Emotional manipulation-emotional blackmail II.

I wrote about how emotional blackmail works and described typical types of blackmailers in my previous post. No, they are not monsters, of course what they do, especially how they do it is wrong but there is always a reason why and how they developed this strategy to get what they want. How is the internal world of an emotional blackmailer? How do they think and feel?


We all have learnt that we cannot get everything what we want and whenever we want. Faced with several bitter disappointments but we accepted them with feeling sad or angry for a while.

Autocrats cannot bear frustration because to them frustration means more than a temporary hindrance. When an autocrat is becoming frustrated it activates a deep fear of loss and privation. Autocratic people seem like everyone else, often are very effective in one part of life. Completely apart from which type of autocrat they are or which means they use, they suffer from a privation, and they do everything to avoid this feeling.

They sense and feel even small tensions as catastrophe and attach great importance to resistance. Often they feel, if they don’t get what they want, they got refused as a person and not what they wanted or asked. They believe if they don’t react aggressively their partner privates them from something which is vitally important. These are the basic believes of an autocrat who is an emotional blackmailer.

These believes can develop by long term anxiety and suspense but also often we can find relation between childhood determinant happenings and the fear of privation in adulthood. Unfortunately sometimes we can’t find any relation.

Autocrats focus their attention on their own needs and wishes and often seems like they don’t care about other’s feelings and how they make others feel when they use pressure or threats. Autocrats are self-centred and it can come from a belief that the attention and love what they have now is limited and can be gone. Often they react like small problems or arguments will end the whole relationship. They experience very intensive emotional disappointment and frustrations when they face with even small resistance and try to make small problems appear as if they are unsolvable.

We must understand that, the autocrat mainly doesn’t respond to the actual situation, responding to a situation which symbolizes something from past happenings. Typical in autocrats’ exaggerated responses that comes with so much noise and emotions but usually the internal deep primary feelings don’t come up to the surface . If they could have known and expressed those primary emotions they wouldn’t need to use emotional manipulation or blackmail to get what they want or they would be able to make a difference between them as person being refused or their request got refused which is a big difference indeed.

Autocrats can’t see the long term outcomes of their behaviour because their urgent compulsion to satisfy their needs or wishes befogs their logical consideration. Often seems like autocrats want to make the victim feel bad. Often they demand and humiliate while trying to make their intention looks if it’s good. They completely see their intention differently as they are in real.

Like the punishers see, they don’t punish their victims, just keep order or control the family’s life properly. The end justifies the means. However there are autocrats who feel or see themselves like victims.  Punishment also helps autocrats to get into an active and aggressive position, in this case they feel strong and invulnerable. With this method they are able to calm down the believed fear of privation. Basic truth is, what we don’t word that appears in our actions. If the autocrats could have been able to look into themselves for a while, probably they would be horrified at their own fears and weaknesses. Unfortunately they just rarely do it, or face with their own fears, they hurt and attack others instead. The harshest punishers mainly those autocrats who lost someone who was important. Lost because that person became emotionally unavailable, left physically or a distance developed in the relationship. Angry punishers often disparage others because it eases the pain of coping and the pain of possible loss. Punishers also often can believe, actually they just help the victim. Instead of feeling guilty after hurting someone, they are proud of their acts because they just make a man of the victim, like teaching.

The most important thing is, it’s not about the victim and there is nothing to do with him/her. It’s all about correction and strengthening those huge suspense what the autocrat has deep inside. Emotional blackmail more often has something to do with the past than with the present and even more often it’s all about the satisfaction of the autocrat’s needs and not about what the victim did or did not do.

Picture: http://www.pro.psychcentral.com

Relationship conflict spiral

Very often couples experience that situation when in the heat of the argument they keep repeating the same phrases and they can’t talk about the real problem, just repeating their own offenses and the other’s faults. How can we break this spiral?

After a while the pink cloud is gone in a relationship and that time appears when not everything is nice and loveable in a our partner. We are able to see our partner’s shortcomings and also we don’t pay that much attention to the style how we express our problems. To communicate our needs or desires is not a problem by itself but how we do it is crucial.

Conflict spiral

There are 4 typical ways how we obviate negative stress in a conflict. I’m sharing with you and explaining why it could have developed in this way and how you can react to it effectively, to improve the relationship instead of damage it.

  1. The blamer

“I don’t want to believe you can’t manage your time better!” There are people who react to the own negative emotional frustration with blaming attitude, blaming others. This person believes the other is the responsible for it, shifts the responsibility on the partner, and becomes angry what he/she works off on the partner. It doesn’t make the partner feeling better obviously and switching on a painful button and rolling over the conflict.

Why do we blame others instead of looking for our own responsibility for our negative state? It happens mainly in those families where the members learnt that expressing pain or negative feelings is not allowed because it was punished, denied, ignored or minimized. The child learnt that: don’t show your vulnerability because they will not understand it anyway.

