Posted in psychology

The influence of people around you

Yes people come and go in our life and they also influence us in one way or another. My constant prayer as a parent is for my child to meet friends who will be of “good” influence to her. I grew up in a traditional manner, raised by strict grandmother and parents, choosing good friends is important.

A motto that marked indelibly in my heart is this saying;

Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.


– anonymous

There are many versions of this quote but they all mean the same thing. In Social Psychology, this influence is being recognized and scientifically proven. Your closest associates (sometimes called – reference group) can determine much of your success in life. Our friends influence us subtly yet powerfully, and that can either be good or bad.


Research shows we do not have as much control over our thoughts and behavior as we think. We take cues from our environment, especially other people, on how to act.

– Psychology Today

Another powerful quote by Jim Rohn – “You are the average of the 5 people you hang around with.” The first quotation stayed with me since highschool. And recently, studying Psychology out of interest helps me gain more insight in relationships and human behavior.

You can’t choose your family, but you have the power to decide who to be close with. You also have the power to avoid certain people – toxic ones, for they will definitely shape who you are.

From my notes in Managing Emotions (Social Emotional Learning SEL) by Yale University – Humans are social creatures, we are influencing each other’s feelings whether we realize it or not.


Surrounding yourself with good people is not a strategy, it is a necessity. Having family and friends who motivate and help you become better (or best) version of yourself is a blessing.

Posted in psychology

Brainwashing in Toxic Relationships

Brainwashing is defined in the Psychology Dictionary as that which “manipulates and modifies a person’s emotions, attitudes, and beliefs.” It reduces a person’s ability to mentally defend themselves and makes it easier for another person to control them.

Brainwashing (also known as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and forced re-education) is the concept that the human mind can be altered or controlled by certain psychological techniques.

– Wikipedia

History

The term brainwashing was first coined in the 1950s when journalist Edward Hunter in his article in Miami Daily News entitled – “Brain-washing Tactics Force Chinese Into Ranks of Communist Party.” He described how Mao’s Red Army used ancient techniques to manipulate the masses. He called this hypnotic process – brainwashing, the process to change the mind drastically (Smithsonian Magazine).

It is a theory that a person’s core beliefs, ideas, affiliations and values can be replaced, so much so that they have no autonomy over themselves and cannot think critically or independently.

In 1956, Albert Biderman studied how prisoner of war camp personnel got U.S. prisoners of the Korean War to give them tactical information, collaborate with propaganda, and agree with false confessions. Biderman stated that inflicting physical pain was not necessary to “induce compliance,” but psychological manipulations were extremely effective for that purpose. His report included what has come to be known as “Biderman’s Chart of Coercion.”


In Biderman’s chart, he summarized the tactics in brainwashing;

  • Isolation
  • Monopolization of perception (fixes attention on immediate predicament; eliminates “undesirable” stimuli)
  • Induced debilitation; exhaustion
  • Threats
  • Occasional indulgences (provides motivation for compliance; hinders adjustment to deprivation)
  • Demonstrating superiority
  • Degradation
  • Enforcing trivial demands

Not all eight elements need to be present in order for brainwashing to occur. Each element can have some power to distort reality, interfere with perception, reduce a person’s self-confidence, and gain compliance.

How are you brainwashed?

Based on the mechanisms from Biderman’s chart, you can somehow notice that this person is trying to control you. But first, this person who will try to brainwash you will want to know everything about you in order to manipulate your beliefs. Everything – find out what your strengths are, your weaknesses, who you trust, who is important to you and who you listen to for advice.

They will begin with isolation, it may come in a form of not allowing an access for family or friends. The brainwasher must have a complete control of the target.

In the process, brainwasher will attack the victim’s self esteem, making them vulnerable and easier to control. This can be done through physical or verbal abuse, threats, etc.


you are not who you think you are.

– how stuff works

The abuser denies everything that makes the target who he is: “You are not a soldier.” “You are not a man.” “You are not defending freedom.” The target is under constant attack for days, weeks or months, to the point that he becomes exhausted, confused and disoriented. In this state, his beliefs seem less solid (exhaustion).

