Introduction Patrick was born in the mid-1970`s to an Irish-American upper middleclass family. His mother was a nurse and his father was an attorney. As is customary in families with working parents the older sibling, a brother, helped to raise him when his parents were busy with work. Patrick had a normal social life and at times entertained friends for extended periods when their families were experiencing economic difficulties, or on one occasion, when a friend did not want to disrupt his schooling during his senior year.
Of the many people in his life Patrick was most influenced by his father and lived his life in a similar manner to the way his dad lived his life. His dad was an alcoholic for a short time and Patrick became an alcoholic for a short time during his early college years. Upon realizing and acknowledging that he had a problem he was able cease his alcohol abuse and embarked upon a successful career in law at the law firm where his father worked. Patrick was good at setting goals and achieving them and by the time he had a family he was prepared for the responsibility of becoming the head of his household.
Levels of Cognition Patrick’s neighbors perceived Patrick’s family to be an exemplary family. It is the reason people allowed their children to visit and stay in his home. But there was much emotional upheaval in Patrick’s home when his father was abusing alcohol and physically and emotionally abusing his wife and children. That upheaval caused by alcoholism, threatened the economic and physical safety of the family. His father may not have beaten or physically abused the children but when he abused the mother, he was abusing the children emotionally.
He had two sons and since Patrick himself was so influenced by his father’s actions, he learned from his father during his formative years that men abuse women when they are under stress at work. The case did not address this abuse in regards to how Patrick managed to avoid abusing his wife attributing it to selfdiscipline. But if Patrick did not deal with the abuse he witnessed as a child he may find himself repeating that destructive behavior some time in the future.
The case leads us to believe that Patrick’s interpretation of the world excluded all negative events in his life. The reader questions how Patrick made sense of these events when we do not seek professional help to understand what happened in his early life- the physical and emotional abuse of his mother. We are led to believe that Patrick can exclude all negative experiences and use or copy the positive ones. He was somehow able to develop standards that allowed him to pursue his goals successfully without any professional intervention.
But he became an alcoholic in college when nepotism and athlete worship did not translate to good grades and the recognition of him as ‘the big man on campus’. In college he was out of the small school where he excelled and in an environment where he was one of thousands, no one special, just average like everybody else. This harsh reality led to his downward spiral into alcoholism. Traditional intelligence Though education improves the socioeconomic outlook of an individual it does not guaranty that educated people will handle stressful situations in a manner that would have positive outcomes for all involved.
Patrick’s family was successful and educated, but they were not living happily, due to the poor management of overwhelming stress that his father experienced at work. Patrick’s father experienced the same pressure all professionals experience when they are trying to excel in their professions. Many people who have jobs with much responsibilities experience sleep loss and Patrick’s dad was no exception. His sleep deprivation was coupled with absences from home, alcoholism, and ultimately the physical and emotional abuse of his family.
Alcoholism led Patrick’s dad to become a bully not only to his family but to strangers in bars. The reader cringes when reading about his father challenging strangers in bars, but we know that traditional intelligence is not the only form of intelligence we use when dealing with the public so since there is no evidence of him getting hurt during his drunken condition the reader surmised that he even when drunk exercised a form of emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence Goleman defines emotional intelligence as; awareness of one’s feelings and body signals, ability to regulate emotions and manage stress, ability to control one’s impulses and direct attention and effort and stay on task towards goals, ability to encode social and emotional cues of others, empathy, ability to influence and guide others without exhibition of anger and resentment. Patrick’s dad’s life served as the blueprint for Patrick’s life. His dad, for the most part, was able to stay on task; after all he was able to achieve, lose, and achieve again.
That is no small feat. Where the reader focuses however is on his inability to handle stress in a responsible manner, his lack of empathy towards his wife and his inability to control impulses were his biggest personality flaws. He, a man whom the neighbors perceived as a successful career man, got into bar fights and hit his wife. All of these acts could have led to serious legal consequences for dad and the family, so it is good that he was able to seek help and apply the teachings of his therapist to improve his life.
Depression and Sleep Deprivation During the time that Patrick’s dad was an alcoholic he also suffered from a lack of sleep. Sleep is necessary for emotional and psychiatric health. In fact the repair and restorative theory of sleep acknowledges the importance of sleep in ensuring optimal physical and psychiatric health. We know this because we have all experienced the unpleasant consequences of too little sleep; the quick temper, lethargy, inability to concentrate, remember, and focus, and an undeniable fatigue.
Coupled with his lack of sleep Patrick’s dad was depressed and his work situation was beyond his control. When work requires more than a person can physically give he/she becomes frustrated and feels helpless. Everyone needs their job and the responsibilities of a family may have contributed to his excessive consumption of alcohol. Conclusion Patrick’s case underscores the importance of mentors for young children. Though his father dealt with the issues of emotional, physical, and substance abuse, he was successful in teaching his son how to set and accomplish goals.
The influence of Patrick’s father shaped Patrick’s emotional and career development and played a significant role in how Patrick would deal with his falling grades in college and his choice of career. Patrick resorted to self-help to cease alcoholism unlike his father who chose professional help. One might attribute this to a difference in their personalities; both men showed resilient personalities but Patrick was more emotionally stable; no outbursts nor emotional/physical abuse of strangers or family members.
So, in summation one’s personality and culture largely influence how he/she deals with life’s difficulties. If we are expected to fail then often we live up to that expectation. Similarly, if our culture demands that we always do our best we become people for whom the only alternative is to give our best. When culture, be it home or communal, expect the best from us, we develop personalities that always give our best efforts.