How can we react effectively to offenses from a blaming partner? Help the partner to express what caused the negative feelings, let him/her talk about the negative feeling itself and encouraging to find the own role in the situation instead of blaming others or highlighting others’ faults. Pointing the finger, never helps.

  1. The conciliator

“No problem, it can happen!” This attitude can result stuck conflicts if someone very often react to uncomfortable situations with attempting to calm the partner with not expressing own needs. This person is so much afraid of the possibility of hurting the partner (can happen) and to avoid that withdrawing instead of taking confrontation.

The background of this attitude usually is to express anger openly was not acceptable in the origin family. Children try to be adaptive so they learn to hide negative emotions even if this kind of coping style is not healthy at all.

If our partner is this type try to encourage him/her to express negative feelings and to phrase needs with more confidence.

  1. Mechanical

“This is not logical!” Also a typical conflict management strategy is to handle conflicts without emotions just with rational logical mindset. In this case one side tries to handle own frustration with lack of information and logical arguments which can be very annoying to the partner, especially if the partner is very emotional. I used to say, emotions are on ice, keeping the strong, often unhealthy emotional control.

The dominant feeling in the background of this strategy is fear. Fear of sharing feelings which can make the person vulnerable in front of another. Often even their voice becomes cold, rigid and the communication is very objective which can often cause a rejection feeling in the partner. The experience of listening and understanding of emotions was missing in their origin family. They missed deep emotional closeness and in setting up intimacy they struggle with lack of confidence.

If we use this strategy, the solution is to try to be (more) empathic, putting ourselves into the partner’s shoes and trying to see and understand his/her point of view and discuss if our perception is correct or not.

If your partner uses this strategy, try to express how your emotions are important as well to you not just the facts and try to express what you feel with using examples.

  1. Changing the conversation

“If you knew how the new neighbour is so annoying!” People who change the conversation when they experience emotional distress sometimes change the discussion with using irrelevant topics. They keep a big distance from their own emotions and they have difficulties to attune to others that’s why it’s difficult to establish emotional intimacy with them.

 Who uses this strategy physically experiences anxiety, can show nervous or panicking symptoms. The feelings behind are loneliness and incompetency what this person can’t deal with. In a situation with emotional pressure they try to change the topic and the conversation or using manipulation, including using several destructive tactics, like aggression or making the partner to feel guilty.

Worth to assure the partner (who uses this strategy) that she/he is safe with us, problems can be discussed and solved together. Instead of using manipulative techniques, we can ask to use opened expression of needs because this way of solution can improve the intimacy and the feeling of being an ally, exactly what our partner misses and running away from.

How can we stop the conflict spiral?

When we are able to recognize our own and our partner’s typical reactions and able to understand the emotional motivation in the background, we can find solutions to set up constructive discussions in a conflict. We can intensify the trust and the relationship, also we can improve our belief, that we are able to maintain a working relationship with healthy and constructive dynamics.

Very important to recognize and understand first our own conflict management techniques in the beginning of the relationship. Love is a connecting link, a helping force to make clear misunderstandings or destructively used conflict management techniques and it’s better to do it before the passionate love is gone and having “grey” everyday life.

Worth to choose the understanding way what with we know and accept our partner’s background motivations. Help our partner to understand his/her own reaction to anger, anxiety, pain and fear. Also important to make our partner to know and understand how it influences us, how we feel. With this technique the emotional closeness improves. The way out from conflict spiral is; real understanding, acceptance and intimacy.

Picture: http://www.rnib.org.uk

Emotionally immature parents

Children or already adult people who grown up with emotionally immature parents have two things in common, deep internal emptiness and emotional loneliness, which are the results of emotional abandonment-emotional deprivation. These children or adults have difficulties to establish emotional relation and emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy means I can be who I’m and I’m acceptable like this.


Emotionally immature parents (EIP) are not able to give appropriate feedbacks to their child/children’s feelings, intuitions and because of the lack of accepting reaction, those children learn to doubt own inner voice, but learn to accept others opinion as their own. When these children can hear their own inner voice, the sense of guilt appears because they learnt their own needs is equal egoism. According to the coping style also they can become very dependent on others emotionally.

EIP basically are not able to satisfy their children’s emotional needs. Our emotional needs are basic; need of being wanted, being loved, being important for someone, being taken care.

Last week I wrote about emotionally immature people and now I’m giving you more characteristic of emotionally immature people how they act as parents, how their emotionally immature personality appears and influences their function as being a parent.

Lack of emotional reflection to the children. Reflection helps children to feel and see that, their parents listen to them and respect their own personality. EIP expect the opposite. They expect their children to reflect their own emotions but it’s a “mission impossible” for children. EIP hope when they become parents they will find peace inside but when they face with that children have their own needs and demands (being individual) these parents become very anxious. They use punishment, love deprival and humiliation to get back their control, re-establishing their self-esteem.