Most psychologists believe that brainwashing is possible in the right conditions and settings. Plan must be systematic and relentless making it tiresome for the victim.

While the identity crisis is setting in, the brainwasher is simultaneously creating an overwhelming sense of guilt in the target. He/she repeatedly and mercilessly attacks the subject for any “sin” the target has committed, large or small. The victim now feels a general sense of shame that everything he/she does is wrong.

The ultimate goal of brainwashing is Blind Obedience. The victim follows orders without question. This is usually achieved by positively rewarding the person when they please the brainwasher and negatively punishing them when they do not (indulgences and punishment).

Brainwashing is real.

Yes, it is not just in fictional books and movies. Brainwashing is real!

However, this mind/psychological control should not be feared, and target/prospect having knowledge makes any tactic less effective. Here are some ways that you can do to avoid being brainwashed;

  • Don’t believe everything that you read
  • Don’t buy into fear or scare tactics
  • Watch for someone’s hidden agenda
  • Look out for less obvious messages, try to listen for both sides of the story
  • Follow your own path
  • Do your own research
  • Listen to your own intuition
  • Don’t follow the crowd
  • Don’t be afraid to be different

hugs,

Posted in life

Dysthymia

During our Psychology Class by Yale University, I first encountered the term Dysthymia.

Under Mood Disorder – Dysthymia or Persistent Depressive Disorder PDD (dis-THIE-me-uh), is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression.

In this book I’m currently reading – I want to die but I want to eat tteobokki, this term was mentioned and I hurried to my notes to review.

Endometriosis contributes immensely to my case. Depression affects women twice as often as men regardless of having endometriosis or not.


The association between endometriosis and psychological disorders has been reported in several previous studies, with depression and anxiety being the most common conditions. The incidence of such symptoms is higher in women with endometriosis than in any other gynecological condition.

– EndometriosisNews.com


According to John Hopkins Medicine – Depression is a mood disorder that involves your body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way you eat and sleep, think about things, and feel about yourself. It’s not the same as being unhappy or in a “blue” mood. It’s not a sign of weakness or something that can be willed or wished away. People with depression can’t “snap out of it” and get better.


People experience depression in different ways. Symptoms may include:

  • Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Less ability to concentrate, think, and/or make decisions
  • Less energy
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Weight and/or appetite changes due to over- or under-eating
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as fitful sleep, inability to sleep, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
  • Low self-esteem

To diagnose Dysthymia, a person must have a depressed mood for atleast 2 years (since it is persistent and long term). Or one year for children and adolescents, along with at least 2 of the above symptoms. The symptoms of this illness may look like other mental health conditions. Talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

*Disclaimer: This post does not intend to replace, dictate or fully define diagnosis and treatment by a qualified physician. It is intended only for informative purposes.

Posted in life

Self Enhancement Bias

In Psychology, Self Enhancement is a common emotional bias. Also called self-enhancing bias. It is different from self improvement which is the act of bettering oneself.


We encounter the word bias, mostly for K-pop, to favor/lean towards to someone or something. In this case – to oneself. People engage in self-enhancement whenever they seek, interpret, or distort evidence about themselves in a way designed to maintain, create, or amplify a positive self-image.



Self-enhancement involves a preference over positive over negative self-views. It is said to be prominent in situations of threat, blows or failure to ones self-esteem.

“The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.”

Oscar Wilde

Based on Kwan et al. (2004), there are two concepts in Self enhancement. One conception originated from Festinger’s (1954) social-comparison theory and compares perceptions of the self with perceptions of others. *Social comparison and self insight.

  1. Self-enhancers are those individuals who perceive themselves more positively than they perceive others.
  2. Self-enhancers are individuals who perceive themselves more positively than they are perceived by others.

Research on Narcissism and Self Insight suggests that self enhancement is the fundamental characteristic of narcissism. In fact, narcissism has been called the “self-enhancer personality”.

