|EQI.org Home | Emotional Literacy | Feeling Words
This page has links to personal stories about various feelings. Most of them are about my own feelings. S. Hein
I have written more but they are not linked yet. If you would like to see them plz write me. It helps motivate me when I know someone is interested. Steve
check Ivan and His Sister
Attacked and Defensive
Respect | Empathy
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|Feeling Attacked and Defensive - S. Hein
A woman told me said she received two emails from her parents. She said she felt attacked by them. She also felt defensive. Feeling defensive is, of course, a natural survival response. But this woman, who I will call Katrina, realized that these defensive feelings were causing her stress, taking mental energy and keeping the battle going between her and her parents. For several years she has been trying to get her parents to show her more respect and to admit that they made some mistakes in how they raised her. Her parents, though have also been feeling attacked and defensive. They respond by telling her that she is the one who has problems, that it is not normal for daughters not to want to talk to their parents every week, that she has mental problems and that she should go see a psychologist.
I asked Katrina what would help her feel better -- that she can control. She decided it would help her feel better if she did not feel so defensive when they attacked her. She said on this day she felt attacked 7 and defensive 7. We agreed that it would be good if she could feel less defensive, even when she realized that she was feeling attacked.
We also agreed that when she reached the point in her personal growth where she felt more secure about herself, she would probably feel less attacked by similar letters. I told her how I can sometimes realize that I feel attacked, but yet not feel defensive. The example came to mind of a strong man who is being physically attacked by a young child, but who does not attack back because he feels confident and secure about his own strength.
I also remembered a scene from the movie Gandhi. It is the one where a line of Indian people were being beaten to the ground, one by one, by the British officers hitting them with clubs. Yet the Indians did not fight back. The Indian people knew they were right in wanting their freedom and independence. They believed it with all their hearts and minds. Because of this strong belief, they did not feel the need to defend themselves or attack the British. Their faith in themselves, in their cause and in the truth gave them this inner strength
Here are a few notes on manipulation. They are based on the work of Ernest Swihart and Patrick Cotter. (note)
from a book I picked up. They might help you realize when you are feeling manipulated.
1.Manipulations avoid change, work pain, loss of control of a situation...
2. Manipulations are reciprocal: A manipulator's ploy is enabled by a complementary avoidance behavior.. In order to be successful the manipulator must discover and use what the person he is interacting with wishes to avoid.
3. If a manipulation fails, a manipulator will usually resort to a cruder and more coercive ploy.
4. People who use manipulation often see the world in black and white terms...Strong judgmental, stereotyped labels pepper their speech...
5. The earlier in life the manipulative behavior was learned, the less aware the manipulator will be of his behavior.
6. More complex learning environments produce more complex manipulative behavior. Bright and learned manipulators are more difficult to discover and treat because of their subtlety and social sophistication.
Write down the manipulative behaviors.
Try to figure out what the hidden agendas are. For example what the manipulator really wants or is trying to avoid.
Tell the person "I feel manipulated." They will probably attack you in some fashion, but just stand by your feelings. "Z", one of the volunteers at EQI, said that when she was a teenager and realized she was being manipulated by her grandmother she simply told her over and over each time she felt manipulated. Eventually the grandmother learned that what she was doing wasn't working anymore and she stopped the manipulative behavior.
By the way, I have a theory that emotionally intelligent people from dysfunctional families learn to be expert manipulators. Because they were never able to get their needs met simply by asking for things when then needed them, they had to learn to manipulate people to get their needs met. Because they were emotionally intelligent they learned how to use guilt, threats, bribery, coercion etc. to manipulate the emotions of others just so they could get their basic survival needs met.
This is one of the "dark sides" of emotional intelligence. It is simply the natural result of a combination of high inate EI and an emotionally abusive or dysfunctional environment.
Note - The authors wrote a book on children in which they blamed children for being manipulators. I disagree with their believe about where manipulative behavior comes from, but I did agree with much of what they said about the manipulative behavior itself. They seem to think some children are born manipulators and they have to be broken from this with very strong arm tactics. For example, they give this example.
When we feel uncomfortable, it is a sign something is wrong. The sooner we acknowledge this feeling, and either take action or communicate the feeling, or both, the sooner we can feel comfortable again. Telling people when we don't feel comfortable, by the way, is one quick way to find out who respects our feelings. If they do respect our feelings, and thereby respect us as individuals, then we won't need to tell them a second time. Nor will we even need to give them an explanation.
Here are some stories about feeling uncomfortable
Kissing and Comfort - S. Hein
Once I asked a woman how her first date with someone went. She said "I never want to see him again." I asked why not, and she said, "Well, I felt very uncomfortable when kissed me after only one hour of talking. He didn't see that I was uncomfortable, though, and he kissed me again later in the evening. I felt even more uncomfortable, even a little disgusted by it. I couldn't tell him that, though. I just left, and if he calls me again I won't go out with him."
The ironic thing about this was that this was a psychology student in her final year of studies. I wondered how she could have gone through an entire psychology program without learning how to verbally express her feelings and without developing the self-confidence to do so. (Page on psychology students)
Learning to say "I feel uncomfortable - S. Hein
Once I was chatting with a teen. Like usual, I was asking questions like "Does your mother slap you?" I find most adolescents have no problem answering such questions, since normally they are very open. This person, though, told me that felt uncomfortable with my questions. I said, "Ok" and then apologized. She said that it was okay and that she always tells people when she feels uncomfortable with something.
I don't know where or how she learned to do this but I was definitely impressed. I wished that someone had taught me how to do that when I was 14. I might have been able to prevent getting sexually assaulted by my university professor when I was 18, among many other painful experiences after that.
Taken For Granted
Yesterday a work exchange volunteer was supposed to come at around 12. Hurried back from NH.. waited... around 3 I checked my mail. She had written in the morning saying she decided to go see a park instead and would come the next day.
Didn't apologize. Didn't ask if that would still be ok.
xx later I want to try to list my unmet needs which caused me pain. and talk about forgiveness, punishment - feel a little motivated to punish her by saying u cant come today. or not being here when she comes. i guess i feel hurtful. not valued - so need to feel valued is one need.