EIP’s self-esteem based and depends on the children’s obedience. They feel peace when everybody does what is expected and gets what they want. In real EIP’s self-esteem is very weak and they bear their children’s emotional world very badly. Often they blame children for their own failure. Every interaction is an exam to EIP, which is all about how much are they worth. They react very extremely for even slight resistance or reproach.

EIP consider family member functions and their places in the family as untouchable, intangible. They expect unconditional obedience and respect.

EIP expect things from their family members follow from their functions, (parent-God) they can do everything as parents because their parent function excuse them from taking into consideration others.

Forced functions. EIP force their children to behave, think and feel according to their given function. They achieve that using love deprival, humiliation and sense of guilt. The persistence in functions is rigid and inflexible and this is a rude querying of the child’s autonomy and right of own decisions. If they can’t reach this outcome they believe there is something wrong with the child.

Enmeshment is when two emotionally immature people look for their own identity and self-fulfilment in an intensive relationship based on mutual listening. They reach sense of security and foreseeing by the other person functions as known and expected. It causes a very strong emotional interdependence between them.

Favouritism. If an emotionally immature parent practice favouritism with one of the child most likely that parent is on that emotional level as the child. If the child has a strong independent personality that induces the parent to see this child as a small adult without need and not as a small vulnerable has to be taken care of child. In the case of dependence the child is unadaptable and has difficulties and when it comes to that the parent takes a victim or saviour function.

Substitute family members. When the child experience its own internal independent functions through someone else outside of the family.

Sense of time. EIP have a fragmented sense of time. The presence moment is immeasurable. Because of their momentary desires they are not able to set up a consistent future image. Consistency is not a value to them. For them time is not a continuous uninterrupted course but flashing isolated moments and that’s why they get very upset when someone is making an allusion to a previous happening in the past.

Limited sense of time – limited liability – limited calling to account. EIP can focus just onto the moment and that causes their lack of self-reflexion (objective self-assessment). They leave every each moment behind without connection between them and they don’t understand how others are not able to do the same, leaving behind problems, offenses without mentioning. The relation between action and consequence is a hardly perceptible concept to them because the fragmented sense of time.

It may be stated that emotionally immature parents are basically self-centred, narcissistic, emotionally not trustable and predictable, insensitive, incapable of real intimacy, having disfigured picture of reality and strong and inflexible emotional boundaries. They get too close to their children or keeping too much distance, they have difficulties handling frustration. They are emotionally manipulative or have threatening attitude.

Picture: http://www.exploringyourmind.com

Emotionally immaturity

We all have experience about emotionally immature people, maybe we just couldn’t have put a proper word onto their behaviour. We often feel it’s so difficult to cope with them and most of the time we feel they are kind of unavailable. How do they act differently? First let’s see what means emotional maturity.

Emotionally matured people are able to think objectively and in a figurative sense while maintaining deep emotional connection with other people. They are not ashamed of own feelings. They undertake and share their feelings and they are honest. They admit when they are wrong or did a mistake and have a clear view about their own weaknesses. What this exactly means?

They are realistic and trustable, able to see the reality and not using manipulation or negation, able to think and feel in the same time, predictable and (self-) consistent. They don’t take everything personal, their relationships are based on respect and mutuality, respecting others’ boundaries, and they are flexible and able to make a compromise with others. They are well balanced but not immutable. They are honest and able to ask forgiveness, self-reflective and empathic (not sympathy!). They are opened minded and willing to change for better, they are playful and being with them is a very good feeling.


Emotionally immature people’s mindset is different and their acts and mental world as well. Often these characteristics are strongly entrenched and really hard to change them.

Emotionally immature people:

