Life · Psychology

schadenfreude

~Humour is just Schadenfreude with a clear conscience~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Schadenfreude :

/ˈʃɑːd(ə)nˌfrɔɪdə,German ˈʃɑːdənˌfrɔydə/noun

What in the world is Schadenfreude? I have a thing for interesting terms that are linked to human psychology. Schadenfreude is a German term that recently found its way into the English dictionary. Its English equivalent is epicaricacy. Honestly, I have never heard of such a word :D..clearly, my vocab needs prayers! I can’t even begin to imagine how to use it in a sentence! I digress.. I feel good though when I hear of a word I read somewhere, snap my mental fingers and say…ooh, I know! I know that word!

So anyway, as indicated earlier,Schadenfreude is a German word which means, and I quote, ” the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.” If we were to be honest, all of us at one time or the other, have been guilty of this. How many times has something bad happened to someone and we say, ” Aaah good! Serves him/ her right!” We are all human and when someone has done something annoying, we want revenge,no matter how tiny. Karma, they say, knows us by name and has our addresses inscribed on her palm. So we wait and literally hope our offenders get their comeuppance sooner rather than later…though the waiting is hard! For most of us, the only reason the people who wrong us are alive is because it is illegal to kill…enough said haha…

So you have dated this person for XYZ months or years. You feel this “IS THE ONE.” One day from the blues, you get dumped. Bitterness and anger reigns and you pray all sorts of things happen to this person. One day, a year down the road, you hear he/she was dumped by someone they have been dating, or their house burnt down. You feel that feeling of pleasure from their misfortune,no matter how fleeting? That is schadenfreude. Its as simple as that.

So anyway, it is human to think or say, “serves ’em right!” after something happens to someone we think deserves it. It would be hypocritical for anyone to say they haven’t thought it once or twice…ha! maybe that toe you stubbed was someone wishing you would drop dead…I kid 😀 Don’t beat yourself up or think you are evil. You are only human, We seek comfort in strange things and nothing is changing any time soon. It is what it is.

P.S This has been in draft form for a while, until the other day some friends talked about it on Facebook and I remembered it. I envy people who write regularly. What do they smoke? Can someone tell me so I smoke it too? xoxo

~Tragedy is what happens to me, comedy is what happens to you~

Life · Love · Psychology

The Stockholm Syndrome

“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot–it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”
– Maya Angelou-

We all know about the Stockholm syndrome, right? Or maybe I am being too presumptuous? Anywho, the Stockholm syndrome is where the kidnapped person after some time begins to develop feelings of empathy and sympathy towards the kidnapper. Downright crazy, right? Maybe not. The human psyche is nothing short of amazing. The things human beings do! *rolls eyes*

So anyway, this phenomenon came to mind the other day when I was talking to a friend of mine. I have been recently going through a break up from a long term relationship and I was going crazy trying to come to terms with it. So we analysed the relationship and looking at the negatives, she suggested that every time I found myself crying over him, I should think -Stockholm Syndrome! I found this hilarious. At the same time I thought about how many times we are wronged, yet we keep sympathizing and empathising with our so called captor. I say captor because, aren’t you a captive? A captive of your own feelings? Your soul is sold. No matter what this person does to you, you still make excuses for them.

A long time ago, I was married to an abusive man. Physical,verbal and emotional abuse. I have never spoken out about it in depth for the trauma and horror of it all. It changes people’s perception of you as they know you. I digress…story for another day. The point is, I made excuses for this man for a long time. he made me believe I was nothing. It was always MY fault.  I stayed, why? Stockholm Syndrome. I would sympathise and believe that I actually made him mad. I made him hit me. I was young.  I didn’t realise that he was wholly in charge of his actions, until the day I realised I was a captive. I had developed the Stockholm Syndrome and it was about time I took charge of my life. The problem was, I had so long been used to being treated this way that I took it to my next relationships. I was a sum total of all I had ever experienced.

In this recent case, I allowed myself to be manipulated emotionally. I was making excuses for being treated badly..oh maybe he is going through issues, oh maybe..maybe…maybe… There will always be a reason why people do things, but it should be none of my concern to a point.  I have no business allowing someone to treat me like a second option. I am work in progress. We are always evolving, learning to become better versions of ourselves.

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

So whenever you start identifying with your ‘captor’ and making excuses for lousy behaviour, STOP! Think Stockholm Syndrome and Run! Identifying only means you keep getting the short end of the stick. It is not easy to break habits that are set. You need to realise you are worthy. You deserve better.

