OMG! It is December 8th. Now the Scrooges must stop humbugging about Christmas décor and bitching about the over commercialism of this holiday. It is time for all of you to pretend you love the season and are always in the spirit. Honestly, how many of you listen to Christmas music in the summer? We do but then again we are fanatics who should probably stick to our medication schedules. Just to show all of you how warm and tingly we are during this time of year, we are giving away a Dysaffirmation basket! You are probably wondering, ‘What the hell is in a Dysaffirmation basket?’ Glad you asked. We will include a Dysaffirmation Book, a Dysaffirmation coffee mug, a Dysaffirmation t-shirt and a magnet! We’ve gone completely insane! Check in tomorrow for details on how 3 lucky winners can win. Why are we doing this? We’re just showing our kids that it’s nice to give while lying to them about everything else.
Lee says: What is real about Christmas? If you are a Christian, you believe that this is the season we celebrate the birth of the Christ. If you are Jewish, you believe that a little bit of oil lasted for a bunch of days. If you are a pagan, you celebrate the Winter Solstice and feel the need to make a thin cake, roll it with cream inside then decorate it to look like a log. Whatever the belief, there is a little stretching of the truth during this time. This is the time of the year when adults are in on the joke and kids are duped to believe in elves and flying caribou and obese men in red furry suits going through chimneys to leave them gifts.
So we lie to our kids. Some parents have tremendous problems with lying to their children and think of it as something naughty. Paul and I are not big proponents of lying to children but never say never to anything when it comes to parenting. Yes, that even includes the ever awful spanking. I suppose you can say we won’t waterboard the kids but Paul will insist that we say we reserve the right to torture them.
Unfortunately, sometimes lying is a necessary evil when it comes to parenting. When you tell your kids that it won’t hurt when you remove a Band-Aid or the vaccine will feel like a little pinch, these are the white lies we tell our children to keep them safe and healthy. Telling them that fish sticks are really chicken or broccoli are little trees and they are giants are fibs that keep the world going round. I challenge a parent to tell me that they have never said an untruth to there child.
However, if we insist on a child’s honesty, aren’t we perpetrating the very crime we detest? Nope! Fostering a child’s honesty, aside from character building is really a tool to maintain their safety. You want to be able to take care of your kids if they lie to you all the time. ‘Hey Jimmy did you drink the bleach?’ ‘No (cough cough)…’ or ‘Suzy, did you go on the computer and chat with a 14 year old girl who’s screen name is FX-E-Ho?’ The truth is needed from them so that you can adjust their world to keep them safe.
So am I being nice by telling Ricky that Santa will take his stocking if he sticks another juice box or toy in it? Maybe not nice but I am being a Mommy. And if you think you can get away with being nice all the time as a Mommy, you are really naughtier than I am.
Paul says: Reading what Lee has written, I feel that I need to add the following:
– Torture is such an ugly word. Accurate, yes, but still ugly.
– The Santa story isn’t a lie. There is a spirit of love and giving out there but it does not have reindeer. I cannot get into the concept of divine connectedness and love with my little boys any more than I could talk about the pleasures of orgasm. They are not ready for that. (I hope.)
– I can only hope to find a toy or juice box in Ricky’s stocking. I am more concerned with finding a desiccated rodent or a homemade piece of fecal matter.
Wondering what you should buy your special someone for Christmas? How about some Dysaffirmations?! During this wonderful Christmas season, don’t some of your friends need reminders like a t-shirt that says ‘Toxic relationships are better than loneliness’? Or a mug that reminds us that ‘Magic, like happiness, is just another lie we tell our children’. It just warms your heart, doesn’t it?
So if you have a friend with a sense of humor and a thing for self-help, get them some Dysaffirmation stuff. If you order before December 30, we will take 10% off!
Also, if you are buying things on Amazon, do us a little favor and click through our website to the Amazon site. That helps us a bunch. Merry Christmas everybody!
If adversity breeds triumph then success spawns destruction. Marriage bonds have snapped under its tensile strength and many a child has been crushed by success’ weight. So, we at CoupleDumb, after an incredibly successful launch of our book Dysaffirmations: Because this kind of stupid takes work on Saturday, are going into Monday writing about success and doing everything that it can not to do what is natural when facing the monster we call success; run for the hills.
Paul says: Lee and I do not celebrate our successes. Please understand me, this is not an ideal that we promote but, instead, our own marital dysfunction that we are really, really trying to break. We celebrated our 20 year anniversary with a three day cruise because somewhere in our garden of crazy there was a weed of healthiness that said we should make note of two decades of success in relationship. Anniversaries, promotions, book publications, and awards all slip away like a mirage. And why is this? Because success is personal that is defined by the recipient.
