Another example of type-casting – this time with a Liverpudlian!

Another example of type-casting – this time with a Liverpudlian!

Alan

This example concerns one of our trainee psychotherapists, from Liverpool who told how he had to go to Crown Court to be a witness in a case as part of his work with youths.  He asked the court usher which court he should go to regarding the ‘Jones’ case, and the usher showed him in – into the high-sided box for the accused rather than to the open benches. In actual fact, he was the probation officer in the case.  He later told me that he was not entirely surprised at the behaviour of the usher in response to his accent, “After all, all Liverpudlians are perceived as lying, thieving Gits!”

The almost universal tendency to evaluate behaviour in relation to our own needs makes it quite difficult not to think in terms of labels.  The driver in front of us who goes slowly when we want to go fast is an “idiot”; the child who makes a noise when we’re trying to sleep is a “nuisance”, and so on.  We’ve already considered the dangers of using labels.  We also saw how our tendency to label others and the type of label we use is more a reflection of ourselves and our relationship to our world and ourselves than a statement about the other person.

If we consider carefully, we will see that the use of a label is almost always a response to the frustration of our needs.  This is fairly obvious in the case of the slow driver in front of us, but sometimes we apply labels to people who have little or no direct impact on our lives, such as, the “useless tramp” that we pass in the street.  In this case the relationship between our own needs and the label we use is not quite so obvious.  However, if we accept that our view of ourselves is predominantly based on the changing reflection of ourselves that we receive back from the world around us then we can start to see that by using this label we may well be responding from a sense of fear or disdain.

tramp

The tramp’s presence represents a threat to our sense of self and our sense of safety.  We need security and safety, and the presence of the tramp threatens that, hence our use of the label.

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

There are helpful free downloads at: sue@suewashington.com

How we can make assumptions and guess the wrong thing …

This is a little story about how making assumptions can be damaging to the person we make assumptions about!!

John

I have a dentist friend who works in Sweden.  John would consider himself South African, the land of his birth, though is of Indian extraction. 

Living in the South of Sweden, now a married man with a Swedish wife and adopted South African daughter, the family would ‘commute’ to Copenhagen on the ‘flying boat’ every now and again for a change of shopping scene.  As you probably know, drinking laws are tight in Sweden and it would be nice to buy a few bottles of wine.  

Every time the family re-entered their own country, John would be stopped and questioned.  His pretty white, blonde, typically Swedish wife said he “looked like a hi-jacker!”  John pointed out to the Swedish port authorities what they were doing rather than make a complaint, and, to give the Swedish port authorities their due, they did stop singling him out.  

These assumptions are common themes in our cinemas and on our TV screens and reflect a great illness in our society… 

colour 1

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

There are helpful free downloads at: sue@suewashington.com

More about problem ownership: cultural differences

More about problem ownership: cultural differences

Cultural differences can be ascribed to rules of acceptable behaviour that have evolved in response to differing needs… For example, in Western society, where principles of leadership come from a long and noble tradition, and where society has evolved past tribal traditions to a complex web of power relationships, the act of stepping aside to allow another to pass, and then walking behind them denotes respect and a willingness to ‘follow’ the other.  In tribal Africa however, where physical survival is harsh, the act of walking in front of another denotes great respect because it offers an undefended back.  To stand and allow another to walk in front indicates suspicion, and is an insult.  Both behaviours stem from the needs of the particular culture and the particular time.

Similarly, in China, one would never give anything to anyone else with the left hand, since that is the one that is traditionally used to wipe the bottom.  Such a thing would be grossly insulting. The degree to which behaviour is considered acceptable often depends on many almost arbitrary factors.  How we feel often depends on how seriously we regard an infringement of an accepted custom.  The young traffic policeman who has just become a father may let a speeding driver off with a caution, while his colleague who has just attended a road traffic accident may ‘throw the book at’ the driver. We may also vary our response to a similar situation depending on the ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ of the incident.

problem_owning

A young child will get away with behaviour for which an adult will receive serious censure, and behaviour on Saturday afternoon on the beach is likely to receive a different response on Sunday morning in church! It is in this arena that prejudice often rears its ugly head.  A pretty young woman is frequently allowed to ‘get away with’ more than an older less attractive man or woman by a male boss, and a black youth is often more closely questioned than his white counterpart when a crime has been committed.

