Most intimidating questions
We don’t see that we are intimidating when we do this, because we don’t empathize with the injury we are causing.In the case of cutting humor, empathy ruins the joke.We have trouble holding these two identities together, our psychological containment fails, and we rely on defensive behavior to maintain equilibrium if we are unable to make constructive use of such feedback (which is usually not given in an easy-to-take-in way, as the other person is speaking from a position of threat).It's not unusual for this kind of disconnect to happen, and inadvertent intimidation comes up in several different ways, which are informative to spell out.
Mountains are created to be conquered; adversities are designed to be defeated; problems are sent to be solved. Thinking about intimidation is hard enough, let alone talking about feelings of being intimidating and intimidated by one another, in pairs or even groups.It’s not “just a joke,” but we tell ourselves it is.Competition and the need to win no matter what the stakes make it easy to hurl a clever quip, to lash out verbally, cornering and trapping, employing what classical psychoanalysts famously referred to as oral aggression.We are, in fact, subject to the power of our own intellect against ourselves, as others are.But for people who learned to prize intellect above compassion — where the quick comeback, even a sadistic retort, scores points, gives a rush of pleasure even while dismissing the validity of the injury to another — we deny how our words can really hurt.
When people are inadvertently intimidating and have ambivalent feelings about the feedback they get, it is a more interesting situation to think about than when people are singularly being bullies, because inadvertent intimidation, the subject of the rest of this piece, suggests an unrecognized division within oneself, a Dr.