Anxiety laced society
Growing up in the “middle class” urburbs (that’s in between the urban city and much less dense suburbs) of Atlanta Georgia with food on the table, reliable transportation, and parents with savings, you might feel a bit of family anxiety is normal and quite frankly, insignificant as there are much more important things to worry about, right? However, when you are a sensitive person who is emotionally compassionate, you might find yourself at the center of never ending twisters as you become an emotional sponge ready, able, and willing to soak up the stress that permeates the air like the moisture does in the low country every August. The fact is, you play an important role, however, there is no payment for this role and if you push back you will probably find yourself defending your position as your egotistical family/friend/business associate/significant other explains why they are the victim and you are being unreasonable and even hostile.
The never ending storms have the effect of keeping you in the center of a moving disaster zone as you never know where the next dose of anxiety ridden criticism is going to come from or what the intensity of the blast may be. It could be a warm comfortable day at the beach where everyone seems to be happy and relaxed when all of a sudden, the crisis creator becomes uncomfortable for whatever reason and subsequently, manufactures a crisis that everyone needs to focus their attention on. This constant uncertainty is designed to keep everyone on edge and enable the crisis creator to project their issues onto others while they are in open empathy position. Once you find yourself exercising to work the stress out of your body or consuming to work it further in, you know the end game is near. Going the exercise route may temporarily do wonders for your emotional state and quite possibly the anxiety spray was that pinch of motivation you needed to get cracking wringing the stress out of your pores. This will work until the egohead generating five gallon buckets of stress gets uncomfortable or you slip and lower your defenses once again as you justify your actions by thinking to yourself, “maybe it’s different this time” and “what do I need to do to make “so-as” happy”. As soon as your defenses are lowered, the sweat pump will hit you with a demand, criticism, or an offer with a hidden agenda. Going the consumption route will seal your fate as a slave, a servant to carry the baggage of the emotionally unstable and subsequently, will be characterized by consistent displays of contempt.
The “demand” method
The “demand” method will be employed by those who want to find out if they can get away with displaying contempt for you. It will be delivered in a demeaning tone and is designed to knock you down emotionally while giving a boost to the egohead. This also serves to drain your energy while charging theirs. It can be quite effective and the longer you allow it to go on, the more drained and vulnerable you will become. Eventually, you will adopt the behavior as your own and utilize it on someone close to you as you attempt to project your insecurities onto them vice taking responsibility for your actions by confronting or leaving the emotional midget. Once you are shaking in fear emotionally, like a wet Chihuahua, you will be consistently beaten with new demands, given hoops to jump through, and showered with demeaning comments of inadequacy. Exercise seems to be your only way out, however, a more fruitful approach may be by focusing on your consumption, in addition to exercise, as this is a bit more challenging, however, others may look up to your demonstrated discipline and even consult you for advice. This will get back to the crisis creator as strength and may result in recovering the energy that was stolen from you. It is critical that you do not fail this “exercise” as it will stress you out as you attempt to justify the actions that you know you should not be taking.
The “criticism” method
The “criticism” method will be consistently delivered by the egohead who knows you are bruised by your demonstration of emotional fatigue. Even when giving you a compliment, criticism will be sprinkled in so that the leash remains tight and you remain in emotional purgatory. The criticism method is flimsy once you recognize the behavior. If you want to break the cycle, you can cut off the relationship wholesale or you can attempt to redirect the relationship if you wish to maintain contact. One method of finding out if a redirect will work is to criticize the egohead. The egohead with “leader” ability, with self esteem, will respond calmly vice react with hostility, recognize their own flaws, and might even take an interest in your opinion. This means their display of contempt for you was temporary and quite possibly influenced by an external force such as someone displaying contempt for them. The egohead that is a “boss” at best will seethe with anger and boil inside as they plan to sully your name while their internal pressure builds. Remember, they are the victim as you are unwilling to continually absorb the stress at the expense of your health while the egohead benefits by robbing your energy. It is as if the boss is dependent on your energy but lacks the integrity to admit it.
The “offer with a hidden agenda” method
The “offer with a hidden agenda” method can be clever, however, it requires plenty of mental and emotional resources and the egohead risks exposing their own inability as they plot to destroy you. The benefits of this method allow the egohead more time to set you up to fail, use your abilities as their own and take credit, and further drain your most precious resource, your energy. It is easy for the emotionally stable to ferret this out as the boss will continue with the unproductive criticism, passive aggressive style, while giving you slighted compliments when they need something. Further, the unreasonable demands will show up once your reputation is on the line. This will be accomplished by employing such tactics as giving you a Friday deadline while verbally changing the scope. After you commit and without any written change in scope, your efforts will be consistently derided as insufficient as you are not doing what you were not told to do and then the egohead will come to your rescue and give you until Monday to complete the task which has no defined requirement and subsequently, there is no path to completion. The offer with a hidden agenda is a hamster wheel that allows the emotional midget to manufacture crisis after crisis where they can step in and be the savior when it suits them. This clever method also results in further draining your energy as you toil away while you should be recharging your batteries. Once your health starts to suffer, the demand method will return in earnest.
The big picture
Congress has been employing the above mentioned tactics for quite some time. So long in fact that the tactics are now popular in all walks of life from the Cashier to Congress. In military circles, the gimps say, “shit rolls down hill”. It has been forty years characterized by swelling egos, the idolization of money, political divide (see graphic below), and less compassion. It is quite destructive as evidenced by the rapid increase of chronic illnesses. When the leaders of a nation focus on privatizing the benefits while socializing the expenses, it can only lead to long term destruction as it eats away the foundation with which we all rely on.
Navigate the unhealthy situation we find ourselves in today, focus on self by building a foundation of personal health that will potentially influence others to do the same. I call this the RcaidY solution, focused on building a solid foundation that can support a champion, a super star, a leader.