Psychology of Catfish

I recently put on the catfish series which is streaming on Hulu. If you haven’t seen the show, and the documentary of the hosts’ experience being catfished then you totally should. It has me sitting around really gaining some deeper insight into people. 

For any who don’t know, a catfish is a person who gets involved in a relationship with someone else based on lies about their real identity. This is a modern phenomenon obviously because of the ability to create a fictitious and sometimes very convincing identity through social media and dating apps. Apparently it happens a lot as there many on the show but hundreds more that don’t make it on the show. It’s pretty wild. 

But anyways, here are some of my thoughts about people based on insights from the show. 

  1. people are crazy 

I don’t mean of course that people are disordered (although there are some clear narcissists or sociopaths on the show) I mean that people behave very strangely sometimes. The lengths some people go to try to trick others is downright shocking sometimes. I’m talking about several profiles, maintaining many lies and crafting elaborate deceptions. Some have carried a grudge for years and catfishes a friend or former lover just to hurt them back. People invest a lot of emotional energy into these catfish schemes at times and it is surprising. 

  1. People are lazy

One of the common reasons for cat fishing seems to be a person who is not confident about their looks or situation and they use pictures of someone beautiful to catch an attractive person. This makes me sad for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’m not sure why someone who isn’t taking care of themselves thinks they deserve a partner who does. Secondly, if people spent the energy they use in tricking someone on bettering themselves they would find they could attract a better mate. It seems people take the shortcut and invent a better version of themselves before they will actually work on achieving that goal. 

  1. The Wrapping Matters

Many of us love to think we are not superficial. We like to think that we see past appearances. Obviously we do not. Everyone enjoys attractive people. We would all love to have an attractive mate. And when they “lazy” catfish who used an attractive person’s face and body to catch someone is revealed, the victim loves to say they might have been interested in the catfish had they been honest. I actually don’t believe that. I believe that we do tend to pursue mates we believe are similarly attractive to us. Think about it. Are there really that many couples where one is much more attractive than the other? Sure a few rich dudes have pulled a hot woman with their money but all assume it’s his money right? Of course we do. Anna Nicole Smith was not “in love” or attracted to that 80 something year old dude. Or at least most of us assume she wasn’t. So appearance matters. It’s kind of the first measure of whether we want to be with someone. And believe me, in the show tons of people start with “well their picture was super hot” when explaining how they ended up a victim of a catfish. 

  1. We all want a deep connection

While we may want an attractive partner, it’s obviously the emotional connection that matters more. It’s really sad when someone is deeply in love with the catfish and then when they see them they are suddenly over them. Many times on the show, a catfish who used someone else’s pictures begs their victim, “but you are in love with me, I just look different.” I agree, they really were in love and the emotional connection was the foundation of the relationship. It’s why people on the show continue being a victim for so long even though they haven’t been able to meet their love or sometimes even talk to them on the phone! They get so much from the emotional part of the relationship, they are forgoing a physical part. My conclusion is that the emotional connection is the most important aspect of the relationship and can carry it very far on its own. Both men and women victims on the show agree that the companionship and emotional support was what sets the catfish relationship apart. 

  1. We want to believe in fairytales 

The final insight I gained is that we want to believe in a fantasy even when reality is destroying it. So many times the hosts of the show are providing evidence that the catfish is not who they say they are and yet, the victim has trouble letting go of the fantasy. I believe this is because in these relationships based on lies, we can fill in the blanks with wonderful thoughts. Every time there are tons of promises of a wonderful future together, nothing but joy and love and peace and prosperity. And when that fantasy is threatened, the victims often cling to it, refusing to believe facts that are presented and come up with new explanations. It’s heartbreaking to see people embrace a happy lie over a sad truth but it happens all the time. 

We live in a crazy world and we are crazy in it. Humans are such a strange organism capable of deep delusions, deceptions and manipulations but also capable of deep connection, empathy and compassion. Catfish is a fascinating watch and I highly recommend it.

Slave to Soil

Alone or in great company the tree stands proud.

When heavy loads of cold snow weigh it down it stands, round.

Through powerful storms of thunder it stands, brave.

Even with tiny insects feeding the tree stands, lives

Tall proud thick and strong it stands.

Gently swaying in the breeze still it stands.

Small birds living on its’ large, thick branches.

Every year in its foliage something hatches.

With the burden of life ever dragging,

And your soul forever snagging.

