The Adult Child Inability to Ask for Help

Ask an adult child who endured dysfunction, alcoholism, or abuse during his upbringing what the idea of “asking for help” evokes, and he may respond “hesitation,” “restriction,” “trauma,” “confrontation,” and “distrust.” But why?

Reasoning, I realized, is in the wiring-of the brain, that is-and my own was soldered during my upbringing-in other words, the wiring contained the ‘why,” or, in my case, the why not when it came to asking others for this help.

How, it is certainly fair to wonder, can you expect help from others-and especially strangers-when your own parents were not there for you? Parental “help” may have been more synonymous with abandonment.

My father was a para-alcoholic, who was exposed to the same erratic, unpredictable behavior he subjected me to, yet neither knew that he was an abused child nor that there was anything wrong with the treatment he received. And my mother, while caring and loving, grew up with a father who himself suffered from an explosive personality that could only be quelled with a quick gambling fix (translated as a full-blown addiction) and she was just as powerless-not to mention frightened-when the insanity played out in my home environment.

Based upon this ostensible normalcy, how and why, I often wondered, would those who did not know me from Adam endeavor to “help” me or even acknowledge my existence? This was what I knew. It was never questioned or corrected, and certainly seemed to configure my brain’s circuitry at a pre-school age, perpetually preparing me for rejection and trepidation.

Subconsciously transported back to my original parental betrayal and the trauma it created, help equaled harm, causing me to feel exposed, even in present time, to a person who may have treated me in a similar manner. Who, I can only ask, would want more of this?

The sheer thought re-erects that impenetrable wall that separated me from my father and, ultimately, others-the one that rumbled, “Step over this line and you’ll be sorry that you did!”

Placing the potential help on one side of a seesaw and the potential hurt its asking could yield on the other, I often assessed the lesser of the two evils, even if that risk were nothing more than irrational in nature, whose seed was planted in childhood. As I continue to pursue my recovery path, I have begun to realize, of course, that it was.

Desperate times lead to desperate measures, it has often been said, and I usually had to fall into the former category before I even contemplated the latter of asking for help. I can only imagine the perplexity of a person who is the product of a safe, nurturing childhood when he tries to understand how seeking a helping hand from another could be considered a “desperate measure,’ much less a dangerous one. The person, I am sure, would not blink an eye at asking, “Could you help me with… “

Then again, that person never had the need to cross his brain’s wires the way I did and then experience and expect the opposite of what would have been considered normal, reasonable, and rational. There were times when my father went ballistic at the sheer thought of aiding his “enemy.” I thought I was his son…

Exposure to any later-in-life authority figure was an instantaneous lighting, like a switchboard, of those circuits, followed by the emotional drop into the pit known as ‘victimhood.’ If being victimized and perhaps harmed could be equated with “help,” then I would rather do without it, thank you.

Indeed, there were times when my father seemed intolerant of my sheer presence and asking him for things was sometimes nothing more than a race between the rational request and the rise of his defensive wall, leaving me unable to reach him. (I later suspected that he was the recipient of the same rejected treatment when he dared the same interaction with his father.) It was hardly worth the successful delivery (of whatever I needed) if I had to fear another retriggered explosion to achieve it. This was certainly one of the circumstances which had me think twice-if not ten times-about ‘bothering” others for this aid, even as an adult.

It also did not breed any sense of self-esteem or worth, implying that I was just not good enough to even give the time, attention, or help to.

Adult children negotiate life, hiding their deep-dark secrets about the deep hole in their souls and the flaws they believe reflect their intrinsically faulty endowment. They are unaware that this rift was progressively created by parents who suffered from the same deficiencies and projected them on to them. Asking for help, to an adult child, is thus the equivalent of advertising it, a scream, if you will, of “Hey, world, look at how unworthy and inferior I am! I need your help because I can’t do it myself!”

