Friday, November 27, 2020

Dual Personality


or simply adapting to social and career environment?


My earliest memories of the necessity to adapt to my circumstances was at home with my twin sister, Nancy, and my mother, Elizabeth. Mother wanted calm and quiet for she worked up to three jobs to provide for us. Being thoughtful was a requirement! This was my first of many encounters adjusting to my surroundings to better fit in and thrive. 


The process of adapting can be more difficult as you mature, developing into who you ultimately will become and/or whom you perceive you are. That being said, it is not uncommon for introverts to become extroverts at their place of employment and other competitive settings, often without even realizing it! 


If you find yourself bored to tears, you might peruse through information regarding the most accepted model on personality and the five basic personality attributes that can define us as individuals. 


·      Openness

·      Conscientiousness

·      Extroversion

·      Agreeableness

·      Neuroticism


These “Big Five” traits all have a cluster of related traits that shape our emotions and behaviors in a wide variety of situations.


In 2014. Deloitte reported that 61% of employees do some form of “covering.” Though it has a negative effect on one's sense of self, it is seen as a necessary evil for career advancement. Employees don't want to hide who they really are, but feel they need to, due to pressures from leadership or company culture.


In an attempt to explore a personal belief, that I dramatically refer to as "THE PHENOMENON," I offer this somewhat crude and simplistic comparison of one facet of bipolar behavior as it relates to introversion and extroversion, specifically regarding the extreme differences between the highs and lows of bipolar disorder as well as the divergence of demeanor and conduct by introverts and extroverts.  

  • Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health problem that often goes undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and untreated. Untreated bipolar disorder can lead to social, emotional and financial problems as well as substance abuse and suicide! Symptoms include both extremely elevated moods called mania and episodes of depression. For more information, check this article from Healthgrades. 
  • “Introversion and extroversion,” according to Dr. Juli Fraga, “are personality characteristics and often influenced by nature and nurture. Because they're widely discussed in business, social, and relationship circles, they're often misconstrued. Extroversion and introversion refer to where people receive energy from. Extroverts are energized by socializing in larger groups of people, having many friends, instead of a few intimate ones while introverts are energized by spending time alone or with a smaller group of friends." 

For my hypothesis, I'm looking at what scenario best fits my multi-tasking subjects, how they best thrive, and what gives them energy.


“THE PHENOMENON” previously referred to occurs to those who at some point make either a subliminal or conscious decision to assume dual personalities in order to accommodate the two distinctly different and separate lives they now find themselves living! During these episodes of persona alteration, the time will inevitably come when there are no longer any attempts for balance, nor adaptation from career to family life, for a new, more dynamic, charismatic you is coming to life! A you that is now unwilling to share the spotlight with even the other you!


There is usually an imposing "Yin to the Yang," a harsh downside to this social experiment of self-indulgence and deceit. I found it fascinating observing the point when push comes to shove and it’s time to decide what character best suits your family and business associates, for your dual role is beginning to crumble them both!


Even more fascinating—many choose the character that least fits them, even though it has kept them in harm’s way with their family and peers, especially if they no longer see the world through sober eyes!  It is my experience most choose “The Extrovert” vis-a-vis the high mania experienced with bipolar disorder.  



When someone is experiencing the manic highs of bipolar disorder, they feel overly excited and energized. They're unusually friendly, outgoing, and very productive. They generally report feeling incredibly good. During a manic phase, people feel on top of the world, as though they're unstoppable, invincible, and destined for greatness. Unfortunately, they also undergo compulsive behaviors such as binge shopping, excess use of alcohol or drugs, or promiscuous behavior to name a few. 


Extroverts exhibit similar behaviors being sociable, talkative, action-oriented, and enthusiastic, but can also be easily distracted unable to be alone, and attention-seeking. Ultimately, are we capable of discerning who we truly are along with what persona most accurately represents us and feels the most natural and comfortable for us to sustain? Or, will we find ourselves swept away with the allure of fantasy and excess? 


Possibly even more heart wrenching is having to assume an identity in order to fit in at a mundane, unfulfilling job or relationship.  What is the percentage of people who misrepresent how they think and feel, not only in their career, but in their most intimate relationships?     


I found myself searching for the answers to some of these questions once I became a member of Three Dog Night, one of the most prolific and successful bands in Rock & Roll in the late 1960s and throughout much of the 1970s. Even in today’s landscape of successful artists, our achievements more than hold up! 