  • Rigid and narrow-minded way of thinking schemas. They are rigid and impulsive, narrowing down the reality for a level where they still can control it. They are not opened to change their opinion, according to them there is just one answer or solution (their answers/their solution) and they become very defensive if someone thinks differently.
  • Low level of resilience (stress management). They don’t assess a situation and project the possible future, they are susceptible to deny, twist and re-writing the reality. They don’t admit (or just rarely) when they are wrong or did a mistake, most of the time they blame others. They have difficulties with emotional self-control, often over-reacting things. They calm down very hardly and they expect reassurance from others by others do what they want.
  • Their actions are ruled by emotions mainly. They often make decisions according to their own feelings in the moment, what the best is for themselves in the moment without considering others’ and usually move in the line of least resistance.
  • Strong subjectivity. They are not able to assess a situation coolly, in their situation assessment is more important what they feel than what exactly happened. They are not to be tempted to consider a situation objectively.
  • They respect differences a little. Those behaviours which are different from their own or dissenting opinion make them usually upset. They think and believe that everyone should agree with them and they don’t accept that everyone has the right to think differently. Their social tolerance is very low and judging others and backbites them.
  • They are very self-centred which is imbued with compulsion, this compulsion is caused by anxiety and suspense in the background. Their self-confidence is weak (sometimes over-compensate it – arrogance) and protect it with strong high walls. Their self-defence mechanisms keep their anxiety on a subliminal threshold, that’s why they often don’t recognize it.
  • Their thoughts are mainly about themselves. Anxiously ruminate on things about themselves, their attention is on the satisfaction of own needs and if they got any offense. Their self-esteem depends on feedbacks or reaction of others. They can’t take criticism and deny their weaknesses and mistakes. Continuously paying attention to themselves and that’s why others’ feelings are pushed into the background or completely minimized.
  • Self-admiration instead of self-reflection. In every situation they reflect just to themselves, they don’t do it to improve their self-knowledge. They don’t pay attention to their talking partner, don’t consider their own role or responsibility in a problem and they don’t consider their behaviour either.
  • They like to be in the centre.
  • Low level of empathy. This the main characteristic of an emotionally immature people. They are good at “reading” other people’s will and feelings but instead of connecting, they use it for manipulation.
  • Inconsistent and unpredictable. Their self-image are from small but often un-matched elements which get conflicted often with each other – Inconsistent. Often expressing contrary feelings and there are sharp changes between – Unpredictable.
  • Fear of emotions. They are afraid of their own and other’s emotions and honest emotional reactions. They react with anxiety when they feel their feeling can come up to the surface. They don’t like if they have to get out of the rut or routines and they refuse to talk about emotional life.
  • The importance is on the physical needs instead of emotional.
  • Celebration or joy crashers. When somebody is feeling happy around them, they are not able to share anybody’s joy, using diversion to talk about something else or projecting something negative is going to happen.
  • Intense but superficial emotions. They easily can get into intensive feelings but they feel uncomfortable about it and it can get expressed by showing annoyance. When they talk their feelings don’t fascinate the partner.
  • Difficulties with conceptual way of thinking. A little stress is able to block their abstract way of thinking process that’s why most of the time is useless to try logical arguments. In emotional topics they are able to think just in black or white.
  • Emotional contamination. They don’t talk about their feelings, they put it into actions so that’s how they reach the others to know how they feel – emotional contamination.
  • They don’t do emotional work, they don’t try to understand others’ emotional experiences.
  • To give is not easy for them, they expect the others to react their needs, but they are not opened to get helpful solution advices. They expect others being a mind-reader and become very offended if others can’t figure out what they exactly want.
  • They don’t ask forgiveness but they expect others to do immediately and often they can manage that the innocent partner feels guilty. For them forgiveness means the others being blind to their offense and they pretend as nothing happened. Their offences are trifles.

Emotionally immature people have difficulties to recognize these characteristics on themselves and even if they get significant feedbacks from their environment about their behaviour it’s difficult for them to admit it because of the lack self-reflection. Of course not all of the characteristics appear in one person, some of them work and visible and others don’t.

What happened to them? How did they become like this?

The reasons are in the early ages of development in the relation between the child and parents. In early ages (6 months old) a baby is already able to detect the mother’s emotions and their badinage. Prohibitions restrict the child to develop his/her own personality. Like: Don’t exist! Don’t be yourself! Don’t be close! Don’t trust! Don’t feel! Don’t express your needs and emotions!

Very often the parent itself is also emotionally immature and most likely the child will be as well, and later they become parents too, like an endless circle.

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Emotional regulation – advices for regulating our emotions

The essence of regulating emotions is to control/regulate behavioral reactions for our emotional situation. Most of the people already in kindergarten age are able to reflect consciously for different emotions and they know which they would like to express and which ones don’t. However nobody teaches us which emotional regulation techniques/methods are advantageous or disadvantageous.

In some situations we do everything to express, prolong and intensify different emotions of course depending on if they are negative or positive emotions. For instance when we have a good time with our friends we try to prolong to end it and leave. Or when we are a disappointed customer we try to maintain our anger to complain.

In other cases we try to make blunt or destroy our emotions. Like if we got into a university but our best friend didn’t, we try to make blunt our happiness in front of our friend. Most of us try to get rid of negative emotions (sadness, frustration) to feel better and not being a “problem” to someone else. Sometimes we make an effort to maintain or stop negative emotions but the main question is how we do it?


We are able to keep our emotional reactions under mental control on a several different ways. For instance: if we become very angry or upset with our partner after an argument, we can try to cool down our mind simply with focusing onto another more positive thing, like a good book. It’s called distraction. We also can try to re-evaluate the situation, using a more objective view on it or finally trying to discuss in detail with our partner, we might be able to resolve the conflict together.

