Iran's president Ahmadinejad.
Does he operate from fact or fantasy?
He claims that the Holocaust never happened. President Barack
Obama calls that fantasy, "Ignorant."
The Holy Scriptures claim that, "My people perish because of lack of
Have you ever been accused of something that you know for absolute
certainty that the accusation was pure fantasy and not fact? Then again
... Who hasn't? So, what do you do about it? That depends on which
battle you choose to engage
As a psychotherapist, I have to determine when a client is presenting me
with complaints that are fact based or fictional fantasy, the product of a
I don't want to give the impression that fantasy is bad. We all need
fantasies in our lives for many different reasons... both entertaining and
creative. However, when fantasy parades as fact, conflict and warfare are
Do you have the facts? If you operate from fantasy and are ignorant
of the true facts, your situation will deteriorate and even disintegrate.
So, what is the antidote? Keep searching, investigating and digging deep to
get all the information and facts that you can about any given important
situation. This goes for jobhunting, marriage
acquisition and just about every situation in life.
Knowledge is power and sometimes assumption making is the first step
towards exploring facts. You may need to make assumptions based on
intuition before you test the situation for its factual reality. But, don't
make the mistake that intuition is ultimate fact. Assumptions are like gut
feelings that something exists in reality. A problem arises when the
assumption cart is put before, in front and in place of a real horse. The
cart carries the passengers and the cargo. It also contains the driver who
steers the horse. But, it is the horse that physically takes you there. You
cannot get to your goal without the horse and the horse will need to be
guided by you in order to lead you to your destination.
it is believed in our culture that women have a certain kind of intuition.
I would never underestimate the power of women's intuition or the intuitive
powers of men. Perhaps, there are chemical differences in the male and
female brains that shaped the quality of gender intuition. That is beyond
this discussion. It is generally believed that men in our culture are more
fact oriented. This may be true and indicates a difference in the dominance
aspects of the two brain hemispheres. It would seem to me that if you
combine the fact oriented, logical mind of men with the intuitive powers of
women you would have a winning combination. This may explain the
evolutionary advantages of being human in this time of history.
But, what if there is a dysfunction in the logical fact oriented minds of
men and the intuitive powers of females? The results are problematic and
require effective strategies for correction and integration. There is truth
in the axiom that two heads are better than one.
Testing reality sometimes requires the strategy of two
heads are better than one. That's why we have conferences, meetings
and constructive marriage conversations. In every functional situation, the
collective minds are working towards effective solutions and strategies.
When that doesn't work or disorder occurs, breakdowns, break offs and
discontinuations are the result. A global example would be Middle East conflicts, pan global conflicts and
conflicts that exist in every individual, couple, family, organization and
An example: Maureen. "For years I had been torturing my husband by
accusing him of all kinds of evil and heinous acts. I truly believed that
everything that I accused him of was true. He kept defending himself and
denying all of my accusations. I believe that he was abusing me, when in
fact I was emotionally scapegoating and abusing
him for things buried from my past."
"When Dr. Hannig slowly and carefully helped
me to recognize my defenses and my bad behavior, I slowly stopped torturing
my husband and discovered that my family demons were inside of my own head.
I began to understand how I had projected all of my buried feelings onto my
poor husband and made his life miserable. I don't know how he stuck with me
and didn't dump me. I never noticed how I failed to meet and satisfy his
real needs. I was determined to make him into a fall guy, a bad person. In
fact, it was me who was behaving badly. I couldn't see reality. I lived in
some strange paranoid universe dictated from my own childhood. As I began
to feel more and more of my original pain, I noticed that I began to
diminish and stop dumping my stuff on my husband. He got his own therapy
from Dr. Hannig and had to clean up his past that
led him to pick a woman like me. I wouldn't have blamed him if he had
gotten rid of me a long time ago. But, the therapy kept us both working on
ourselves and our marriage."
"Every aspect that was based in fantasy was disrupted and shaped
towards more effective strategies and our love began to return and we found
ourselves living in the true real present rather than being locked into the
fantasies of the past. Today, we are deeply in love and still working on
ourselves. Nothing is perfect and my marriage isn't imperfect. But, it is
Personal Empathy Limits
you know your personal ceiling and limits for empathy? Every person has a empathy ceiling/limitation where they are incapable of
An example: Sharon and Melvyn. I watched in deep empathy for the extreme
pain that Melvyn was feeling in his session. He was crying and screaming
from the very depths of his being. His wife Sharon looked upon him with a
deep cold unfeeling stare, totally devoid of any feeling of empathy. This
was in sharp contrast for my feeling of empathy for Melvyn. Momentarily, I
was somewhat shocked and had a strong conviction that this marriage could
not move from this rigid, blocked emotional position.
Melvin deeply desired that his wife would feel some empathy for what he was
going through. She failed and couldn't supply that emotional need. She was
incapable. I knew at that moment that this marriage could not go beyond the
shaky bonds that kept this couple together. I also knew that they would
probably stay together because of other family bonds and financial reasons.
What was my solution? Would you believe it? I fired myself. I chose not to
stay part of this battle. I believe that everyone has to choose what struggle
to engage in. This was one that I did not feel I could budge from its rigid
blocked position. This was one mountain I couldn't move. I had reached my
limit of empathic capacity to empathically respond to Sharon's incapability of empathically
responding to Melvyn's pain.
The trick here is to know when to get out or stay in a particular struggle.
When my capacity for empathy had been exceeded, I knew it was time for me
to exit. You can't beat a dead horse. It's still dead and not every horse
can be resurrected.
It seems like a mystery to determine what someone has to do or be in order
to touch that empathic part of the self. There are times when I have felt
myself turned totally empathic towards someone who was deeply intent on
doing nothing but harm to me. That's okay! I was touched in some way. I
don't see that as a weakness. But, is it a strength?
Let's take a look at the Biblical story of one of the greatest empathic
responses ever recorded. It is Jesus being tortured, humiliated and
crucified on the cross. He says, "Father forgive
them for they know not what they do."
How do you account for such an empathic response during a crisis life or
death situation? The answer lies in the heart and soul of every human
being. If you are acquainted with deep sorrow and pain, you will have a
more open and empathic heart and soul. However, I leave you with one
question. It's too much empathy a problem? I await your response and your
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