“The past has no power over the present moment.”
– Eckhart Tolle

 

Life · Psychology

A Fool is Born Every Minute…

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. ~Albert Einstein~

Human beings are by their very nature, curious. The only difference being our level of curiosity, and our objects and subjects of curiosity. Astrology and the horoscopes have always held my curiosity as well as millions of  people throughout the ages, and through civilisations. The dailies,for as long as I can remember, always carried a section that had the day’s horoscope. I read them religiously and told myself I didn’t believe them,yet when things went a certain way, I’d find myself thinking ‘hmmmm…and my horoscope did predict this was bound to happen!

I could never tell what the difference was between astrology and the horoscope. Don’t fall asleep, seriously.This has relevance, I swear it does 🙂 Astrology centers on the belief that planetary positions directly impact our lives, depending on their positions during your birth.

Horoscopesimage courtesy of  http://norfathiahabdullah.blogspot.co.ke/2013/11/check-your-birthday-horoscope.html

The future can be foretold depending on the position of the Sun,Moon and the planets.However, astrology is considered a pseudoscience, or rather, a set of beliefs that have somehow over the years been somehow regarded as based on science, yet they have no scientific backing. The Horoscope stems from astrology and is basically a chart diagram that makes predictions using astrology. I won’t bore you with the details, I can hardly grasp them all 😀

scorpio-characteristics.pngimage courtesy https://www.abouthoroscope.com/scorpio-traits/

Now, why do people believe in Astrology and the Horoscope? Most often than not, the horoscopes are perceived to be true, but vague generalisations that are supposedly  derived just for you such that they sound very real and convincing. The funny thing is, we tend to believe these predictions. Don’t worry or  beat yourself  up about it. Its not your fault. You can heap the blame on the Barnum or the Forer effect.

The Bar-what-now? I hear you ask. The Barnum effect has puzzled psychologists for decades. The effect refers to when people believe in a derived set of predictions. The predictions are very close to each personality description. The descriptions are supposedly tailored for each person, yet when you look closely, are vague enough to be spread across many personality traits. The name originated from a sneaky fellow, a showman  and circus owner- P.T Barnum,who said that ‘A fool is born every minute.’ He convinced people that his circus had something for everyone,yet he had limited acts in his circus. The thing is, they all believed him and flocked there, making Barnum one very happy dude, and his pockets well lined!

Barnumimage courtesy of  http://www.popflock.com/learn?s=Barnum_effect

We love hearing good things about ourselves. Lately on social media,especially Facebook, there have been a rise in sites that make predictions about you based on your profile. A prediction will read something like “You are strongly independent , fiercely loyal and you are well liked by your friends.” The prediction reads like that for thousands of others, but we feel good about the predictions and fall for them hook,line and sinker-the Barnum effect at work.

Psychics, Tarot readers and Palmists are examples of the areas where the Barnum effect comes in.It is obvious through the evidence that the descriptions are vague, yet we still enjoy the attention and believe the predictions anyway. We don’t have many of these prediction readers in Kenya that the local mwananchi has access to. What we do have is some unscrupulous religious leaders who play on their congregations’ psychology.  We have all seen those. Enough said. Religion is a touchy subject, but you do catch the drift.

The human brain is an intrigue. It is very complex, yet very simplistic in nature. A twist here and there lends you very gullible. Now, there is one thing I am not sure whether to believe in or not. It probably is that sneaky fellow Barnum back from the dead to taunt me 🙂 The Zodiac signs. Their order is: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

Sagittariusimage courtesy of  https://gostica.com/spiritual-lifestyle/mars-gone-wild-sagittarius-try-breaking-limits/

 I am a Sagittarius. Half man,half beast, with bow and arrow pointed heavenwards..probably an indication of my aspirations to be divine? I kid. Then again, not. The personality traits given for each Zodiac sign are so on point, it must be true. The Barnum effect be damned! I know people whose personality traits are exactly what their Zodiac signs say they are. Coincidence? Fact? Barnum effect? Naaaaah! There has to be something. Go on, dig a little.Then dig some more. Let me know. Remember, the important thing is to keep questioning. Nothing is always as it seems. As some quarters say, open your third eye. Nature is full of mysteries. A fool is born every minute.If you are that fool, don’t die a fool.