Friday, May 16, 2008

Anger In The Age of Entitlement: Emotional Pollutants

You've got them (all of them) under your skin. Emotional pollution is transmitted covertly by body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice and more overtly by language and behavior. The negative effects of the more subtle forms of emotional pollution are nearly as great as the more dramatic forms. This post will list the top four emotional pollutants.

1. Entitlement
Entitlement is the primary emotional pollutant because it plays some part in all the others. Think of how you react when you see people who behave as if they deserve special treatment or consideration. They expect to cut in front of you in line, smoke wherever they want, drive anyway they like, say anything they want, and do anything they like. By making their rights superior to yours, they imply that you don't count....

2. Resentment

The most common emotional pollutant, resentment is based on a perception of unfairness for not getting the expected help, appreciation, consideration, praise, reward, respect, or affection. It is one of the most unpleasant emotional states to be near, in part because it carries a powerful sense of entitlement - it's only fair that the world give me what I want. More to the point, resentful people are so caught up in their "rights" and so locked into their own perspectives that they become completely insensitive to the rights and perspectives of others, which means that you will certainly feel shut out and diminished in their presence.

3. Anger
An isolated expression of anger, like an isolated display of entitlement or resentment may not be polluting. However, it is rare to see an isolated expression of anger, simply because it is the most contagious of all emotions. ...

4. Superiority
Superiority is the implication, at least through body language or tone of voice, that you are better than someone else. Emotional polluters tend to have hierarchical self-esteem, i.e., they need to feel better than someone else to feel okay about themselves. Not surprisingly, this form of distorted self-esteem lies at the heart of racism, sexism, and all other prejudicial points of view....

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Emotional Pollutants II | Psychology Today Blogs

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