Tag Archives: psychology

THE TRUTH ABOUT DEFENSE MECHANISMS IN PSYCHOLOGY!!! 

There are supposedly as many as 31 defense mechanisms in psychology and the truth is that there are basically only 4 which are an excuse, denial, blame, and compensation. There are also combinations of two or more simultaneously such as denial and compensation which can be considered to be a multiple defense mechanism.

Repression is the most controversial defense mechanism since it is supposedly a conscious desire to suppress a painful, unpleasant, or traumatic event in our lives. The very conscious attempt at trying to forget actually reinforces the ability of the brain to remember the incident so conscious repression is really not chemically or mentally possible in the first place. Whether the incident was painful or pleasurable we can’t repress the memory consciously and it really has to fade in our memories through enough elapsed time which causes forgetting pure and simple. Repression is a mythical defense mechanism which has no validity in reality and is just a form of a conscious form of attempted but failed denial.

According to psychologists denial is supposedly an unconscious rejection of an unpleasant event or idea when in fact it is an impulsive rejection of any event whether pleasant or unpleasant. Denying that you will die of cancer or denying that you will have a good time while visiting the Sahara desert is an impulsive opinion which clashes or is different than reality or what existence really is. Denial is conscious or unconscious and there is no fundamental difference in what it really is or pure denial.

Suppression: n. trying to exclude an anxiety producing subset(s) from awareness. Not wanting to talk about a recent divorce or not wanting to think about a good event thinking that it is too good to be true and therefore not wanting to think about it is an attempt at denial which may not succeed all the time. Suppression is really a form of denial or not wanting to think about or deal with a good or bad situation for the time being or trying to deny thoughts for duration.

Rationalization is just an excuse for a behavior whether it is rational or irrational. You can defend a behavior of getting a C on a test by either saying that you didn’t spend enough time studying which is probably true or lying that the teacher asked  stupid questions thus lying and blaming the teacher somewhat irrationally. Any excuse is either rational or irrational, either the truth or a lie, and either reality or a fiction. Yes, there is partial rationality, partial truths, and partial realities which are combinations of the two extremes or antonyms. A rationalization is really just an excuse with all its possible combinations. There are scientific excuses which are just proven concepts using the scientific method. Yes, you can have a scientific excuse or a nonscientific excuse for doing or thinking something.

Intellectualization is assessing a situation without any associated emotions being present. A wife may have dented a fender and feel no guilt or a wife may feel a son’s death by cancer was merciful and feel no sadness or anger. Intellectualization is really accepting a subset(s) or event(s) and suppressing the stereotypic or common feelings or emotions associated with the subset(s). You could consider intellectualization as really being a denial of emotional counterparts for an event(s).

Identification is the conscious and/or impulsive attempt at imitating a respected human. There is really a question as to whether this is really a defense mechanism because what are you really defending against? Imitation is not defending yourself against anything but rather trying to be like someone else and you may in fact not be defending yourself against some imagined inadequacy or lack of ability. If you do have some inadequacy or lack of ability then you are perhaps just trying to compensate for your weakness(s).

Introjection is really a form of compensation where you are imitating the attitudes and behaviors of someone else and making them your own so you feel better about yourself or feel more important thus feeding your ego.  A psychiatric patient analyzing other patients like a psychiatrist and a daughter disciplining like her mother is really an imitation of someone else done in a conscious or impulsive way.

Reaction formation is a conscious behavior which seems to run contrary to the actual feelings or emotions felt for a human. It would seem to make sense that if you hate or don’t like someone then you would not send them any gifts or lie and say that you like or love them to others. Some humans are capable of this form of dissonant behavior and it is called reaction formation which may be considered to be denial or a defense mechanism which tries to hide or lie about your true feelings in public about a human.

Sublimation is the diversion of energy from an immediate sexual and/or biological impulse to a more acceptable social goal(s). Aggressive or violent tendencies in a human may be diverted from actual violence on a human to participation in an aggressive sport, competitive game, or a violent video game or movies. A desire to have sex with an actual human may be diverted to masturbation, pornography, or just working hard. Hyperactive or very energetic individuals may use exercise or hard physical labor as a way to work off some of that extra biological energy. Sublimation can be thought of as defending yourself from unacceptable behavior by doing something else instead or compensating for a weakness perceived as an unacceptable urge by doing something acceptable and a strength.

Displacement is discharging pent up feelings on a less threatening subset(s). Instead of yelling at the boss you may wait until you get home and yell at your spouse. A psychiatric patient may pick a fight with another patient after being told by the psychiatrist that she may not have an 8 hour pass to leave. Displacement is really a form of compensation where you feel weak or inappropriate thus suppressing your feelings for a duration and then expressing them at some point in the future and showing strength although not always appropriate for the occasion.

Projection is really blaming someone else for your bad behavior or bad thinking. It is really blaming and considering the action a personal excuse or justification for your behavior. Projection is really a form of lying about the contributory cause of your bad behavior and/or thoughts and lying that it was someone else’s fault. Defense mechanisms are sometimes real or imagined excuses and sometimes outright intentional or unintentional lies about your behavior and/or thoughts.

Conversion is the psychic stress manifesting itself as a physical symptom. A husbands impotence after discovery of his infidelity or a physical paralysis of a body part or blindness after psychological trauma are examples of conversion. Conversion can be thought of as an unconscious reaction of the body to a conscious psychological extreme stress. Conversion is not a defense mechanism but an example of the body malfunctioning under extreme psychic stress. If it is a defense mechanism then the body is not doing a very good job of defending itself.