These techniques can be used together and also make sense if we use these techniques step by step. Might be the best strategy to use distraction as long as we feel angry and just after cooling down re-evaluate the situation and after have a discussion in detail with our partner to find solution. To choose our emotional regulation methods is not always conscious but our affective answers are intuitive and automatic.

What is the consequence to use each emotion regulation strategy?

Let’s suppose that, our grandmother gives us a very old style pullover but made by her for our birthday. She is able to detect if we are happy about the gift or not by checking reactions on our face. So we can try to control our emotion like hiding our disappointment or dislike with a smile (suppression). There is also another method as well, re-evaluating the original situation, re-interpret and change it. Like as our parents said all the time “Not the gift, the intention is important!” and according to this we can re-evaluate the situation reminding ourselves that, not so common to get a handmade gift, and also she made so much effort and spent time to make this pullover. After this short internal monologue our smile on our face is going to be more honest and not feigned. There is a way to be happy about an old-stylish pullover and not hurting our grandmother’s feeling. This is called re-framing technique.

Of course both of these methods is going to make our grandmother feeling satisfied about the success of the gift but the forced facial expression can make us uncomfortable and this uncomfortable feeling appears not just in the suppressive person, also in another. However the re-framing technique has not this “psychological price” because we don’t suppress our emotional but transform it. Some research results suggest that there is a price to be paid for suppressing our facial expression in our cognitive processes.

Re-interpret those situations which produce actual emotions is called deep acting seems/is a better solution than superficially manipulating our mimicking which called surface acting. In a short term distraction also seems better than chaffing about the situation. Chaffing forces us to re-think our negative emotion’s preliminaries and consequences continuously but watching a good movie or doing physical training for instance can calm down our negative whirling emotions. After eliminating the uncomfortable condition, solving the problem calmly can be more successful.

And you? How is your emotional regulation? Are you able to control and properly handling them? If you would like to get closer to yourself, to your desires and to your emotions, I have a good news for you. It’s learnable and available.

Source: Smith, E. E., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Fredrickson, B. L., & Loftus, G. R. (2005). Atkinson & Hilgard Psychology.

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Stress management

Fragmentation, defense and coping – Important how we cope with difficulties

Coping with stress has become one of the most basic competency in our world. Someone who is incapable to re-balance oneself again and again becoming seriously ill after a while. But also very important how re-balancing is done as a protection from stress. With some strategies we can make our situation even worse. To avoid more serious problems let’s see the 3 main levels of stress management.

Coping style in difficult situations has is a significant role, because the level of stress and its destruction depends on the success of coping style and not on the intensity of the trauma. So if our coping style’s toolbox is more mature, we are able to stay healthier in crises. Norma Haan identified and differentiated three levels regarding to effectiveness: Coping, Defense and Fragmentation.


According to Hann the coping strategy like facing with the problem is the most mature and healthiest in conflicts. Defense is less favorable because using it in a long term can cause neurotic conditions. The fragmentation technique has a pathological nature, using it exaggeratedly in a long term can cause psychotic episodes. That’s why it’s useful to know how those levels work and how to change them and make them more effective, protecting our mental and physical health.

Fragmentation is on the most primitive coping mechanism level. Its point is contradicting the reality (re-writing) as a reaction for stress. Fragmentation is specially ritual and emotional character following individual rules, and works irrationally. This coping style destructs the objective system of the reality and that’s why just in extreme situation mentally healthy people use it and just for moments. People with psychotic disorders can be trapped in fragmentation for a longer time period. Fragmentation anaesthetizes just temporarily. Like hebefrenia, when someone reacts to stress very unnaturally.

Defense, or parrying is on a bit higher ego function, which essence is using self-defense mechanisms (projection, rationalization etc.). Using defense mechanisms are still forced, denial and rigid, not just distort the reality and logic but also release expression of hidden impulses. This parrying embodies a desire which is to get rid out of anxiety but without solving the problem in real and detailed. But unfortunately it’s a lie. One of the possible form is slipping back into earlier developmental stage (infantile mainly). It’s a kind of regression. For instance when an adult makes a tantrum because of an outcome of stress, behaving like a child who believes with flapping, shouting or swearing can avoid the uncomfortable situation what facing with. Regression can conform for a while but doesn’t solve the problem.

Facing with the problem as a coping style is on the highest level on stress management strategy. On this level we have a psyche consciousness and flexible change, so we can stay in the objective reality and able to express proper emotions as well. The coping style can be cognitive and affective. Affective “emotional” coping doesn’t solve the problem by itself but energizing and provides the feeling of controlling the situation. The cognitive (intellectual) coping essence is to examine the stressful situation, evaluate and systematically processing it. It’s not so comfortable but necessary sometimes.

Interesting the fact that humor is the most mature form of coping with conflicts. The essence of humor is that under emotional pressure we don’t take ourselves seriously. It seems childish but it’s not. Even if we make fun of the difficulty that doesn’t mean we deny it or underestimate it. We have a clear view of the problem but we don’t let the stress to disable us. We are able to stay calm and solve it.

