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Compartmentalization
Old 08-07-2014, 04:23 PM   #1
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Compartmentalization

A long word... in Wikihow some simple explanation and suggestions for use.... (how to compartmentalize).

While I never heard of this as a subject in my study of psychology, I realize that this has been a big part of my life, early years... and in the past 25 years of retirement.

Never more important than in the past 5 months which have been difficult due to a health problem that, until the past two weeks, seemed insolvable. Thankfully, and almost miraculously turned around, and hopefully just a memory.

Instead of trying to explain, consider:

Your 18 year old college bound son is arrested for shoplifting
Stock market drops and you have a paper loss of 40%
Your mother is forced to come to live with you because of health
You run over and kill a child
Your house is found to have extensive mold (50K repair) not covered by insurance
Spouse or child diagnosed with incurable cancer... 1 to 5 year prognosis.

Life goes on, but how? How do you deal with this?
.................................................. .....................
Some people take crisis in stride... the fortunate few.
Some struggle for the entire period of recovery, but only lose that part of their life.. and then go on.
Some never recover, and that part of the brain that deals with tragedy goes into a cycle that does not end.

And so the topic... not a financial subject, but a life management option....
To frame, measure, consider best/worst case scenarios, and then to determine the part of the 24 hour day to devote to handling the problem, and to segment this from the rest of the interaction with the world.

Right now, it's up close and personal with us, but looking back, it's a lesson that only came after several years of retirement... In a way, a maturing of judgement.

Maybe not important... Maybe just a natural thing to do... Maybe over analyzing something simple.. but... conscious recognition and compartmentalization works for us.

http://www.wikihow.com/Compartmentalize

YMMV
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:33 PM   #2
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Bill Clinton is the poster child for compartmentalization. Check out this article from the last millennium:

Clinton’s a Compartmentalizer-Are You? | New York Observer
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
Bill Clinton is the poster child for compartmentalization. Check out this article from the last millennium:

Clinton’s a Compartmentalizer-Are You? | New York Observer
+1

A little raunchy, but IMHO,, on the mark... hmmm... 1999...
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:15 PM   #4
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I think the all time compartmentalizers were the Nazis. First a day at the plant, then home to play with junior.

Compared to these guys, Clinton was a piker.

Ha
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:08 PM   #5
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Bill Clinton is the poster child for compartmentalization. Check out this article from the last millennium:

Clinton’s a Compartmentalizer-Are You? | New York Observer
Interesting. I would have said physicians are the poster children for compartmentalization.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:17 PM   #6
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Interesting. I would have said physicians are the poster children for compartmentalization.
Why do you say that, BWE?
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:23 PM   #7
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Interesting. I would have said physicians are the poster children for compartmentalization.
them and probably every occupation or group that gets to see a lot of suffering, think police, firemen, paramedics, soldiers, anybody dealing with mental patients...maybe the list is too long...
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:38 PM   #8
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Why do you say that, BWE?
Finder answered it pretty well. People expect miracles of docs, you face mortality directly every day as the people you see are typically ill or potentially so, etc., etc., so to me it seems it would be difficult to not be able to shut that out/compartmentalize it during off hours and maintain your sanity.

I think people in other fields, celebrities, politicians, etc., are probably more expert at rationalization of their behavior (we in Illinois see this all the time, from the Cubs, etc., all the way to the people who go from the governor's office to the prison cell).
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:50 AM   #9
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Finder answered it pretty well. People expect miracles of docs, you face mortality directly every day as the people you see are typically ill or potentially so, etc., etc., so to me it seems it would be difficult to not be able to shut that out/compartmentalize it during off hours and maintain your sanity.

I agree that Finder nailed it. Both observations are interesting. Some of the experiences of firefighters, nurses, paramedics, police and ER docs are truly frightening. To go home to one's family after a failed attempt to save a life, for example, requires an ability to suppress one's own distress and be "present" for spouses and children. Sometimes the distress is moral, for example, when there are difficult ethical decisions to be made. Based on observation and personal experience, exposure over the years to these situations, coupled with the need to "act professionally" with patients and "be strong" leads to PTSD and burnout in many such workers. (Check the suicide and alcoholism rates in these professions). The way people deal with these stresses varies a lot. In my experience, many nurses tend to be extroverted, feeling and perceptive on the Myers-Briggs scale, while physicians are less so. After critical incidents such as an unexpected death, it is usual in hospitals to hold debriefing sessions. Nurses show up to debriefing sessions in large numbers, talk, let their feelings out, and give and receive support from colleagues. Many physicians are afraid to let their guard down and do not attend, though they need support too. I always found these sessions helpful and I felt that I owed it to my colleagues to be there for them. Many of my physician colleagues "bottled it up" and pretended they were fine, though they may have been suffering inside. This behaviour is encouraged by traditional physician culture. If that is compartmentalization, I'm not sure it is a good thing in that context. Of course, there are many times when focus is key,for example, when doing a surgical procedure. The ability to compartmentalize everything else is an advantage in those situations.


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Old 08-08-2014, 10:37 AM   #10
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Just saw this relevant article on PTSD in police officers.

Awareness of PTSD must shift from sufferers to supervisors - The Globe and Mail
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