Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not All Families Play Nice - more on Put-Downs

In my last post I looked at men having their character tested in a dating environment, and also in a work environment. In this post I thought I’d look at something that's applicable to both men and women... being tested in a family environment.

It’s not something that happens in all families, but when you have a group of people in one place, it’s not uncommon for some individuals to try and assert their dominance over others, and raise their social status. It’s a primal thing!

In these situations a psychological put-down (a sh!t test) could come from a sibling, or from a relative who has a similar position in the family as you do... or from an older relative who is used to being at the top of the food chain.

And so they test you... to see how much sh!t they can put on you... but always in a joking way of course. And if you don't stand up for yourself, then you'll slide down the family pecking order and be the brunt of more 'jokes' in the future.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if you’re getting tested by someone from your partner’s family, you may not always get the support you expect from your partner. Why not? Because your partner has most likely been subjected to years of social conditioning, especially from the older relatives.

In short, they’re been conditioned to behave in a certain way… and that’s often hard to change in the short term.

This is something that husbands or wives might experience when a mother-in-law or a father-in-law tries to assert their dominance over the new family member. So in the beginning you may be on your own in handling this kind of put-down. 

Here’s an example story. Matt is ex-Army Recon, and now works in Aviation. He is also a black belt martial artist .......

Throughout my younger years I had no idea I was being tested by girlfriends… and because I was a ‘nice’ guy I would fail dismally and have no idea why.

When I started seeing my wife I actually handled things a little better, but it was still a learning process. I was more mature by this stage and I had developed the ability to make people laugh. I had also learnt to apply the tactic of Agree & Amplify... in fact I still use it now when my wife tests me.

To give you an example of what that means…  I was late coming home one night and my wife said “Out with your other girlfriends eh?”  And I responded with, “Shit yeah, it’s no wonder I'm so freaking tired all the time!”

She is used to this kind of response from me, and she'll usually say something like “We'll as long as you know who the favourite is!” <Sh!t test - Passed!>

My mother-in-law also used to test me quite a bit - to try and assert her dominance.  Over the years she had beaten down her husband, and the poor man was now just a shadow of his former self.

Since the birth of my son my mother-in-law has challenged me even more... and my wife as well. She basically puts me in a position where I have no choice but to challenge her back, or lose face.

But ironically, because I won’t be walked over, she has gradually come to respect me, and my role as a husband and a father.  End.

Keep in mind that put-downs can come at you from male or female relatives, and at any time. And if you don't stand up for yourself, you will have adopted a submissive posture (psychologically)… and the person testing you will treat you as a low-level member of the family from then on.

So to defend yourself against this sort of test you have to :
  • expect that it’s going to happen from time to time
  • and immediately respond with a funny put-down.
 You certainly can't afford to :
  • believe that it's all just a joke (and submissively take the put-down)
  • or try to be nice about it (with the expectation that the others will be nice if you're nice).
Remember, if you want respect from family members then you have to stand up for yourself. But if you’re not naturally funny, just memorise a couple of funny put-downs, and remember to always deliver them with a smile.

Finally I thought I’d explain the Agree & Amplify tactic that Matt mentioned in his story. Basically it involves agreeing with the barbed comment, but then deflecting the hostility by amplifying the comment with either self-deprecating humour (which shows humility)… or you can turn it back around onto the person. And as soon as everyone laughs at what you’ve said, you’ve won, so walk away and go somewhere else for a while.

 It's a Primal Thing.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Testing your Strength of Character

Psychological put-downs (commonly called sh!t tests) happen far more frequently than most men realise. They usually come from other men who are trying to assert their dominance, and lift their own status within the group. These put-downs are always disguised as a joke... but there's nothing funny about the motive behind it.
When a psychological put-down comes from a woman, most men are especially vulnerable. Why? Well there are two main reasons :
Firstly, most men have been brought up to be ‘nice’. And they naively expect that if they're nice, then other people will be nice to them. But that only works in kindergarten… and it doesn’t take into account the primal ‘pack’ behaviour that arises when adults jostle for higher status.
Secondly, at an early age men learn that if they’re nice to the women in their life (mum, aunt, sisters), they get rewarded with affection... a kiss, a hug, or a tender touch.
Unfortunately, as the years pass and the boys become men, a lot of guys continue to think that being ‘nice’ will eventually get affection and possibly even sex from a woman. I’ve actually heard some men complain “Why won’t she go out with me – I’m a nice guy?” 

But women generally aren't looking for a boyfriend who is more like a girlfriend. They're looking for a mature male who can fulfil his primal role as a protector-provider. And that's why they often test his character.... so see how he reacts... to get an idea of his true nature.

But being tested by a woman is not always about finding a mate. Sometimes you can be sh!t tested in a work environment by a female boss or co-worker... or even in a family environment by a sister, cousin, or mother-in-law. And in this kind of situation it's all about the woman trying to assert her dominance and her status within the group.

In short, psychological put-downs won't always come from other men. Women might expect this sort of thing from other women, but men don't usually see it coming, and they're not sure how to react.

Here’s an example of a man handling a sh!t test from a female co-worker. His name is Jens. He’s a family man who works in a Government Department, and he’s also a black belt martial arts instructor. This is his story.......

I think the best way to deal with tests from women is to do a complete mental re-frame and change any frustration you feel into something positive.....like thinking to yourself “Women be testing me, and it's kind of cute”.

I think this takes the sting out of the challenge, and changes it from a fight to a friendly sparring session.

Because of my name (which is spelt Jens but pronounced Yens), some women in the office like to give me sh!t about it… calling me ‘Jenny from the Block’... a reference to the Jennifer Lopez song.

So one time this particular woman was standing behind me and said ‘Hi Jenny.’ Without turning around I simply said "Yes Satan." That made her smile, and that was the end of her attempt to put me down. 

From then on, anytime she would stand behind me, I would look at another co-worker, smile and say “I feel evil behind me.”

For me it’s kind of fun now… and women seem to enjoy the playful tit-for-tat verbal exchange.

The lesson to learn from Jen’s experience is that sh!t tests can come at you at any time. And if you don't stand up for yourself, then you will have adopted a submissive posture… and the person testing you will treat you as a low-level member of the pack from then on. It really is a primal thing!
So to defend yourself against this sort of test you have to :
  • expect that it’s going to happen
  • respond with something funny.
You certainly can't afford to :
  • believe that it's all just a joke... and submissively take the put-down
  • or be nice about it... with the expectation that the others will be nice if you're nice.   

In short, if you want respect from other people then you have to stand up for yourself. If you’re not naturally funny, then just memorise a couple of clever responses, and remember to always deliver them with a smile.

It's a tactic that women could also apply when they're on the receiving end of a put-down from either a man or a woman! 
It’s a Primal Thing.

For more insight into the 'primal nature' of put-downs, scroll down to the previous post

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Primal Put-Downs - How to Handle them 'Alpha Style'

*Warning : This post contains some very strong language.

Introduction : In my last post I referred to psychological put-downs, which are commonly referred to as sh!t tests. Basically it's an attempt by someone to see how much sh!t they can put on you. It might be for reasons of status, or just to see how easy you are to push around. 

Sh!t tests are usually delivered as a joke... however if the person can get away with it, you can be sure that they will continue to put you down, or push you around, on a regular basis. 

Men often sh!t test other men in order to assert their dominance in the group. Women often do it to other women for the same reason… and they sometimes do it to men in order to test his strength of character, or to establish how much power (control) they can have over him. 

Short story : Here’s an example of how most men fail to recognise a sh!t test from a woman. It's about a senior martial arts student (a brown belt) who arrives at class a little earlier than usual. He puts his gear down, and starts to put his jacket and belt on.

Two female students of junior rank then arrive, and one of them says to him in a good natured way “Hey, your stuff is in my spot.”

He immediately apologised and began to move his gear. She giggled, and said “Don’t worry about it.” But he kept moving his bag and his gear.

The instructor immediately took the senior aside and commented jokingly “A girl gives you a smile and a simple sh!t test, and you fold (give in). I think I’ll have to take that brown belt off you, because you don't seem to be able to defend yourself.“

In his defence he replied “But I was just being polite.” 

She wasn’t.” the instructor said with a smile "It was a sh!t test to see if you would do what she told you to... and you did. Now she knows that she has the power to control you.”

At that point one of the older seniors chipped in and added “You’re really going to be in trouble when you get married… you haven’t got a clue what’s going on. Being super nice all the time doesn’t make you sexually attractive to women… it just puts a ring through your nose. You need to develop more of your Alpha potential.

The moral of that story is that it's not just about how you dress... it's also about how you walk and talk. So here's a brief summary of the state of mind of an Alpha personality (man or woman) :
  • they are someone who knows their direction in life - or at least their direction right now
  • they believe what they’re doing is worthwhile - which shows confidence and character
  • they’re aware of their strengths and weaknesses - so they're not looking for approval.

Personal Protection :  Here’s some guidance on being sh!t tested from Andy Taffs, who is an Australian-born comedian who lives and works in Norway (see photos) :

Nowhere is there more sh!t testing than in my line of work. If you think that your workplace is bad for sh!t tests - try Comedy.  Everything else pales in comparison.

