I thought I’d direct this blog post to our tribe of Break Method Friends.
This week, I want to chat about public engagement, discourse, and refutation.
We face daily contentious social media posts, twisted “facts,” and others’ unconscious brain patterns (and protective and escalating emotions!). I thought, after witnessing a recent social media exchange, I’d throw out some ideas and invite your feedback so we can help each other take RPR * (radical personal responsibility for those of you who have not yet enrolled in Break).
If we mean what we say and have taken RPR, we have to step up and speak up. But it’s one thing to engage and green-cone a one-on-one conversation - and it’s quite another to green cone your Twitter feed.
I’m certainly not directing you to become a justice league warrior. Let’s not use these moments of social disagreement - and others’ protective and escalating emotions - as routes to serve red cones. We know better.
Let’s explore and practice green-cone messaging.
Although the other person can double-down or disengage, we know the green-cone approach is likely to act as a pattern interrupt to encourage improved discourse with the other person - and help the other person start to rewire (or at least recognize) his or her unconscious brain patterns.
We know, most of the time, when we serve the ball differently, the other person will react differently.
So…a recent Instagram post by The School of Sustainable Self-Mastery and Break Method founder, Bizzie Gold, went viral. While the virality of a Break Method Bizzie post is typical, the vitriol the post drew was not. You probably saw the post (Does anyone else want to cry for our current young people? 😩). I know the algorithm fed it to me several times a day over three days.
And you likely saw the positive, supportive - negative, and argumentative comments. Whew!
Allow me to summarize the message:
Society is setting up Generation Z (11-26 years old at the time of this article) and Alpha (0-10 years old at the time of this article) kids to fail. Parents are disconnected, addicted to social media, doing a million different things, and not paying attention to their kids. A child may begin life with helicopter parents, but once that child can care for himself or herself (tie his or her shoes, do his or her homework), the parents disconnect.
As a result, children do not know how to internally regulate and develop major attachment issues. Once the parent no longer permits the clinging and no longer meets that child’s every need, the child must attach to another source of support. Technology, unhealthy relationships (friends, schoolmates), et cetera. Children seek role models - and they will follow whoever is present.
Additionally, children are growing up with fantasy as reality. They see adults choosing plastic surgery. They use AI filters to alter their appearance with “one swipe.” Body dysmorphia results: I can be whatever I want to be - a different gender, prettier, thinner, taller, a unicorn - with one swipe.
Without guidance, they are exposed to inappropriate subjects - especially sexuality. And the pressure to be cool or progressive pressures parents into permitting this exposure.
That’s some message. Brave, bold, and honest.
And I thought exploring it with some research and clarification could enhance the dialogue. After all, this is not an insignificant topic. These are our children. Our future.
With the caveat that bald insults and unwarranted attacks have no place in public discourse, I no longer see these reactions as anything more than Red Ice Cream Sundaes! Arguments from assertion, especially and including ALL CAPS statements, are not arguments and, as we know from Break Method, are defensive emotional expressions of unconscious brain patterns we reprogram through Break.
The negative and reactive comments only reinforced my position that every person needs Break. Since I graduated - and I know you have had the same experience - I don’t react to social media attacks. I reflect. I examine. I think.
And, therefore, I am.
So, I’ve gathered some facts and research to back the statements - and suggest some approaches to improve communication and help others overcome unconscious brain patterns.
In a prior article, Do It for Them, Doom Them, we explored the concept, effects, and causes of Helicopter Parenting. While I will not regurgitate the entire article, or incorporate the many references therein, I will revisit three concepts.
The Helicopter Parent is overly involved in managing his or her child’s life. Unlike attentive parenting, which encourages developmental-appropriate challenges, helicopter parents make decisions and handle responsibilities that should be the child’s.
The child grows into a person who cannot self-regulate, has low self-esteem, suffers from depression, reduced-life fulfillment, and anxiety, and embraces entitlement.
The overcompensation of Helicopter Parenting is well-intended and results directly from the parent’s unconscious drive to enact his or her own brain pattern. The parent wants to protect his or her child from painful experiences the parent suffered - but the actual effect is to (a) create unhealthy brain patterns in the child and (b) reinforce the parent’s own unhealthy brain patterns. Ugh - symbiotic dysfunction!
Whether disconnected parenting begins at the child’s birth, evolves over time and situation, or becomes a foil to combat the effects of prior helicopter parenting, the causes and effects are evident.
The disconnected parent makes no demands on the child. They are often indifferent, dismissive, or, at worst, neglectful. Some parents boast how they are hands-off or allow the child autonomy. While age-appropriate autonomy is healthy, disconnected parents withhold direction, advice, and emotion, and deprive children of all ages the ability to mirror behavior or rely on guidance. Disconnected parents are absent from school events, sporting meets, and parent-teacher conferences. Disconnected parents take zero interest in the child’s activities, friends, or interests.
Why do parents disconnect from their children? We can blame society. Few households can subsist on one income - and many households are one-parent only. Parents in the deluge of work and home-maintenance, chronically struggle with setting aside meaningful time to parent. However, an engaged parent not only makes time for his or her child, but also ensures a supportive environment when not present.
