Dickie Oppen Jr.


In the last segment of this blogg I spoke about Beliefs,
Attitudes, Habits & Expectations. Did you try the exercise?


I see a big difference between “have to’s & want to’s.” Although
I am a prisoner with many skills in speaking and motivating

I have come to understand that no one can motivte you except
yourself. There are only one or two ways that a human being can
be motivated either on a “want to” basis or a ” have to ” basis.

Whenever we’er motivated to do something on a” have to”
basis, we’er motivated by the fear of what will happen if
we don’t do it.

Officers tell us prisoners to clean our cells, tell us to program,
don’t horseplay or else… So the motivation comes, not in
the doing of the task, but in the “or else” that happens if
they don’t do it. However, when people are motivated
on a ” want to ” they are a lot happier.

People with disabities often use this “have to’s ” & want to’ s”
as a crutch getting through life.

I believe there is an abundance of opportunity to teach
persons with a disability that life does not have to be a
“have to.” It should be a “want to. ” Be proud of yourself.


Over the years I have developed what we call the
“cycle of acceptence.” There are four stages most
people go through in order to accept being disabled.

The four stages are: 1-Anger & Denial 2-Self-Pity & Manipulation
3-Asserting Independence 4-Acceptence & High Self-Efficacy.

Now, the first stages can often be maneuvared around.
For Example, I was not born with a disability, but I never
Remember being angry about being disabled until
later in life. I do remember a lot of self-pity and manipulation.
I learned very early how to get people to feel sorry for me.

Over the years, staff started believing in me and so , in turn,
Believed in myself and just took classes and learned to deal
with them. So, if I may, I will tell you about each.


He first stage of “anger& denial also includes a concept called
the downward spiral. People in a downward spiral hold three
beliefs at the same time. Those three beliefs are that the
World is hostile; the future is hopeless; and, therefore,
I am worth less than somebody else.

In anger & denial, people develop a lot of scotoma.
[ “SCOTOMA” is the greek word for blind spot.] As people
fall into a downward spiral, they get trapped in what is called
“Thinking inside the box.”

There is a popular exercise that involves nine dots
. . . arranged in a square on a piece of paper. You are
Supposed to connect all nine dots in 4 straight
. . . lines…..WITHOUT lifting your pen or pencil off
the paper. Can you do it? Try….
. . . What is important to know about this exercise is
that you can only accomplish this by allowing
Yourself to continue your lines outside the box formed by the
nine dots. Remember you cannot crossover have fun with it.

There are about eighteen different ways of joining
the nine dots, but they all involve “Thinking Outside the Box”
rather then limiting the lines to the inside.

People in the first stages of Anger& Denial often have a lot
of scotomas, they are caugbt up in “Thinking inside the Box.”


In the second stage, self-pity & manipulation, people
typically focus on negative self-talk: “I always, or
“I never,”

Many terms they use to describe themselves
are demoralizing. I believe that to help people in the
first two stages, we must help them understand how
powerful scotmas can be and how frustrating it is to get
Caught within the nine dots and never see beyond.

There’s always a new way of doing something, but if we get
Caught up in “thinking inside tbe box” in our scotomas our
self -talk will become even more negative, causing us to
remain this stage of self-pity and manipulation for too long.


The third stage, Asserting Independance, is the person’s
attempt to expand his or her comfort zone. As I become
more independant, I learn how to walk and how to use
the services available to me here in prison.

As I expand my comfort zone, I’ve learned how to have
fun and how to develop a new set of friends. Many times,
I would forget those around me and I would slip into a
comfort zone and slip back to what I knew would
keep me safe.


The fourth stage is acceptance and self-effincacy. I believe
that nobody ever gets tothe point where they can always
accept themselves. I think the cycle of “Acceptence” is
repeated every time there’s a major change in our lives.

I have lost count of how many times I have went through
the cycle of acceptance because there have been so
many other major turning points in my life, but these
are things I have had to grow into.

See once you grow into efficacy, I believe you became
a lot more adapt at understanding the cycle and stages
of acceptance.

The cycle of acceptance for disabled people is really no
different than it is for anyone else it’s just accepting change.
Change is ongoing. And how we deal with with change has
a lot to do with how well we adapt and grow and challenge

Thanks for following my blogg as I continue to post this
proposal you will get a better understanding of where
I am coming from.

If You would like to comment or contact
me, please do. My info is on the CONTACT page.

Be kind to one another
Until next time in Christ
Your fellow blogger

Dickie Oppen Jr.
DOC #947545


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