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 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

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