Undoing is really compensating for doing and/or thinking something wrong or bad. A mother may make a son’s favorite cookies after disciplining him rather harshly or a human may have violent thoughts and be especially nice to the human being affected after the thoughts subside. It can be thought of as a defense mechanism to avoid continuing feelings of guilt or compensating for feelings of guilt.

Dissociation is ignoring a usually very unpleasant event(s) which you don’t want to think about or make a decision about. An example may be saying that he meant well after a husband spends money unwisely or ignoring abusive statements or behavior in an abusive relationship because we don’t like the bad feelings which the behavior is trying to cause. Dissociation is really a form of denial of a usually traumatic event(s) which we would rather forget if given the choice and our own personal excuse for it.

Regression is a return to a former level of development or a childlike state such as a human assuming the fetal position in his room after admitting to being responsible for bad behavior or a college student going to bed with a teddy bear as a security blanket. It is really debatable whether a human can really regress to a childlike state which is really just doing something in a childlike way again and not really assuming a childlike state with very many childlike behaviors which a state implies.

Acting out is supposedly a unique defense mechanism. A person may want to curse after falling over in a busy street, but the ego, perceiving this as contradicting social etiquette, will often lead to them holding back on the expletives. This is really just a denial of an impulse. On some occasions, however, we may not be able to balance our impulses and will defend the ego by simply acting out the irrational desires.

For example a person might “act out” by theatrically storming out of a stressful meeting when they would otherwise stay calm and hide their unease. This is really an example of compensation where you are compensating for extreme stress by storming out physically.

Anticipation is supposedly a unique defense mechanism. The anticipation of a potentially stressful event is one way a person might mentally prepare for it. Anticipation might involve rehearsing possible outcomes in one’s mind or telling oneself that it will not be as bad as they imagine. A person with a phobia of dentists might anticipate an appointment to have a tooth filling by telling themselves that the procedure will be over in just a few minutes, and reminding themselves that they have had one previously without any problems. Anticipation is really an example of compensation or compensating for anxiety by mentally convincing yourself that the source of the anxiety is really not as bad as it seems.

An act of goodwill towards another person, known as altruistic behavior, can be used as a way of diffusing a potentially anxious situation. Altruism supposedly may be used as a defense mechanism, for example, by being particularly helpful to a person who we feel might dislike us or neutralizing an argument with kind words and positivity. This is really compensating for our bad feelings or bad impressions by being kind and positive towards someone hoping that they will be more positive towards us or return the favor.

Avoidance seems to be a unique defense mechanism but it is not. When a perceived situation creates anxiety, one convenient option is sometimes to avoid it. Although avoidance can provide an escape from a particular event, it neglects to deal with the cause of the anxiety. For example, a person might know that they are due to give a stressful presentation to colleagues at work, and take a sick day in order to avoid giving it. Avoidance in this situation might be only a short term option, however, if the presentation is rescheduled to another day. Someone may also avoid thinking about something which causes anxiety, preferring to leave it unresolved instead of confronting it. Avoidance is usually a temporary denial of an unpleasant situation or circumstance and trying to compensate for anxiety by effectively moving or running away from the source of the anxiety.

Fantasy for some mundane and distressed humans is just trying to deny reality and compensating for a bad situation with pleasant or good unrealistic thoughts. Fantasy is not a unique defense mechanism.

Humor can be sued as an adaptive technique to help us to cope with tense or stressful situations. Looking for a funny aspect in an environment in which we lack control can help us to endure it, and can even be an altruistic act in helping other to better cope as well. Humor is sometimes used as a personal partial denial of a bad or good situation or event(s) and compensating for anxiety by joking about the anxiety causing event(s).

Showing humility involves lowering our expectations and view of our self importance, sacrificing our pride and often focusing on others. Humility can enable us to pacify those around us in tense conflicts and encourage cooperation with other people to take place. For example, someone who is known to boast about their abilities may show humility whilst trying to complete a difficult task. This might encourage others to empathize with, and help, them. Humility is really denying ourselves excessive pride and is not a unique defense mechanism.

Idealization involves creating an ideal impression of a person, place or object by emphasizing their positive qualities and neglecting those that are negative. Idealization adjusts the way in which we perceive the world around us and can lead us to make judgements that support our idealized concepts. People often idealize their recollections of being on holiday or memories from childhood, seeing them as “happier times”, but fail to recollect arguments or stresses during those periods. We often idealize the image we hold of people we admire – relatives, partners or celebrities, making excuses for their failures and emphasizing their more admirable qualities. Idealization is really a largely unconscious partial denial of reality or it is more like an absolutist way of thinking.

A passive aggressive person may be uncooperative in carrying out their duties or other tasks, may deliberately ignore someone when spoken to and might adopt a negative view of their situation, such as their job, and of those around them such as colleagues. Passive aggression is a denial of personal physical and/or verbal aggression and compensating for the unsocial tendency with other dysfunctional behaviors.

The self serving bias arises from our need to protect the ego from self criticism and to defend ourselves from the complaints of others. We show a self serving bias when we exaggerate the importance of our own achievements – after passing a test, we might over-estimate the significance of that particular exam, and take credit for completing it without acknowledging the role that tutors played in our success. Similarly, when faced with potential criticism we might deflect blame, apportioning responsibility for failure to anybody but ourselves. Whilst many of us show signs of this self serving bias, it can be an ineffective method of defense as it distorts our view of reality and our ability to rationalize and interpret events effectively. Self serving bias is really a partial denial of reality by exaggerating our abilities, making excuses for our behavior, or blaming others.

