Never Say Always

While there is a lull in the action here, I am going to backfill and write a little bit on Dialectic Behavior Therapy. This is the stuff that usually comes first when we teach but I have been hitting skills as I have had to use them instead. Time to double back and fill in some of the holes.

First off, what the hey are dialectics? Dialectics assume there is truth in every stance/belief/opinion. Somewhere in what someone believes there is a grain of truth. Dialectic thinking has as a purpose moving us off of our previously inflexible beliefs and opinions, helping us to reduce our black and white thinking. By reducing black and white thinking and recognizing that everyone has some truth in what they think, we can move towards a common ground and find resolution to our conflicts.

Dialectics assume that somewhere in what someone believes there is a grain of truth.

For example, some people believe I am totally handicapped and need help with everything. They try to do everything for me. I would like to believe I am not handicapped at all and capable of doing everything I was always capable of doing. This black and white, all or nothing thinking can cause conflicts and stress. I get peeved when people do things for me I can do for myself. I am not helpless! Other people get peeved when I fumble and make mistakes because I am too proud to ask for help. You are so stubborn!

I would like to believe I am not handicapped at all and capable of doing everything I was always capable of doing.

The truth of the matter is somewhere in the middle. Can I do somethings? Yes. Can I do everything? No. Coming into the middle ground and agreeing there are some things I can do but some things I cannot do will reduce a lot of disagreements and stress. That is a dialectic.

So dialectics strive for balance. They move you away from the black and white. Does that mean you have to give up your moral code. Nope. Think about it; how often does your moral code get challenged? Most black and white sort of dilemmas are about silly stuff anyway. “I always take out the garbage.” or “You never empty the cat box!”

Can I do somethings? Yes. Can I do everything? No. The truth of the matter is somewhere in the middle.

Notice the absolute words in those sentences. Always and never are overused words. How often is something always? Always never? Dialectics try to steer us away from the use of absolutes.

FYI – must is another one of the words that does not go along with a dialectic point of view. I must keep driving. I must keep my own financial records. What happens when must meets cannot in those situations?

How often is something always? Always never?  Dialectics try to steer us away from the use of absolutes.

Dialectics attempt to hold two things that are opposite or conflicting in balance. If you have lived to be old enough to have AMD and have lived a reasonably successful life, you have had a lot of experience with dialectics. How many times have you balanced wants and needs when budgeting? How about balancing needs for distance and closeness? For example, “Give Daddy time to relax and then you can tell him about your school project.” I would suspect you have been practicing dialectic thinking for some time and never even knew it!

So that is what dialectics are. Balancing two opposite things, recognizing the validity in each and moving towards the center for resolution of the conflict.

As you experience wants and needs, abilities and limitations related to your AMD, keep dialectic thinking in mind.

Next: The Three Minds

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