Make yourself more resilient!

Not easy to recognize when and which coping style we are using. The truth is all of them are in the repertory of our mind and they are kind of automatic and can remain unknowing. Also known there are people who are more susceptible to defense than cope. But this doesn’t mean we can’t change! Some forms of coping style can be learnt and changed by raising awareness and practicing.

Picture: http://www.cognitivebehaviourtherapycenter.com

Failure is the greatest master

To report on if we failed our exam or couldn’t accomplish anything in our new job or in our new business is considered as sad. We rather stay in silence than share because others may believe we failed. However these happenings of our life are not failures, they are lessons. It might sound corny but this is one of the subject where we can use the half glass point of view, like half empty or half full. If we really think through deeply all of our failures we always can find treasure-lessons what we have learnt.

I’m sure you already have experienced that getting pity or sympathetic but in real compassionate look from others when you had to talk about something what you were not able to achieve or went wrong. Honestly we don’t like to talk about these things by ourselves, just when we are questioned directly. We have a good reason to not talk about them: these small or big mistakes can suggest that, we are not enough measured by society.

When we must tell about our failure often we use a tactic like a pupil who studies bad and must explain the grades. Namely we work in our explanations and excuses explaining why it went wrong and why it is/was our fault. But this is a very bad tactic.


The proper mindset is worth its weight in gold.

Our failures are not to be ashamed of or secret cases. They are concomitant of life, happen with everybody so they are universal. Actually they are very useful episodes what from we can have benefits. Depends on our mindset if these failures become obstacles, embarrassing experiences or they become useful experiences what we can use for personal development. Mindset is a noun of multitude of basic attitudes, which define how we decide in our turning points of life or how we react in critical time periods.

According to Carol Dweck psychologist there are people with fixed attitude and there are with developmental attitude. The fix attitude type of people believe everyone must deal with those capacities what they inherited. Like if a person knows things that means he/she is smart, if doesn’t that means he/she is not enough smart. People with developmental attitude believe every each person develops through life, experience and learn.

Actually this is the key for constructive failure management.

What did I do wrong and what can I learn from it?

People with developmental attitude don’t get scarred by failures because they don’t evaluate themselves as sign of not being enough. If something doesn’t go well they say “I don’t know this YET!” and they think “I will learn it in the future!”

The first step of this kind of mindset is being enough brave to face with what we don’t know. So, they sit down, examine carefully the situation and look for what they did wrong. Someone who is explaining the failure doesn’t even reach this point, not able to see what did wrong and can’t take any developmental conclusion.

Of course the retrying, correction, learning and the attacking the task can come just after the recognition. The criterion of successful person is not to desert failures (those situations) but holding to his/her breast. Because exactly from those situations he/she is able to figure out what are his/her defects and on which areas she/he can improve.

If we were able to overstep the sense of shame what with the society labels those situations what can’t be done by trying once, we would get an authentic picture how we are, what we have achieved and where we are on our way to reach our goals. Just when we look back we can see and recognize those failures were milestones in our personal development.

Picture: http://www.innovationmanagement.se

Destructive self-criticism

Our internal monologues can be encouraging and inspiring but also can be an obstacle to reach our goals. If we continuously start with negative posing like self-criticism or self-blaming that can influence our mental capacity. How does an exaggerated self-criticism affect our life? How can we stop our very negative internal monologues? Can we change our narratives to a positive direction?

Our thoughts influence our behaviour and also influence how we feel. The way how we think is able to make us capable for self-fulfillment. Let’s see an example: We have applied for a job and we have the interview today. On the way to the interview our monologue is like “I won’t get this job.” Because of this though we are becoming discouraged (emotional reaction because of the thought) and it’s becoming visible on our body as well (Physical reaction) Like our shoulders is sunk, to make eye contact is becoming difficult and our tone of voice is changed. Overall, we create weak impression which is kind of sabotage of our own success. Here is the procedure:

Negative though →  Emotional reaction →  Physical reaction

A lot of people suffer from own strong self-criticism. They often question their decisions, they are irresolute, they have catastrophic thoughts about future and often use harsh, critical expressions about themselves. With what kind of strategy can we change this kind of behaviour? I’m giving you some practices from my therapy.


First of all is to pay attention to your thoughts!

We get used to our internal narratives and easily forget what kind of messages we send to ourselves. Start to pay attention your thoughts. Recognize how often you make a mistake like mocking yourself, your mistakes or weaknesses. Can also happen that you are demotivating yourself to accomplish a difficult task or procrastinating it.

Approximately we have 60,000 thoughts per day and this can be 60,000 chance to send constructive or 60,000 destructive thoughts. To recognize and attain the pattern of our thoughts is a key element to understand that how our own thoughts can influence our life.

