Negativity: Planning, Preventing and Controlling the Future

Antagonism is a term used to describe attention seeking in the form of blame, criticism and intimidation.

When you are angry, you are vulnerable to antagonism. Your logical thought processes have been swept away by a tide of emotional reactions and defensiveness. In this state, you very likely to do exactly what your sparring partners expect you to do.

The antagonist is not doing what reality requires. Since they do not know what reality requires, they can only prevent, plan and seek to control potential, future pain and that is antagonism.

It is important to identify negative behavior as antagonism. It is not mature, productive or even rational. You do not have to make the effort to try and make sense out this antagonistic nonsense. However, it requires advance preparation before you respond to the provocation:

1. Identify what someone just said or did as antagonism because that’s what it is. It was not said or done for you, its serves their own agenda.

2. Put antagonism in its proper perspective – they made an immature, childish statement. It does not deserve a logical, adult reply.

3. Identify the anger component. Did it cause you pain? Did the comment hurt you? Are you going to let your hurt determine your response or will you choose to use your adult judgment? Are you going to let your anger control you or are you going to manage it?

4. Identify antagonism as an opportunity to allow others to be responsible for themselves.

5. Using your adult judgment, you can consciously choose to manage your hurt and anger appropriately. You can take this immature, foolish remark like a grown-up instead of returning to your childhood.

6. Understand that their purpose in making the remark was not to be productive, but
a) to relieve the pain of their own feelings by putting you down to build themselves up
b) to control the situation
c) to prevent the humiliating exposure of their own imperfections
d) to achieve fairness by seeking revenge and hurting you.

Since the antagonist is seeking attention, it is up to you to resolve the interaction effectively. Their way of expressing it is counterproductive. They are not encouraging you to help relieve their pain, it is driving you away. They are making you an enemy.

To manage these antagonistic interactions, you can catch yourself taking their words literally, as if their words meant what they appear to mean.

You can choose to stop taking their antagonism personally as if it were a reflection on your worth as a person. It has nothing to do with you.  It has everything to do with them and their inadequacy to solve life problems like a mature grownup.

You can catch yourself feeling guilty of displeasing for not being good enough.  These are not crimes, they are absurdities.  You can replace your mistaken guilty feelings with appropriate regret. Regret is the wish that things were otherwise.

Click to visit original source at PsychCentral

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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