Archive for March 4th, 2012
These are some of the questions that we hear at and some of the answers we give.
33. What does taking it personally mean?
It means taking a negative event as if it were a reflection on your worth as a person, which it is not. You are a worthwhile human being in spite of what happened. The more self-respect you have, the sooner you will bounce back from the slights and disappointments of everyday life.
34. How can I stop taking things personally?
By replacing your self-doubt with self-respect as a worthwhile human being in spite of your faults and imperfections. Your worth as a person is not the issue. You can choose to stop behaving as if it were. You can assume appropriate responsibility for identifying the problem at hand and resolving it. You are worthwhile whether you solve it perfectly or not. It is not a reflection on your worth as a person either way.
35. What is a reflection on my worth as a person?
Nothing. Regrettable things happen in an imperfect world. To take them personally, or to use them to deprive someone of his self-worth is not useful. It makes things worse, no better.
36. Why do egomaniacs have such big egos?
They don’t have big egos. They have tiny egos. They just don’t want anyone to find out. If you know where to look, their overcompensatory behavior is a dead giveaway.
37. Why do motormaniacs drive that way? Don’t they know the Rules of the Road?
Unself-respecting people dream that they are exempt from the rules of civilized behavior. They are making dangerous mischief at the expense of their fellow motorists. Their purpose may be to get attention, to get power and control, to get revenge, to relieve their anger at others or themselves, or to get themselves withdrawn from life so they won’t suffer the pain of failure and exposure of their inadequacy to cope. It is all mischief. It doesn’t need to be done. Unself-respecting persons do it anyway.
38. What do you say to an aunt who wants you to eat more cake but you’re trying to lose weight? How can you keep from hurting her feelings?
You can say, “I know you want the best for me, Auntie, but I’ll be fine” or some variation on that theme. You can validate the goodness of the intention, not the content. It is mischief. It isn’t about you. It’s about her. You can disengage emotionally from it.
39. How can you tell someone, “You are angry without hurting their feelings?
By telling the truth like a grownup. You can say, “It makes me angry when you do that.” This is not hate, or a threat, or a victimization. It is appropriate responsibility for relieving the pain of your anger.
40. What do you say to someone who is angry at you?
You might choose to say, “I’m sorry I made you angry. I don’t blame you for being angry. I’d be angry, too.” This is not defending your innocence. You are not guilty, it is merely regrettable. It may have been an accident, or it may be that reality required you to take an action that caused someone a grievance. If it is appropriate, you can assume responsibility for making amends.
41. Why do some people become hate freaks?
Because they are angry. Their negative attitudes exist in a context of self-hate and self-anger. These immature attitudes have congealed into a Hate Thy Neighbor Syndrome. Their over-driven attitudes include:
• “I’m terrified of being wrong so I had better be right.”
• “Anyone who says I’m wrong is a threat to my existence as I have defined it.”
• “Wrongness is bad. It is good to destroy wrongness.”
• Sameness is good; different is bad. I can prove I am not bad by stamping out badness.”
• “If one is not perfect, one is worthless.”
• “Anyone who does not meet my definition of perfect is worthless.”
• “Worthless things deserve to be destroyed.”
• “That goes for people, too.”
• “If I am not in perfect control, I am out of control.”
• “Out of controllness is scary and dangerous. My old fears and anxieties come flooding back. I must not allow out of controllness to happen. I must prevent the painful loss of control any way I can.”
• “If I am not superior, I am inferior. That is not acceptable. To belong, I must remain superior at all times. Perfectly.
• “I like myself the way I am. Why should I change? Then I’d be like you.”
• “Any reality that does not conform to my attitudes towards reality does not exist. Problem solved!”
None of this is rational. It is futile to expect such people to listen to reason. They are suffering from hardening of the attitudes. They are not amenable to rational discourse.
It is not enough to call these people megalomaniacs or paranoids. We need to understand the dynamics of their overcompensatory, self-serving behavior. For example, we might wish to solve the problem by putting them in jail where they can infect like-minded inmates and multiply themselves manyfold as Hitler did. Or, we might solve it by killing them. This good intention, too, would turn out to be exactly counter productive. As a slain hero, he would appeal to a whole population of people who identify with suffering martyrs who died for a noble cause even if it didn’t make sense. In fact, not making sense would be part of the charm.