Study the situation!

We must acknowledge that; it’s not always truth what we think. Actually we are negative very often. To study all of the evidences is important before making a final judgement. For instance: You have to make a presentation tomorrow and you think “For sure I’m going to be embarrassed.” Okay, so grab a piece of paper and write down all of the evidences which support your thought. After please write down all of those which predestinate your success. The study of both sides can make you see more rationally the situation and less emotionally. Remind yourself that our thoughts can’t predict the future 100%.

Start to do physical activity!

Problem solving is useful but chaffing about the past is destructive. If you played over and over again all those mistakes what you have made in the past or you were not able to stop chaffing about the happening in the past you will completely destroy yourself. The solution is change the focus of your thoughts. The most effective solution s physical activity. Look for something which can distract your negative thoughts. Call a friend, go for a run or walk and try to be presented. See and feel what you are doing. Don’t “sit” in a negative though circulation.

Replace your exaggerated negative thoughts with real pronouncements!

After you found out that your negative thoughts are not completely truth try to replace them with more real pronouncements. For instance: “I will never get promoted!” sentence can be changed for “If I work hard enough it will have a positive result” Notice that; don’t use unreal positive pronouncements as well, they can be the same destructive as a serious lack of self-confidence.

Realistic and balanced conceptions are key elements to be mentally strong and level-headed man.

Evaluate the gravity of the situation!

Strange but also common to predict more catastrophic outcome as it can happen in real. People with destructive self-criticism are more willing to be prepared for the worst case scenario than others. Negative thoughts negative emotions. For instance we didn’t get that job. Is it really catastrophic? It can be painful to get refused but it doesn’t mean all the time this is the end of the world.

What could you advise to a friend?

Being permissive with other people often is easier than with ourselves. Just think of it, if your friend made a similar mistake as you did, would you use the same words and same criticism as you use with yourself? Probably not. If our beloved ones have a difficult time usually we reassure them instead of highlighting their mistakes. Why can’t you do the same with yourself?

You can use this strategy. Ask yourself! What would I say to a friend in the same situation?

Be your best friend!

Balance the self-improvement with self-aspect!

There is a relevant difference between “I’m not enough good” and “There are still possibilities to improve myself”. We must try to accept our weaknesses and defects and in the meantime striving to improve them. It may sound conflicting but possible to do it. First we must accept our present emotions even if they are connected to future like fears. In the other hand we can improve ourselves on those areas where we don’t feel enough safe.

Our mind can be our best friend but also our scariest enemy. Important to learn to handle it! The good news is those exercises which can help to change our way of thinking is learnable and can help to decrease destructive self-criticism. With their advantages we are able to have an effective internal monologue which can support our motivation and goals.

Picture: http://www.psychologytoday.com

Positive psychology – repression

„Keep eye just on the positive things!” „Close out negative things in your life!” Catch-phrases nowadays, we repeat them almost daily. Positive psychological confirmations are very fashionable to reach a “good life”. Very often I experience how people would love to wipe out every negative emotions from their daily life. Even though they are part of us since we are humans. They want to wipe out anger, sadness and stress which is almost impossible. The key is to learn and being able to handle them on a healthy level.

Really is it a good/happy life without negative emotions?

Positive psychology – like tendency – appeared around 20 years ago. Its principia is being focused on positive things and our best attributes and with this view/mindset we are able to live a much better life. Definitely it’s a better approach than the old illness focus.

Our world is fast, there are solutions for everything, analgesia instantly as well. Immediately when we experience a grain of negative feeling, we find something what with it can be relieved. However there are eternal human basic emotions which are not going to disappear just because we have a faster internet and they will not stop existing just because we drive a more comfortable car. My personal and professional experience is the main problem of people nowadays is to tolerate trouble. Their tolerance level of taking negative things or emotions is decreasing. They can’t do anything with something which can’t be changed just accepted and taken.

Taking? Come on! That takes so much time, energy and patience! – Most of the people say. They are frightened of it.

So the solution is to run away from it or rephrasing, thinking of other things or don’t acknowledge it. Besides lying to ourselves one of the most popular solution (Number 1) is to push away and trying to forget it. There is just only one problem with forgetting and repressing, nobody never could have done it successfully 100%. The human psyche always remembers and wants to heal, even if it has to push through the ego protection mechanisms.

The price of repression

Being focus just on positive things (elimination of negative) for a long time has a huge price. Generally this is the time when unexplainable illnesses appear, when the body hurts but the psyche is sending messages – most of the time with screaming symbols in the symptoms. For instance a panic attack on a bus, which mostly not caused by public traffic. Appears generalized anxiety and depression just to remind us for our previous losses what from we are keep running away. Some people dig deeper and deeper daily to deepen their own mines just having more and more space for upcoming repressed things.

