Seven months! I’m liking the single life quite a bit. Having an amazing girlfriend doesn’t hurt either!

Sixty and Single Again

One month on my own!  I’m sure a month won’t seem so significant some time in the future, but for me it was time to briefly reflect.  In retrospect it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  Maybe because I was a bit in a fog or a time-warp or something.

It feels like a first significant hurdle, and it can’t be predicted what will come, but I feel good about it so far.

Some of what I consider to be accomplishments:

  • I made the house like I want it to be.  I cleaned, rearranged stuff, threw some stuff out.  I went around with touch-up paint and filled nail holes where certain pictures used to be.
  • I got my own bank account and credit card and put together my separate budget.  I setup the mortgage and other bills related to the house to come out of my separate account instead…

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Are You Being Abused?

The Effects of Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional)

If you have some or many of the following symptoms you are likely to be an abuse victim:

  • Agitation
  • Fear, grief, nervous anxiety, ‘walking on broken glass’, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, paranoia, dread and anger.
  • Appetite
  • Loss or increase of.
  • Loss of creativity and joy
  • Depression, no interest in personal goals, loss of enthusiasm, loss of zest for life, possible loss of will to live.
  • Inhibited self expression
  • Loss of interest in appearance, not comfortable in public, wishing members of the opposite sex didn’t exist, fear of what you say and do around people, agoraphobia, social disinterest, fear of body image, decreased libido.
  • Self-destructive behaviour
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs, promiscuity, feeling ‘addicted’ to abusive partner, suicidal thoughts or attempts.
  • Isolation
  • Rarely see family or friends, mostly stay home, not allowed to go out on own, panicking if held back at work or running late for home.
  • Decreased coping skills
  • Loss of decision-making ability, feel despair, rage or panic. Being overwhelmed. Bursting into tears, feeling numb.
  • Physical problems
  • Adrenaline rushes, lowered immune systems, continual body aches, exhaustion, hyper-vigilance, hormone imbalances, migraines, backache, having accidents etc.
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Insomnia or over-sleeping.
  • Focus on abusive partner
  • Obsessing over what he’s thinking, feeling and doing, and formulating how you can employ tactics to reduce the abuse.
  • Confusion
  • No longer knowing what to believe, doubting the reality of your life and environment.
  • Loss of faith in self
  • Letting yourself down by continually forgiving and allowing abusive behaviour, losing boundary function, false hope, other people losing faith in you, inability to provide yourself with safety and stability.
  • Irrational behaviour
  • Trying to control the uncontrollable, hysteria, feeling and acting manically, ‘losing your mind.’

via Emotional Abuse – Are You Being Abused? : Melanie Tonia Evans.

Demeaning Relationship Behaviors

A team of researchers believes individual behavior is influenced when status is not associated with a position of power.

Scientists from the University of Southern California, Stanford and the Kellogg School of Management discovered individuals placed in this role have a tendency to engage in activities that demean others.

According to the study, the combination of some authority and little perceived status can be a toxic combination.

Researchers based their findings on the presumption that low status is threatening and aversive and that power frees people to act on their internal states and feelings.

The study will be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

To test their theses, the authors conducted an experiment with students who were told they would be interacting with a fellow student in a business exercise and were randomly assigned to either a high-status “Idea Producer” role or low-status “Worker” role.

Then these individuals were asked to select activities from a list of 10 for the others to perform; some of the tasks were more demeaning than others.

The experiment demonstrated that “individuals in high-power/low-status roles chose more demeaning activities for their partners (e.g., bark like a dog three times) than did those in any other combination of power and status roles.”

The study is pertinent because the issue of possessing power without status may have contributed, for exampe, to the actions committed by U.S. soldiers in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004.

Study authors say the Abu Ghraib torture of prisoners was reminiscent of behaviors exhibited during the famous Stanford Prison Experiment with undergraduate students that went awry in the early 1970s.

In both cases the guards had power, but they lacked respect and admiration in the eyes of others and in both cases prisoners were treated in extremely demeaning ways.

Dr. Nathanael Fast, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, said that he and his colleagues focused on the relationship between power and status because “although a lot of work has looked at these two aspects of hierarchy, it has typically looked at the isolated effects of either power or status, not both.

“We wanted to understand how those two aspects of hierarchy interact. We predicted that when people have a role that gives them power but lacks status—and the respect that comes with that status—then it can lead to demeaning behaviors.

“Put simply, it feels bad to be in a low-status position and the power that goes with that role gives them a way to take action on those negative feelings.”

Investigators say social hierarchy does not lead to derogatory or demeaning tendencies.

In other words, the idea that power always corrupts may not be entirely true. Just because someone has power or, alternatively, is in a “low-status” role does not mean they will mistreat others.

The effects appear synergistic as power and status combine to produce results that cannot be fully explained by studying only one or the other basis of hierarchy.

The authors believe the dynamic can be overcome by finding ways for all individuals, regardless of the status of their roles, to feel respected and valued. The authors write: “…respect assuages negative feelings about their low-status roles and leads them to treat others positively.”

Opportunities for advancement may also help.

“If an individual knows he or she may gain a higher status role in the future, or earn a bonus for treating others well, that may help ameliorate their negative feelings and behavior,” Fast said.

Nevertheless, individuals and society will remain in peril as long as roles allow having power without status persists.

This involvement, “whether as a member of the military or a college student participating in an experiment, may be a catalyst for producing demeaning behaviors that can destroy relationships and impede goodwill.”


Phil Ebersole's Blog

ferris_wheelIn the little town in which I grew up in the 1940s, we children used to look forward to the annual Firemen’s Carnival—a fund-raising event for our volunteer fire company.  I’d save my money, and, when the day came, I’d ride the Ferris wheel and the other rides, I’d try to win prizes in the carnival games, and I’d buy cotton candy and drink sugared drinks.   Eventually dusk would come, my money would be spent, I’d be tired and cranky, but I didn’t want to go home.  I’d want the carnival to go on forever.

I’m 76 years old today, and I’m at the dusk of my life.  I’m getting tired and cranky, but I don’t want the carnival to end.  There are still rides I want to take and there are still games I want to play.  I accept that there is, and has to be, a closing time…

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