Alternate Rebellion

Remember when I said I would return to the Parenting series this week? Well, I’m going to table it. Why? Because I don’t feel like it and I’m kind of annoyed that it went from being a big draw to pretty much nothing at all – so in a way it’s sort of like a “fuck you”.

Stay with me, I’m not going into a rage here. Not today, at least.

If I hadn’t said anything about the reason why I didn’t continue the series or made up some bullshit excuse like “I’m giving the last article in the series some time because I want to give it the attention it deserves.”, the folks who read my posts would have been okay with it. Going about it in this manner would have been a form of Alternate Rebellion.

Alternate Rebellion is a skill taught in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT); its purpose is to help folks satiate the urge to “act out” by offering alternatives that are not harmful to themselves or others. It allows us to behave in ways that are contrarian and rebellious while protecting our relationships and maintaining our self-respect. It’s different than being passive-aggressive – again the key is to cause no harm.

One of my favorite sites (DBT Self Help) has a helpful list already laid out…

Give an honest response instead of a polite one
Speak out rather than staying quiet
Dress in a countercultural style
Challenge statements when you disagree
Choose mediocrity rather than drama
Drop out of things that are not effective
Follow your passion rather than your expectation
Wallow in creativity
Give yourself time to play
Say no to family when they ask for a favor
Leave the light on all day
Get a butterfly tattoo
Write a letter to the editor
Run instead of walking
Turn up the volume
Food fight
Roll down all the windows
Play a different style of music
Leave things out of place
Shout or scream alone
Cheat on a food plan
Kiss your dog on the lips
Wear clothes that don’t fit right
Express unpopular political views
Sleep late on Saturday
Wear jeans to church
Throw out plastic containers
Get your ears pierced
Fly a gyrocopter
Turn up the bass on rap music
Look into alternative religions
Buy something impractical
Break out of roles expected of you
Change your color preference of clothing
Do things out of order
Do things out of character
Seek your own interests
Don’t cook
Don’t clean house
Buy a bird
Go against a suggestion from another
Be yourself with an attitude of “if you don’t like it, don’t look.”
Print a slogan on a T-shirt
Buy a bumper sticker
Develop your own web page
Express a diversified viewpoint

Remember that context matters – like starting a food fight at work and slamming the Board of Trustees with danishes at a meeting while singing “This is how we do it” is probably not a good call.

Other ideas I’ve heard include –

(1) Not listening to the directions on Waze (shut the fuck up Waze- there’s only one Alpha up in this joint)

(2) Taking an extra sugar packet from the coffee shop (making The Man my bitch)

(3) Putting ketchup on spaghetti in an upscale Italian restaurant (how you like me now, Italy?)

(4) Photoshopping GothamCty in lingerie and posting it on social media.

Ok, that last one is just sociopathy and is NOT a good example – but it’s hard to stop.

So next time you feel angry about a situation you can’t change or just have the desire to engage in a harmful behavior consider Alternate Rebellion as a way of quelling the beast without bringing it out.

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