“I was intimidated by step five, because it meant revealing my darkest secrets to another person,’ according to “Courage to Change,” the Al-Anon text (Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1992, p. 127). “Afraid that I would be rejected for being less than perfect, I put so much energy into hiding the truth that, although no one rejected me, I was as isolated and lonely as if they had.”

The adult child syndrome forces a person, without choice, into a state of isolated self-sufficiency, which serves as an outward expression of distrust in others, an inability to have relied on them when he needed them, and the ultimate attempt to create an environment of safety, security, and stability. Ironically, the more he believes that he is inadequate and incapable, the more he must dig within himself to find the “Jack of all trades” resources to individually achieve what he needs, transforming him from incapable (in belief) to autonomous (in ability).

Trust is a must, but requiring help returns him to a state of helplessness, when the very parents who should have aided him were the very ones who caused his plight and may have become the ones from whom he most needed protection.

“One effect of alcoholism is that many of us are reluctant to get close to people,’ according to ‘Courage to Change” (ibid, p. 363). “We have learned that it is not safe to trust, to reveal too much, to care deeply. Yet we often wish we could experience closer, more loving relationships.”

It may require a significant amount of recovery, during which a person’s childhood-bred fears, traumas, misbeliefs, and distortions eventually dissolve and enable him to view others in a non-authority figure, parent-emulating light who care and are concerned, so that he can see their good-intentioned actions of help for what they are and not the potentially detrimental offer his rewired brain tries to otherwise convince him of.

The ultimate help may come from his creator or the Higher Power of his understanding. But turning to him may be the most difficult act.

A disconnection and fall from him may, first and foremost, have been the initial subconscious step toward his disbelief. Leaving him vulnerable and powerless to shaming and damaging parents without intervention certainly did nothing to instill his confidence in an entity who could have protected him from danger and aided him during his greatest time of need. And finally, whatever he associates his earthly parents with he eventually attaches to his eternal one, assigning the same condemning and punishing qualities to him, until he can no longer see through this distorted filter.

Once again, it requires a considerable amount of recovery, during which his distortions are dissolved and he rises to a level of wholeness, before he can re-embrace God and regain enough faith and trust to ask him for the help he needs.

“I have an important part to play in my relationship with my Higher Power,” according to “Courage to Change” (ibid, p. 48). “I have to be willing to receive help, and I have to ask for it. If I develop the habit of turning to my Higher Power for help with small, everyday matters, I’ll know what to do when faced with more difficult challenges.”

Article Sources:

“Courage to Change.” Virginia Beach, Virginia: Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1992.

Low Level Druid Gear – Strength Vs Agility For Feral Builds

When you start down the path of building out your Feral Druid the question of strength or agility comes up pretty fast. This simple question has sparked huge threads all over the web, hurt feelings, some crying and all in all a ton of discussion. As a relatively young Druid reading some of these threads and forum boards seem to require a Masters Degree in Advanced Mathematics. On top of that very often these are talking about very high level raiding and end game Druid builds which can be confusing as well. Here is a very simple break down of the two stats and how they compare. Consider this like a 101 course. You have more to learn but this will at least get you going.  

Attempting to make decisions on stats can be maddening. As soon as you think you’ve got an answer you’ll find someone else saying something totally different. The first step is to simply try and get a feel for the numbers. Remember that you can always get different gear and you can always rebuild your talent trees. Experiment and see what works best for you and your playing style. Let’s take a look at the very basic definitions of these stats and how they affect your Druid.  

Strength: The Strength attribute increases your Druids attack power on a scale of 1 strength equal to 2 attack power. For every 14 points of attack power you have your damage per second (DPS) for melee attacks increases by 1. For example if you have an attack power of 140 you’ll have an increase in DPS of 10. It might be easier to think of 1 point of strength being equal to .14 DPS.  

