Monday, December 2, 2013
Selling The Best Therapy: Assertiveness Training I
Part 1 Passive Aggressivity
If there is one, single, central model of psychology worth knowing and mastering, it is the Assertivity Triangle between Aggression, Passivity and Assertive Behaviour and Communication with a little line coming from the apex of Assertiveness that shows the three levels of assertiveness.
And that simple little diagram explains it all, the whole of psychology, in practical and usable terms. These are not just descriptions of individual human interactions but also the fundamental character traits beneath all other systems of personality inventory. Whilst every human mind is capable of each of these, their mind is locked into a particular mindset because each of these psychological descriptions has a central moral code that forms a whole worldview. They each even have their own means of learning that predominates.
1: Aggressive Mindset Morality - I Want
It is my right to get what I want by whatever means regardless of the consequences for others, even myself in the long term. The worldview is based purely on the experience of reward and punishment learning. How the world works does not matter. I just use what works. It is my right to survive in this instant.
2: Passive Mindset Morality - You Want
Goodness is defined in making the person in front of you happy by saying and doing what they want to hear and see. The sphere of concern stops at the person in front of you and pandering to their immediate emotions. Predominant learning is by copying without understanding how the world works beneath. Only emotions matter and only in the short term. And it is all for that self-image of sugary goodness in the eyes of others. And the long term hard outcomes and consequences of immediate other-gratification do not matter. Those that I do not see do not exist. Only the now exists so I can say exactly the opposite to ingratiate myself to the next person and not do what I say I will do.
The Passive Aggressive Dichotomy
I have been good according to the Passive Morality and allowed, even encouraged you to be aggressive and egotistical. I have made you feel all important. You have a debt to me. Now you must be good in my terms. You must allow and encourage me to be aggressive and egotistical.
All passive/aggressive people will judge others on whether they are pander to their emotions and allow/encourage them to be aggressive and egotistical. Goodness becomes defined by whether another person can be emotionally manipulated into submission. Emotionally manipulating another into submission is good because that makes the other person into a good person.
Who cares about the outcome. These people live in a world that makes no sense. There are no rules. There is no truth. And that means that there is no way to predict long term outcomes. They are beyond the control of any human being and simply a matter of luck and chance.
And so it shall ever be in co-dependent relationships, give and take. Behaviour is learned and dictated on immediate effects of getting your own way or ingratiating yourself to set up debts and being good according to copying the Passive Mindset of others. There is no concept of long term harm such as disempowering the other, the usual tactic being the destruction of their self-confidence and self esteem so that they cannot abandon you.
The aggressive/passive will do this openly and violently, physical violence, psychological violent or emotional violence. The passive/aggressive will do it insidiously and beneath a sugary, glossy coat of goodness. And because of their worldview and morality, they will be completely blind to the outcome and nothing will be their fault.
Ignorance is bliss and the basis of the passive/aggressive dichotomy in which the light causes the darkness and neither can exist without the other.
Passive Aggressive Communication
The essential factor to appreciate here is that communication is based on effectiveness as learned from previous experience. Communication does not exist to share knowledge but to get the other person to agree by pulling the listener into their worldview. It is to sympathise with their emotions, the fundamental form of emotional manipulation. And they know what works from previous experience and copying others.
So words have no meaning. They are judged on effectiveness which usually means dividing them into 'good' words, like 'love', 'emotions', 'human', 'compassion' or 'heart' and 'bad' words like 'suffering', 'objectivity', 'inhuman' or 'clinical'. It does not matter what those words mean, only whether people like them or not and respond to them emotionally. And the less the recipient understands the meaning of the words the better because then you can get away with anything.
Another common strategy of passive aggressive communication is the use of jargon as a weapon. The aim is to be incomprehensible and make the other feel that they will never understand. They must trust to this incredible expert. They cannot question this expert. They are powerless. And it works. They know that from experience. The use of incomprehensible jargon is highly effective at forcing others into submission and getting your way. And it simply does not matter what the words mean. It does not matter if the speaker knows what the words really mean. All that matters is that they effectively intimidate.