In my past relationships, in my social circle and in my line of work, I have dealt with a lot of difficult people. Some situations and difficult people I have handle really well and some situations and difficult people I have handled terribly and in a toxic fashion. Dealing with difficult people, however is an invitablity and my job teaches me about dealing with people every day. However for those who don’t have as much hands on experience, this article from Psychology Today magazine is really helpful.
Tag Archives: psychology
Do you define yourself as an introvert or an extrovert? Do you know what these terms mean? Whilst these terms are common, everyday words I find the term introversion so misused in society and so misunderstood. I am an introvert. I have always known I am an introvert and I come from a family of strong introverts. However people often make the mistake and believe introversion to go hand in hand with shyness and social avoidance. Whilst commonly shy people are introverted, I know plenty of shy, socially awkward extroverts and plenty of people who are introverted but are not in the least bit shy or withdrawn. It really bothers me lately how misunderstood introversion is, so this is my rant to explain it. With only 20% of the world being introverted, it makes it an even smaller window of understanding for the introverts to expect. So here are some facts about what introversion truly is and what it’s not.
1. Shyness and introversion are not the same thing – shyness is experiencing feelings of fear and social avoidance. However an introverted person is not necessarily shy, but is someone who is drained by social contact. Extraverted people get their energy from sensory movements and stimulation. They feed off being around others and being around others gives them energy. Social contact works as a positive upwards spiral. Introverts on the other hand, whilst can still enjoy social situations, social situations become draining and the energy levels of an introvert work in a negative downwards spiral during social interation.This means after a long party, introverted people are drained of energy and need solitude to regard, extraverted people are feeling pretty energized from the experience.
2. Introverts do like to socialize too – Yes, social activities are enjoyable and I am not a loner. Introverted people are still regular humans who need human contact to survive. We just require it in a different way. Introverts love anything that involves deep conversation. They get energized by smaller group situations and discussing subjects that are important to them. They love to see how other people think, to connect the dots and participate in lively conversations. They tend to prefer a smaller amount of significant friends as opposed to a large amount of less close friends in a massive network. Introverts can be the life of the party, however for a shorter period of time and will rarely party ALL weekend, which brings me to my next point.
3. Introverts need downtime – The reason introverts won’t party ALL weekend but can still be the life of the party whilst they are at one, is because they need downtime. The social experience, whilst enjoyable, is also draining. They need solitude to recharge the batteries and be their bubbly selves again. They need time alone like we all need food and water. This downtime is required for full mental functioning. Introverts tend to be very reflective and this reflective period is part of how this downtime works, it’s a way for introverts to gain energy. They look within rather than outside themselves.
We live in an extraverted world and I myself as a massive introvert know how misunderstood introversion is. There is only 20% of us. Don’t pity us introverts, we are pretty happy and don’t try to force us to be social when we don’t want to be. There is nothing wrong with us other than we are drained. If you are extraverted, think how you feel if you haven’t socialized at all for a long period of time, we feel something similar when we have all the time. Stressed, anxious and in need of a recharge. Don’t dismiss us because we function differently, just accept that we do.
In the last 6 months, achieving happiness and the psychology of happiness has become a large focus in my life. Post nervous breakdown, it was clear that changes needed to be made, however what these changes had to be, was not so clear. Here are some facts about happiness that make the changes needed to get happy that little bit clearer.
1. Your genes and family upbringing account for only half of your happiness levels.
2. Only 10 percent of your happiness comes from external circumstances. Genes and upbringing influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (income and environment) affect only about 10 percent. The remaining 40% is accounted for by our outlook and activities, including our relationships, friendships and jobs, our engagement in the community and our involvement in sports and hobbies.
3. Your outlook on life, and what you choose to do with your life accounts for 40 percent of your happiness levels. This includes your friendships, work, and participation in your community.
4. It gets easier as you age. A 2005 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey showed ages 20-24 are sad for 3.4 days per month. Those aged between 65-74 are sad only 2.3 days per month
5. A mere 20 minutes of exercise, three days each week will increase your happiness by 10 to 20 percent after six months.
6. The happier you are, the more antibodies your body generates – up to 50 percent more, in fact.
7. In the United States, the number of people with clinical depression is 3 to 10 times more common than it was for their grandparents at the same age.
8. Happy people generally earn more than unhappy people.
9. Women are unhappiest in their life around the age of 37; men around the age of 42.
10. Dancing increases happiness.
11. Sports facilities and community centres increase a community’s overall happiness.
12. Money can buy happiness. Those who can afford to have their basic material needs taken care of are happier than those who cannot.
13. Money has its limits. After having your basic material needs met, additional money does not have any impact on your levels of happiness.
14. People in relationships are usually happier than people who are single, however….
15. Happier people are more likely to retain relationships.
16. Education and intelligence do not make you more happy than anyone else.
17. Happiness has a fragrance. Clinical experiments on body odour have proved your scent changes between when you are stressed or happy
18. The more you hug your children, the happier they will be as adults.
19. The most powerful way to increase your short-term feelings of happiness is to perform random acts of kindness to others, or to send a letter of gratitude to someone you care about. Five such acts in a week will increase your happiness for up to three months.
20. The most powerful way to increase your long-term feelings of happiness is to change your thoughts rather than your circumstances. Thought patterns are are like stubborn habits, they aren’t going to change straight away, but you can train yourself to change them.
21. Happy people live up to 10 years longer than their depressed peers.
Over the last week I have been growing very interested in the research of Brene Brown. She is a social researcher, whom for over 12 years has been studying shame, guilt, vulnerability and how connected we feel amongst those around us. Her work and her humor make her a great public speaking about understanding how we relate to others as well as we relate to ourselves.
She made a lot of fascinating points in her work, in which I will probably talk about more of in later posts, however today the point I was want to write about would be the difference between shame and guilt and how we deal with negative experiences in ourselves. Possibly because this has a personal meaning to me.
Brene Brown states that ‘shame is bad, shame is deliberating and nothing good comes from shame, in fact, most bad acts or negative actions are brought about by shame. However she stated that guilt was a good emotion, as guilt can bring changes into ones life and one’s relationships, were as shame could not.
This in turn, lead her to discuss the differences between shame and guilt. In simple terms, shame is to do with you personally, where as guilt is to do with feeling bad about something you have done, it is behavioural, not personal. You can still feel guilt and feel like you’re a good person, whom made a mistake and did something wrong. Shame you just believe you are a bad person and that your actions just confirm your bad nature. I found this particularly interesting. A big theme in my life as of late has been narcissism, which is theorised to link directly to shame. Thinking bad there were quite a few times that my now ex-boyfriend would say things like ‘alright I get it I’m a terrible person’ when you were really trying to say something simple like please see that I need to sleep. These comments always made everything really hard, because it would be turning the situation around. I was never saying he was a bad person or anything, I was more commenting on my own needs, but it would always get spun around. It would leave me feeling bad for saying anything because I wouldn’t want him to feel like he was a bad person or feel any shame, but than it always left me in this impossible situation of making sure he didn’t feel any shame, so I could never say anything that was bothering me. The situation would always get spun around, so I was left feeling bad for saying anything. I know this didn’t help me, but I am trying to be more understand and Brene Browns research has helped me see that it was all based of shame and avoiding shame. There is a lot of what he did to me that he should feel guilt about, but not shame, because shame does nothing for nobody.
And what does Brene Brown say the anedote for shame is? Ironically, she believes it to be empathy as she believes empathy is the most powerful way to connect people. ‘The most powerful words you can say ‘me too’.
It’s funny how productive you get when you don’t really need to be. I swear I have learnt more about psychology over the last couple of months, bored and unemployed and needing something to do and focus on, then I ever did in my Social Science degree in which I majored in Social Psychology and Social Research.
This is a bit of a follow-up on the article I wrote about Freud, projection and defense mechanisms of the mind. This is another defense mechanism of the mind in which I find truly fascinating. After having a conversation with someone a few weeks about self and identity, I did a little research and became fascinated by the concept of the false self and the true self.
Originally the concept of the False self was determined as he “False Self” a defense designed to protect the True Self by hiding it. It is thought that in health, a False Self was what allowed one to present a “polite and mannered attitude” This is like saying that we remain polite and civilised in society even when on the inside we don’t feel like it. Our false self allows us to hold our feelings back. However in the healthy individual we still know what is our true self and what part of us is putting on a front.
These thoughts were extended by Kohut who extends them into the unhealthy individual and shows us what happens when this false self takes over the true self. In a sense, when we lose sight of our true self and become our false self, a defense mechanism to cover our true self.
These are the 5 stages of the true self and false self ranging from the pathological to the healthy individual.
- ‘At the pathological end of the continuum the false self acts as if it were the real person’ – the true self remaining concealed, only a virtual possibility. However, the false self always lacks “… something essential” socially, the person is perceived as false.
- Less severely, the false self protects the true self, which remains unactualised – for Winnicott a clear example of a clinical condition organised for the positive goal of preserving the individual in spite of abnormal environmental conditions of the environment.
- Closer to health, the false self supports the individual’s search for conditions that will allow the true self to recover its well-being – its own identity.
- Even closer to health, we find the false self “… established on the basis of identifications”.
- In a healthy person, the false self is composed of that which facilitates “… a polite social behavior, good manners and a certain reserve”. It is this essential courtesy that makes possible life in society: ‘the false self acts to allow smooth passage through the world by inducing appropriate and socially acceptable ways of expressing love and hate’
So in conclusion, we all have a false self. However in the healthy individual this false self should only be used to keep us civil and polite and a functioning member of society and we should be aware of the fact that it is false and what our true self still is to remain a healthy individual. I will remember that so I don’t lose myself ever again.
I have always liked Freud. Every time I mention my love of Sigmund Freud to anyone, they usually look at me a bit funny. Yes I am aware that some of his views are a little bit strange. The first thing I learnt about Freud was Penis Envy and the Oedipus Complex which also made me believe that he was one crazy misogynistic weirdo. But through my studying of Freud in my Social Sciences degree I have grown to have a much greater respect for him. Visiting his house in Vienna was very great recent experience of mine. It is a great experience for anyone interested in Sigmund Freud (however not reccomended for anyone who doesn’t already know a bit about Freud or who isn’t a fan, it’s more of a Shrine for him)
Outside the Freud Museum
Whilst I know that some of his theories are a bit out there, I can’t help but think these eccentric and aloof theories have overshadowed some of his more sound work. This has given him a bad name and it seems that many out there don’t seem to take him or his sound theories very seriously or really give him enough credit for his work and advancement of psycho-analysis.
One of my favourite theories of Freud’s is ‘Psychological Projection’ in which I have witnessed in my own past experiences. Psychological Projection is a defense mechanism of the ego. It is where ‘one projects his own undesirable thoughts,desires or motivational feelings onto someone else’
Have you ever had an experience where someone accuses you of something and later on you realise that is exactly what they are doing or they fear themselves. That is projection. I have had it happen to me and understand a lot more about some experiences of the past. Freud, you have made things make a lot more sense. This trait is commonly found in those suffering Borderline Personality Disorder, Anti Social Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. However does not mean you must have one of these disorders to use this defense mechanism. It is commonly used with those with paranoid personalities, to protect themselves from traits in which they do not want to admit too.
The other day I watched the episode of the office titled ‘The Michael Scott Paper Company.’ In this episode, Pam and Michael have started the Michael Scott Paper Company and it gets off to a shaky start.
At first Michael is delusional, delaying work at all costs until he has a major freak out. Despite the fact that Pam is scared to, she says that when Michael is weak she becomes strong. She also says that this happens in her marriage to Jim as well. When one person in the partnership has a freak out and becomes weak, they other one becomes stronger. She said it was one of those strange yet lovely parts of partnerships.
Later in the episode, the reverse happens. Pam starts to question if she has made the biggest mistake of her life in leaving her receptionist role at Dunder Mifflin, in which never really made her happy, but was a dependable role that covered her bills. When she has her freak out, Michael puts his issues aside and states ‘that they both have made the decision together and that they have each other and they will work on it together.’ Michael therefore takes on the role of the stronger character, to reassure Pam.
I noticed in my own previous relationship that this happened for me to an extent. Well at least it happened one-sided. Every time my ex boyfriend freaked out, I became strong. Even if I was freaked out and scared to, I took on the role of the strong person. However this wasn’t reciprocated. I did become weak and scared, however I don’t feel my ex partner managed to become strong when I became weak. I got very depressed at one stage, and he would get mad at me for being depressed. He would get upset that I was upset. I needed reassurance and for someone to be strong for me, but instead he turned it around and made it about him. The way I was treated, only made matters worse and it became a vicious cycle.
I remember distinctly when we arrived in Beijing for a stop over. He got freaked out, he has never been in a non english speaking country before. We needed to change flights and only had so much time to do it. I get it, it was pretty stressful. I was stressed too, but he was more stressed, so I became pro active and figured it out. Asked someone and we got there. We then got to Beijing late at night and he got freaked out again. 2 freaks out in day one of the big trip. It made me slighty nervous, but at the end of the day, I was worried and cared and gave him a big pep talk about how it would be fine and really the worst case scenarios weren’t so bad and if we just stuck together we would figure it out. Truth was I was a bit worried myself.
However when it came to my inevitable freak outs, this never happened. I either got yelled at for being weak or was made to feel like there was something wrong with me for this. Was told I wasn’t strong enough etc. I really started to believe this and I have always known that I was a strong person, so hearing that I wasn’t all the time, had a profound impact on me. I guess the more your told something, the more you start to believe it.
After watching this episode of the Michael Scott Paper Company and being a student of Social Psychology, I spent a little time looking up whether this was a psychological phenomenon. Some fancy name that I can put to it. Lately I have been trying to figure things out with psychology rather than my emotions. Become a bit more logical and to think with my head more than my heart. But after a bit of research, turns out this phenomenon might just be love and selflessness and no fancy psychological term that I could put a long and educated name to. Just plain old love. It’s revelations like this where I realise just how blind I was.
After all traumatic experiences, we go through the stages of grief. After we loss something or something traumatic changes us, it is natural to grieve and mourn i t.Lately I have been doing a lot of going through the so-called stages of grief.
There was denial, I didn’t want to accept it the end of my relationship or the fact that I had a mental breakdown. I didn’t want to accept that he didn’t care about me or want to be with me anymore.
I went through the anger, I was hurt, I blamed the world, I blamed my ex and I blamed all the other circumstances around our break up. I was angry that he lied and I was angry and felt all the hurt and betrayal. I wanted to yell and scream. I wanted to bitch about how much he hurt me and every nasty and stupid thing he did to me to anyone that would listen (a surprising amount of people actually)
There was also the bargaining. If i only I’d done things differently. If only I didn’t let this happen. The list could go on.
There was the depression, the crying, the pity parties, the feeling sorry for myself. The whining and the complaining of why did this have to happen to me? Did I deserve this? Why did I have to fall for the wrong guy and invest so much interest into him again. Why couldn’t he care about me like he always said he did. Why did he abandon me in my time of need? All the depressive thoughts I felt them.
And of course the acceptance. I accept that the relationship ended for a reason and that it is well and truly over. I accept that nothing with change this and that what is done is done.
However these stages aren’t as clear-cut as you would think ‘stages’ to be. Could stages in fact be the wrong word to define them? When you move from one stage of your life, you don’t move back to the previous stage. However with the stages of grief, once you have reached the next stage, there is no guarantee that you won’t move back to the previous stage and end up right where you started again. Once you have hit acceptance, doesn’t mean that anger and depression won’t return from time to time. For me denial and bargaining are gone, but anger and depression do know how to show their ugly heads from time to time.
There is also never any talk of feeling a combination of these. Some days are filled with anger and acceptance, some with depression and anger and throughout the process of moving on I have jumped and switched and alternated between almost every combination imaginable, even denial and bargaining (somehow that really is possible, but only for the truly messed up)
I think the term ‘stages of grief’ needs a bit of a re-write. These aren’t really stages at all, more parts that come and go in all sorts of ways in various orders and various forms.