Social comparison is supposedly a defense mechanism used sometimes. When people feel that they have been victims of unjust actions, they may defend the ego by comparing themselves to those worse off. Similarly, we may se similarities between ourselves and others in a better position to improve our self image. These defense mechanisms are known as download or upward social comparisons. For example, a man who has broken a leg and is confined to a wheelchair may make a downwards social comparison with a person who has been diagnosed with a more serious condition to make their own situation seem less troublesome. Alternatively, a person might seek to identify with a person of a perceived higher social position, such as when they learn that a celebrity is eating at the same restaurant as they are. These social comparisons are sometimes really a denial of personal injustice and trying to compensate for the injustice by thinking about more pleasant social comparisons which feed our ego.

Splitting is really not a defense mechanism but merely someone trying to think of the world in absolutist terms of black or white, yes or no, good or bad, right or wrong, and either or. This approach stems from ignorance and is a lazy and stupid way of looking at the world and not a defense mechanism.

Wishful thinking is not a unique defense mechanism. Rather it is an attempt at denying reality and compensating for the distressing realities with unrealistic wishes.

 

Excuse: v. to attempt to (delay and/or escape) and/or avoid a subset(s) and/or to attempt to subtract blame for an (unfulfilled promise and/or mistake) and/or offense and trying to defend and/or justify the action(s) and/or inaction(s) with a real valid reason and/or lie

 

Deny: v. to refuse acknowledgement of the truth of a subset(s) and/or to refuse a request

 

Blame: v. to judge responsibility for a (mistake(s) and/or wrong(s) and/or (injustice(s) and/or immorality(s)) and/or bad circumstance(s)

Compensate: v. to give and/or to do to someone and/or to oneself a subset(s) such as money and/or a behavior(s) in recognition of loss and/or suffering and/or injury incurred         note: psychologically that subset(s) may be a thought(s) and/or word(s) and/or behavior(s) that you have or demonstrate.

CONCLUSION:

A defense mechanism or a defense of yourself happens by making an excuse for or denying that a thought and/or behavior existed or exists. Sometimes you defend yourself by trying to compensate for doing and/or thinking something bad and/or wrong. Sometimes you try to defend yourself by blaming someone else for your bad behavior and/or thoughts.

An excuse may be real or imagined and if it is imagined then you are intentionally or unintentionally lying to yourself or others about the thought and/or behavior. In a nutshell all defense mechanisms are either and excuse, denial, blame, and/or compensation.

Trying to stereotype a handful of behaviors and giving them a fancy name all classified as a defense mechanism is misleading the public and perpetuating psychological unproven myths. It is time to rethink psychological defense mechanisms and simplify them to what they really are and not what they should be with misguided historical intellectualization.

Thoughts and/or behaviors are either intentional or unintentional and they can be either real or imagined. In the process of defending ourselves we often do so intentionally or unintentionally and we do so with a firm grip on reality or we descend into an imaginary world of thoughts and/or behaviors which are really lies about reality as it exists. We sometimes lie to ourselves and lie to others either intentionally or unintentionally trying to defend ourselves and this is ultimately the cause of so much psychological stress and trauma in the real world.

Our subconscious brain processes these basic four defense mechanisms and when we impulsively make an excuse, deny, blame, and/or compensate the origins of the defense mechanisms are the subconscious sometimes modified by a conscious defense too.

If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, about 4500 so far, or read one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially EVERGREEN TRUTH, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.

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UPDATED NEW QUOTE BY ULDIS SPROGIS 1240!!!

If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, about 4500 so far, or read one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially EVERGREEN TRUTH, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.

For a complete readily accessible list of blogs and titles go to twitter.com/uldissprogis.

Enjoy!!!!!!

If you enjoyed this blog then here is a list of my most popular ones which you may also enjoy!!!

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ANOTHER PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH FAILURE TRYING TO BE SCIENTIFIC!!!

I will logically try to explain why humans can’t be stereotyped into personality types!

https://uldissprogis.com/2017/08/24/the-truth-about-the-big-5-personality-traits/

As described in the above article or the truth about the big 5 personality traits there are actually only three discernible personality types not traits which are trustworthiness, extroversion, and conscientiousness.

Trustworthiness: adj. having integrity and dependability and competence

Extrovert: n. a sociable human with a tendency to be overtly expressive.

Conscientious: adj. adequate caring and devoted effort to do right.

The new study, led by Luís Amaral of the McCormick School of Engineering, was published Sept. 17 by the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

The new proposed personality types are average, self-centered, role model, and reserved but none are defined accurately and are purely hypothetical undefined concepts so not very scientific to begin with.

According to Amaral who led the research effort only self-centered humans are actually low in conscientiousness and I would venture to say that there are degrees of conscientiousness and that not all average, reserved, and role model types are conscientious to the same degree as that shown by the questionnaire results. Teenagers were used to measure conscientiousness and yes, many teenagers are not that conscientious but that is a function of immaturity or age and not a measure of adult self-centeredness which may not have low levels of conscientiousness unless you are talking about immature adults.

Measuring extroversion, it seems that all 4 categories had about the same degree of extroversion and frankly many of those are actually introverts which the test did not test for. So measuring the degree of extroversion was a useless waste of effort since it didn’t vary in any of the 4 categories. All 4 categories were extroverts.

