How emotionally intelligent are you?
Emotional intelligence is a skill that can take a lifetime to fully develop. It’s important to understand common manipulation tactics and their use. This can help you better avoid engaging with people who use them.
It can also shed light into your own emotional responses and reactions to people. And further develop your emotional intelligence through strong management. Learning these tactics might even prompt you to exit discussions altogether. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to feel confident in that decision?
Common manipulation tactics
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation. One in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group. And make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.
Red herring is a kind of fallacy that is an irrelevant topic introduced in an argument. The intention is to divert the attention of listeners or readers from the original issue. In literature, this fallacy is often used in detective or suspense novels. It’s purpose is to mislead readers or characters, or to induce them to make false conclusions.
A straw man is a fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument. What’s really happening is the person is refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent.
At first glance a red herring and a straw man seem like the same style of argument. So what’s the difference?
A red herring is an unrelated or irrelevant topic in an argument that distracts someone from the actual argument. A straw man, on the other hand, is when someone distorts an argument. Presenting it in a new, twisted version that’s easier to argue against.
It’s not enough to be able to identify these traits in others. We also need to reflect on their existence within ourselves. As I said earlier, emotional intelligence can take a lifetime to build. It’s OK if you still have a lot of growing to do!
Wisdom is a language of its own and we need to learn to accept that not everyone speaks it.
I’m sure you have heard people speaking the term “emotional labor” at some point or another.
It’s a common phrase within the feminist and social justice communities. In these settings it’s used to speak to the free education and time someone is expected to dispense to defend their human rights.
Alternatively, it’s also commonly used to refer to the time they’re expected to devote to sharing their personal experiences with oppression -and the emotional toll that takes- to, once again, defend their human rights. Unfortunately it’s been badly misused.
What emotional labor actually means
The phrase refers to the work people have to do in certain jobs around suppressing or amplifying their emotions. Ever worked in retail and been told you must speak nauseatingly cheerfully with customers, no matter what they say to you or how they treat you?
Have you worked in hospitality and been told you have to smile constantly, no matter what’s going on in your personal life or how you’re actually feeling? Or, worked in collections and had to use fear tactics to collect payments?
Some people call this “being professional,” or “part of the job,” and they’re right, it is. The phrase emotional labor acknowledges the work required to maintain these artificial mannerisms. It also includes the emotions that are expected of us in these roles. Ones which we are not necessarily compensated for.
It’s the intangible toll these behaviors take on our mental and emotional well being that is the focus.
How it has evolved
Arlie Hochchild coined the phrase. She has acknowledged that its expansion to include other tasks involved in the managing of other people’s emotions would make sense. So long as it causes us to feel some degree of emotional hardship.
For example, doing household chores is not inherently emotional labor. However, if you feel pressured to do those chores and are resentful about it, but have to conceal your negative emotions, that could be emotional labor.
It’s important to use the right words if we hope to either communicate effectively or deepen our own emotional intelligence. How can we grow if we don’t know how to label our own feelings correctly? How can we grow if we can’t articulate why we feel the way we do?
The reality of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence should be taught in schools and homes. It’s a societal downfall that it isn’t. No one teaches kids to become comfortable just sitting with their feelings, mulling them over and working through them.
As a result, kids grow into adults who cannot tolerate the feeling of guilt or discomfort. In turn, they either respond with anger or denial.
The Next Step
One of the best pieces of advice I can give is: if you feel guilty, or angry when you learn about a form of oppression, allow it those feelings to pass through you and consider why you feel that way BEFORE responding.
It resulted in me asking a lot more questions. And making fewer statements and assumptions. Which led to me learning a lot more and not taking things personally.
I’d love to know…
What advice do you have for cultivating emotional intelligence?
What’s a great example of any one of these toxic behaviours?
Question of the Week
Should the internet be selectively censored?
Studies have proven that exposure to certain forms of online content leads to an increased likelihood to dehumanize a specific group of people or even commit violent acts against them. Two significant examples to point to are violent porn and hate crimes. What are your thoughts on online censorship for some types of content? Should censorship exist? If so, who controls it, and to what extent? Can we trust them to remain ethical with this control? If not, how do we justify the harm that comes to people as a result of a lack of censorship? Who would be most negatively impacted and why?
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