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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Calling DIBs on Gibs

When I was a child, I participated in a game referred to as “calling dibs.” The rule to this children’s game was simple, “When someone says that they have dibs on something, they claim or declare rights to that thing before anyone else.”

Now, as a grownup, I observe many other adults playing a similar sort of game. Only, it relates more to the term “gibs,” described as, “Handouts given to or demanded by ungrateful people. Derived from childlike speech such as ‘gib me cookies.”

While the latter term is often used as a pejorative remark to criticize socialism and communism—neither of which I’m a fan—I wonder about its usefulness when describing demandingness, a concept addressed in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

According to one source, “Demands can be conceptualized as rules of life that include inferences, evaluations, and/or philosophical beliefs with words related to ‘should,’ ought,’ or ‘must.” It is by these rigid declarations that we upset or disturb ourselves.

REBT relies on Epictetusnotion, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” As one REBT practitioner clarifies:

The three fundamental positions at the heart of psychological disturbance are:

A. I must perform perfectly well, and if I do not, I am a lesser person or a worthless person.

B. You must treat me as I think you “should” treat me or else you are a lesser person or a bad person.

C. Life conditions must be relatively easy, comfortable, fair, predictable, and pleasurable or it is awful, unbearable and life is totally bad.

Expanding upon this knowledge, a separate REBT colleague highlights elements which contribute to self-disturbance:

· Catastrophizing: “It’s Horrible, Terrible & Awful.”

· Low Frustration Tolerance [LFT]: “I Can’t Stand It.”

· Self/Other Rating: “I’m no good, rotten, bad, worthless.”

Catastrophizing “involves ‘worst-case’ thinking.” LFT beliefs are said to be “irrational in the sense that they are first and foremost grossly exaggerated.” An example of a poor self/other rating is exemplified as, “To have a happy existence, I must have—absolutely need—the things I really want.”

Increasingly, I’m made aware of adults with LFT who engage in rigid “musterbation” while “shoulding” all over the place. This looks something like, “I must have what I say I’m entitled to,” “I should receive what I think I deserve,” and so forth and so on.

Albert Ellis, creator of REBT stated, “Your emotion, which we call childishness or whining, or low frustration tolerance,” can be elevated when we attach ourselves to demands. I anticipate children acting out when they don’t get their way, and over the years I’ve assisted adults with challenging similar behavior.

Still, there are quite a few adults who behave as children. Not all people appreciate this form of mental health intervention. For them, there are other available options. REBT is my chosen psychotherapeutic modality, because I:

· grew weary of upsetting myself over the conduct of others

· became tired of believing that my worth was predicated on how valued I was by others

· was fed up with thinking that avoiding discomfort would lead to contentment

· wasted years by mistakenly adopting the notion that my joy, purpose, and meaning were dependent upon external forces

· realized that the technique could be learned so that I could become my own therapist

Rather than musterbating into a frenzy—which tends to result in a sticky situation—or shoulding all over others—which is a messy ordeal—I appreciate how REBT uses techniques for disputing irrational beliefs (DIBs). An example of what DIBs looks like is as follows:

Irrational belief (rigid and extreme elements italicized): “My group must collectively own the key economic drivers that dominate our lives, such as energy production and transportation, and if we don’t, it would be awful!” This is an example of gibs.

Calling DIBs on gibs: What could you make happen if you didn’t get what you think you must have?

a) If society doesn’t give me what I think I’m owed, I could devote more time and energy to creating an enclave in which me and my group are well-served according to our desires and efforts.

b) I could devote my time to other useful pursuits that have little to do with ownership of that which I didn’t create.

c) I could find it challenging and meaningful to teach myself to live happily without forcing my will upon others.

d) I could work at achieving a philosophy of fully and unconditionally accepting life even when I don’t get what I want.

For more examples of DIBs, I invite you to review Techniques for Disputing Irrational Beliefs.

Ultimately, we each have options. We can sit back and expect others to shower us in imagined privileges, liberties, freedoms, and rights. We can take to the streets and throw childish tantrums, demanding what we think we deserve without having earned it.

We can demonstrate LFT and allow our irrational emotions to drive our behavior to places we may otherwise never venture—looking back at the aftermath of our destructive ways in regret, sorrow, and shame. We may also call DIBs on gibs and stop disturbing ourselves.

Or, as one source puts it:

You can whine and moan and make yourself thoroughly miserable about the lamentable state of the world. Or you can accept things and get on with the business of living. No matter how much you insist that the world should be fair and you should be given certainty about how things are going to pan out, you ain’t going to get it.

You have choices other than demanding gibs. I call DIBs on the rational option!

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


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