Now we know the correlation of narcissism and self enhancement, with narcissism characterized by an overly inflated ego and self esteem. It is reported that scores on measures of narcissistic personality traits have been creeping steadily upward in recent decades in some cultures (Twenge, Konrath, Foster, Campbell, & Bushman, 2008). Twenge and Campbell (2009) argue that several interlocking factors are at work here, namely increasingly child-centered parenting styles, the cult of celebrity, the role of social media in promoting self-enhancement which sometimes hidden in the name of self-love.


Pexels.com

A self-enhancer employs a variety of strategies to enhance their self worth. For example they can downplay skills they lack and criticize others that seem to be better in comparison. They sometimes self-enhance by remembering only their strengths and not their weaknesses. Also called selectivity or selective memory.

Then there’s selective acceptance, it involves taking as fact self-flattering or ego-enhancing information with little regard for its validity. Whatever strategy they use, having a self enhancer as your friend or companion is somehow toxic.

The ultimate driving force here – they are above everyone else, that they have more positive attributes and a more positive future outlook compared to others.


  • Disclaimer: This post does not intend to replace, dictate or fully define diagnosis and treatment by a qualified physician. It is intended only for informative purposes.

Articles:

Posted in life, motivational

What it means to be loyal

If there’s one substantial quality to have in our relationships – with our loved ones, our family, friends, partners, colleagues, etc. – it could be loyalty. All relationships even between sellers and customers are based on our ability to be loyal.


Loyalty, in general use, is a devotion and faithfulness to a nation, cause, philosophycountry, group, or person. Philosophers disagree on what can be an object of loyalty, as some argue that loyalty is strictly interpersonal and only another human being can be the object of loyalty.

– Wikipedia

We may have different perceptions of loyalty but there are common characteristics that indicate loyalty. It is the most valued virtue in all relationships and encompasses the following traits.

Character Traits of Loyalty

  • a loyal person fulfills promises
  • a loyal person is supportive
  • a loyal person stands by you and for you
  • a loyal person values honesty
  • a loyal person is empathic
  • a loyal person is reliable
  • a loyal person is committed and dedicated


We all want the warmth and security that a loyal relationship brings. We like to be with people who are more likely to be faithful to us. And it is one of the basic necessity according to Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs – Belongingness and Love Needs.

But remember not to expect other people the exact values we possess. We are all unique and different in personality traits, character, priorities, etc. One can cheat or be faithful to someone forever.

Loyalty is a value that is necessary for a lasting and meaningful relationships.

Posted in life, psychology

What is Gaslighting

In my previous post, we talked about manipulation and sampled the character of Jin Mu from Alchemy of Souls. Fact check, we meet a gaslighter in real life sometimes unaware of it, and so before falling to their trap let me show you ways to spot a gaslighter.

Gaslighting is a colloquialism, loosely defined as making someone question their own reality. The term derives from the title of the 1944 film – Gaslight. The term may also be used to describe a person (a “gaslighter”) who presents a false narrative to another group or person, thereby leading them to doubt their perceptions and become misled, disoriented or distressed.

Wikipedia

Gaslighting is a favorite tool of a toxic person. It is a form of abuse and psychological control. A gaslighter will start with small lies, eventually misinformation increases overtime. Anyone can be a victim of a gaslighting and the most effective gaslighter is the hardest to detect.

Gaslighting can appear in various ways. Here are examples or techniques they use (from Medical News Today);

  • Countering: This is when someone questions a person’s memory or recall. They may say, “Are you sure about that? You have a bad memory,” or “I think you are just forgetful.”
  • Withholding: Pretending they do not understand the conversation, or refusing to listen, to make a person doubt themselves. For example, they might say, “Now you are just confusing me,” or “I do not know what you are talking about.”
  • Trivializing: This occurs when a person belittles or disregards how someone else feels. They may accuse them of being “too sensitive” or overreacting in response to valid and reasonable concerns.
  • Denial: Refusing to take responsibility for their actions. They may do this by pretending to forget what happened, saying they did not do it, or blaming their behavior on someone else.
  • Diverting: With this technique, a person changes the focus of a discussion by questioning the other person’s credibility. A great tactic and often use by personalities to divert the attention from them.
  • Stereotyping: A person may intentionally use negative stereotypes about someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, or age to gaslight them. For example, they may say that no one will believe a woman if she reports abuse.