When I was a child, I made one of those turkeys, the kind were you trace your hand. I’ve always been kind of a short bus person when it comes to the visual arts so my hand-turkey had some form of Simpsons-like disease with the finger/feathers being too few and not proportional for a human. I don’t know whether hoofed animals can make hand-turkeys. Of course, I presented it to my mother who accepted it like mothers do with raves and kisses and stuck it, with a magnet, in the museum that was our refrigerator. Immediately that palsied turkey became my own surreal still life with poultry.
As children, others assign our successes. Our parents say ‘good job’ when we make poopoo in the potty. Our teachers begin to place a letter value on our work. But when we get older, the locus of success moves from outside ourselves to inside. We get that ‘A’ in a class and we define whether or not it is a success. In my experience, we do everything that we can to discount the success. ‘I got an A but it was a low A’ or ‘It was an easy class’ or my personal favorite, ‘but I had to work my ass off to get an A’ thus implying that others received the grade easily and that I am not entirely worthy of my ‘A’.
So we flit from event to event, looking for the next success to discount and always making accomplishment a function of the next goal up to be mastered. It is ingrained in our culture to downplay success. ‘Pride goeth before a fall’. And, of course, pride is one of the deadly sins. But I am not talking about pride here. I’m not writing about an inordinate opinion of my importance. What I am committing to myself is to thank God for the gifts that he made of me by stopping and taking a moment to say ‘good job.’ I’m going to decorate my refrigerator with some of my stuff. I’m going to enjoy my own deformed turkey.
Lee says: May I say Good Monday everybody! Paul, in his cute and unsocial way, gets a little freaked around success and forgets his manners.
For me, success is something I strive for and completely discount within the same breath. I was bred to be a winner. My parents were successful; from penniless immigrants to wealthy entrepreneurs within a matter of a handful of years. My brother is a business wizard and my sister has supported herself and family her whole life. For me, success has been a given. That’s what we do.
But with my success comes a healthy dose of ‘Something is wrong here’; the disbelief so thick that any concept of cheering is lost in the investigation. Paul and I only recently noticed that we don’t celebrate our success. I know, so much insight but not much brains. I think the celebration is an acceptance that we are special. That validation means nothing without the belief that we are.
Personally, I know I’m good but the idea that anyone else would recognize that is unfathomable. Welcome to my hovel of crazy. I am a very good employee and work my butt off every chance I get. Excellence is our motto and winning comes naturally. I would say that I am the employee of the month but that might come with cake and a certificate and we wouldn’t want that.
Happy Monday everybody! We hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend for those of you who live in the states and we genuinely hope you took the time to watch the web series ‘Chris and Kate’ last week. It was an honor and a privilege to dissect those messed up characters and Chris Purnell is one sick puppy for coming up with that stuff. We are starting an introspective phase at CoupleDumb. We have discussed dysfunction and therapy. We have showed some great examples of how we screw up relationships and how too much of a good thing is not healthy. But in everything we do, from the heavy to the hippy stuff, we keep our sense of humor. What we’re saying is lighten up!
Lee says: A couple weeks ago I was playing a softball game with my team. It was at least a million degrees outside, muggy and the solar flares were making it difficult to see the ball. Now I’m a big girl and I have no compunctions in sharing that I hate the heat. It is not fat friendly. I couldn’t hydrate myself enough and was getting really tired. At one point, the short stop threw the ball to me, the first baseperson, and it was in the dirt. As I bent down to get it, my whole body followed essentially having me land on my head. So I sucked that day. Totally!
Why the sad, fat girl can’t play ball in the heat story? Easy, I joined the team for fun. I will not be winning a championship ring of any kind nor am I paid millions to endorse footwear because I play. I do it to get a little exercise and laugh my ass off, literally. So instead of beating myself up for letting down my team, I joked, laughed at my head stand and moved on. I had to remind myself to lighten up.
I have found in my life that each individual carries with him/her an inner critic. Some of my friends call that little critical voice their ‘inner Nazi’. You can call them whatever you want but you know who I’m talking about. It’s that feeling of ‘you always disappoint people’ or ‘you’ll never amount to anything’. It is the voice that spouts dysaffirmations all day long to you. It is that little devil on your shoulder that tells you ‘Fuck it! One more drink won’t hurt’ right before you get behind the wheel.
