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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings


Unique disclaimer

I recently watched an episode of the Whatever Podcast and thought the verbal exchange among participants may prove useful for highlighting, as it relates to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). In particular, the disputation of irrational beliefs is the focus of the current entry.

Before I begin, allow me to manage expectations. I do not fully support all information referenced in the Whatever Podcast, the assessed episode, or individuals related thereunto.

As well, the current blogpost is in no way intended to defame, embarrass, or harm anyone associated with the episode. As the content of the podcast is made public, I offer a critique about what I’ve observed.

Additionally, when disputing irrational beliefs I make no attempt to invalidate a human being or consequences of a person’s beliefs. Rather, I merely challenge thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes as a method of inquiry related to whether or not the things people regard as true are pragmatic, helpful, or healthy.

Similar to the process of a debate—or contest of ideas—the objective may not be to convince an opposing party, though to persuade others who witness the exchange of information about which matter of contention may prevail. As such, it is you, dear reader, to whom I’m speaking—not any person associated with the Whatever Podcast.

The curious case of person 1

An individual I will refer to as “person 1” describes herself as a 28-year-old whose longest relationship was for three years. She has a 4-year-old child and reports that she is single. I’ll intentionally forego other specific details about this individual.

Person 1 has tattoos visible on her chest, neck, arms, abdomen, and forehead—the latter derived from Pinterest inspiration. Also, she describes herself as “wifey material.”

When asked to explain what evidence classifies her in this way, the Russian immigrant to the United States (U.S.) expresses, “I know what I want,” and adds that she only dates “black guys.” In fact, she is quite adamant about her displeasure with non-black men.

Person 1 continues by stating she only dates men who will pay for a babysitter, as she admits to apparently having finessed men as a hustle—presumably getting them to pay for her lifestyle through deceptive dating along with her Ukrainian female friend. She adds, “I’m, like, super broke.”

Confidently, person 1 declares, “It’s my, like, therapy to [ask] men [for] some help or money or anything, because I can’t do that.” Perceivably, requesting financial support from men is person 1’s therapeutic process.

When the host states that wifey material doesn’t constitute a single mother, with push back from the panel, person 1 defends her past by exclaiming, “It just happened.” At minimal, defense of single motherhood is apparently dismissed by happenstance.

Person 1 states, “I wanna’ a husband, I wanna’ have kids,” though she explains that men within her age range apparently don’t share her sentiment so she prefers men from 33 to 42-years-old. She adds, “Yeah, I had the guys who was, like, really nice to me and…but they—they can provide me a regular life, but I am too ambitious for that.”

When asked how much money she makes, person 1 declines to respond. She also opts not to place a specific dollar amount on how much her idea man would need to earn.

At that, the host begins a subtle interrogation of person 1’s inconsistent beliefs. Person 1 admits, “You have to do some bullshit before you become a great person,” presumably in regards to the sex work discussion of the panel.

Person 1 reports, “I want a successful person” who “provides for our family.” She adds that her “dream life” is to own “multiple properties,” “have a lot of kids,” “have a huge house and not only one,” and expresses wanting property “between America and Asia.”

She continues, “I’m not looking for a rich man,” “I don’t like luxury stuff,” “I wanna’ have, like, five kids,” and, “It’s about a mission mindset.” She describes herself as a “neck” and a man as a “head,” regarding support of one to the other.

Some panel members express disbelief of person 1’s position. The host carefully evaluates person 1’s desires and contrasts her responses with logical possibilities. Here is the summary of her assessment:

· She’s 28 and is willing to consider a man between 33 and 42 for marriage

· Prospective men cannot already be married

· She wants “between three and six and 7” children, though will settle on 5

· She will date “only black guys”

· She will have “passive income” of her own, through “multiple properties” in different countries

· Prospective men have to be at least 5’4” and not obese

· Her husband must work

· She agrees to split family income “fifty-fifty,” though she won’t actively work while pregnant with any of her 5 children

· She wants to live on “20 acres” with a “six, seven” bedroom home

· She wants no less than two vehicles

· Of vacations, she wants to “live like a local” for months at a time

Data using these criteria were then loaded to the crudely-named “Female Delusion Calculator,” rendering zero probabilities. Apparently, there were precisely no men in the U.S. who met person 1’s requirements.

Prior to that and when the host asked, “What percentage of men make enough to facilitate the lifestyle you want?” Person 1 responded, “It’s, like, really low. We’re talking about, like, black guys. It’s like, less than one percent.”

At that, the host responded, “What you’ve just described, you’re looking at a less than one percent guy.” A number of the panel members began smirking and shifting in their seated positions, presumably aware of the amount of stretching necessary for person 1 to make a logical leap in order to explain herself.

Setting aside rationality, person 1 corrected the host by declaring, “I’m not looking for, I’m manifest[ing]—that’s so different. I’m sitting here and I build an image of life and family which I want. So, you’re just not spiritual, so you will not understand me.”

Wait, what?

After the calculation person 1 clarifies, “I’m wild. Ok, I’m wild, I’m crazy. I consider myself as a wild woman. Everybody keep…even my friends keep telling me, like, ‘Aww, you want these men? You deserve that. You’re ok with that. But you also have…you also want a black man,’ and I’m like, yes. And I will get that, a hundred percent!”

To this, the host responds, “You’re not gonna’ get that. You are delusional”— characterized by or holding false beliefs or judgments about external reality that are held despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. Who could rationally argue otherwise?