42. Why do some people laugh at everything while others have no sense of humor at all?
Some people acquired negative attitudes toward humor, happiness and fun early in life. They learned from parental examples or joy killing experiences that,
• “Life is grim and then you die,”
• “Happiness makes you weak and vulnerable to disaster,”
They carry these attitudes into adulthood.
The youngest child in the family may become the player. His attitude may be:
• “Fun, fun, fun all the time. I’ll leave responsibility and drudgery to my oldest brother, the Crown Prince. What’s my problem? I don’t have any.”
Some people laugh so they won’t cry. They feel inferior, inadequate, worthless. They feel like a fool. They overcompensate by turning this liability into an asset. They become professional fools. Since their success does not relieve the pain of their underlying self-doubt, they have to keep doing it.
43. When we say children are spoiled, what is it that is spoiled?
Their self-respect. They may overcompensate for the pain of their self-contempt by escaping into materialism. They want things not for their value, but because the success in getting them temporarily relieves the pain of not having an independent identity of their own. For these people, every negative in life is a painful confirmation of their pre-existing worthlessness. They demand an excessive degree of positive-sounding indulgence hoping that some day their pain will go away. It never does.
44. Why do people make promises they have no intention of keeping?
They are pleasers. Their purpose is to a) avoid displeasing you by saying no, and b) spare themselves the bother of your displeasure. It is self-serving, counter productive mischief that destroys trust. When you accuse them of breaking their promise, they don’t feel guilty, they are surprised that you were foolish enough to take them at their word. That makes it your problem, not theirs. They are off the hook. They are operating out of attitudes from childhood, not out of adult thought processes.
45. “My husband is a pack rat. Why won’t he throw anything out?”
He may have the attitude that waste is wrong, it is irresponsible. He would feel guilty if he committed the crime of throwing out perfectly good newspapers and magazines. Or, he may have the attitude, “I might need that someday.” It would be a disaster if he were to need that magazine and not have it. His good intention is to prevent that disaster from happening by controlling. He must control perfectly or the disaster will happen and it will be his fault. His guilt would be painful. He prefers to solve his problems by saving everything forever. Also he may not trust his judgment to tell him which items to keep and which to throw out. His judgment isn’t perfect. He might make the wrong choice. He prevents that from happening by deciding not to decide. The result is paralysis, out of control.
46. How can we tell if someone is passive aggressive?
These are some characteristics of the passive/aggressive male. It’s a matter of degree. Some people have it worse than others:
He doesn’t give you what you want.
He does give you what you don’t want. He then expects you to appreciate his goodness in your behalf.
It makes him angry when you aren’t sufficiently grateful!
Nothing is ever his fault.
Even when it is his fault, it’s your fault that it’s his fault!
He is exempt from having to do anything he doesn’t want to do.
He forgets a lot and it’s your fault for not reminding him. He says “You should have known I’d forget!”
He makes excuses for not doing what he had no intention of doing in the first place.
He takes advantage of your vulnerabilities. That’s what vulnerabilities are for.
He sometimes seems to be immune to rational thought processes.
You try to make him understand but he doesn’t get it. (If he did, he would have to change.)
He uses sarcasm and then says, “Can’t you take a joke?” You can say, “That’s not a joke dear, that is passive aggressive behavior. But thank you for asking!”
He breaks your heart, but he is the victim here.
He does not learn from experience. He can’t learn from experience. His attitudes are in the way.
He knows what you expect and he defeats you by not doing it.
He sets you up to fail, then criticizes you for failing.
He sets you up to trust him, (“Trust me on this, honey.”) and then betrays your trust.
When he says he’s “sorry,” he does not sincerely regret offending you, he is just sorry that he got caught.
47. What does “why” mean, as in, “Why did you do that?”
Why does not mean, “for what reason.” Reason has nothing to do with what he just did. His unwanted behavior did not arise out of rational thought processes. Thee are purposes being served – to get your attention, to get power and control over you, to get revenge on you, or to withdraw in discouragement. “Why,” then, means for what purpose? He may have done something pleasing. Was his purpose positive and sincere? or was it to gain power and control over you? You can sometimes tell by your emotional reaction to his behavior. If your gut tells you there’s something wrong, if you feel uneasy, your organism may be telling you something that you brain does not suspect. These may be warning signals. They need to be checked out.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )