The Fear of Being Belittled

Seventh of 11 articles on high conflict people at church. Previous article: The Fear of Being Abandoned

Some high conflict people are driven by a deep and profound fear of being belittled. Their motto in life is, “I’m special.” And anything that challenges that is seen as a serious threat to their existence. Some of these people seem insecure on the surface, but the majority appear exceedingly confident. They know themselves to be more than ordinary. They believe they are exceptional and should be acknowledged as such every step along the way.

Their motto in life is, “I’m special.”

These high conflict people are known for boasting and bragging. They are often grandiose. They exaggerate and they lie about their actions and accomplishments.

They see themselves as better, smarter, more worthy, unique, better qualified. They will push themselves forward as the leader, authority or expert. They may not have experience or a proven track record though. They are just convinced that they should be on top, making decisions because they know best.

It is often thought that they do this because they feel a great personal lack of security. They are overcompensating. This could be true and clear in some situations. Other times, the high conflict person appears to have no lack of confidence at all. They will find the very notion laughable.

When these people are challenged it does not go well. They resent the slightest hint that they may have performed inadequately, could stand some improvement or were in any way at fault. They resent being asked to be accountable for their actions or outcomes. They are resistant to personal change. They do not take responsibility for what they do or who it impacts.

Instead, they blame. They aren’t nearly as interested in solving problems as they are in assigning blame to others. There will often be a pattern of putting down others while maintaining facade of reasonableness. Many are fully capable of very aggressive name calling and other firms of verbal abuse. Often there will be false accusations. It is important for pastors to understand the range of abuse these high conflict people practice. Learning to identify and how to effectively deal with these attacks is an important skill for ministry longevity.

These high conflict people are generally oblivious to other’s needs or feelings. While they are often charismatic and attractive at the beginning they are not capsble or willing to live with the give and take of the intimacy required of deep and lasting relationships. These high conflict people will often be surprised by the resentment and anger of another toward them since they assume that everyone sees them as wonderfully special.

On the other hand, the needs and feelings of others may simply frustrate the high conflict person. Without empathy, these needs and feelings may simply trigger scorn or contempt. It may even lead to domestic violence and child abuse.

Next Steps: Is there someone in your life or at your church that expects special or preferential treatment? Do they bend or break little rules to demonstrate their status? Do they demonstrate their wealth, connections, or other forms of status in subtle or obvious ways? Do they embody humility in a quiet way without calling attention to themselves?

Do they lack concern or show contempt for the poor, those with addiction, those who have suffer loss of any kind?

Do they handle feedback well? Do they welcome correction? Do they blame others? Do they wait and plot their retaliation? Do they get even?

Next Article: The Fear of Being Dominated

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