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

There are helpful free downloads at: sue@suewashington.com

Assertive: how we SHOULD behave – can you do it?

Assertive: how we SHOULD behave – can you do it?

assertive 3

Assertive Behaviour Patterns:

Carrying on from yesterday, the third category of behaviour is based on an open and honest communication with self and with the environment.  Assertive behaviour stems from an attitude to life, which is characterised by a sense of ease and flow, and an ability to vary responses appropriately to differing situations and to adapt to circumstances with a type of intelligent fluidity.

assertive 2

Assertive behaviour will appear in the presence of self-respect and respect for others.  If we are able to value ourselves and our needs, as well as others and their needs as 100% important, without elevating one over another, we begin to approach assertiveness.  An assertive individual is one who is able to compromise, and to balance his or her own needs responsibly with the needs of others, without acting in a way that is disadvantageous to anyone.  True assertiveness is the only way to peaceful coexistence.  It is also the only way to a sense of inner peace, and therefore true peace of mind.

assertive 1

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download chapter 1 free now!

There are helpful free downloads at: sue@suewashington.com

Change your life instantly by understanding problem ownership

Change your life instantly by realising who owns the problem …

Problem Ownership  

A reality of life is that no matter how appropriate and assertive our need-filling behaviour, occasions will arise when our needs or the needs of others are thwarted.  These are challenging situations, and the strategies we need to adopt to solve them can require our best creative efforts.  Others will not always share our sense of fairness and our open-mindedness.  We may need to resolve our differences with people whose patterns of behaviour are less flexible than our own.

P O 2

It is these situations that both challenge us, and teach us the most, and are also a measure of our progress towards an inner state of peace.  In the words of Martin Luther King: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’

P O 3

Behaviour is usually considered acceptable or unacceptable by others depending on whether or not it interferes with their needs.  This is true when a specific behaviour interferes with the needs of an individual or of a small or a large group.  Most socially vetted behaviour stems from this root.  Laws are determined by this principle, as is custom and etiquette.

P O

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”. Download chapter 1 free now! There are helpful free downloads at: sue@suewashington.com

More about patterns of behaviour: habitually aggressive people …

Aggressive Behaviour Patterns:

 It is an interesting paradox that the underlying motivators of aggressive behaviour are the same as that of submissive behaviour.  Somewhere along the line habitually aggressive individuals have just learned different responses to similar feelings.  Aggressive people feel as threatened and worthless as submissive people.  The only difference is that they have not lost their natural ability to fight to assert their supremacy.  Using the model we presented earlier, we can surmise that their aggression stems from a need to survive, and in their view of the world, the ‘want’ is for domination.  Aggression is a learned strategy for achieving this.  The aggressive attitude and behaviour continues no matter how often it is successful and the want is fulfilled.  This is precisely because it is a want, or displaced need and not a true need in the sense of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The body language and attitude of habitually aggressive people suggests domination, and includes features such as arrogance, sarcasm, a strutting posture and a challenging glare.  They often point fingers, make fists, or display physical aggression.

aggressive

On the plus side, habitually aggressive people often get what they want by virtue of ‘shouting the loudest’, and can find it easy to achieve success and the accumulation of material possessions.  Sadly this is often achieved at the expense of others.  On the down side, the empires they build tend to be brittle, and collapse easily.  They struggle to fulfil emotional or relationship needs, and the need for esteem from both self and others remains elusively out of range.  Habitually aggressive people build themselves into ivory towers by unconsciously repeating the behaviour that builds the isolating walls higher and higher.

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”. Download chapter 1 free now!

There are helpful free downloads at: sue@suewashington.com