This is the “right” time when the concerned person is left alone, even if he/she acknowledge that having a problem, how can she/he share it with someone, in a time when it’s not fashionable to have negative feelings and sadness? The fear of not being a good member of a group is evolutionary coded in us. To belong to somewhere or to someone is the key of survive. Our life, emotions and self-esteem is strongly influenced by social media where thousands of pictures, posts and positive life coaching messages (they are my favorite-empty words) show how others are (seem) so happy. In this “society” it’s very difficult to undertake that Yes, I’m not okay and I might not being well for a while. It doesn’t fit the superficial picture perfect. So many people ask help when they are already broken down completely.

The beginning of solution

Still there is a delusion if someone goes to a therapist few times, that person will fill him/her up with happiness again and being able to hold on again for a while. The good and bad news are the same: it’s not happening in therapy which is successful in a long-term. The therapist doesn’t solve our problem, but coming down into its depth, can take our pain and hold us. In the real process first the clients must find those words what with can talk about those things which hurt most. If she/he has found the words, then those negative happening can be put into timeline.

But to be able to face with our problems and difficulties, one thing is definitely necessary: accepting life as it is – doesn’t matter how it is. Don’t rephrase it, not using rationalization and justification, just accept it. Releasing our faith in justice which says bad things happen just with bad people. Accepting that loss is part of life, which will happen with all of us and it doesn’t matter if we think of it or not. Inevitable. Loss is one of our mutual experience but how we react and handle it depends on us. We actively can do for our own well-being and this is our personal responsibility.

Missed opportunities

Often we think, we are more talented what we have achieved till now. We feel we were born to be more or something else but we don’t do anything to get it. A new year is here and we realize we wasted another year. This can scare us, we made our New Year resolution or made a vow, set up new goals but often the real motivation is missing, the internal intention. What can happen if we don’t have the internal intention? Could we live our life what we actually already have? Is it enough what we have achieved till now?

The answer usually is no but often we don’t reach to act. When we get stuck to fulfil our plan usually we blame the impending elements and the missing opportunities. However new alternatives are opened in every part of our life for the Y generation. Even if it’s about study, new job or founding a family. We have more freedom and space of movements. We have infinite opportunities but because of that, the choice is even more difficult.


To find the right way or make the right choice didn’t become easier or simple. Actually to find the perfect is more difficult in the infinite alternatives. We don’t know the future, we face with more and more difficulties to calculate risk and also the possibility of failure scares us. But it’s a basic expectation to be successful in life so we don’t want to be stigmatized by wrong decisions. I can see young adults with the age of twenties are not able to commit themselves to decide. The unexpected outcome scares them, they are not willing to take responsibility so that’s why they push away the burden of choice. They let themselves to be influenced to choose too much by their parents, friends. They swim with the tide and they try to fill up everybody’s expectations. Since the internal intention has been missing, there is no will behind, they just waste their time not being and feeling successful and satisfied. Years of university studies are protracted, the carrier is stuck and the opened and aimless “neither with or nor without you” opened relationships are typical.


Avoiding failure and hesitation

This hesitation is understandable, it’s important who and what for we spend our time, energy and money. Instead of the choice of joy often the fear of sacrifice hinders us. We don’t look for prosperity in what we could choose, we grieve about what we must give up in exchange for it. This uncertain situation and condition is becoming a disadvantage, we lose time and without acting. We can lose years from our life if we are afraid of failure and don’t venture to start boldly on unknown.

If the decision and the mental commitment doesn’t develop for a choice, it’s very difficult to hold on and face with difficulties later. Instead of looking forward, we continuously look back and paying attention what we missed or lost the opportunities. We don’t do our best what we are doing recently that’s why we don’t experience real success and real satisfaction as well. Our internal suspense colors and settles on our entire life.

Nevertheless if we commit ourselves that influences our emotional and cognitive attitude later. We must trust in ourselves that we made a good decision for using our energy and time successfully to reach our goal. This investment usually pays off. (I must mention here nothing is for free! We get something if we go for it!) If we accept that the decision is our and we don’t act being pressured by others, so we are able to be connected emotionally to our choice which strengthens our persistence. At the end we don’t want to shift the responsibility upon others and take the consequences. There are always going to be difficulties but we must believe in ourselves we are able to take them. Our mind re-structures information coming from our environment, and re-structures those impulses according to prove and confirm our decision. This is the cognitive dissonancy and we need this basic support to be able to face with the difficulties.

Of course sometimes we make mistakes (we are not perfect) and make wrong decisions. The time and energy what we have used doesn’t worth. There is no other way than re-plan. A wrong decision is not a failure, not a stigma and doesn’t rate us. It’s something what we can learn from. All of the failures have their own treasures and to find them we need just one thing, bravery to look inside instead of blaming others or external factors.

I wish a Happy New Year for everyone! I wish you more love, joy and harmony!

Picture: http://www.phocuswire.com