From the examples listed, you maybe able to detect a gaslighter. As a disclaimer, this behavior becomes toxic based on intentions. And we may accidentally use the phrases sampled above without really intending to gaslight someone. It’s all in the intention or motives of a person.

It is different from Manipulation though. Manipulation is a key part of gaslighting, it’s a common tactic. Can be used in marketing strategies, politics, institutions, etc. But gaslighter, they are very rare and much more toxic.


Gaslighting can be psychologically devastating. According to Psychology Today, it violates trust, upends a person’s view that people are generally good, and can make them suspicious of everyone who is close to them. Falling victim to a gaslighter also erodes a person’s trust in themselves and may make a victim never want to be part of a relationship again.

There are ways to protect yourself from this form of abuse. First to simply gather evidence, write journals, take photos, etc. and use them as your proof. You may also talk to someone trustworthy and if needed, leave that toxic relationship.

Posted in kdrama, motivational

Toxic Manipulator spotted in Alchemy of Souls

Warning: this post may contain spoilers.

We’re done watching Season 1 of Alchemy of Souls and boy what a great ending! Massive cliffhanger and intense drama, though many people died 😦 and revelations were all shocking.


Thought of posting about the character of Jin Mu – the main villain of this Kdrama. He did well in this series, I must say he is one effective villain. I’ve seen other dramas with him as the antagonist and he is really a good actor. This post is not about him as an actor but will talk about his role in Alchemy of Souls.

Jin Mu

In Psychology, a toxic person is most likely to manifest a manipulative behavior. And it was evident all throughout the series. Jin Mu has manipulated the main characters for his own benefit. His dream has always been to be a Kingmaker or a very powerful head of Cheonbugwan. So he manipulates Naksu who lives in Mu-deok’s body using spells that shaman Choi left behind.

As per Merriam-Webster the meaning of MANIPULATIVE is of, relating to, or performed by manipulation; especially : serving or intended to control or influence others in an artful and often unfair or selfish way.

Manipulation refers to strategies and behaviors a person uses to gain power or influence over another. These tactics often include attempts to damage another person’s emotional and mental well-being. And for those following this series, Mu controlled and destroyed the lives of many characters like Jang Gang and his friend (the father of Naksu), Naksu, the queen (shaman), and list goes on.

Ep 20 stills – Crown Prince (Go Won) & Jin Mu

A manipulator like Jin Mu will show the following behavior;

  • Lying
  • Denying
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Gaslighting
  • Silence
  • Criticizing
  • Withholding important information
  • Blaming

He has used lies to control and influence other people in the story – Go Won that’s why he would be confused and troubled all the time. Fighting between his stand as a student of Mu or a kind-hearted prince. He promises to help Go Won kill Jang Uk and reveal his great secret. Won claims that Uk is now powerless and would soon be an outcast so he asks Jin Mu to confess and come clean but again with the manipulation Mu insists that Jang Uk might just be hiding his power and that everyone was deceiving Go Won (lie after lie, tsk).

Jin Mu also showed gaslighting, blaming and endless lies to other characters like Lady Jin who was already desperate to find her long lost daughter.

Manipulative behavior can also serve the following purposes;

  • Cause doubt and confusion 
  • Help them avoid conflict
  • Conceal their true intentions
  • Allow them to avoid responsibility for their behavior

This destructive behavior has caused the tragic ending of season 1. And though we are aware of second season coming this December, I just can’t take my mind off the dispecable role of Jin Mu. He is the evilest among all evil as one blogger said.