Think of the tree and toil,

How free it is and still, slave to soil.

Precious Freedom

Red white and blue

Hot dogs and hamburgers

Beer wine and margaritas

Laughter love and friends

Fireworks at night’s end

Most will celebrate

Though some lament

Gripe complain and criticize

Mumble of our arrogance

Pride, greed and ignorance 

Raise a different banner 

Down with capitalism

Unfair and exploitive

Our country is terrible

Worst of all in the world

Yet liberty all possess

To work and love and play

Say whatever they want

Because a hard battle was won

To offer all, precious freedom

Dark Dream

From The Sureshot Rises book 1 of my Sureshot trilogy available on Amazon in paperback and for kindle

Durbar’s mind floated gently through time and space as images of his childhood drifted past him. He dreamed of times spent with his beloved father in their cabin deep in the woods far from anyone else. Durbar had hardly known anyone in his youth. He met some traders in Harmon but always at the western end of town. He and his father never ventured into the center of the city. They never stayed at an inn there, but always with Znak. Durbar’s world was the woods, his father and their work.

The slumber started off very pleasant. First, he saw his father stalking a buck in the woods. This was how Durbar always remembered Adar; strong, proud, powerful and deadly. He dreamed about his mother next. She appeared with long, fair hair and a warm smile, and he dreamed about them together. He had no actual visual memory of her but only the descriptions from his father to conjure an image. Durbar was there too, but he was younger, a boy really, playing outside in the woods. He was smiling and laughing along with his parents. In the deep corners of the young man’s mind they lived. It was a nice fantasy, but of course, it was nothing more than that. Both of his parents were dead.

In his dream, the trees melted away and melded into walls that were cold and dark. Znak appeared near Durbar. He was dressed in battle gear, wearing heavy armor from head to toe. In his right hand, he held a thick sword, and in his left, he had a large shield. He appeared ready to fight. Znak did not acknowledge Durbar but stood tall and strong.

 Next, he clearly saw his father also dressed in battle gear and holding a long sword at his side. Stranger yet was that he envisioned his mother also there next to the two men. She was dressed in armor and held a sword in one hand and a buckler in the other. The scene confused Durbar even in his sleep. He tried to call out to his parents, but they did not answer him. Instead, they simply stared through him as if he were not even there. Then they vanished, and Durbar found himself in what he finally recognized as the arena of the Harmon garrison, the same arena he saw for the first time that day. He had a sword in his hand, a helmet on his head and a shield on his left arm. Besides these armaments, he was dressed exactly as he had so many years in the woods—as a simple hunter. The arena was very dark, and he could not see to the other side.

An arrow flew past his head from the darkness. He ducked after it was already behind him; a delayed reaction. Another arrow flew by him and then another. There was no stopping them, and he could not anticipate their trajectory so he hid behind his shield. The arrows flew all around him, some striking his shield, others pierced the ground around his feet and he was having trouble staying calm. He began to panic and finally ran in the opposite direction of the arrows’ origin. A few moments later he realized that he was running toward a huge knight clad in dark armor and stopped thirty feet from the fighter. The knight lowered his bow and let it fall to the ground at his feet. He removed his helmet but Durbar could not see his face. In fact, his entire outline was fuzzy.

There were no real features to the knight’s face and no hair on his head. It was dark and shadowed. Durbar froze in his tracks and stared at the knight. The giant fighter gripped a huge axe in his left hand and a flail in his right. He opened his shadowy mouth and screamed a piercing sound that made Durbar try to cover his ears. Then he charged at the young woodsman with great fury snorting and grunting like a bull.

Durbar raised his shield to block the attack but the knight struck it with his axe. The blow was so forceful that his arm was nearly torn off and hung limp with the broken shield at his side. Next, he raised his sword to strike but the knight slapped it out of his hand with a back swing, knocking Durbar to the dirt. The knight then swung his flail and crushed Durbar’s head, splitting his helmet and leaving him dead. The dark warrior held his arms up in victory and screamed again in the same animalistic roar, Durbar’s limp, lifeless body at his feet.

Epic of Cruhand the Rat King Killer

The Epic of Cruhand the Rat King Killer

This is the story of a brave fighter.

He was a warrior from a land afar.

From the dark mysterious mountains.

In a land bathed in ever burning flame.

Where the dragons once ruled for an ion.

A place where only the strongest may live.

Where the weak are devoured by evil.

He was born with the blood of the dragon.

