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10 Methods Nasty People Use And How To Avoid Them

10 Methods Nasty People Use And How To Avoid Them

We’ve all had the experience of being invalidated by certain people in our lives. Whether it’s from someone close to home, at work, or in a social group. There is always that one person we feel mistreated by.

Even worse, they lower our self-esteem in a subtle way which to the outside world goes unrecognised. If we try to explain how we feel, these people can easily turn the conversation around, making us out to be sensitive, judgemental and in the wrong.

Nasty people – also known as invalidators – have a way of lowering our self-esteem. In this article, I would like to share with you 10 methods of nasty people and how to avoid them.

As we explore these methods, you will come to have a more understanding an awareness about the people in your everyday life.

1. They Keep You Uncertain

One of the methods of an invalidator is to keep you in a state of uncertainty. You never know when they might explode and do something to upset you.

For example, you may become understanding of one and other, share a laugh, and build trust. Things can stay this way for a period of time, but then out of nowhere, the invalidator makes you feel uncertain again.

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In this persons presence, you never know how to feel around them, and you create rational excuses for their behaviour, almost as a way of convincing yourself that you like them.

2. They Like To Project

Projection can be explained quite simply: the person takes their feelings and puts the responsibility for them on you. For example, a person who doesn’t like you may say, ”I don’t think you like me.”.

They can easily set a frame around you, making you explain yourself to them. And instead of thinking about the invalidators intentions, you start questioning your own feelings.

3. They Will Often Use Manipulation

Manipulation is about control. The invalidator needs to feel in power of you, and often makes you feel like you owe them something. This sort of behaviour can be found in managers, and those in higher power.

For example, if you were asked to work overtime but have other commitments, your boss will try to convince you that your work is more important than your commitments.

If you remind your boss about any overtime you put in for them previously, they will make out that they were doing you a favour, or that you owed it to them.

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4. They Are Always Judgemental

An invalidator who often judges you likes to act as if everyone agrees with them. For example, ”You are irresponsible” would be a passing judgment which assumes that this is who you are as a person, and everyone would agree.

The invalidator judges because they want to unconsciously attack your self-esteem instead of addressing the real problem. Addressing the real problem would mean taking responsibility for their feelings which invalidators do not.

5. They Generalise And Exaggerate The Truth

Be careful of generalisations. An invalidator will use generalisations as a way of exaggerating small truths. For example, if you forgot to clean the house, an invalidator might say, ”You never help me” (Translation: you forgot to clean). ”You’re useless”. (You forgot to clean).

Again, this is an attack on your self-esteem instead of the real problem. The problem is the house isn’t clean. The problem is not that you don’t help, or are useless.

6. They Use The Sneak Attack

”I don’t mean to upset you, but..” (They probably want to upset you). ”I don’t mean to interrupt…” (Yeah, right!). The voice of an invalidator who uses a sneak attack will always have a soft voice.

Their face will also show concern. They may even try to be nice, but underneath are daggers.

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7. They Send A Double Message

A double message is usually verbalised in a deep tone – a voice of disgust. For example, an invalidator may ask, ”How are you?”. If you respond with, ”Leave me alone!”, the invalidator will innocently relate to everyone that you are in a bad mood because all they did was ask how you were.

Invalidators can be very sneaky with double messages. They appear innocent to observers, but you can always sense something in the way they are talking to you.

8. They Will Cut Communication

Another valuable tool for the invalidator is cutting communication. If you are asked a question about yourself, they cut you off before you finish answering.

Or you can be asked a leading question like, ”Do you still argue with your partner?” You can’t answer this question without appearing wrong. The invalidator may even walk out in the middle of a conversation, leaving you with a pile of thoughts jammed in your mind.

9. They Build You Up, Then Cut You Down

Many invalidators like to build you up so that you grow dependant on them. They make out that they are always there for you, and that you can always share your innermost feelings.

Whenever you feel self- conscious or anxious, the invalidator will draw your attention to the negative qualities about yourself. This way, they can pull you down, so that they feel more superior, making you feel like you need them.

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10. They Use What’s Called A ‘Double Bind’

The double bind is one of the most sneakiest attacks because you’re wrong if you do, and wrong if you don’t. For example, if you took a class to improve your confidence, your partner may get jealous and insecure of the new confidence you have. So you’re then given the ultimatum of, ”It’s either me or the class”.

Of course, nobody wants to give up their relationship for the sake of a class. An invalidator will put out threats due to the positive changes you are making in your life.

How To Avoid The Everyday Invalidator

Having explored the 10 methods of nasty people and how to avoid them, you now have a better understanding of the invalidators in your daily life, and what their intentions are.

In these circumstances, knowledge is power. Because we cannot always avoid certain people in our lives, we can, however, avoid feeling trapped by them.

We do this by simply being more sharper and aware of the behaviours of the people around us. And with this new level of awareness, we will become confident and more assertive the next time we interact with them.

References, 

Nasty People, Jay Carter, Psyd.D, 2003. 

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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