In reality, we may be living with a manipulator and it only takes knowledge and understanding to spot one. They don’t need spells to try to control and influence us for their own gain. We should be wise enough to deal with them so we won’t fall victim to their main act which is manipulation.

(season 2 pls, pls)<3

Posted in life, motivational

why do people change

Listening to For Youth of BTS while writing this post…


Change seems to be one of the scariest word in the dictionary. Everything changes, it’s inevitable. It’s an evolution, a transition that we all face in a lifetime.

There are reasons why people change may it be for the better or worse.

  1. they have learned a lot
  2. they have suffered enough
  3. life changing event or situation

I have seen some people around me who have changed. It was sad when they revealed their true colors over time. When they meet someone new, someone more interesting than you. Asking yourself, “what happened to them?”

People change because either they chose to or they are forced to. And it may be as part of growth and evolution. You have contemplated and wanted to improve your old habits and behavior. This intentional change is more likely to last long with the intention of wanting the better version of yourself.

Life is a journey, as the saying goes. There’s so much that you can learn along the way. You’ll meet a certain person that motivates and inspires you. And there is that eye-opening event/s that will shape your mind and your life – perhaps forever…

Photo by ShonEjai on Pexels.com

Posted in life

Think Local, Support Small Businesses

Why Supporting Local Small Businesses is good for the community?

Local businesses are establishments in your neighborhood that humbly faced all kinds of challenges in the economy. From crisis of covid-19 pandemic to destruction and outtages after typhoon Odette. They are optimistic locals who keep in mind the welfare of the community. For them service is on personal level. Not from a corporate standpoint. Everyone is treated like a family.


Why Support local stores?
Because they care for you. With the endless motto – “customer is king” their top priority is to serve the neighborhood especially in this time of crisis. For owners of micro-businesses every customer, employee and staff is important. Their interests, health, transport, stress, total well-being are kept in mind. They take measures for the concern of each individual.

In this volatile times, smaller, local businesses count on your patronage in order to stay afloat; every transaction is precious to them. They start small, with capital that came from their savings, goals and dreams are humble and decent. By supporting these small businesses, you are in turn supporting your local economy; more money stays in a community when purchases are made at locally owned. You support their dreams!

Local small businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors! They care about you and are invested in the well-being of your community and its future. They employ trust worthy people who have become a family.

So the next time you need to get some groceries, craving for snacks or do a little shopping, seek out a small business and see what they have to offer! You could discover some great products (even handmade) and services while helping to build a strong and successful community around you.

Angel Pharmacy Cebu
Angel Pharmacy Cebu
Angel Pharmacy Cebu

#thinklocal

Posted in kdrama

Alchemy of Souls: Spellbound & enchanting series

Quite late on this as everyone’s talking about season 2 coming this December. We just finished episode 3 and this series continues to mesmerize me. With beautiful faces, gorgeous ensemble, makeup, costumes, scenery and fantastic special effects.

Alchemy of Souls (Netflix) from creators the Hong Sisters, Jung-eun and Mi-ran (Hotel Del Luna, Korean Odyssey), takes us to a magical land called Daeho, where sorcerers (mages) have harnessed the power of the natural world.

Jang Uk (Lee Jae-Wook) comes from the noble Jang family. He holds an unpleasant secret about his birth. A troublemaker, switching from one master to another and happens to meet Mu-Deok (Jung So-Min) – an elite warrior and assassin, but her soul is trapped in a physically weak body. She then becomes Uk’s servant, secretly teaching him martial arts and skills.

So the plot seems pretty simple, about these two main characters – Uk and Mu-doek exhanging funny antics, determined to prove themselves in this magical world while romance is being developed.

Alchemy of Souls – tVn

One notable character is Seo Yul (Minhyun) who comes from Seo family. Aside from his good looks, he is also intelligent and has strong martial arts skills. I’m sensing a love triangle in the future episodes 😉

Alchemy of Souls

Stream this on Netflix and other sites, surely your love for fantasy will be revived as spells come left and right.