“Let’s Not Monkey Around With Control”

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Friends,

 

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MEET Steve & Bert ….
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Now we all know in recovery we learn that we have “no control over people, places, and THINGS right?

Well, my fellow Author, Steve Hauptman, and his sidekick Bert have a few things to discuss about this dilemma … LOL  ~ I happen to see Steve’s new Blog Post the other day and thought it was quite humorous. He then mentioned to me of another post he had posted awhile back that had the “talk” with Bert and a possible “Answer” to the first post I am about to share with you. So, I would love to see some feedback from these blog post reshares friends!
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A Wee Bit About The Author:

Steve Hauptman is a Gestalt-trained, Buddhist-flavored therapist who has practiced on Long Island for twenty years. He graduated from Adelphi University’s School of Social Work, trained at the Gestalt Center of Long Island, and specializes in a unique control-centered approach that integrates elements of psychodynamic, Gestalt, cognitive-behavioral and family systems theory in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addictions, dual disorders, codependency and relationship problems.

A leader of Interactive Therapy groups, he is also a cartoonist and creator of the blogs Monkeytraps: A blog about control, Monkey House (a forum for discussing control issues), and Bert’s Therapy: Adventures of an Inner Monkey.
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POST ONE ~  MONKEYTRAPS Blog by Steve Hauptman …

Monkey A and Monkey B

~~~banana jar 3

Monkey A wanders into the clearing and spots the jar under the tree.  His nose wrinkles: banana.  He scampers to the jar where the smell is overpowering.  He sees yellow skin through the jar’s narrow neck.  He reaches in, grabs and pulls, but the fruit is too big.  Puzzled, he pulls harder.  The banana stays stuck.  He chirps in frustration, pulls with all his might.  The banana stays stuck.  His chirps become angry screeches.  His little body whips around the bottle like a flag in a windstorm.  He really wants this banana.  He is still wanting and pulling and screeching when the trapper’s net drops over him.

Monkey B wanders into the same clearing and smells the same banana.  He reaches in, grabs, pulls.  The banana stays stuck.  He pulls harder.  The banana stays stuck.  Oh well, he shrugs.  Can’t be helped.  And goes his way, free.

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BLOG POST TWO ~ Dec ~ 2015

Breaking the jar

~~~ hammer jar3

Once upon a time I wrote a post explaining where I got this blog’s title. I described how in the East they put fruit in a weighted jar with a narrow neck and leave the jar where a monkey will find it. The monkey smells the fruit, reaches in to grab it, and traps himself by refusing to let go. I explained that I use this as a metaphor for psychological monkey traps: situations that trigger us into compulsive controlling, into holding on when we should be letting go. One reader replied,

Why didn’t the monkeys just break the jar? I get that it was weighted down, but monkeys use tools. Weren’t there rocks lying around?

This led to a conversation with Bert, which is reported below verbatim.


Bert:
 

Shit.  Why didn’t I think of that?


Steve: 

Just the comment I’d expect from a control addict.


Bert:
 

Why?  What did I say?


Steve:
 

You misread the problem.


Bert: 

How?


Steve: 

You think the jar is what traps the monkey.


Bert: 

Sure.


Steve:
  

But he could escape the jar just by opening his paw.


Bert: 

Oh.  Yeah.


Steve: 

Except he wants the banana more than anything.


Bert: 

Wanting the banana is what traps him.


Steve:
 

Correct.  Just as control addicts get trapped by wanting control.


Bert: 

How did I miss that?


Steve: 

You’re an addict.  Addicts respond to a loss of control by thinking, “But I want control.  I need control.  There must be some way to get it.”  That craving distorts their thinking.

Bert:

So instead of letting go we try breaking the jar.


Steve:
 

Yes.  Breaking the jar is a metaphor for seeing life as something we can control.  A dangerous illusion.


Bert:
 

Tell me this part again.  It’s an illusion because…


Steve:

There are some bananas we’re not meant to have.


Bert: 

Such as?


Steve:
 

Oh, all sorts of things.

Immortality, for example.  We want to live forever, and we can’t.

And control of emotions.  We want to feel only happy, safe and content, and life forces us to feel sad, scared and needy.

And then there is relationships.  Which never go as planned.


Bert:
 

I noticed.  Why is that?


Steve:
 

Because relationships involve people, and people tend to be hard to control.


Bert: 

So there’s no breaking the jar.


Steve:
 

There’s no breaking the jar.  Life’s just what it is.  Messy, painful, unpredictable, inconvenient.  We have to find some way of making peace with that.


Bert: 

And there’s a way to?


Steve: 

There are three, actually.


Bert: 

What are they?


Steve:

I’ll post about them here tomorrow.


Bert: 

No, now.


Steve:
  

It would take too long.


Bert:
 

But I want it now.  I need it now.  There must be some way to get it now.


Steve: 

Very funny.

So, let Steve and I know your thoughts about “The Banana & This Funny Therapy Session” …. Grab a copy of Book One in the Series by Author, Steve Hauptman’s book too right here and “kick The Control Issue” out of YOUR Life 🙂

And, stop by Steve’s Blog Anytime! Monkey Traps Blog  …

Product Details
( Click Book to buy on Amazon )


Author & Columnist for In Recovery Magazine,  Catherine Lyon
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