The degree of trustworthiness is the most significant variable in a personality and frankly there was no test for it in the questionnaire. How trustworthy were the average, reserved, self-centered, and role model types? Vastly unknown, a significant variable which was not tested for. The ultimate determiner of successful human interactions or relationships is the degree to which you are trusted by other humans. If you are not very trustworthy or moral, honest, dependable, and competent then you are definitely not a role model type and probably just average with a certain degree of untrustworthiness as would be the case for the average, reserved, and self-centered humans.

The 4 personality types are not unique without overlap. Basically you could say that the role model type is the leader type and the average type are the followers. However, even some average parents are good role models or leaders for their offspring so the leader-led dichotomy is not unique personality types without overlap.

Reserved humans can be considered to be more introverted or less sociable so it can be said that most reserved humans are introverts as a personality type. So two more distinct personality types could be grouped into introverts or extroverts with considerable overlap in many cases because an introvert may be very reserved in public but very extroverted with coworkers on a job which he or she is doing competently.

Self-centered or selfish individuals can also be role models or leaders such as unusual Trump and many other politicians who use their position to selfishly increase personal wealth. So once again this proves that there are no distinct personality types or characteristics which you can assign to an individual since every individual is unique and has overlapping personality types or characteristics at certain times and under certain circumstances. Every individual has degrees of personality types or characteristics so you can say that most individuals are average in being led, below average in role model characteristics, average in selfishness or self-centeredness, and below average in reservedness or introversion.

How trustworthy were the individuals taking the questionnaires and to what degree did some of them try to deceive or lie? Can a questionnaire really test for trustworthiness or is this going to be the eternal unknown in psychology?

A human at times has been observed to be rude, uncaring, inconsiderate, selfish, sympathetic, extroverted, secretive, argumentative, deceptive, generous, confident, aggressive, etc.  What personality type does he or she fit into? The answer is none of the above! The unanswered question is how FREQUENTLY is the human rude, uncaring, inconsiderate, selfish, sympathetic, extroverted, secretive, etc?

Humans can’t be pigeon holed into distinct personality types or characteristics under all times and circumstances because often the time and the circumstance dictates how a human will react or behave. Frankly there are too many undefined variables in any personality analysis and no one human fits neatly into one or more stereotyped categories or personality types.

There is moral and immoral human behavior but you can’t argue that there is a moral and and immoral personality type because there are degrees of morality and immorality depending on what human you are talking about.

Conclusion:

Using 5 undefined personality traits to describe 4 new personality types also undefined is absurdity. Merely using 5 undefined dubious personality traits is not even closely being scientific and certainly not worthy of publication and dissemination to academia or the general public. It is pure BS research and gives psychologists an even worse reputation than before as being a lot of hot air and nothing less. The sad fact is that the questionnaires used in the research are useless to any logically thinking human and just politically correct ideology to make psychologists feel good about themselves and their shoddy profession.

 

If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, about 4500 so far, or read one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially EVERGREEN TRUTH, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.

For a complete readily accessible list of blogs and titles go to twitter.com/uldissprogis.

Enjoy!!!!!!

If you enjoyed this blog then here is a list of my most popular ones which you may also enjoy!!!

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CRITIQUE OF AN AGGRESSION QUESTIONNAIRE!!!

Buss & Perry in 1992 published an aggression questionnaire which is extremely subjective and inaccurate when it comes to determining how aggressive you are as an individual. You are supposed to respond to the statements or questions presented with a 1 to 5 scale with each number having the following meaning-

1 = extremely uncharacteristic of me 2 = somewhat uncharacteristic of me 3 = neither uncharacteristic nor characteristic of me 4 = somewhat characteristic of me 5 = extremely characteristic of me

If I have to resort to violence to protect my rights, I will.

Logically if you assume that violence is necessary to protect your rights then of course you will. This statement in no way determines how physically violent you are as an individual and even if you answered 5 that it is extremely characteristic of me it would in no way determine the degree to which you are an aggressive personality.

I have become so mad that I have broken things.

If you become mad because you found out that your spouse cheated on you and you break the cellphone, TV, or car then this is almost justified physical aggression. If you become mad because your spouse did not come home on time and you break a glass or a plate then that is unjustified physical aggression and you may indeed have aggression problems since such little events lead to overt physical violence on an object. The things that you break and what you get mad at are very important and this statement does not differentiate between the two extremes. Also of importance is the physical violence on an object and not a human so the degree or significance of the aggression is questionable and remains unanswered. If you answered 5 that it is extremely characteristic of me then you could perhaps conclude that the human has an aggression problem. A better statement to evaluate aggressiveness would be to make the statement that- I have become so mad that I have hit my spouse. Of course most humans would be afraid to answer truthfully for fear that they would be accused of spousal abuse.

Once in a while, I can’t control my urge to strike another person.

It makes a big difference who that other person is- a cheating spouse, a child, or a total stranger. Once in a while is also misleading because does it mean an aggressive impulse for no reason at all or could it possibly be once in a while wanting to strike your misbehaving child? Sure, if your statement specified the person as a child then the parent would not answer truthfully because of the fear of being accused of child abuse. This question in no way determines the degree to which you are physically aggressive.

I have threatened people I know.

If you threaten a child with punishment if they misbehave again, a tenant with eviction for not paying the rent on time, or an employee with firing for poor performance then this is justified threatening of people you know.  If you are in a position of authority then you may threaten more than humans who are not in authoritative positions. The missing factor of importance is what you have threatened the people for. This statement is too vague to determine the degree to which you are physically aggressive.

Given enough provocation, I may hit another person.

