Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tricks Used to Support Cognitive Bias 17

The list of Cognitive Biases allows us to look at the bankrupt Honolulu symphony in a modern light and point out specific errors. Before we go to a new example of negative quiddity, we should go even further beyond rhetoric and further into to the wiring short cuts used by the brain before and during cognitive bias, outright power tripping and mind bending...

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Emotional Abuse

Psychological abuse, messing with your mind, is one of the most lethal forms of emotional abuse. It destroys confidence, creativity, and individuality.

When you are told you shouldn’t feel the way you feel, or you are dictated not to feel the way you feel … you are told you are too sensitive, too dramatic. You are ignored. You are judged.

We are led to believe there is something wrong with us for feeling how we feel. People who are being physically, verbally, financially, or sexually abused are not getting their feelings about it respected, acknowledged, or validated. This is the fundamental problem with abuse—no regard for your feelings. When our feelings are not respected or acknowledged, we are being used and therefore abused over again.
Ignoring your feelings is the worst abuse there is; acting like nothing happened denies your feelings. People who have been abused are not getting their feelings and their reality respected or acknowledged. That is psychological abuse or mental torture, what you can’t put your finger on.

Abusers also attack and undermine all the things we do, but when they invalidate our feelings about it all, a person can figuratively, if not literally, drive another person crazy, which is why we feel crazy. The more sensitive you are, the more serious the damage of invalidation. Ignoring your feelings and your reality undermines self confidence because it causes self doubt; this in turn diminishes self esteem. Invalidating or ignoring your feelings is a serious violation of one’s true self. I think it is the worst crime one person can commit against another without lifting a finger against them. It is neither illegal, immoral, nor even recognized or included in the definition of domestic abuse. I think emotional abuse needs to be replaced with the word psychological abuse. That’s what it really is—mental torture breaking your spirit, no visible wounds or scars. The public in general understands domestic violence as physical abuse but does not understand the dynamics of an emotional, psychologically abusive relationship, the worst damage done is to the spirit and our minds. That takes the biggest toll on all of us, the wounds no one can see.

Psychological abuse of men and women is widely accepted and tolerated because no one understands what is going on, including the victims. Isn’t it time for a more clear definition of domestic abuse? Physical abuse is horrible, but the body will heal; the other psychological abuse is “soul murder,” a crime against humanity, but it is not against the law or a crime in our courts. Ignoring or invalidating your feelings is psychological abuse. They tell you what to do and what a bad job you do of it, but don’t let anyone ever dictate how you are supposed to feel about it. Abusers do not have empathy or feelings; don’t believe them—trust your feelings and your reality always, not theirs. If you feel invalidated, mocked, or judged when you talk about your feelings and your reality, they have no respect for you. They don’t care about you, your feelings, or about reality; they are trying to change and control you, that is psychological abuse.

Self esteem primarily depends on our feelings about ourselves, but it is bolstered when we are surrounded by those with whom we feel, appreciated, admired, loved, supported, respected, valued, and understood, especially from someone who is supposed to love you (your partner). It is psychological abuse to withhold all of that from you and then ignore the pain and suffering it causes you—your feelings. Knowledge and information is power; the more we understand about all the types of abuse, we realize abusers are damaged people—not us. Everyone needs to know that almost all abusers can not be helped or fixed. Try if you want, but don’t spend a life time trying; set a time limit. Denying your reality and you feelings, acting like nothing happened is psychological abuse, worse than the actual abuse that occurred. Some things I have read and learned as I work at trying to understand myself: abusers and how this happens to so many of us. Please understand, abusers are very damaged people, you can’t fix them, they would abuse anyone they were close to. It is not you.

By Ann Molinaro

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the preferred method for an attack in a mind war

All invalidation is a form of psychological attack. When we are attacked, our survival instinct tells us to defend ourselves either through withdrawal or counter-attack. Repeated withdrawal, though, tends to decrease our self-confidence and lead to a sense of powerlessness and depression. On the other hand, going on the offensive often escalates the conflict or puts us in the position of trying to change another person.

One sign of both high self-esteem and high EQ is the absence of either of these defensive responses. A healthier response, one which is both informative and assertive, without being aggressive, is to simply express your feelings clearly and concisely. For example, you might respond, "I feel invalidated," "I feel mocked," or "I feel judged."

. Examples of invalidating expressions. -- Each is an attempt to talk you out of your feelings.
"Ordering" You to Feel Differently
Be happy.
Cheer up
Lighten up.
Get over it.
Grow up
Get a life
Don't cry.
Don't worry.
Don't be sad.
Stop whining
Stop laughing..
Don't get angry
Deal with it.
Give it a rest.
Forget about it.
Stop complaining.
Don't be so dramatic.
Don't be so sensitive.
Stop being so emotional.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself
Stop taking everything so personally

Ordering you to "look" differently
Don't look so sad.
Don't look so smug.
Don't look so down.
Don't look like that.
Don't make that face.
Don't look so serious.
Don't look so proud of yourself.
Don't look so pleased with yourself.
Denying Your Perception, Defending
You've got it all wrong.
But of course I respect you.
But I
do listen to you.
That is ridiculous (nonsense, totally absurd, etc.)
I was only kidding.
That's not the way things are.
That's not how things are.
I honestly don't judge you as much as you think.
It's not going to happen

Trying to Make You Feel Guilty While Invalidating You
I tried to help you..
At least I .....
At least you....
You are making everyone else miserable.

Trying to Isolate You
You are the only one who feels that way.
It doesn't bother anyone else, why should it bother you?
Minimizing Your Feelings
You must be kidding.
You can't be serious.
It can't be that bad.
Your life can't be that bad.
You are just ... (being difficult; being dramatic, in a bad mood, tired, etc)
It's nothing to get upset over.
It's not worth getting that upset over.
There's nothing wrong with you.

