In Emotional Bullshit: The Hidden Plague That Is Threatening to Destroy Your Relationships – AND HOW TO STOP IT , Carl Alasko, Ph.D. sheds light on the stealth disease of Emotional BS: that is, the Toxic Trio of denial, delusion and blame that we fall back on when faced with difficult situations. These three dynamics work together to distort and manipulate truth, create a delusional reality, and shift blame when things fall apart. With the toxic trio in action, it’s all but impossible to get at the heart of the problem. The result, however, is obvious – no one can achieve happiness and fulfillment. And when used in the world of business, Emotional BS can lead to financial ruin.
In his over twenty years working with individuals, couples and families as a psychotherapist, Dr. Alasko has come to recognize the same problem underlying all his patients’ unhappiness. When confronted with an unpleasant or inconvenient reality, they fall prey to the TOXIC TRIO:
- DENIAL: “My girlfriend enjoys a ‘good time’ at parties, sure. But she doesn’t have a drinking problem.”
Decoded: There is no problem. Everything is okay. You’re exaggerating
See: the drinker, the overweight, the wallet full of maxed-out credit cards (pg 12)
- DELUSION: “Working late isn’t a problem. My family will understand when I get that big promotion.”
Decoded: I’ll tell you what’s true. Don’t believe what you see – believe me.
See: the demanding boss, the neglected partner, the alienated friend (pgs 63, 138)
- BLAME: “She knew I hated sloppiness when she married me. Why can’t she pick up after herself?”
Decoded: You’re the problem. I was forced to do it; I had no choice.
See: the clean freak, sub-prime mortgages, Napoleon Bonaparte (pgs 45, 84)
When the Toxic Trio works together, we become stuck in a cycle of emotional BS, preventing us from moving on or learning from our mistakes.
Emotional bullshit’s pervasiveness in society can be found everywhere, from rising divorce rates, weight gain, and debt, to angry outbursts at work, loss of control over our children, and a lack of fulfillment in our lives. The solution is deceptively simple: You focus on your Core Needs, which is any behavior that advances your long-term best interest, and ask yourself the Master Question—“What do I need from this situation?”. Honestly addressing the larger issue – not just in the short term – cuts the BS in every relationship: between friends, co-workers, couples, in parenting and especially in business.
Frank, concise and unapologetic, EMOTIONAL BULLSHIT sheds light on this hidden plague, and provides concrete advice to keep it from infiltrating your relationships.