We all have the inner saboteur. This self destructive streak, with varying degrees of severity, can only be squelched with one thing; lighten up. Life is as serious as you want it to be and we create the drama we experience. We have all sorts of ways to say the same thing, ‘Don’t cry over spilt milk’. Clean up and move on. Our reactions to stressors are what cause us stress not the stressors themselves. Or, haven’t you noticed some people just seem better at handling stress than others?
Life is not serious and taking it like that is the biggest waste of time. Life is ridiculous and awesome and funny and ironic and beautiful and bizarre. Things happen and we react. It is that choice that will design and define the rest of your life. We here at CoupleDumb suggest choosing wisely. Lighten up!
Paul says: When it comes to inner Nazis, mine is a master. The voice in my head, who I have named Helen, was at one time incessant. I was a ‘waiting for the other shoe’ kind of guy. I’m better now. I keep Helen down to a daily word limit and she’s not allowed to use phrases like ‘they’re all going to die’. At some point, I figured that if I am going to have an inner Nazi, I also wanted an inner Krusty the Clown, an irreverent Jew who is going to go for the joke no matter the circumstance or consequence. So, Helen meet Krusty. Krusty meet Helen. She’ll be the topic of your humor for a while.
We have been talking about Dysaffirmations all week; how we use them with our kids, our significant others, and how much chaos they bring to us. But each of those little dysaffirmations is a symptom of what we consider to be our big dysaffirmation, our core dysfunctional belief that serve as the queen to all of our other little crazies.
Paul says: I have a penchant for the dramatic; not big hysterics but more of a silent lone tear and fade to black type. I’m one of those people that have a constant running dialogue of doom and gloom in my head. As an example, if Lee doesn’t answer the telephone, the conclusion that I jump to is that she is dead, that she is lying in a ditch with the requisite puddle of blood and her ringing cell phone just out of reach. To add to the drama, in the scenario of my mind, two out of three children die with her. This way I am deprived of the Batman-like melancholia because I still need to raise our surviving and now total messed up child. See, I told you I had a tendency to drama.
My big dysaffirmations sound something like, ‘when everything is good, something bad is about to happen’ or, if you just want to get down to the root of my dysfunctional belief system, I dysaffirm that ‘God is out to get me’. For those of you that are reading this and do not get it, that is OK. You have other big dysaffirmations. But be assured that there are others reading this and thinking that we need to get our voices in our heads together for a nice little tea party because they would get along so well.
When we wrote Dysaffirmations: Because this kind of stupid takes work! We realized that creating the word Dysaffirmation was clever but that the second part, ‘this kind of stupid takes word’, was profound. Seeing God as a hunter, like something from Running Man, drove me to doing all kinds of stupid things and working very, very hard at maintaining them. Because I didn’t trust God, I decided to work at a Catholic Church, looking for His kindness all the way, and eventually getting screwed real hard. Please understand, I got reamed not because God is bad but because I was committed. Nothing short of a burning bush was going to change my mind.
That is the nature of the dysaffirmation. Like any affirmation, if you do not whole heartedly buy into it then it does not work. ‘It’s better to be fucked up than wrong’. Obviously, at some point I was enlightened with a small piece of insight or I could not write about it. With that insight, I have started a little war of affirmation versus dysaffirmation. Slowly but surely I am chipping away at my dysfunctional beliefs. Now, if Lee doesn’t answer the cell phone, I do not assume that she is dead. Instead I assume that she is having an affair. See, I’m getting better.
Lee says: Ring, Ring. I’m not answering. Paul’s big dysaffirmation not only ruled his life but it affected mine as well. How’s a girl to get her swerve on if her man is calling every five minutes? I kid. Paul’s silent anxiety was ever present in our marriage. I couldn’t say something like ‘Oh, I need to tell you something,’ and be distracted without my husband pining until I told him my little story or nugget of insight.
The weirder part is that we shared big dysaffirmations. In my case, mine sounds like ‘the other shoe will drop soon’; same concept but more fashionable. My thoughts were that I was happy and Paul was too perfect to be true. As a mother, these thoughts extended to my children. When I had a miscarriage (this occurred between Bobby 5 and Ricky 2), I knew it was God resetting the balance to the universe. He was punishing me for wanting more happiness. How dare I?! I remember clearly this was the point where Paul’s big dysaffirmation met mine and… oh the thrills! He said he was pissed at God and I said, ‘Oh shit, here comes the lightening!’ I was afraid He would take away the happiness I already had, namely Paul, Jeannie and Bobby. But, some good therapy helped us get pregnant again and Ricky joined our family. Now we’re happy. But not too happy…