Using Reason
There is no reason to get upset.
You are not being rational.
But it doesn't make any sense to feel that way.
Let's look at the facts.
Let's stick to the facts.
But if you really think about it....
I don't always do that.
It's not
that bad. (that far, that heavy, that hot, that serious, etc.)
Judging & Labeling You
You are a cry baby.
You have a problem.
You are too sensitive.
You are over-reacting. You are too thin-skinned.
You are way too emotional.
You are an insensitive jerk. .
You need to get your head examined!
You are impossible to talk to.
You are impossible.
You are hopeless.
Turning Things Around
You are making a big deal out of nothing.
You are blowing this way out of proportion.
You are making a mountain out of a molehill.
Trying to get you to question yourself
What is your problem?
What's wrong with you?
What's the matter with you?
Why can't you just get over it?
Why do you always have to ....?
Is that all you can do, complain?
Why are you making such a big deal over it?
What's wrong with you, can't you take a joke?
How can you let a little thing like that bother you?
Don't you think you are being a little dramatic?
Do you really think that crying about it is going to help anything?
Telling You How You "Should" Feel or Act
You should be excited.
You should be thrilled.
You should feel guilty.
You should feel thankful that...
You should be happy that ....
You should be glad that ...
You should just drop it.
You shouldn't worry so much.
You shouldn't let it bother you.
You should just forget about it.
You should feel ashamed of yourself.
You shouldn't wear your heart out on your sleeve.
You shouldn't say that about your father.
Defending The Other Person
Maybe they were just having a bad day.
I am sure she didn't mean it like that.
You just took it wrong.
I am sure she means well.
Negating, Denial & Confusion
Now you know that isn't true.
You don't mean that. You know you
love your baby brother.
You don't really mean that. You are just ... (in a bad mood today, tired, cranky)

Sarcasm and Mocking
Oh, you poor thing. Did I hurt your little feelings?
What did you think? The world was created to serve you?
What happened to you? Did you get out of the wrong side of bed again?
Laying Guilt Trips
Don't you ever think of anyone but yourself?
What about
my feelings?!
Have you ever stopped to consider my feelings?

Philosophizing Or Clich├ęs
Time heals all wounds.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Life is full of pain and pleasure.
In time you will understand this.
When you are older you will understand
You are just going through a phase.
Everything has its reasons.
Everything is just the way it is supposed to be.
Talking about you when you can hear it
She is impossible to talk to.
You can't say anything to her.
Showing Intolerance
This is getting really old.
This is getting really pathetic.
I am sick of hearing about it.
Trying to Control How Long You Feel Something, or Judging You for How Long You Feel It
Are you still upset over that? It happened a long time ago.
You should be over that by now.
Maybe it is because...
That is because
Of course, because you.... (This one hurts four ways. First, the "of course" minimizes what you feel, second the "because" explains what you feel, as if explaining it nullifies the feeling, third the "you" blames you and fourth, blaming you is a form of attack which is likely to make you feel either defensive or guilt-tripped or both.)

Here is another example:

Even when we are happy, unhappy people want to ruin it for us by saying diminishing things like: What are you so happy about? That's it? That's all you are so excited about?

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The Most Common Reason for Invalidation – “Being Cool”

Coolness descends upon us light a lead cloak around the time we are nine or ten years old in fourth grade. We all know the drill. Some things are inexpressibly better than others because they are fashionable and trendy. Those not in the know or not interested are uncool and inferior. Those who are indifferent or hostile to the entire cool construct are “dense” or “nerds” or “turds.”

We all know the drill. Being cool also means being so select and wonderful and above it all that ruthless supression of the uncool and the nerd are completely acceptable, admirable, and above suspicion and punishment. Being cool is the ace of popularity. Being cool “rules.”

Tomorrow we are going to link coolness with a very common cognitive bias. The day after tomorrow, we are going to look at what happens when those who are cool are given power.


  1. i would disagree with this definition of "cool". It's pretty infantile, and like it says, sooooo fourth grade.

    I'm not negating the common usage of the term, but in my experience and in my circle, "cool" refers to a kind of Zen that enables you to cope with life and the code that backs it up. It's uncool to sleep with your best friend's wife, therefore it is cool to respect their relationship, and a "cool" person would have this in their personal code.

    We can look at Rick Blaine in Casablanca as a classic personification of cool, and perhaps even the modern prototype. According to his wife, Lauren Bacall, Bogey lived up to that kind of cool in his personal life as well.

    Thinking rock stars or fashion or toys are cool as a 9-year-old is a natural thing, and probably a juvenile effort to understand what this deep adult concept really is. I don't fault fourth or fifth graders for being so.

    Obama for example, appears at first to be cool, but he doesn't live up to it as Pres, and sorely lacks the wisdom and integrity that needs to back it up.

    It's a phase that needs to be grown out of. Coolness, true coolness, matures.

    Let's go back to tracker school for minute for a rare positive example--the skate punk and business executive that can get in the mud pit together or pound out a late night crew without judging each other are "cool". If they refuse to associate based on their social status, neither one is.

    My date's here and i have 8:45 movie tickets so i'm abruptly stopping there. Doesn't anyone else comment on these things?

  2. Well, i'm back from the flick, so i'll just jump ahead and skip a lot of explanation:

    "Those who are truly cool don't seek power."

  3. I must say, "Did I ever pick the right template with Barker's novel, The Great and Secret Show!" We might want to revisit this business of being cool and invalidation in terms of the quiddity matrix Barker offers us.