Agility: This stat does a great deal for us. First of all when a Druid is in Cat form he gains 1 attack power for each point of Agility. Secondly 1 point of Agility increases your armor by 2 points. This attribute also jacks the critical hit chance with weapons and increases the chance of Dodge. Again, in a different expression, 1 point of agility is equal to .07 DPS.  

So what should you gear your Feral Druid with? Looking just at attack power it would seem that loading up on strength is the way to go. The more attack power the more damage you’ll do, right? Well that is true however what do you give up by ignoring agility? You will miss out on the dodge for one. (Your dodge chance is just what it sounds like; it gives you the possibility of dodging a melee attack.)  

The basic deal is that at lower levels the best investment you can make as a Feral Druid is in the Strength stat. The harder you hit at low levels, basically, the better off you are. This does not mean to completely ignore agility however. When the decision comes up for gear with strength or agility lean towards the strength boost. At some point, at much higher levels, the favor tips towards agility but don’t get too concerned about that just yet.  

Is there more to discuss on this topic? Absolutely. This does not even scratch the surface of the issue but it should get you going in the right direction as a low level Feral Druid.   

Text Based Online Games – English As a Second Language and RPG Games

One feature of text based online games is the chance to meet many people from around the world and to form friendships, bonds, and even to learn more about your own culture through another player. Yet one of the most striking lessons one can learn is that the textual RPG game is a place where one can learn English as a second language. Since British English is often the main language of choice for RPG games, players will find themselves interacting with native and non-native English speakers.

Like many Americans who play textual RPG games, I am constantly surprised to meet others in games who demonstrate a high ability to speak, to write, and to express their intentions so well. Of course, for those who write or speak English as a second language (and sometimes a third or fourth), RPG textual games are a perfect space for players to create characters and practice language skills. In all, the textual RPG game becomes a worldwide community that bridges cultures, and allows players to interact and to learn more about various elements in and out of game through written expression.

As some new users will discover, online RPG games are populated by players who often help another non-native English speaker with his or her language skills. Many player run organizations have guides and mentors. If the player tells his or her guide or mentor that English is not the first language spoken the mentor will make it known to others to help the non-native speaker with language skills. What remains amazing is the willingness established players have to assist others to make the game an enjoyable diversion and to help players learn more about the language written (or spoken) in game as well as the game culture.

While some who read this may be timid to try an online RPG game because of English being the choice language, they will find that many clans and private clans are created by other users in games where they can speak native languages too. While English remains official languages in most MUDs, it does not prevent clans from setting rules to where other languages are spoken. So, players will find that they are never truly alone because there is always someone in game who speaks one or more languages besides English. Furthermore, some mentors and guides are fluent in two or three other languages and are willing to bridge the language gap. Plus, if they make friends with someone who speaks a language they may not know- all the mentor has to do is ask other characters who may speak the common language and the online game becomes personal and enjoyable.

While serving as a house mentor, I have often discovered that my own language skills in French, Spanish, and Italian have improved if I meet a character in game who speaks one of those languages as a first language. In private conversations (often referred to as TELLS in game) we will help one another bridge misunderstandings and even correct one another. Either way, it is a win-win situation because the learning process never ends. The player improves his or her English skills and I improve my skills in other languages.

I know that many who read this speak English as a first language and may be shy about trying an online text game after reading this essay. However, you should not fear it. Even if you are a native English speaker and you feel that your writing is, either bad, or that you do not express yourself well in text, there are many in game that will assist another. So many players come from various walks of life that you often find players ranging from teenagers to doctors, lawyers, engineers, information technology and other professions play the games as well for fun. They are willing to extend a hand with proofreading, writing skills, and even referring you to others who can help with certain in game topics. Language can cross barriers, help forge friendships and even teach us about one another. This is one element that textual RPGs have that many graphical games do not- and that is a feeling of community, friendship and assistance. So many graphical games rely on various servers so some players never leave the confines of a server that is a single language focus. If a player dares to enter the world of text based online games, he or she may discover that language skills in English will improve, and he or she will even help native speakers improve skills too.