Unless you are a strict pacifist most normal humans may hit another person if given enough provocation. Saying enough provocation implies that the person deserves to be hit especially if they hit you first multiple times and you could not escape his or her presence. A child’s first tendency after being hit is to hit back which is the biological act of selfdefense so this question in no way determines the degree to which you are physically aggressive. Becoming physically aggressive to defend yourself from violence is not a sign that you are prone to physical aggression.

If somebody hits me, I hit back.

A tall physically active male might answer 5 this is very characteristic of me but that in no way is a measure of his physical aggressiveness because this is an act of selfdefense and not overt physical aggression. Does this statement really determine to what degree you are physically aggressive in confrontational situations? No!

There are people who pushed me so far that we came to blows.

Pushed you so far mentally or physically makes a difference. If you come to blows over mental aggression then it is one serious thing but if you are pushed physically so far that you reacted defensively with blows then this is a perfectly normal reaction and not an indication of the degree to which you are physically violent. Also whether you are a female or a male would determine the way that you answered because females are generally less physically violent than males. How do you remove male female bias from this statement? It is not gender neutral or an objective statement to be answered by both sexes with equal validity.

I get into fights a little more than the average person.

Who really knows how many fights the average person gets into and are those verbal fights or physical fights since many consider severe arguments with their spouses as fights. You could also state I get into fights a little less than the average person. Both statements are too vague to determine the degree to which you are physically aggressive.

 

Now let us investigate the statements which are supposedly indicators of verbal aggression.

I tell my friends openly when I disagree with them.

Openly is often a sign of honesty when you have an opposing opinion and there is nothing wrong with stating your opinion as long as it is not in a fit of aggressive anger. This statement does not clearly state how you disagree with your friends so it is not a valid indicator of verbal aggression.

I can’t help getting into arguments when people disagree with me.

While arguments are a sign of verbal aggression there are skilled humans who discuss disagreements and back up their opinions with facts, stories, personal experiences, and the experiences of others. You could consider these humans as also being aggressive but in a socially acceptable way. You can disagree with humans with arguments or with discussion and no statement in this questionnaire makes this important distinction. Some forms of discussion can indeed be very aggressive verbally.

When people annoy me, I may tell them what I think of them.

If you merely say- you are annoying me, please stop. This is telling someone what you think of them and doing so in a non aggressive way. If you respond to an annoyance with name calling, an insult, a put down, ridicule, or try to humiliate them then this is definitely a sign of verbal aggression. Telling people what you think of them need not be aggressive in nature but merely a statement of fact appropriate to the behavioral situation. This statement is too vague to be a valid determiner of the degree of aggression of an individual.

More indicative of verbal aggression would be the following statements-

I often name call, I often insult humans, I often put humans down, I often ridicule humans, and I often humiliate humans. These statements are truer indicators of verbal aggression than the vague statements of psychologists in this pseudo test for aggression.

I often find myself disagreeing with people.

Disagreement is not always a sign of verbal aggression. You can disagree about the color of a dress, the tastiness of a food or drink, a weather forecast, and the quality of a car make. None of these disagreements and hundreds of others which I can think of are indicators of verbal aggression but are merely factual disagreements. If you have good taste in clothes, food, cars, friends, etc. then of course you will often be disagreeing with other people with common tastes and that does not necessarily make you verbally aggressive, just opinionated.

*The definitions used in this article are my own and not those of psychologists who have no accurate definitions that they use.

Hostile: adj. being against a subset(s) with some dislike and/or hatred which may result in an action(s) done to harm samer subset(s) sometimes with violence

Hostility can be a sign of aggression so let’s analyze the following statements which are supposedly signs of hostility.

When people are especially nice to me, I wonder what they want.

If you wonder what people want then you are being suspicious and not hostile and you are not trying to verbally or physically harm another human in a hostile way.

I wonder why sometimes I feel so bitter about things.

Feeling bitter is such a vague word that it can range from feeling offended by things to being vengeful about insults which you may get from other humans. Bitter can mean dissatisfied, pissed off, resentful, offended, dislike, and hateful. These feelings are certainly not an absolute sign of hostility unless you hate or dislike something with a passion. If bitter means a passionate dislike or hatred then yes it could potentially be a sign of hostility where you are tempted to do verbal or physical harm on a human.

If you sometimes feel bitter about things then those things are probably good reasons for feeling bitter such as cheating by a spouse or not being promoted in a job or not being able to afford the lifestyle of a successful human who doesn’t seem to deserve it in your personal opinion. Sometimes being bitter is a fact of life for many humans and not necessarily a sign of aggressiveness or hostility.

I am suspicious of overly friendly strangers.

Suspicion is not a sign of hostility especially if it is a reaction to a stranger whom you don’t know whether to trust or not since they haven’t earned their trust from you over an extended duration. Being suspicious is not hating or disliking the stranger which would be a sign of hostility or aggression.

I am sometimes eaten up with jealousy.

Jealousy: n. envying with angry resentment

Sometimes does not tell you how frequently you are eaten up with jealousy. Is it once a year, once a month, or once a week? Eaten up seems to imply intense jealousy so it is probably very angry resentment and envy. If you are talking about passionate dislike or hatred then it could be considered to be a sign of hostility if you verbally or physically try to hurt the human you are jealous of.

Are you jealous of a human who is threatening your marriage or are you jealous of a well off neighbor or friend? Who you are jealous of makes a difference and the degree to which you are aggressive or hostile also differs in each case. The statement is too vague to determine the degree to which you are hostile or aggressive in life in general although you may be very hostile or aggressive under certain justifiable circumstances.

