Today, I want to discuss how to productively and maturely handle weak individuals.
Recap On Weak Individuals
Weak individuals seek to manipulate, control, and dominate others. However, these individuals are emotionally vulnerable, have unstable willpowers, need validation, and crave attention. Their dependence on external approval ensures they are forever enslaved to other people.
Weak individuals come in three forms – the insecure, the dominant, and the deceptive. The insecure utilized passive aggressiveness and abuse of power to remain the center of attention. The dominant refuses to admit their ignorance, so they use aggression to silence detractors. The deceptive refuses to improve, grow, or mature, so they utilize sympathy to stay within a realm of influence.
When dealing with weak individuals, it is crucial to remain in control of yourself. You can easily dance around them if you live your best life and control your emotions. Therefore, you must have emotional maturity, strong willpower, a deep sense of rational pride, and an unwavering dedication to virtue.
Three Broad Ways To Deal With Weak Individuals
Let’s start by exploring the broad ways we can overcome those who wish to use and abuse us. You must remember how weak individuals are “weak” in terms of emotional control, willpower, personality, and virtue. However, they can be very dangerous. In the right positions of power, they will ruin your career, family life, property, emotional peace, mental health, and much more.
Therefore, it pays to learn how to deal with them, so they cannot hurt or destroy you and everything you love.
1. Ignore Frail Individuals
The classic solution. If you identify a manipulative person trying to abuse or control you, then ignore them. Of course, how easily and freely you can ignore fragile individuals depends on your relationship. If you notice a friend of a friend is deceptive and frequently uses excuses and self-pity to cover up his failed life, then stop associating with him.
However, what if your boss is a weak individual? I’ve worked for deeply insecure managers. They did not like to hear criticism or experience push back. Despite promising an open door policy, they would construe anything and everything as disrespect. After scrutinizing my actions, I concluded I could not effectively communicate with my managers, so I stopped talking to them. I kept all communication short and straightforward while I planned to secure a better job.
Silence works against all weak individuals. If you can’t directly ignore them, then cut communication down to the most mundane and professional. Only talk about work and adopt a “messenger” approach: if your boss needs an update, give him an update and leave any lingering opinions at the door.
2. Control Your Emotions; Don’t Let Weak Individuals Control You
Weak individuals succeed because they are masters at hitting your emotions. For example, the dominant will utilize aggression to make you feel doubt. This doubt will destabilize your sense of self-worth. Additionally, their constant arrogance will evoke your ire.
Therefore, you need to control your emotions entirely and fully. Don’t deny your feelings. Seek to identify your emotions and use them to your advantage. An arrogant manager who is dominant will annoy you. However, you should use your righteous anger as fuel to seek better opportunities.
All responsibility is on you. If weak individuals manage to rattle your emotions, then that’s your fault. You have to gain the upper hand by never showing annoyance, frustration, impatience, or disgust at weak individuals. You are relaxed and in control. Weak individuals will hate you for your emotional stability but will be powerless to do anything – that’s the beauty of this technique.
3. Utilize Wit and Cleverness
Wit and cleverness are dangerous weapons. With humor, you can mock frail individuals as a way of toying with them. If you’re witty or talented enough, you can make fun of them in ways they can identify but can’t combat.
For example, with one manager I realized he was insecure. After gaining control of my emotions, I began to poke at him by mentioning my frequent gym trips, growth in my skillset, and the hard work I did outside of corporate work hours. My goal was to inflame his insecurity in ways he couldn’t combat. It worked rather well, and this tactic got him off my back.
However, I’m not the biggest fan of wit and mockery. I believe humor can make the individual seem petty, arrogant, and self-obsessed while indirectly putting us on the level of the people we are mocking. It can be fun, for example, to educate a dominant individual, but is it truly worth it?
Seek Positivity As A Means Of Pushing Back Against Weak Individuals
Therefore, I would use jokes, smiles, and other positive attributes when dealing with weak individuals. Your jokes should be corny and never directed at anyone — for example, remark on the weather and how it never seems to snow anymore. No one can misconstrue that.
However, your positivity will bother weak individuals. Weak individuals want to provoke a reaction out of you. The insecure want you to feel annoyed and doubtful. The dominant want you to be frustrated and subservient. The deceptive want you to feel pitiful and low. However, when you smile, make jokes, and radiant positivity, you’re overcoming all of them and doing the exact opposite of what they want you to do.
Therefore, work on your positivity by developing gratitude and actively seeking better opportunities. When you have a plan for your life and are acting towards it, you’ll be happier and more confident. Also, take better care of yourself, get some sleep, and hit the gym. A healthy body will enable you to have a sharper, stronger mind. A sharper, stronger mind which can stay positive in the face of abuse and disrespect.
How To Deal With The Insecure
With the more broad examples out of the way, I want to dive into the best ways to deal with each frail individual directly.
Insecure people know they are not very talented or capable but desperately wish to be viewed as such. They are anxious about their abilities and place in the world. Thus, they react passively aggressive to challenge and push back. However, be aware of how insecure people are typically amiable until you show a backbone.
The first thing to remember about the insecure is that they are very, very sensitive. Anything less than flawless validation will anger fragile individuals. They always need to know how great they are and hate when they do not receive affirmation.