Person 1 clarifies, “I don’t believe that I deserve, like, the bare minimum,” and, “I know that I will meet a person that I deserve.” She adds, “Just have to manifest and think about that,” because changing her “mindset” will presumably lead to receiving what person 1 believes she deserves.

Assessing person 1’s self-deception

From a syllogistic standpoint, here is the logic that person 1 likely uses:

Premise 1: All desirable things a person deserves will be provided when manifesting them into existence.

Premise 2: Person 1 desires things that she believes she deserves.

Conclusion: Ergo, Person 1 will be provided these things when manifesting them into existence.

The logic follows, though it is predicated on an irrational, nonfactual premise. Though I’m fully aware that some religious or spiritual readers may stubbornly disagree, person 1’s belief system is that of a delusional nature.

Even when I believed in and practiced the Judeo-Christian faith, I subscribed to the wisdom of James 2:26 which states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” I was taught that effort is required, because faith alone wasn’t enough for successful outcomes.

Merely desiring an outcome or rigidly demanding something—and attributing this behavior to a “manifesting” process—is illogical, irrational, and not realistic. All the same, I’m not saying that doing so is bad, wrong, evil, or otherwise.

Rather, I’m advocating the use of effort when working towards goals. Even if you were to argue, “Deric, I can manifest something and then take action towards achieving it,” our positions aren’t mutually exclusive.

If person 1 believes that she will have the man and lifestyle she desires, and she takes action to achieve this target of “manifest,” she may see her goals realized. As well, she may not.

Likewise, if she wants to have a man and lifestyle presented in a particular way, and she takes action to secure this future, she may achieve her goals. Still, she may not.

The subtle difference herein is that belief—an acceptance that a statement is true, or maintaining that something exists, or subscribing to trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something—isn’t the same thing as a desire—astrong wish for or wanting something.

People tend to disturb themselves when their inflexible beliefs go unmet. When unable to receive what they believe they should, must, or ought to have, they experience low frustration tolerance—the “I can’t stand it” narrative—in association with their own self-deception.

On the other hand, when something we want isn’t received—perhaps after a lifetime of similar letdowns associated with other unmet desires—we’ve likely built tolerance or resilience to not getting our way. We can then shrug off yet another disappointment.

We may not like or love that we don’t get our way, no doubt. Still, we can unconditionally accept that in life we aren’t guaranteed joy, pleasure, or success.

When person 1’s self-deception is again reflected back at her she gleefully states, “I don’t care! I’m super excited, because no one believe[s] me. My mom doesn’t believe me! All my friends, they[’re] like, ‘Maybe, like, you have your expectations too high.”

To the rational mind, that would be a point at which insight could be used to counteract personal disinformation. However, when the host points out that person 1 is “looking for a less than one percent man,” she laughingly states, “Oh, you’re mean.”

Person 1 resorts to an ad hominem attack. This occurs with a character assault on the person making the argument, rather than addressing the argument itself, though the personal attack is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

One may initially suspect cognitive dissonance is at play—the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. Yet, I’m not convinced.

When the host expresses that person 1 isn’t “in the one percent of desirable partners out there,” she doubles down with alleged evidence of direct messages concerning people who apparently tell her how desirable she is. Even so, she’s single.

Moreover, person 1 asks, “Do you want me to lower my standards?” As the host is responding, person 1 interrupts by declaring, “I’d rather to be alone than agree with a bare minimum, period.”

This doesn’t appear to be a sheer case of an inconsistent attitude in association with one’s presenting behavior. On the contrary, this is likely the result of what my colleagues who practice Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) refer to as “willfulness.” Per one source:

Willfulness is defined per the DBT Skills Manual as “Refusing to tolerate the moment, and not making changes that are needed. Trying to control things that cannot be changed or be the ‘fixer’ when things cannot be fixed. Giving up and giving in, attachment to ‘me’ and my wants only, and the essential opposite of ‘doing what works.”

Person 1 appears to be willfully stuck in her self-deception. When logic and reason are used to address her emotional argument, person 1 simply replies, “I don’t care,” and ultimately concludes that the host has a “closed mind.”


Person 1 serves as a composite of people in both my personal and professional life. This construct is not logical, cannot be reasoned or negotiated with, and uses appeals to emotion for behavioral justification.

The logical form for such a construct is:

Claim X is made without evidence.

In place of evidence, emotion is used to convince the audience that X is true.

An example of this form is:

By mere existence, I deserve the man of my dreams. Others say I’m delusional, which upsets me, because their negativity can’t discredit my personal truth. I can will into reality, through the power of manifestation, everything I could ever want. This must be true, because objectively reality is whatever I say it is! You can’t invalidate me! Anyone suggesting otherwise must not want me to exist anymore!

I have no doubt that my composite of person 1’s construct truly believes the self-deceiving narrative to which she’s attached. In my personal life, I can plainly dismiss such nonsense. In my professional life, I encourage clients to consider rational alternatives to delusional thinking and inflexible attitudes.

This isn’t an easy task. Indeed, it can be downright challenging!

The person 1 composites of my life don’t always abandon irrational and illogical arguments. Truly, these people sometimes unreasonably conclude that I have—much like the aforementioned host was accused of having—a “closed mind.”

If consideration of absurd possibilities, advocating preposterous scenarios, refutation of rational discourse, and the embrace of unattainable standards is that to which one willfully clings, whatever! For everyone else, I offer departure from self-deluded reasoning.

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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