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Tag: harassment

November 14, 2013

I am pretty certain I have used this pac-man analogy on a previous post, but I will use it again. Once upon a time, I went on a pac-man binge, and achieved a ridiculously high score, (I would mention the score but I don’t remember). The only thing that led to my demise in  the game was cognitive fatigue.

So how did I do it?

I came to the realization that I had memorized the patterns of the ghosts. As a matter of fact the few things that changed during the course of every game I played was the increased speed of the ghosts, the points and my proneness to making errors in  the game.

So how does this work as an analogy?

The patterns of the ghosts where based on the programming instructions written by the programmers who created the game. If you were to go to the apple app store or Android market and purchase a pac-man game, the only way you would be able to change the patterns of the ghosts would be the hack the game and change specific instructions dedicated to the movement patterns of the ghosts.

People are remarkably similar, this is because our habitual behaviors are dictated by what we believe. Every belief we hold unto comes with specific sets of instructions of what to do in response to any circumstance. Whether these instructions help us solve our problems is a different story, but instructions as dedicated by our beliefs cause us to execute a predictable repertoire of behaviors which vary according to the circumstance.

Having this understanding about your fellow human beings is half the battle towards getting past resentments and putting a stop to passive aggressive behavior directed towards you. Half the battle because once you realize that the other person is motivated by a set of beliefs and guided by specific instructions, you cease to take the behavior personally and learn to respond accordingly to behaviors you come to predict.

Take for example,  if you have a co worker who habitually presents with a passive aggressive attitude towards you and other co workers. Perhaps he makes inappropriate jokes, and becomes hostile and easily angered during disagreements with others. It’s easy to get sucked into the chaos if you find yourself engaged in a heated exchange with such a co worker. You may come to take his attitude towards you personally, and without realizing it, you do your best to help explain to this co worker your side of the story, but to no avail.

The Technique

The best response to this scenario and other similar scenario is a two fold technique. First, you should come to understand and accept that this person is operating on a set of beliefs that dictate his behavior of passive hostility towards others during disagreements. (It is important to note that you are not required to figure out what his beliefs may be, change is the responsibility of the individual.) Secondly you should understand that it only becomes more and overtly  hostile if you engage in kind. So do nothing.

It is important to note that doing nothing is only reserved for non life threatening situations. (I will write a post on how to respond to threats in the near future.) Doing nothing is an effective technique for back handed compliments, insults, nasty rumors, hostile glares etc.. The problem people have with doing nothing is that they have unrealistic expectations of what would happen in the event they practiced doing nothing and the harassment stopped. Some people have shared with me that they expect the harasser or passive bully to become apologetic and nicer towards them.

Do nothing doesn’t change a harasser’s attitude, it only confuses them and brings the undesirable behavior to a stop. The reason for this is because there is no corresponding hostile reaction from you to confirm their biased belief which justifies in their minds their decision to harass you. With confusion comes a lack of direction and with a lack of direction comes cessation of the unwanted behavior.

Please note that this technique is only reserved for passive-aggressive, non harm threatening behaviors. For bullyish behaviors that cross the boundaries of physical contact and or violation of personal property there exists a different set of techniques, which will be discussed in a different post.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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October 30, 2013

“Your core beliefs help shape your reality.”

This morning I came across this post, in which the author gave her social commentary on the ongoing Barneys scandal. In essence what the author states is that when people who are poor spend the little money they have on overpriced products they don’t need, they are being strategic in trying to fit into a society in which they feel rejected by.

I have heard this rationale before, and I get it. However I respectfully disagree with it and here’s why;

However before I begin, I would like to state that I don’t know the true financial situation of the young man and young woman who were harassed and humiliated by the NYPD for shopping in the high end department store.

I would also like to state that when police officers take it upon themselves to pick you off the streets and put you in jail, because you were spotted with an item they believed you could not afford, citizens across the country (regardless of ethnicity) should be concerned.

If you are poor, and you have grown up finding yourself on the receiving end of condescending attitudes from would be snubs, due to beliefs in prestige, supremacy and  etc, then it stands to reason that adopting such a belief as yours would only bring you more of the same.

So if I purchase a luxury car, because I believe I would be regarded with prestige when seen with the car, then I am only going to attract people who believe in prestige. The problem with people who believe in prestige is that they have a bad habit of being judgmental and condescending towards those they believe don’t measure up. This means I will be inviting more of the same in my life if I subscribed to core beliefs in prestige and acted out on those beliefs.

Also, I am always going to find myself extra sensitive to how I am being regarded by others and constantly in pursuit of more possessions that signal prestige to others, which keeps me trapped in an unhealthy reality.

On the other hand, if I purchased a car that I found of practical value which also suited my tastes without a care for how others would perceive me, I would find myself attracting people who are non judgmental and open minded. So in spite of the fact that snubs do exist and do judge me from time to time, my true reality would consist of people who accept me unconditionally.

For those who have been tricked into believing that unconditionally acceptance must come at a steep price, my message to them is this; unconditional acceptance is always free.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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