.  It is the true and accurate view as opposed to the distorted one.


In this contrast your goal becomes simple.  You want to practice and learn to talk to yourself the very same way you talk to others-no more and no less.  You want and need the language of objective positivism to be your language whenever it is appropriate and justified.  You want to catch yourself in your glopful moments of subjective negativism.  At that point, you need ask yourself what you would say if you were talking to someone you cared about who was saying just what you were saying to yourself.  From that perspective, you have a much better chance of speaking to yourself in an objective positivism tone of voice.


The Privilege of Strangers & Other Less Important Folk


There is a further irony and paradox that needs to be mentioned.  Strangers can often be more privileged than we or our loved ones.  Little Johnny or Susie, your child, has a play date (a term I dislike for many reasons).  His/her friend accidentally spills the milk all over the kitchen table and floor.  You say, “Oh, don’t worry, it’s no big deal.  I’ll clean it up.  Here’s another glass of milk.”  That’s objective positivism in action.  Bravo!


Here’s the rub. Three weeks ago Johnny or Susie spilled his/her milk all over the table and floor.  You said, “Dammit, can’t you be careful?  Now I have to clean everything up.  Go to your room.  No more milk for you, you careless child.”  America has voted.  You ain’t the American Idol!  You are the American typical.  Most everyone is in the same, sad “bloat.”


We can be so silly sometimes.  We can speak objective positivism to our secretary and subjective negativism to our spouse.  We can have patience for yennem (a yidish word meaning others) and none for ourselves or our loved ones.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  It really doesn’t.  Just as learning a new skill, we can learn to respond to ourselves and those around us in a new, healthy adult voice of love, support, and kindness.  We can speak objective positivism consistently.  Our Center can help you to learn that.  You can help you too by practicing this new self-directed voice.


Try it, you’ll like it.  It will feel good and fill what we call your pride bank.  It will protect you from glopful behaviors too.  It’s a win, win, win all around.


Objective Positivism in A World Not Working Too Well


Objective Positivism feeds my patience.  It allowed me to speak calmly to Len (Part I).  It feeds my optimism.  It told me the lost business cards (Part II) would come.  It eases my angst about health problems.  It enabled me to tolerate stitches recently and to be stuck in an elevator for thirty minutes on New Year’s Eve.  Both were dreaded scenarios, but it helped me rise to the challenge without anxiety.


It helps me cope in a world that doesn’t work all that well anymore.  It enables my survival skills and potentates my being fit.  That said I’m heading to the gym right now.  I hope you are too.  Yes, I will admit I catch myself calling my self names now and then.  It is always for silly things-like spilling a glass or dropping my keys or banging my head.  But, I do catch myself and convert to Objective Positivism.  I hope you do too.


Getting A Grip on Glop


You can and will hopefully get a grip on yourself and your glopful ways.  You need not keep following along on the same glopfilled path.  To keep up with a world no longer working very well, you will hopefully keep working on working better than ever.


Objective positivism is a tool that potentiates your SELF.  It gives you a stronger, healthier, and more powerful voice filled with traction and vitality.  It is your voice of optimism, success, reassurance, and happiness.  It is your pride bank voice of reason.  It is your ace in the hole and your trump card combined.  Hear it clear, call it whenever you need and use it every frustrated step of the way.  Those of us who grew up in the sixties were told, “We shall overcome.”  We can, we are, we will, and we shall.  We guarantee it!



The Center for Self-Control

Helping people conquer hurtful

habits once and for all and forever

(954) 475-1371 x1

(561) 361-1898


We offer individual phone and group coaching, counseling, and psychotherapy to help you:


  1. •Eat healthfully
  2. •Stop smoking
  3. •Stop drug/alcohol abuse
  4. •Eliminate sexual addictions
  5. •Control gambling
  6. •Not abuse the Internet
  7. •Manage anger
  8. •Control worry and anxiety
  9. •Better manage your life
  10. •Improve relationships


The Center for Self-Control

Helping people conquer hurtful

habits once and for all and forever

(954) 475-1371 x1

(561) 361-1898

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