Disconnected parenting is not healthy, free-range parenting - where the parent provides the space for the child to enjoy age-appropriate freedom. Disconnected parenting is quiet quitting. Too much go-with-the-flow creates instability. Your child may seem like he or she likes it, but the truth is he or she is in a tailspin with no means to understand reality or what is happening. And the pre-teen growing up in this environment will pull away because of complete distrust in the parent as a reliable leader.
Once again, we turn to Break: With disconnected parenting, we witness the enactment of an unconscious brain pattern - children who become adults with the Abandoned Hold It All Together brain pattern.
Attachment issues occur at either end of a spectrum: A child with attachment issues is either too clingy (overly emotional attachments) or dis-attached (emotionally distant). Not a surprise to Break Method grads, this polarity is directly related to the dysfunctional and subconscious brain patterns we call Origin Beliefs.
Other experts explain that when a child has been chronically let down by adults, that child will learn to deeply distrust others and will subconsciously distance himself or herself. At the other extreme, the child who feels ignored will continuously posture himself or herself to people-please, demand attention, and require constant hand-holding and validation.
Where does the buck stop if the child is clingy? Where does it stop if a child is emotionally distant? Yup. The buck stops with the parent.
(Do you hear Oompa Loompas? I do.)
Psychologists categorize body dysmorphia as an obsessive-compulsive disorder when an individual is preoccupied with perceived imperfections of his or her appearance. The perceived defect is often not perceived by others, yet results in the person spending an inordinate amount of time and energy to correct it.
The person suffering with body dysmorphia will perform repetitive checking behaviors, compare himself or herself with others, and take actions to change the perceived defect. These can include the seemingly innocent use of makeup to extreme, and life-risking, exercise or dieting.
When a child or teen forms attachment to outside, unregulated, sources, they have no help learning to differentiate reality from fantasy. Those “playful” filters and photo manipulation tools are dangerous to children. In fact, researchers have coined the term Snapchat Dysmorphia to describe the negative effects of beauty editing and beauty filters.
These concerns are not to be taken lightly. Children and teens form unrealistic beauty standards, negative body image, and a disassociative effect. Demand for cosmetic surgery is higher than it’s ever been.
And, if you have been alive this past year, you know how body dysmorphia is escalating.
Early Exposure to Sex
Without level guidance, children and teens with unrestricted social media access are exposed to sex and the full-range of vanilla to deviant sexual practices. Ten minutes on Twitter or watching the nightly news demonstrates how pervasive the issue has become.
While I do not have the same breath and depth of experience with clients that Bizzie Gold or other Break Method counsellors have, I have been a professional coach, am a parent, am a teacher, and have seen these chronic effects.
For example, I discovered one of my teen coaching clients was having a virtual sexual relationship with an adult woman she met through a gaming chatroom. The teen’s parents did not know the relationship was happening: Oh, she’s just gaming with her friends. (There’s that quiet quitting parenting!)
Like other parents who aspire to be perceived as cool and hip, her parents let the Xbox and Discord Server be the babysitter. As a young adult in her mid-twenties now, she is too frightened to get a job, a driver’s license, or enter into a healthy face-to-face relationship. This young girl has no friends. Has no social life. She does visit a therapist several times a week.
Blame and Guilt are Pointless
I’d like to blame the media. Or the parents. Or whoever. But blame has no place here where we focus on radical, personal responsibility!
If we engage in finger pointing and insults, we are firmly in our discarded unconscious brain patterns.
At the same time, we cannot stay silent, walk away, and ignore others’ pain and the effects of others’ dysfunction.
We also have no time for guilt and beating our chests. Radical, personal responsibility requires making a change. Taking action.
So, as Break Method grads:
How do we approach rants and attacks in public discourse - including on social media?
How can we help others appreciate and understand the social crisis - especially the effects we just reviewed?
How do we help people become better parents so we help the next generations? (especially when most of the planet is running dysfunctional scripts!)
Here are some ideas and I’d like to hear what you think:
Any green-cone response we offer must not only be a green-cone to the other person but also a green cone to us!
We cannot, however, demand, expect, manipulate, control for, or force a particular response. We can only control our own emotional response. Serving that green cone should shift the other person’s response.
You can lead with facts and logic. Having facts at our disposal - like the ones I have listed at the beginning of this article - empowers us to remain logical and offer green-cone responses. And you can't defend yourself from an enemy you don't know or understand. However, dumping facts all over the triggered person will only increase their cognitive dissonance. And you create the I'm right/you're wrong dysfunction.
- Review the video in your Break Method portal grad (Unit 4) materials: The Other Side: The Entanglement of Chaos and Systems. This lecture from Break Live 2022 is "new" for those of us who graduated a while ago.... But worth logging on. It can really empower you to move past the one-on-one green cone success over the threshold to social discourse green cone success!
You can get prepared to engage with links to Break Method episodes. If the other person reaches for information, you can direct him or her to your ready-list. For example, become familiar with Restoring generations: How to Heal Family Trauma - The Cycle CAN End With You!
Reviewing the material is time well-spent. And shifting into expert mode is one of the best routes to master any practice or subject. When we view a topic from the position of researcher or scientist, we expand perspective. You’ll become well-versed, confident, able to quickly identify others’ protective and escalating emotions - and confidently enter public debate with a freezer of green ice cream!
And just think of how many people you can help and shift to enroll in Break Method and towards rewiring their unconscious brain patterns!
In the meantime, I’d like to hear what you think. How do you deal with the triggered masses? Drop a comment below!