He grew up with a thirst for adventure.

His foes shook when they heard his name; Cruhand.

I, Rick James the Silver Tongue, first knew him,

Escaping from Rheek the Rat King’s sewer.

He and his brave band of adventurers

Were hacking and slashing their way inside.

I thought I was doomed with rats and ogres

Blocking my exit from the wretched place.

But ignoring the danger they attacked.

With much ferocity the foes were felled.

Shortly, before me lay our enemies.

With introductions I joined the party.

Their goal and now mine was to kill the Rat

So returning from whence I came we went.

And pushed through a space made for stinky rats.

Before we emerged on the other side

We were waylaid by a group of green slimes.

Cruhand and the rest went on the attack,

And our draconic hero was swallowed.

The slime began to digest his hard hide.

But succumbed to his fiery breath.

Slimes melted like jello we continued.

We journeyed into a pit for Rheek’s pet.

And nearly snuck by it undetected.

But the beast awoke and quickly attacked.

And Cru just laughed at the challenge at hand.

And pounded the beast with fist, breath and tail.

Bravely we fought the hideous creature.

Its tentacles whipped and smacked us around.

All the while Cru had his mark on the fiend.

Taunting it and teasing it to attack.

In bloody cries fell both hero and beast.

We gathered round to examine the mess

Fearing Cruhand had succumbed to his wounds,

The beast laying slaughtered covered in blood,

Cru faintly mumbled to hand him his hat.

Alive but injured there was one option.

We would bring our friend and cure his wounds.

I used my cunning to bluff by the guards.

Leading the team until Cru could be healed.

We disposed of more guards and fought gargoyles.

Finally resting in the Rat’s own nest.

With aid from me and a grumpy cleric

Cru was recovered and ready to kill.

Down hallways and into a room with ogres,

Cru yelled “plan A” and charged in with no fear.

Surrounded he fought in front and in back.

While I bluffed an ogre so cleverly.

The dragon man roared and spit holding tight.

Swinging and charging no thought for safety.

Cru and the group slaughtered all that challenged.

Countless guards and ogres met their demise.

I intercepted a guard getting help.

Enduring bolts from his deadly crossbow.

Evading him by crawling like a rat,

I quickly made my way to the prison.

With my grand silver tongue I bluffed the guards

Into releasing an ally they held.

But before I could escape with the man,

The archer fired a bolt in my back.

With battle raging, me nearly beaten,

Cruhand and group arrived and crushed them all.

Nearly to our goal I tricked all the guards

To think that Cruhand was heading away.

With madness they chased up to the surface.

Leaving us to find Rheek in his throne room.

But “Plan A” failed us as turning the door,

Dropped us into a pit with rot grub beasts.

The worms tried to eat their way through our skin,

But they could not overcome the dragon!

Cruhand burned the worms with his fire breath.

He crawled from the pit even angrier.

He burst through the door finally at his goal.

Guards and ogres would not stop him this time.

Too many times had Rheek escaped his fate.

The party made quick work of others there.

And Cruhand charged the Rat King on his throne.

His foot in an iron boot he fought on.

His hat looking magnificent as always.

Missing time after time, not losing heart,

He kept fighting, not accepting defeat.

Finally the Rat King died at his feet.

But Cruhand’s rage was still unsatisfied.

Even gold and jewels were still not enough.

He crushed statues and even Rheek’s stone throne,

Showing the way to even more riches.

He collected those and searched the whole room.

But he look around for more things to take,

Crawled in a hole too small for our hero.

There a rat attacked him, gnawing his face.

There he died having come all that way,

Beat the king, but another rat’s dinner.

Self Deception

From Darkness at Noon, book I’m reading:


“And Rubashov wished with his whole heart, old and tried as he felt, that it should end well. But he knew for what task he had been sent here, and there was only one revolutionary virtue which he had not learned, the virtue of self-deception.”

Great line

Embrace

Black smoke rises up from a burning fire in the middle of the dense dark forest.

Red flames dance in the night like fierce warriors after a victorious battle.

Green trees tower high into the sky, forever reaching for the heavens.

Yellow leaves fall from branches retiring to the soil after a long years work.

Blue, cold, rushing water runs past nearby in a hurry to get wherever it is going.

Grey clouds float lazily through the air saving their strength for a later engagement.

White snow caps the tall majestic mountains like a hat on the head of a boy.

Our pink lips, embraced now and forever, unaffected.