I just read your article on KSL about having a victim mentality. What would you recommend to someone who has a spouse with this victim mindset? The problem is that it terrifies our young kids, and the older ones have seen the behavior so often that they are jaded against it. This probably is making things worse because it makes her believe that truly nobody cares when, in fact, they just realize that there is nothing they can say or do to make things right. My wife stonewalls any effort to communicate about this. I have suggested counseling in the past, but she refuses to acknowledge that she has a problem. How do you help someone break this cycle?
This is tricky because it’s impossible to change or fix other individuals until they decide they are ready (and want) to change, and she really does need some professional help to change how she is feeling, seeing things and behaving.
Here are a few things you can do to get her ready and open to changing:
I wish I understood what was wrong with me, and why I cry and get so upset when I feel mistreated or cheated by people or life. For example, if I buy something and it breaks and I try to take it back to the store, but they won't make it right. This situation could make me cry, in the store, which embarrasses my kids. I feel so mistreated it hurts, and I think I'm hoping the person will feel sorry enough for me, and they will treat me better. It's humiliating to admit this, but I often complain and cry about how hard I work and that it does no good, life always goes against me anyway. I complain about my hard lot in life way more than I should. I hate this about myself but don't know how to stop feeling this way. Can you help me?
It sounds like you are suffering from a subconscious victim mentality. Many of us learned as children to use self-pity to get sympathy love. Psychologists tell us the ideas, beliefs or behavior patterns we learn in childhood often become the rules that dictate the way we respond as an adult, even if they are ineffective and immature. Dr. Eric Berne wrote an interesting book back in 1964 called "Games People Play." In it he describes some subconscious psychological behaviors we use to get attention, validation, love or power (getting people to do what we want them to). I wrote a whole article on this last year you might want to read.
The Sympathy Card Game is one of the most popular games people play. This happens when you constantly talk about how bad you have it, how terrible you are, or how no one loves you or cares about you to get validation, love or reassurance from other people. People play this game on social media when they post things like “worst day ever” but they don’t leave an explanation about what happened. They do this because they are subconsciously wanting people to prove they care and ask what happened. This game is a subtle (and very immature) way to get love and attention and brings with it a high cost. You may get sympathy love, but because you are acting weak, you usually lose people's respect. They may give you what you want, but they won't necessarily like you either.
It would serve us all to take a minute and ask ourselves the following questions just to make sure we aren’t subconsciously playing the victim:
You could believe the universe is working for you and conspiring to serve you and educate you at every turn. If you see life this way, then the fear of loss, which is behind self-pity, will disappear. If everything that happens to you, is here to bless and serve you, is it really a loss? Or is it a hidden blessing to make you stronger, wiser or more loving? I explain this perspective shift in more detail in my book "Choosing Clarity," you may want to read it if you need more help with this one.
If you will work on these six things, you can break free from the victim mentality, see your life (accurately) as a classroom and you should cry less.
If you are reading this article while in the middle of suffering through some of life's horrible challenges, please understand this is a process. It is normal to feel like a victim when you have been victimized. You just don't want to live there forever. I strongly recommend working with a professional to help you find peace and joy again.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
Help! I read your article about Not Being a Drama Queen and I have a small business full of women that are driving me crazy with drama and fighting. They are constantly against each other and offending each other. I tried to talk with them but it is getting so out of control. Please help me get them back on track and focused on work. Thank you. I am one stressed-out boss.
As the boss, you need to think about creating a more positive corporate culture at work. Corporate culture is not just for big companies by the way, it exists in every company (of every size) whether you officially have one or not. If you don’t define a corporate culture, you will inadvertently create one that is based on you and your employees’ subconscious tendencies, attitudes and reactions. It sounds like the culture you have now is a negative, critical and angry one.
I recommend that you take some time and define your core values and principles on paper. Decide what kind of positive atmosphere you want to create at work. How do you want people to be treated? How do you want conflicts handled? What kind of behavior do you expect from your employees toward each other?
I believe that if you hire people, buy from people, sell to people or serve people (or deal with any other human beings at any level at all) in your business, you need a defined corporate culture that includes policies about people and how they are to be treated, both customers and co-workers.
The way employees treat each other is an often overlooked aspect of business. Most of our policies tend to focus on the delivery of the goods and services. They are more about processes than relationships and behavior. If you will expand your policies to include attitude, communication and interaction with each other, it will create better working environment and more productivity. Studies have shown that the average employee wastes around 2.5 hours a week dealing with office drama and people problems. If you taught your people better relationships skills and made policies about the human behavior part of your company culture, you could increase productivity and make work better for everyone.
We find companies that encourage (and even provide) opportunities for personal growth and development, improving relationship skills or executive coaching, just do better on every level. They are more successful, make more money and retain employees much longer. Investing in coaching, training, seminars or workshops for your people has a huge return on investment.
In the meantime, work on defining your core values and policies around human behavior. Then, put them up where everyone will see them, talk about them often, and live them by example. You may also need to start hiring people that believe in these values and are committed to living them. Make sure following the company’s core values and codes of human behavior are part of each person’s job description and that dishonoring the core values may lead to losing their job.
