Locus of Control – What’s your view?







The term Locus of Control - LOC – was propounded 60 years ago by Julian Rotter, and does not refer to Bipolar or even Mental Illness per se, but seeks to determine one’s approach to life for want of a better description

If you believe in fate and that life happens no matter what you have an ‘external’ LOC. If, like me, you believe life can be determined to some extent by your own efforts and decisions, you are said to have an ‘internal’ LOC. Of course there are shades in between these polarities, but it’s a good way of looking at one’s personal life credo.

My interest lies with what message this suggests on how each of us copes with our Bipolar. It would be fascinating to know if those with an ‘external’ disposition prefer to rely upon either meds and/or professional support, whereas those ‘internally’ focussed look to different remedies and more self-management. I have no idea – not a shred of empirical evidence, but it would be interesting to discover that’s for sure.

Again it has zip to do with Bipolar, but Rotter’s  analysis suggests that women tend more towards the ‘external’ view – a reaction to societies predilection to define women by their appearance. It’s why plastic surgery is dominated by women as they seek ‘external’ solutions for loss of visual esteem through ageing, whereas men are more likely to show arrogance and see themselves as becoming more attractive as they age. I am not going to ground all this in statistics and research, but I have read compelling evidence that a majority older of men really do have a positive self image – no matter how big the pot belly or the double chin. Whereas it would appear women are more likely to see more faults than they actually have, and lose confidence. No wonder there are so many ‘dirty old men’ !!

All of this is interesting conjecture on my part, but it would be good to hear other views. If indeed there are such divisions then the link with Bipolar, or indeed other mental conditions, is not so fanciful.  By link, I mean how each of us addresses our illness and how we decide to treat it.

For me I went through a period of why me and let it ‘happen’, and just went along with the prescribed meds and inevitable professional counselling that came with it. But my instincts are those of ‘internal’ LOC and when I took a self management approach,  where I think I can influence what happens, my ability to deal with the condition went to a new level entirely.

As with so many things, there are the inevitable two sides – ying and yang. Funny that!

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One Response to “Locus of Control – What’s your view?”

  1. On March 16, 2013 at 4:05 am carol smith responded with... #

    I’m afraid to. I might anger someone and I sure don’t want to do that. I will be brave and say something about manic depressive people and sex. I’ve heard how wild we are when hypomanic and I remember one time when I thought I was a nymphomanic but the truth is, we don’t have orgasms – well, my truth is I didn’t have orgasms and my husband gave up because it took me for forever. That’s what my meds do. Currently, I am on “Paid Academic Leave” for so very many things – they change daily and it’s rather scary but one of the charges is this one: I have told ALL my students about my SEX life and how great it is – this came out of the Assistant Superintendent’s mouth. For one, I would never do this because why would I ever do this and the other reason is I don’t have a sex life because I scare men away and I’m getting to be an expert at it so I don’t think I’ll be having any sex at all. This sounds funny, but the truth is this: I was sexually abused as a child and abused in every single way possible so for this man to charge me with this crime is so very bad for me. I have people coming at me from everywhere telling me who I am and what I’ve done so I think I’m going into seclusion.

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