Currently viewing the tag: "control"

It’s impossible to give someone the world. You can show them glimpses of yours, hope they join you in it, but to give them the world means you have to be willing to give up your own. –Sejal Badani, Trail of Broken Wings

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone who wants the world, and isn’t worried about destroying the other person to get it.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the boundaries that you have that help you protect your world.

Art Prompt: If I gave you the world…

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how abusive spouses use power and control to demolish their victim’s world.

Photo Credit: Cindy Schultz on Flickr


The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram. They measured the willingness of study participants, men from a diverse range of occupations with varying levels of education, to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience; the experiment found, unexpectedly, that a very high proportion of people were prepared to obey, albeit unwillingly, even if apparently causing serious injury and distress. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a social experiment gone horribly wrong.

Journaling Prompt: Do you believe that you would hurt someone because someone told you to as part of an experiment? Under what circumstances would you do that?

Art Prompt: Social Experiment

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the Milgram Experiment and what we learned about human nature from it.

Photo Credit: Milgram Experiment advertising on Wikimedia

monday workplace

Have you ever considered how two people’s perceptions of a workplace can be entirely different?
While Jane perceives the workplace as open and inclusive, John in the next office feels that he is never heard, and he notices that Fatima, in particular, is not included.

How can the same workplace be perceived so differently?

…The goal for people seeking power is to gain influence, control, social status and prestige. It is natural for such people to demand what they consider to be their rightful place. They will try to gain influence within processes and get resources for themselves. They will feel that they are heard and taken seriously and, therefore, perceive the situation as just. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving workplace conflict.

Journaling Prompt: How do you perceive your workplace?

Art Prompt: Workplace

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how their perception of their workplace may reveal what they are hoping to gain from working there.

Photo Credit: Carsten Kraus on Flickr

Blue Gold Game 2013 - University of Notre Dame

Games are like any unscripted situation in which no one knows the results until they occur. Although this is what makes sports (and reality shows) so exciting, it’s also what drives fans to distraction. They want to know the outcome, and they want that outcome to be favorable. They also know realistically that they can’t control it, though, and this is the crux of the superstition. If I can’t actually influence an event’s outcome, but I think I can (through my superstition), I’ll at least feel a little bit less anxious.
For many people, not having control over an outcome is a frightening proposition. For these uncontrollable situations in life, the more important it is, the more likely you will be to try to dream up ways to control its outcome even though it may be unrealistic for you to do so. –Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Put your protagonist in a situation where he or she has no control over the outcome. Show  us the internal monologue, especially the magical thinking.

Journaling Prompt: What are your rituals in situations where you have no control over the outcome?

Art Prompt: Superstitions in times of no control

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about the superstitions and rituals that influence you on game day.

Photo Credit: gbozik photography on Flickr

Giving you the Silent Treatment!

The silent treatment is part of what’s called a “demand-withdraw” pattern. It happens when one partner pressures the other with requests, criticism or complaints and is met with avoidance or silence…
“Partners get locked in this pattern, largely because they each see the other as the cause,” says Schrodt. “Both partners see the other as the problem.” Ask the wife — whom research shows is more often the demanding partner — and she’ll complain that her husband is closed off, emotionally unavailable. Ask the husband and he’ll say he might open up if she’d just back off.
Regardless of the role each partner plays, the outcome is equally distressing.
“One of the most important things we found is that even though wife-demand/husband-withdraw occurs more frequently, it’s not more or less damaging,” he says. No matter what part each partner plays, it’s the pattern itself that’s the problem. “It’s a real, serious sign of distress in the relationship.”-Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene or story where two partners are involved in the silent treatment dynamic.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you used the silent treatment or someone used it on you. How did it feel? What did it accomplish?

Art Prompt: The silent treatment

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the damage that the silent treatment can cause in a relationship and give them alternative ways of handling disputes.