Traditional Hawaiian Sports

Besides doing “the essentials’ of life, the everyday Hawaiian commoner found some time to wile away the hours in pursuit of pastimes. One of their favorite pastimes was the pursuit of traditional Hawaiian sports. The Hawaiian people developed a very rich and interesting set of sports that we wished to share with you.

Holua is one of the most interesting of traditional sports in Hawaii, that dates back many years.The sport involved the use of a long, narrow sled, called a holua. The sled was made to navigate on a single runner. A small, long trench was dug down a hill, made smooth, and covered with grass.The participant would get on top of the sled, be given a good push, and was expected to ride the sled down hill, as far as possible. The good ones could stay on for upwards of a mile! This sport makes skateboarding look simple.

War Games were also very popular among the Hawaiians. Small battles over territory precipitated the development of a series of games that would improve the skills of warriors. Some examples of those games included wrestling, boxing, archery, and javelin throwing. These types of games were often the hallmark of the Makahiki celebration. Hawaiian boxing was, perhaps, the best example of this type of sport. In Hawaiian boxing, two contestants would continue to hit one another until one gave up, or someone was knocked out. In addition, it was considered bad form to block a punch. Each punch thrown by the competitors had to be met square in the chin, as it were! Captain Cook records a time when some of his men participated in such a contest, only to get themselves thoroughly thrashed by the Hawaiians! It was not sport for the weak of heart.

Games of skill and chance were also very popular among the Hawaiians, especially up to the point when missionaries started preaching and teaching against gambling. The Hawaiian people had their own version of “the shell game,” which was called puhenehene and no’a. Players had to guess where a stone was hidden under a bundle of kapa. A game called konane was also very popular. It is not unlike modern day checkers. Finally, a game that was like bowling was also popular. It is called ulumaika, and involved the use of stone disks that were bowled between two upright sticks.

Races were very popular among early Hawaiians, as they often are in just about every culture. Hawaiians loved racing on foot, in canoes, and in the ocean (swimming.) Again, betting was a big part of the sporting activity. Needless to say, gambling was taken very seriously by early Hawaiians.

Spear Catching and Cliff Diving were among the more extreme sports of the early Hawaiians… As in the case of he’e holua, these types of dangerous sports were done to impress the audiences that watched them. There is a wonderful old story told of King Kamehameha, where he told 5 of his warriors to throw spears at him at the same time. The story goes that he caught two spears, dodges two, and deflected the fifth.

Surfing has got to top our list for the most popular traditional Hawaiian sport. Surfing was one of the most popular recreational pastimes of the early Hawaiians. If the north shore surfing rage is any indicator, the sport of surfing is still greatly loved today.

There are two types of surfing that were popular among the early Hawaiians. The first was called he’e holua, or mountain surfing. The more traditional water surfing was called he’enalu. Both of these styles of surfing were much ritualized. Both styles were a way for the early Hawaiians to express themselves.

He’e holua is a sport that is over 2000 years old. It involved riding a 30-60 lbs sled down a hill of lava rocks. It was not unheard of that surfers could reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Traditional surfboards could be up to 20 feet in length, and weigh up to 150lbs. This is perhaps the most traditional Polynesian part of the Hawaiian heritage. Many ocean based cultures, though, have a history of riding of the waves of the ocean.

The Sport of Kings is probably the most unusual sport of all. In essence, the warfare that was conducted among tribes, regardless of the overall purpose, was considered sport. Even the Hawaiian word for battlefield can be translated as “playground.” Warfare, however, was banned during the Makahiki season. Otherwise, it was fair game to fight for fun! This was the Xgames Hawaiian style!

Traditional Hawaiian sports have the people of Hawaii a way to interact, have fun, improve fighting skills, and enjoy time together. More over, it was a ritualized expression of the culture itself. Traditional Hawaiian culture played hard and fought hard.

Aloha,

Mike