Election Emotions

   It’s been a rough month for the United States.   A nation divided, we saw just how much so during this election.  An election that was fueled by fear often resulting in the creation of more anger and hate.  The flames of fear having been stoked for so long now (didn’t the campaign season seem to go on forever?), the natural by-product being a ratcheting up of unrest, anger, hatred (as per the diagram): 

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The information we received at times was so crazy.  Was that true?, Just misleading? or an outright bald faced lie?  Hard to know, sometimes.  At least there are places we can fact check.  Donald Trump, our new President elect was shown to have lied 80% of the time during the debates.  While Hillary Clinton was shown to have lied about 30% of the time, which is actually better than most politicians.  And, almost all of her lies were “just misleading” not outright falsehoods, like the president-elect.  Yet the disillusioned country voted for Trump as you are well aware of.  (*Note, this post isn’t about taking sides here, I am just reported the results from the fact checks.  So don’t shoot the messenger!)

So, what now?   Are you one of the many people feeling tired, overwhelmed, and stressed out about the outcome, conflicts of interest, and position posts?  Or angered by others’ seeming lack of acceptance of the results?  It seems almost everyone is feeling pretty unsettled the past couple weeks There have been mostly peaceful protests and there has also been an increase of hate crimes just since Election day.  Most alarmingly, suicide hotlines have seen a 200% increase in calls since the election.

And, this weekend, we’ve learned that there will be a recount in three states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

So, it’s not over yet.

Still feeling crazed?

You are not alone.

Some people do exhibit behaviors that can make us feel uneasy, fearful, and anxious.

Recently I put together some characteristics and behaviors demonstrated by a person who can often leave us feeling overwhelmed, un-grounded, and anxious.  I also did some research on a particular cluster of behaviors and found that these individuals are sometimes called, “Crazy-makers” in pop psychology.

Note that this term is definitely not a formal diagnosis from the DSM V.

I did find several good articles about this particular cluster of behaviors that seems to leave others feeling anxious, confused, angered, and/or afraid.  Some of these behaviors do resemble criteria for various diagnoses.  These diagnoses include:  Narcissistic Personality, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Anti-social personality disorder.

Here are some of the behaviors and characteristics:

1.   They can be charming, and can mimic compassion if it is a way to get their needs met.

2.  They are often natural salesmen/women.

3.  They have “trophy relationships” and strive for objects associated with success.

4.  They view those who show emotions as being weak.

5.  They seem to need control over people and situations and love to be the center of attention.

6.  And they often create drama.  One of the ways in which they do this is by saying things like, “Many people have said..” or “Lots of people have told me..” and this creates a smoke and mirrors type game.  The person is left wondering, “Who said this?  Why?  When was this said?  Was it about me?”..It keeps you wondering about these types of questions so you don’t question what the person actually said.

7.   They may appear supportive one minute then detest you the next.  At times,  if it serves their needs, they can be good at eliciting sympathy and support from others.

8.  They are score-keepers.  If they do something for you, they expect some form of repayment.

9.  And, they play by their own rules.  Often demonstrating a sense of entitlement, they will take credit for other people’s ideas, and only when they are successful; and will blame others when things don’t go their way.

10.  One article mentioned that this type of person may seemingly have selective memory when it comes to being confronted about their own behavior.  They will say that “it never happened”, or “someone is lying”; often forgetting their own problem behaviors from the past.

Other characteristics may include:  short attention span, restlessness, impatience, a tendency to interrupt, playing on other’s weaknesses, and turning challenging questions around on others often commenting critically on the person’s emotions, steering away from the comment itself.

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What you can do:

  1.  Don’t engage in the dance.  Try to stay neutral.  Remember, it takes two to tango!
  2. Practice being mindful.  That is, practice just observing, noticing, staying present in the moment without judgment.
  3. When having contact with the person, you are having difficulty with, have a specific agenda planned; doing something active or externally engaging..playing a game, seeing a movie, going bowling, etc..and have a specific time limit.  (And stick to it.)
  4. Continue to honor your own self worth.  Respect yourself.
  5. Learn to say no without explanation.  It’s really okay to do this, without affect, feeling guilty, or being afraid, etc.. just…no.

No one can truly “make you crazy” without your permission.  I know this sounds easier said then done.  But you can build up your resilience and maintain healthy boundaries.  You can refrain from engaging in power struggles, without becoming cynical and hardening your heart.

Create Your Health by maintaining healthy boundaries and refraining from engaging in power struggles!

Peace to you,

Chris

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Recommended Reading from my bookstore:

Boundaries:  When to Say Yes, How to Say No to...(paperback) by Henry Cloud, John Townsend.