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Arkady Grudzinsky


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How can we help a person who lacks motivation or does not know what (s)he wants?

Ernesto's paradigm might work for helping communities. Among several people, it's likely to find someone with passion and motivation. But how do we apply this philosophy to individuals who lack motivation or don't know what they want or want things that we consider harmful to them (e.g., a teenager with lack of experience, a person with depression, or an addict)?


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    Dec 4 2012: Hi again Arkady!
    In my perception, the best way to help or support anyone, is to encourage them to find their own answers. While volunteering with victims, and/or offenders, teens, depression, addicts, alcaholics, etc., I learned that people who have difficulty making good decisions for themselves have low self-esteem.

    One of the first things many people want to do, is simply tell them what to do, based on the "teacher's" own experiences, which often have no meaning whatsoever to the one they are trying to "teach".

    When I volunteered at the women's shelter on the hot line, I often wanted to simply go pick the woman up and take her out of the abusive situation. It was more important to listen to her, offer support, encouragement and information which might empower her to make her own decisions.

    When working with young men in the correctional facilities, co-facilitating "cognitive self change" sessions, I often wanted to simply say JUST STOP BEING A CRIMINAL!!! STOP VICTIMIZING OTHER PEOPLE!!! I learned that I needed to genuinely listen, and offer support and encouragement. Support and encourage criminals? Yes, because they are insecure, and lack self esteem and confidence as well. No one who is genuinely empowered in him/herself could violate another human being.

    Those who are genuinely empowered may make better choices and decisions, so the best thing we can do for anyone, is to encourage, support and empower them with REAL power, which includes respect, compassion, empathy, and truly listening, with all of our senses, and every cell in our body/mind. We need to let go of OUR personal agendas and preferences, and CONNECT with people before we can ever hope for any change.

    You mention teenagers...one thing that helped a lot when my kids were teens was a book called P.E.T (parent effectiveness training), which is available on line, and in fact, it looks like there is a series now. This book helped me a lot in communications with kids AND adults.
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      Dec 4 2012: Colleen, I want to recommend a book that I think you would really appreciate that connects to some of the work you have done with people who have started out in bad situations, made them worse, and then tried to move forward.

      Mark Salzman's True Notebooks is about the author's volunteering teaching a writing class at a juvenile detention center in Southern California.

      In terms of connection to the thread at hand, one sees the effects on these young people of the writing class and the way various adults tried to reach them to get them on track, what they wrote about, and so forth.
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        Dec 4 2012: I've heard about Mark Salzman and that book Fritzie.....one of these days I'll get to it!
        Writing seems to be a very valuable tool.

        Another one, along the same line, which we used sometimes, is "Houses of Healing" by Robin Casarjian.
        On the cover:
        *Ways to experience freedom, even if behind bars
        *Guidance for healing your relationships with your family, friends and others
        *Simple yet powerful techniques for managing stress
        *Clear roadmaps to self-understanding
        *Entrance into a non-judging, welcoming spiritual life
        *Greater personal power

        It contains many journal type writings, done by men who were incarcerated. It stands well on its own, and also has a workbook, which can be used in workshop sessions.
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      Dec 5 2012: Coleen, thanks a lot for your reply. Inspiring, as always. You are right. Abused women from the shelter often would go right back to the person who abuses her. People who abuse others often don't know any better because they have been abused themselves in their youth. Read about Stalin's youth, for instance. The evil from abuse can grow to enormous proportions.

      I have noticed that people who are too tough on others often suffer from victim mentality. It's a tough problem. Sometimes I fall into this trap myself. It just takes a little stress to start getting irritated at other people. And when two stressed people who feel "victimized" get together, after a while, it's impossible to tell who victimizes whom. There is a vicious cycle of abuse.
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        Dec 6 2012: Thanks Arkady,
        Statistics show that an abused woman will leave an average of 7 times....leave...go back....leave....go back...before she will finally make the move. I agree that most people who abuse have probably been abused themselves. We give out to the world what we have in our heart, based on what we have learned in the life experience.

        There are lots of people who come from abusive backgrounds and because they are aware of themselves and have genuinely explored their experiences, they will not abuse. There are lots of different levels of awareness or lack of awareness.

        I have observed that those who are "tough on others" are often tough with themselves. Those who have expectations of others, have expectations of themselves....those who respect and are compassionate with themselves, are respectful and compassionate with others....on and on....A person tells us a LOT about him/herself by how s/he treats him/herself and others. A person demonstrates what is in his/her heart with every single action/reaction.

        You're right...it does indeed become a vicious cycle WHEN/IF we are not aware of it. When people confront each other in the way you speak about, it takes a hero to stop the cycle. When one person can demonstrate something different, the cycle is broken....if even for that moment. The more we stop the cycle in ourselves, the more we change the thoughts and feelings that fuel the cycle. Change our thoughts, changes our feelings, which may change our life experience:>)

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