Dealing with Tricky Situations - The Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide
  • In my most recent post, Breaking Out of Our Own Defenses, I cited Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant in support of the proposition that our various ways of dealing with life - putting up defenses - leave a lot to be desired. This strongly implies that the key to a better life has to do with acquiring more skills in our use of defenses. Roughly translated, we are aiming for the ability to respond to tricky situations by learning to keep our head rather than flipping out or blaming others or making excuses, perhaps even rising to the occasion with a heaping dose of altruism and the right dash of humor.

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    This is much easier said than done. Indeed, we can safely conclude that there is a worldwide pandemic of universal incompetence in this regard. But we can all learn to become a little less inept - to, in effect, substitute a really bad defense (such as screaming your head off in public) with one that is sort of bad but doable (such as screaming your head off in private).


    In the context of our illness the stakes are huge. Our recovery depends on things such as acknowledging reality and accepting responsibility and so on. There is no pill for this sort of stuff (though having the wisdom to know when to take a pill may be regarded as a rather good defense). Professional counseling can help enormously, but when the day is done we are the ones left doing all the work.


    In my other post, I cited an expert. In this post, I turn to the real experts - you. We are all learning as we go along. I can use your help on this.


    Question: Do you feel more competent in being able to handle certain tricky situations than you did one or two years ago? If so, what are you doing differently? If not, what are you up against?


    Please feel free to cite your personal experiences. Comments below ... 


Published On: December 23, 2012