At times I feel I have gotten a raw deal out of life.

Is feeling that you are leading a shitty life a sign of hostility? And if it is a sign of hostility then what is it against? Are you hostile against the whole world for your lousy status or some individuals in it whom you blame or dislike? This statement does not measure the degree of hostility that you may have and it doesn’t accurately pinpoint what or who you are hostile against.

I sometimes feel that people are laughing at me behind my back.

I sometimes laugh at people behind their back is possibly a sign of hostility towards others but the original statement is one where you are the victim of possible hostility. Is being the victim of hostility a sign of aggressiveness or hostility by you personally? No. This statement is incredibly stupid.

Other people always seem to get the breaks.

Once again this implies that you are the victim of bad luck or misfortune or the victim of hostility if you wish. This is in no way an indication of your aggressiveness or hostility towards others. This is another stupid statement.

Anger: n. very intensely sensing transient displeasure which is frequently a less intense form of hatred and (caused by a failure to achieve a goal(s) and/or caused by (overt and/or covert aggression)) and/or (caused by opposing (beliefs and/or opinions) and/or caused by immorality)

Anger can definitely be a sign of aggressiveness if it is overt. However, there are humans who get angry and don’t show it to the extent that others do and often hold the anger in or under control. Is controlled anger a sign of overt aggression? Certainly not but that does not mean that these humans are not aggressive in other ways and statements about being angry do not disclose these more subtle signs of aggression.

Some of my friends think I am a hothead.

Granted this is a sign of aggression but it doesn’t specify under what conditions you are a hothead or the frequency with which you are a hothead. Maybe being a hothead once in a while is OK and nothing to worry about if it is once or twice a month. If the frequency is once a day or once a week then maybe you have a problem which should be addressed with anger management. What things are you a hothead about? Some are justified if you become a hothead while defending your spouse or children from offensive remarks or insults.

I flare up quickly but get over it quickly.

I get emotional quickly but get over it quickly may be what the reader interprets so it may not just be a response to getting angry. A better way of making the statement would be to say- I get angry quickly but get over it quickly.

I have trouble controlling my temper.

This could be a sign of aggressiveness but it could also be a resentment for being victimized with an insult, a put down, name calling, ridicule, or humiliation. It may be a spontaneous reaction to being the victim of an aggressive action. If you can’t control your temper because you are constantly being victimized by an aggressor then it is not a sign that you are personally being verbally aggressive.

When frustrated, I let my irritation show.

When I get frustrated by people, I often get angry or When I get frustrated by things, I often get angry at people are better ways of determining the degree of aggression which you express on others.

I sometimes feel like a powder keg ready to explode.

If you sometimes feel like you are about to explode but don’t then this is not a sign of overt aggression on someone and it may indeed be wanting to explode because your job or task is not going well and you are angry at a thing and not a human. Anger about a human is aggressiveness and anger on a thing may just be a sign of frustration which may be your own fault so you are being aggressive on yourself.

Conclusion:

Verbal attempts at accurately determining the intensity, frequency, and type of aggressiveness in a human are simply not possible if you don’t define the words which you are using and beat around the bush with vague words like bitter, flare up, explode, raw deal, and blows. What almost all these statements reveal is the lack of much logical relevance to the issue of human aggression in the real world. Psychologists have subjective biases and humans responding to these statements inject their own personal biases which have little factual relationship to personal reality and are in no way true measures of their aggressiveness in life.

If you can’t accurately determine how aggressive an individual is then how can you possibly make general statements about aggression such as aggressive individuals have more or less selfesteem. Or aggressive humans are happier in life. Determining how happy a human is or how much selfesteem they have is even harder than determining how aggressive they are in real life.

No wonder psychologists come up with totally opposite conclusions. Some claim to have discovered that those with more selfesteem are more aggressive and others claim to have discovered that those with less selfesteem are more aggressive.

Psychologists don’t accurately define the words that they use and are playing around with too many variables such as differences in culture, age, gender, current and past emotional state, financial status, job or career, family, morality, health, etc. The net result is that most psychological research has no validity and is mostly subjective biased unprovable opinion and nothing more.

If you want to see the original questionnaire then use this link-

 

https://project-oracle.com/uploads/files/BussPerry_agression_questionnaire_scoring.pdf

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WHY MOST PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES ON AGGRESSION, ETC. ARE SEVERELY FLAWED!!!

Aggression: n. pursuing a goal(s) forcefully and/or threateningly which may include (body contact and/or violence) and/or a ((verbal threat(s) and/or verbal attack(s)) and/or physical attack(s))

Esteem: v. to respect and admire

Selfesteem: v. to respect and admire oneself

Respect: v. to sense and frequently communicate that a human has (much value and/or moral goodness) and/or (much skill(s) in a (profession and/or activity)) and/or is experienced and has few severe personality flaws and the human is dependable

Admire: v. to sense respect and attraction and to sense a relatively large intensity pleasure because of (good and/or moral behavior) and/or professional excellence

One real example of psychologists trying to link high or low selfesteem to aggression shows how easy it is to get contradictory results. Baumeister 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007 claimed to show that high selfesteem is linked to greater aggressiveness and Donnellan 2005 and Trzesniewski 2006 claimed to show that low selfesteem is linked to greater aggressiveness.

 

Psychologists never accurately define what they mean by aggression and selfesteem which is what I have done and then try to set up questionnaires which supposedly measure the degree and type of aggression and selfesteem. Without an accurate definition of the words that they are using they are frankly groping in the dark. Frankly the two concepts are so complex that no validated correspondence between them is possible since there are too many interdependent variables at play.