Here are some questions and suggestions to get you started creating a better corporate culture in your small business:
1. What are the principles and core values that are important to you at work? Here are some ideas: do you value honesty, compassion, work ethic, personal responsibility, respect, creativity, optimism, service, integrity or tolerance? Make a list of all the core values that are important to you.
2. Take an honest inventory of your own behavior and attitudes. Are you living the core values yourself? How can you lead by example and walk the walk, not just talk the talk? Make some specific commitments to improve your own behavior.
3. How do you believe people should be treated at work? What policies could you create to encourage that kind of treatment? Many of the companies I work with use policies like the following:
5. Do you have a policy about honoring commitments and doing what you say you’re going to do? What should this policy include so everyone is accountable for their own performance. What is your procedure for handling poor performance? Make sure you have one.
6. Do you listen to others? Will you take the time to hear their opinions and show them they are valued? Is this important to you? We think this is one of the most important things you can do as the boss. If you are willing to listen to your people they will feel valued and respected, and they will work harder.
7. Are you on time and do you respect others? Is being on time or treating people right a company value? You could institute a program where employees can submit names of other employees who are doing a great job or treating them right for a reward. Encourage good behavior by rewarding and recognizing it.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. I encourage you to start defining policies, procedures, and core values for your small company right away and start instituting them by living them yourself. If you struggle trying to figure out what your policies should be or are struggling to live them yourself, you may want to hire an executive coach or consultant to help you. You may also consider bringing in some outside people skills training for your employees, sometimes people respond better to outside expert.
Start there and let me know how it goes.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and an executive coach and corporate trainer.
This article was first published on KSL.com
I am, admittedly, a drama queen. I overreact to things and am even prone to temper tantrum-like behavior. I get offended easily and am almost always mad, sad or upset about something. What is wrong with me? Can you give me any advice that would help me not feel this way? I know these upset feelings are having a negative effect on my marriage, and I really want to change.
I’m going to give it to you straight if that’s OK. You are basically psychologically immature. You let your subconscious programing and your emotions drive. It’s not your fault though. You were probably never taught another way of being, and you have been doing the best you could with what you knew. You may have had a parent who was the same way (reactive, easily offended or emotionally defensive).
Some people were lucky enough to have psychologically mature parents who taught them how to think situations through accurately and logically, and talk about feelings in a respectful way, but I would guess you didn’t get that.
The good news is that you change and learn to handle your life with more wisdom, compassion and mindfulness, but it is going to take some work. I would also strongly suggest getting some professional help. A guide who knows how to get you there would make changing a lot easier.
Tal Ben-Shahar, an author and lecturer at Harvard University and the author of the book "Being Happy," says psychological maturity has three components.
Go through this process before you react to anything:
The path to eliminating the inner drama queen lies in seeing situations more accurately and learning to respond with more maturity, love, wisdom, honesty and compassion. It lies in learning to communicate better with more understanding and respect for yourself and others.
Even if you have never learned to do this, it’s not too late to change.
You can do it.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach and professional speaker on people skills.
This was first published on ksl.com
I support gay marriage but my spouse is very against it. Every time the topic comes up, which is often, we end up in an argument. At first we agreed to just never talk about it, but that is proving hard to do. We both feel strongly about our position and we get emotional and angry. We really wish we were on the same page on this. It’s driving a wedge in our marriage. I hate that he sees me as wrong and he hates that I see him as homophobic and mean. Do you have any advice on this? What do you do when you fundamentally disagree at a core level with the person you love most?
This question may benefit all of us, because your marriage is just a microcosm of our society right now. Both sides of this issue have strong opinions and emotions are running high. Maybe it would help if we all learned how to appreciate each other, honor our differences, and respect those who disagree with us.
I believe life is a classroom (you hear me say that often) but I believe this classroom was specifically designed to teach us how to love ourselves and other people at a higher level. In order for us to stretch and learn to love at a higher level, God made us all different.
God could have made us all the same race, color, size and sexual orientation, but that would have made accepting each other way too easy. What’s the challenge in that?
Instead people come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, races and sexual orientation. I believe these differences were intentional, they are here for a reason — so we get the opportunity to learn to love those who are different, which is more difficult to do. Differences give us all kinds of challenges to overcome and grow from.
Every experience, issue, difference and disagreement is a lesson to teach you love, though. I believe this is especially true in your marriage. This unique relationship can teach you things you can’t learn anywhere else, because your spouse can push your buttons better than anyone else. Your marriage is your perfect classroom.
On top of that, sexual orientation is a tough difference to process for many people, because they just can’t get their head around it or understand it. These types of differences can also cause us to lump whole groups of people into “them” groups opposed to “us” groups and subconsciously see them as the bad guys or the wrong ones. We literally see “these people” and everyone on “their side” as the enemy at the subconscious level. They are the enemy because either they are wrong or I am. Both can’t be right.
So your question is really, "How do I genuinely love my enemies and those who strongly disagree with me and see me as wrong?"
Here are some things you can do (and we all can do) to stop the fighting and increase our compassion and tolerance for others:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach and speaker.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.