If you take a close look at what seems like crazy behavior at times, you can usually find fear lurking in the shadows of the situations. Fear of looking stupid, fear of going broke, losing a job, losing a marriage, and so forth. In fact, studies show that fear of loss is a far stronger motivator than the desire to move forward.
Sometimes our actions and/or attitudes actually inspire fear in other people…you may not even realize that you are causing other people to shake in their boots. If you suspect you’re sliding down a slippery slope down to where you don’t want to go, there is a solution. Inhale deeply and slowly. Exhale. Repeat five times….or until you feel better.
Here are sure-fire ways we (inadvertently) instill fear of ourselves in others:
1. Shut down all communication if somebody says something “wrong.” The effect is even more powerful if you grit your teeth. Simply state, “I have nothing further to say,” and turn your back on the person. S/he will know not to speak to you in the future, which is obviously what you want.
You know this isn’t what you want. Inhale slowly. Exhale. Tell yourself, there is more to this than I am seeing at this moment.
2. Interrogate the other. See if you can prove that you are right and the other is a moron, or at least misguided, by asking enough probing questions. the trick is to really put the other person on the defensive; that way her brain will probably shut down.
Actually, we don’t always realize that our “honest questions” sound like a military interrogation. Inhale slowly. Exhale. Tell yourself, there is more to this situation than I am seeing at this moment.
3. Accuse, criticize, and insinuate. Try to imagine the worst possible motivation in the other person, and them accuse him of….using you, stomping on your feelings, abusing the relationship. Really the possibilities are endless. If that gets too time-consuming, you can always find things to criticize, either explicitly or implicitly.
It’s actually better to imagine that there is a viable interpretation of events that you’re not seeing right now. Inhale slowly. Exhale. Tell yourself, there is more to this than I am seeing at this moment.
4. Blame others. This is another guaranteed way to show your superiority. You can blame the other for whatever is ailing you, probably catching the other off guard, and in any case possibly making the other feel guilty and/or weak.
Don’t be a victim. Have a brief pity-party and get on with a good life.
5. Complain. This is the general-purpose people repulser. You don’t need to complain about any specific thing. You can either complain about other people, or situations. This policy brings down every one’s energy level, and will probably enable you to achieve your goal of self-alienation.
Complaining only makes a situation worse. If there is truly something wrong, calmly bring the problem to the attention to the person who can fix it.
It’s way too easy to quash attempts to build relationships and avoid effective communication. Repressing your anger is not the answer either, at least in some cases. If you’re feeling stressed out and prone to negative reactions, take a time out and get your head on straight, once again.