·      60 million records sold

·      7 million-selling singles

·      10 platinum and 14 gold albums

·      18 Top 20 and 21 Top 40 hits in a row


You learn a great deal about people you travel with, live amongst, and depend on! In fact, you'll recognize the subtle, sometimes obvious, changes in them long before you're aware of the alterations to your own personality and moral compass. 


It was becoming obvious that we all were making subtle adjustments to our image, possibly unbeknownst to us, morphing from one character to another. Accents changed as we traveled from The North to The South and country to country. We were having fun taking in this new adventure—seven musicians, one road manager, and a roadie crisscrossing America! At first, we were in a small, old bus and then in a station wagon. 


It's unnatural to be adored, admired, respected, desired by people you have never met for they have no idea who you truly are! They definitely have their own idea of the magical person you are, someone you could never live up to! 


The person I was becoming while on the road didn't compliment my life at home. As we toured more, it took time for me to become comfortable again with the slower pace and predictable routine at home. When I began to understand why I was uncomfortable at home, I attempted to mentally prepare for this drastic change and enjoy the time off in between tours.


The majority of my life was now spent touring, recording, making TV appearances, and the cornucopia of events made available to successful artists. For the most part, I spent my life in fourth gear and was learning how difficult it would be for me to downshift only to be required to rev it back up whenever necessary. Going home had become a reprieve from my real life, from recording, and from being on the road. Each time, it was taking longer and longer for me to acclimate, slow down, and adjust to the different physical and emotional pace that my family adhered to when I was gone. 


As time passed, I realized many of my choices while touring had left me restless, irritable, and discontent when I was separated from them. It was becoming simpler, and preferable, to remain balls to the wall and the object of your affection! 


Now, I truly believe we all assume the most affable face we can and adjust to our circumstances when need be—It’s part of life! For the most part, people are kind, adaptable, and have the capacity to find their way through most of what life throws at them. The journey from quiet detachment to jubilance requires little more than a loving glance or thoughtful remark! We are blessed with the capacity to emote as many feelings and display as many personas as necessary for us to feel a part of something, to fulfill our rolls as partner, parent, lover, and business associate while still feeling good about ourselves. 


Embracing coveted fantasies of great wealth, celebrity, and romantic conquests on the surface may seem more compelling than Sunday dinner with family and friends, but more often than not, there is nothing more fulfilling and comforting then being loved, accepted, and permitted to be yourself with the most important people in your life…





Saturday, November 7, 2020

Karma--Holy Compensation



From an early age, I always felt the presence of a Higher Power that made me feel special and safe.  Even though there was never any talk of spiritual matters at home, nor did we attend church or other religious functions, my faith was a part of me. The only divine intervention in Apartment 4F in the Bronx was corporal punishment which put the fear of God in you. 


Of late, I've been struggling with the demons of my past life as an addict and pathetic human being. These feelings of despair were brought on by a few situations in my life—one being a project my wife and I undertook in hopes of helping addicts, parents, and significant others of those suffering from addiction. 


In June, 2020, Ami and I began a video series, "Three Dog Nightmare Revisited," which consisted of reading chapters from my book in conjunction with contributing candid conversation on the content of the chapter being read. Casually taking on this endeavor has reopened deep wounds that had long since faded away! How could I have forgotten the two years it took me to recover from writing Three Dog Nightmare (TDN) in the first place? I honestly feel the waiter has come with the check, AGAIN, in the form of an intimate Karma brought on by shame.


It is my sincere wish that you may find something helpful from my book! At this time, I find it personally humiliating, unconscionable, pathetic, and grossly offensive to have been capable of the acts described in TDN especially since I walked away clean and sober with so many more chances for a new life than anyone should expect, while others live with my bad choices! I'm writing this as a first step in my recovery from the shame and disdain I have for myself! The ultimate goal being acceptance and a pathway to forgiveness.

The philosophy of Buddhism related to Karma and certain Christian principles are similar in that it is believed one’s actions determine their life in the hereafter!

KARMA—Action, seen as bringing upon one’s self-inevitable results. The sum of a person's actions in this state of existence viewed as deciding their fate in previous, current, and future existences. 


Karma is not an external force, not a system of punishment or reward dealt out by God The concept is more accurately understood as a natural law similar to gravity. You do bad things. You get bad things. You do admirable things. You receive the same.




Reaping and sowing are essentially about blessings and consequences—accountability for one’s actions! The Holy Bible teaches grace. Grace is where you get what you don't deserve. Grace is unmerited favor. It is love and mercy bestowed upon us by God because God desires us to have it. 


“Cheap Grace”


“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap…”

                                                                                                --Dietrich Bonhoeffer


NOTE: This theory of “Cheap Grace” is coined in the book, The Cost of Discipleship, written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who is considered a classic of Christian thought. 


Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

                                                                    --Galatians 6:7-8


Much religious doctrine is based on the fear of retribution and the Wrath of Godrighteous judgment against sinful humanity, which has been a motivating factor in promoting a spiritual life, the fear of Hell, and eternal damnation. God's desire is that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:42 Peter 3:9), but those who refuse will suffer the consequences of that refusal.


Grace is the Hebrew word chanan, or the Greek word charis, meaning "the state of kindness and favor toward someone, often with a focus on a benefit given to the object." (Strong's Greek 5485.) The Grace of God is employed in various forms of religious-inspired rituals with the goal being absolution, utilizing penance, and repenting which has also proven to be a powerful attraction to Christianity. Sadly, it would not shock me to hear that much of the younger generation sees the latter as Voodoo, or hypercritical nonsense. Nor would it surprise me if some Sunday, one-day worshippers utilize the ease of absolution as a “Get Out of Hell FREE Card!” as if absolution was a divine hall pass, enabling you to continue on whatever path you have chosen with impunity. 


Most Christians address their sins by asking for God’s forgiveness for He is the ultimate judge! However, our actions on this plane are consistently judged by others, despite God being the ultimate judge, so asking only for God’s forgiveness and not making amends to those we have injured, lied to, stolen from, cheated on, or abused emotionally, mentally, and physically, doesn't seem as significant as making amends to those we have harmed. 


On September 17, 1991, while in Cri-Help Recovery Center, I was struck clean and sober by a loving and forgiving God. I began striving for balance in all things in my life despite the difficulties and my many failures in doing so. I found myself adapting to spiritual and religious principles that best suited my belief of God’s will on my journey with Him—a God of my understanding!  



UNCONSCIOUS SELF-IMPOSED INTIMATE KARMA—An unsought involuntary act of self-reflection evaluating your life and worth as a human being. A Karmic encounter caused by one's subconscious coming to light. 


This intimate Karma will be difficult for those lacking in faith, humility, as well as the desire and/or tools in making amends. Those with sociopathic tendencies and others who simply don't care who they've harmed CAN GO TO HELL! Those who have Ignored the ethical and moral principles throughout their lives, those meant to control our actions, may be exposed to distressing episodes of conscious and reflection. I certainly was!

AMENDS—An amendment, a transformation from your previous, unacceptable behavior to that of an honorable person! This is much more than an apology. It’s a commitment to change!

Acceptance that a moral and spiritual debt is owed in the form of amends for the damaging deeds others have endured on our behalf is paramount in one’s pursuit of God’s Grace and good Karma! The Cowardly usually balk at the previous suggestions for courage isn't their strong suit, however, if these timid souls see how asking for forgiveness and making amends will benefit them, sincere amends might be made! 


The act of making amends is not just meant to simply help you clear your conscience so you feel better, and definitely not to further injure those you have already infringed upon. (A crude example: You should tell the person you stole a watch from and return it to them, but you would never inform them if you had an affair with their spouse for that would be devastating to both families and perhaps cause irreparable harm.) Once you have asked for God’s Grace your Amendment would be to cease being a thief and an adulterer!


When our self-will assumes control, God becomes a distant memory for we are now the ultimate judge! WE are all things, driving the bus WITHOUT A LICENSE nor the skills to navigate through the bad roads ahead! Hopefully, we will encounter a willingness to be accountable for our weaknesses and embrace our strengths for the rings on the tree that you and your first-love carved a heart in are many now, as are the wrinkles on your face! If we allow God in our consciousness, we will be guided to a better existence. Life as God planned it! 


Forgive and ask to be forgiven!

Tell those who need to hear you say

“I LOVE YOU!”, that you love them!


Pray for guidance and it will come and...




Most of my contribution to this piece was stimulated and gathered from reading The Big Book for Alcoholics Anonymous and The Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text.