Photo Credit: Gopal Aggarwal on Flickr


Criminologists at the University of California Irvine convinced a group of college students that they had been molested by a person at Disneyland who wore a Pluto suit, took drugs, and licked their ears inappropriately. They showed the students newspaper clippings about the supposed Pluto child molester, and said it might be “relevant” to them. Afterwards, the researchers found that the students were soon able to recall uncomfortable experiences being licked by Pluto at Disneyland. Another group was told a different story, about a nice person in a Pluto suit, who was especially kind to children and would lick their ears with his fabric tongue.
These false memories had mild repercussions, leaving the students with a lingering negative impression not just of their childhood “experiences,” but of the Pluto character itself…
..Future dystopian government regimes take note: If you want people to hate your political enemies, just subject them to a smear campaign where they are associated with childhood traumas. You don’t even have to blame your political enemies themselves — just include their image or identity in with the false memories. Like poor Pluto, they will soon lose popularity. And your mind-controlling authoritarian dictators can continue on their merry way.-Annalee Newitz

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that uses manipulation to fabricate traumatic childhood memories.

Journaling Prompt: How do you respond to people, businesses, or politicians who try to manipulate your thinking?

Art Prompt: Smear campaign

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the simple tactics that can be used to manipulate their memories and give them tools to combat it.

Photo Credit: greentleaf on Flickr

When people are said to “beat themselves up” with self-condemning or self-judging thoughts, it isn’t just a figure of speech – severe self-judgment seems to be very much comparable to cutting or hurting oneself physically. Emotional pain activates many of the same circuits in the brain as physical pain, releases almost all of the same stress hormones, and can often be just as damaging in many ways as physical pain.
Clearly something must be rewarding or reinforcing about pain or people wouldn’t repeatedly choose in some instances to self-administer something acutely painful, like a cut or an electric shock. Almost half the people in the study published in Science “liked” or responded to the electric shock enough – or at least got something out of it – that they tried shocking themselves again.
When each of us begins to truly see and understand the specific dynamics that can drive us to create unnecessary pain in our lives, in our relationships, and in ourselves – to use our pain, in effect, as a drug – we can overcome any unhealthy or destructive pattern, and connect more fully to the healthiest, most vital, and most loving parts of ourselves. –John Montgomery

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene of internal monologue for someone who is beathing him or herself up.

Journaling Prompt: Write affirmations that counter your most frequent painful thoughts.

Art Prompt: Reinforcement by pain

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about the epidemic of self-infliction of pain and give them strategies for dealing with a loved one who is out of control.

Photo Credit: ♣♦♥♠ on Flickr

Most manipulative individuals have 4 common characteristics:
1. They know how to detect your weaknesses.
2. Once found, they use your weaknesses against you.
3. Through their shrewd machinations, they convince you to give up something of yourself in order to serve their self-centered interests.
4. In work, social, and family situations, once a manipulator succeeds in taking advantage of you, he or she will likely repeat the violation until you put a stop to the exploitation.
Preston Ni

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene with a manipulative character working to control your protagonist.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a manipulative person you have known and how he or she affected you.

Art Prompt: Manipulator

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about the characteristics of manipulative people and give them strategies for avoiding the manipulation.

Photo Credit: United Nations Development Programme in Europe and CIS on Flickr

Composure Under Pressure

equanimity noun
mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.

Journaling Prompt: How do you keep your composure when you’re under stress?

Art Prompt: Equanimity

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt:Use the word of the week in your article or speech.

Photo Credit: The U.S. Army on Flickr


There is no one specific trigger, but there are many contributing factors and high risk behaviors that contribute to the addictions spectrum disorders.

  • Physiological Factors – Pre-natal substance use exposure, genetic predisposition, psycho-pharmacology of the substance being use, and the person’s body ability to tolerate the substance.
  • Psychological Factors – Stress/distress, anxiety, depression, and physical/psychological pain all increases one’s likelihood of using substances
  • Social – Exposure to substance use in one’s family, community, or even one’s job are possible contributing factors
  • Spiritual – Loss of purpose, hope, or struggling with the meaning of it all.

Joseph Troiani

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write about a character as they develop an addiction. What are the triggers? What is the background?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a personal experience with addiction.

Art Prompt: Addiction

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the contributing factors that lead to the development of an addiction and how they can spot the warning signs in their loved ones.

Photo Credit: Kaushik Narasimhan on Flickr