For example, at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival I watched a Comic walk out on stage. All he said was “Good evening” ... but before he could say anything else some guy screamed out “Draw an outline on the ground.” 

You could see the Comic start to think about his response, but before he could say anything the heckler followed it up with ...”Because you’re already dead boring!

The room exploded into laughter. You could see the Comic begin to panic. Sweat beaded on his forehead. So he tried to use it and said – “Ok, so give me a subject, any subject, and I’ll make it funny.”

This is a novice mistake.... which was a surprise because the Comic was actually quite experienced… but he wasn’t ready for such a personal psychological attack.

The heckler continued – “Ok, here’s a subject - you being f*cked in the ass.”

The room exploded again, and the Comic was destroyed. He left the stage completely shattered.
It's important to keep in mind that sh!t test's can come at you any day, from any direction. I can tell you that from long experience. And if you show any fear, you're immediately beaten.

You need to respond to anyone sh!t testing you, or the attack will continue... not just now, but tomorrow too, and everyday that person sees you. 

But you need to seem spontaneous.  You don’t have time to think of a clever response. If you wait too long, then you've already lost.

In order to be spontaneous, you need to be relaxed, and ready to deal with an attack from any direction.  If you're calm, the response requires very little effort.  In fact a simple sarcastic giggle can often be absolutely devastating to the person trying to sh!t test you !

If you aren't naturally funny or spontaneous, then I suggest you try using a confident but condescending counter-attack. Here’s a few examples that you can memorise :

1)  In response just smile and say “Good doggy, Sit.”… which is a metaphoric put-down

2)  or smile and say to the others in the group “I just can’t take him/her anywhere.”

3)  or look directly at the person, smile and say “I should have left you in the trunk of my car.”

If you free your mind it's not hard to do....
expect that it's going to happen....
and try to have fun with it.

It's a Primal Thing.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Alpha-Styling is a State of Mind

Will you look as good as Tom Selleck when you're 69? Will the way you look and walk and talk prompt respect and admiration from people?

It's not that hard to achieve, because it's really just a state of mind... an Alpha state of mind
To start with, here's how to dress the way Tom and every other Alpha personality does : 
  • firstly, take a minimalist approach
  • always highlight your best masculine features
  • use dark or solid colours as the foundation of your wardrobe
  • make sure that every item you wear is simple, strong, and functional.

The photo above highlights what kind of look that those four points create... but let's look at some of the things that might stop you from dressing in that way.

To begin with there's your own self image. If you didn't grow up with examples of Alpha-styling from the men around you, then you might find it challenging to initially adopt this way of dressing. In fact you may well feel that it's "Just not me."

So if that's the case, keep in mind that how you present yourself to the world has slowly but constantly been changing... and it will continue to change over time. The way you dress now is probably very different from the way you dressed as a young teenager... and no doubt you'll change your style again and again as you get older. 

The trick is to take charge of that change... and not blindly follow what the other men in your group are wearing. This is especially important because they probably don't know why they're wearing what they wear. 

But I can tell you from experience that it's either because it's what the other men of their age are wearing, or because a celebrity footballer is wearing it, or because it's a new fashion trend.

This brings us to the human pack mentality. Throughout history men have needed the support of other men to hunt and to fight. So it's not surprising that most men feel compelled to fit-in with what the other men in the tribe (or social group) are doing.

But can you imagine what an Alpha personality like Tom Selleck would look like if he was to wear the same thing as the men in their late 60's that you know, or see walking the streets? He wouldn't create the same kind of strong positive impression would he?

Another part of that pack mentality is the natural pecking order in your social group. Regardless of whether the other men in your group are family members, friends or co-workers, some of them will instinctively try to stop you from rising up the pecking order.

In other words, don't expect everyone in your group to support you in your efforts to increase your status by adopting your own expression of Alpha-styling.

These attempts to stop you will often come in the form of a joke... a funny put-down. But make no mistake, the intent of these put-downs (commonly called shit-tests) is to stop you from becoming more popular, or more respected, or more attractive to the women in the group.

The best defence in these situations is to smile confidently and turn the joke around on them. For example "I should have left you in the boot of my car." People will generally laugh at a response like that, and you should walk away at that point so that you finish the exchange with a 'win.'

Finally, let's look at how an Alpha personality thinks, because it highlights their state of mind :

  • they are someone who knows their direction in life - or at least their direction right now
  • they believe what they’re doing is worthwhile - which shows confidence and character
  • they’re aware of their strengths and weaknesses - so they're not looking for approval. 

If you continue to talk about your life in those terms, 
it will become a habit - an Alpha state of mind.

It's a Primal Thing.