 

Aggression can be physical and/or mental and this means that combinations of both approaches are possible. There is physical violence in various degrees of intensity and type, there are verbal threats in various degrees of intensity and type, there are verbal attacks in various degrees of intensity and type, and there are physical gesture threats in various degrees of intensity and type and then there are combinations of these aggressions which constitute the total possibilities of aggressive behavior. How can you possibly verbally determine the degree of aggressiveness and the type of aggressiveness that you are questioning about with any degree of accuracy? It is mission impossible.

 

Attempting to find some link or correspondence between selfesteem and aggression is even more problematic and impossible to do. Selfesteem is respecting and admiring yourself which means that you are personally judging your value and/or moral goodness which also means that you are judging how skilled you are in your job or profession and/or daily life. You are also making a personal assumption that you have minor personality flaws. Personality flaws theoretically should lower your selfesteem if you have many personality flaws. Of course you could be delusional and assume that you have no personality flaws so your selfesteem evaluation on a questionnaire would not be remotely connected with the reality of your life.

 

How intensely do you admire yourself and what things do you admire yourself for? Can you really determine how much or the intensity with which you admire yourself and for what things in life from a questionnaire?

 

So how many variables are at play when discussing aggression and selfesteem? An uncontrollable boatload. Further you could ask the question whether introverts or extroverts have higher selfesteem and who are more aggressive? You would probably assume that extroverts are more aggressive socially than introverts and maybe also assume that they have more selfesteem.

 

While sociable celebrities could be considered aggressive with high selfesteem you could also assume that introverts have higher selfesteem than your common extrovert because they frankly don’t want to put up with social drama, are more selective in their friendships, and are often very competent workers proud of their work. Unless you are talking about shy introverts who may indeed have less selfesteem than the average population I would venture to say that indeed common introverts in general may have more selfesteem than your common babbling extrovert.

 

In conclusion: For a given individual you can probably evaluate his or her degree of aggressiveness and selfesteem relatively accurately given enough exposure to them over a period of time. However, when you try to make correspondences between exceedingly complex psychological concepts and try to make general assumptions about them in a general population then you are doomed to fail miserably most of the time. Other psychological studies about hope, love, happiness, etc. are just as impossible to do and get verifiable results. Not only do cultural differences affect the outcome but other variables such as age, gender, current and past emotional state, financial status,  job or career, family, morality, health, etc.

 

There are frankly too many variables interacting when it comes to human interaction so a scientific approach is frankly not even remotely possible.

Psychologists like to sound scientific by using correlational or statistical numbers but they a not being at all being objective and their results show a very subjective bias which is just not valid worldwide for all kinds of human populations.

If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, about 4400 so far, or read one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially EVERGREEN TRUTH, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.

For a complete readily accessible list of blogs and titles go to twitter.com/uldissprogis.

Enjoy!!!!!!

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11 IMPORTANT MYTHS IN POPULAR PSYCHOLOGY!!!

One myth is that we use only about 10% of our brain. In fact almost all the brain is active all the time so we use about 100% of the brain, although certain regions of the brain are more active than others for given activities. MRI’s are one way to detect brain activity for different mental activities or different activated regions in the brain.

 

It is a myth that the left brain is more logical, analytical, intellectual, and the right brain is more intuitive, creative, and artistic. Both sides of the brain participate in analyzing, synthesizing, and intuitively being creative.

While it is true that some humans who do better in mathematics and science with much formal training, they tend to be more logical and analytical and their creativity and intuition is more firmly limited by objective rules and principles that guide their thinking. Both sides of the brain are used to function.

Artists can also analyze and synthesize what they are doing. Their subjective, impulsive creativity and often less formal training has less rigorous limitations. This results in many more mutant forms of creativity which are frankly very random in nature and often show a minimum of focused skill. You could generally say that artists are much freer or wilder in their thinking and doing than mathematicians and scientists but both sides of the brain participate.

 

It is a myth that there is ESP or extra sensory perception or psychic ability. Despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence to support psychic ability, humans love to think and believe that someone may be able to foresee the future and tell them what is in store for them.

The popularity of horoscopes is one indication of the gullibility of humans who fall for these predictive prognostications. Yes, there is coincidence that what the horoscope talks about or predicts is what generally or actually happens in your life on certain days. However, statistically horoscopes are less than 50% accurate which means that they are worse at predicting the future than a coin toss prediction.

Human hope springs eternal and one or a few lucky coincidences or events is unfortunately what keeps fortunetellers and gambling operations in business. One accurate prediction or a fake staged performance of many accurate predictions in front of a large audience can make many gullible believers in psychic ability.

 

It is a myth that subliminal messages can affect our behavior. Subliminal means something below the threshold of sensing and/or consciousness so if the message is visual and/or verbal we would not be aware of it realistically.

Yes, you could randomly flash a picture or part of a picture on the screen or flash an audio of a word and/or sound. This would register on our brain and we would be probably annoyed at the random disturbance, not be positively affected by it, and it would no longer be a subliminal message which we are not aware of.

 

It is a myth that adolescence is a time for emotional outbursts, stress, tension, rebellion, dependency conflicts, peer-group conformity, sexy dress, motorcycles, black leather jackets, and similar deviant behavior. Most adolescents from normal moral families do not have turbulent adolescences and those that do usually come from dysfunctional families.

Sure, even moral families may witness a few rebellious incidents such as clandestine cigarette, drug, or alcohol use, trying to fit in with undesirable popular peers, or inappropriate clothing and accessories. However, the vast majority do not have many such undesirable behavior problems, especially in nonwestern cultures where parenting is more formalized, better disciplined, and less permissive.

 

It is a myth that polygraphs or lie detectors and truth serums can accurately detect dishonesty or lies. Polygraphs measure parameters such as degree of sweating and heart beat but they are only about 60% accurate in detecting lies which means that about 40% get away with the lie.

Truth serum like alcohol reduces your inhibitions and you are slightly more inclined to tell the truth but the accuracy of truth serum is no better than the polygraph. The government still occasionally uses the polygraph on some of it’s high security workers but it is forbidden evidence in a court of law because it can’t prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt or close to 100% accuracy.

 

It is a myth that happiness is mostly dependent on our external circumstances. While it is true that there are certain things like possessions, great house, great job, plenty of pleasurable events, and much money which can bring great happiness in the short duration, long duration happiness is mostly dependent on inner drives, ambition, personality traits, attitudes, disposition, motivations, thoughts, and beliefs and not so much on external circumstances.

An external circumstance like divorce and death in the family can lead to some long duration unhappiness but in general we adjust to our own homeostasis or how happy we are over the long haul.

Yes, having some close and great friends are an external circumstance which has the potential to create great happiness but it is often because we ourselves have INNER integrity, are dependable, trustworthy, encouraging, and competent in our lives and attract other humans with similar characteristics.

Other humans, an external circumstance, make volunteering possible but it is ultimately the INNER satisfaction of helping others or a cause which makes the volunteer happy in the long duration.

A lonely household cat can be happy with food, water, sleep, shelter, petting, and a little exercise. Some minimally existing humans also don’t need very much to be happy if they have adequate food, water, sleep, shelter, clothes, alcohol, and occasional contact with other humans.

The truth is that both internal and external factors affect our happiness but the greatest source of long duration happiness is internal factors. Being optimistic, ambitious, driven, grateful, friendly, empathetic, courageous, confident, and being a perpetual thinker and doer trying to achieve short and long duration goals are internal factors which yield the greatest personal happiness under all external circumstances over a lifetime.

 

It is a myth that humans who are opposite in looks, personality, and beliefs are attracted to each other. It is a popular Hollywood myth which makes for interesting cinema but the reality is that similar looks, personalities, and beliefs result in more lasting relationships with spouses and friends alike. Our ideal mate or friend may be someone whom we ourselves would not attract because we ourselves are not as ideal as we think we are and simply can’t attract and land our ideal mate or friend.

Many of us like to fantasize how great it would be to marry a beautiful or handsome human with a great personality even though we are plain looking with borderline personalities. This is why opposites attract films get much support from the common filmgoer or watcher.

Yes, being too similar in looks, personality, and beliefs may lead to boredom but most humans are different enough to have slightly different likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, which makes an ongoing relationship interesting if both have an ambition to improve themselves in some way or have different goals in life as time progresses.

 

It is a myth that men and women communicate in completely different ways. Some women are more talkative than men because some are more social than men and have more friends. They also have a tendency to go into minute details about who said what to whom and what were the reactions. Men historically have been doers and not talkers on the job so traditionally women stayed at home and communicated with offspring and friends over the phone. Today both men and women work and lead similar lifestyles so the difference in talkativeness is rather minimal overall but may vary widely for individual couples.

It seems that women and men in positions of power interrupt conversations more often so it is not a characteristic of men only.

Women seem to be more perceptive of nonverbal cues than men or can detect emotional nuances better than men. This is not surprising because women have historically been trained to express their emotions rather than suppress them as is more common with men. Yes, it is acceptable if a woman cries but not a man in most cultures and this is just a reflection of cultural bias and conditioning. A man is supposed to control his emotions and a woman can be more emotional. Women in general and men with emotional intelligence can better pick up emotional cues.

Individuals differ in the degree of the quality and quantity of their personal communication but there are no glaring differences between how men or women communicate in general.

 

It is a myth that it is better to express anger than to hold it in. While some humans may initially feel better after yelling loudly, punching a bag, or destroying some property the long duration result is that it encourages or enforces future angry or aggressive episodes and prolongs the hatred of the subject or object of the anger.

Disciplining yourself to internally suppress angry feelings when they arise is the best policy. Taking concrete steps to reduce that anger such as counting to ten or delaying a problem for future resolution when the anger has subsided is the right thing to do.

 

It is a myth that low selfesteem is the major cause of psychological problems. Research has NOT shown a cause effect relationships between low selfesteem and problems such as violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders, school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, suicide, and bad academic achievement.

Accepting this myth has resulted in rewarding trophies to losers in sports and falsely telling students that they are smart, great, and wonderful for trying and failing at important tasks. Praising humans when they don’t deserve it or have not earned the praise leads to humans who are deluded into thinking that they are greater than they really are and their sense of selfworth is corrupted or is highly inaccurate.

True confindence or valid selfesteem grows out of successfully achieving more goals than failing at goal achievement. Delusional selfesteem arises when we fail much more often than succeed at doing things and still have a great deal of delusional confidence in ourselves.

The primary source for this article was 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology by Lilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio, and Beyerstein.

If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, about 4300 so far, or read one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially EVERGREEN TRUTH, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.

For a complete readily accessible list of blogs and titles go to twitter.com/uldissprogis.

Enjoy!!!!!!

If you enjoyed this blog then here is a list of my most popular ones which you may also enjoy!!!

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