You don’t need to grovel to anyone. Simply keep your opinions to yourself and work in silence. The insecure lacks raw talent; thus you can’t learn much from them. Additionally, they are extremely emotional, so they’ll try to earn a reaction from you. Play it close to the chest with the insecure. Never reveal personal habits or pet peeves to them. They want to be your friend so they can know what buttons to push.
Keep To Yourself And Work Hard
The only way to “get back” at the insecure is never to play their emotional game. Always keep a leveled head and let them become angry at your casual nature. When they desire validation from you, don’t give it and instead focus on the work at hand. This is hard. Very hard. Denying our emotions, especially anger towards manipulation, can be impossible. However, it’s necessary when dealing with the insecure.
How To Deal With The Dominant
The dominant has a massive ego, skills, and a need to be right constantly. Unlike other weak individuals, the dominant actual has a set of refutable skills, which lends a level of credibility. However, their abusive nature, refusal to admit wrongdoing, and hostility towards criticism makes them terrifying.
As with all frail individuals, your primary goal should be to ignore the dominant either outright or by limiting your time around them. Demanding individuals expect you to follow orders. Thus, it’s essential to work in the way the dominant prefers. Even if you have an objectively better idea keep it to yourself while you seek solutions beyond your current environment.
The Productive Delusions Of The Dominant
The dominant has much to teach. With the insecure, you’ll want to avoid speaking with them, but the dominant usually has competence in some field. A demanding individual believes he is right every time because he has skills in some area of life. However, the dominating individual is confident he is right in all other areas of life, and this is where the delusion comes into play.
Say you have a former coach who wants to start a restaurant. He may have won multiple games and state championships; however, his method of coaching and leadership does not translate precisely in the kitchen. He’s working with different people, including women. Thus, he needs to change his leadership style. However, he believes he knows what makes competent leadership and he doesn’t change.
Expertise In One Field Does Not Make You An Expert In Another
Eventually, his abrasive leadership style does not work, and he is too harsh on many workers, especially the wait staff. While the coach may seem utterly incompetent in this situation, you can still learn something. Firstly, you can learn how NOT to treat others. If you step in and command your coworkers rationally and respectfully, they will follow your orders and see you as a better leader.
Next, you can analyze the abrasive leadership style. Some people do need a swift kick in the ass and being aggressive with feedback can get this point across. When used sparingly, the dominating form can help with effective leadership.
Lastly, if you can get close to the dominant individual, you can learn what they know. The abrasive individual may be weak in many aspects of communication, but they are usually fiercely competent in some field. Thus, it pays to listen to them and ask questions. They won’t be intimidated by curiosity as the insecure may be.
The Complexity of the Dominant
The most compelling thing about the dominant is that they are not opposed to the success of others. Very rarely have I seen a dominant individual suffer from envy. An abrasive individual wants to see other people succeed, but only by his or her definition of success. Therefore, you can be a good leader or teammate, and he won’t object. On the other hand, when you come to him directly and say his leadership style isn’t working he’ll seek to put you back in line.
The dominant are strong people, but they lack empathy, humility, and emotional control. The dominant is usually “yelling types” such as coaches, drill sergeants, and the like. However, I’ve worked with CEOs who were soft-spoken but refused to accept that there were other paths to success outside of a corporate job. I’ve known soft-spoken Christians who cannot accept the validity of different world views or how Christianity does not have a monopoly on virtue. None of these people were hostile, evil, or disrespectful – they lacked humility and the capacity to see beyond themselves.
Finally, I’m guilty of this as well. I firmly believe individualism can solve most problems. However, it can’t solve everything nor is it the only way to approach complex issues.
Of all the frail individuals, the dominant has the highest capacity to grow, mature, and improve. Never completely give up on a demanding individual but never allow them to abuse you.
How To Deal With The Deceptive
Deceptive people utilize manipulations, self-deprecation, and other tactics to cover up their abusive, leech-like nature. Their goal is to gain your trust and respect without having to improve, grow, or develop. Lastly, deceptive people are the most insidious of weak individuals because they can hide very well. They utilize empathy as a means of taking power and depriving the truly needy from receiving aid.
Surely you have a family member who has a crippling addiction. However, when the addiction is mentioned, your family member is quick to cry or generate excuse after excuse. You cannot attack this deceptive family member directly because they will hide in a shroud of self-pity. They will throw up excuses in an attempt to distract you or garner sympathy from others. Since most people hate conflict, even meaningful conflict, deceptive people use this hatred to silence more virtuous voices seeking the truth.
Deceptive People Love To Hide Behind Self-Pity
Therefore, never openly attack deceptive individuals. Similar to the dominant and the insecure, dishonest people will shrink from criticism and seek ways to dodge having to change or make personal improvements.
Your best bet is to lay low around deceptive people and keep your personal life close to your chest. Never reveal financial successes or personal victories. The dishonest person will rightfully see you as a target for exploitation.
Luckily, deceptive individuals are rarely in a position of power because their lack of ambition cannot sustain hierarchical power. However, if you do find yourself under the command of a manipulator, then respond with cold indifference. Never give away reveal too much emotion and keep your interactions as brief as possible. You always want to starve the deceptive of an audience and ensure they never have the attention they so desperately seek.
How To Help Others And Root Our The Deceptive
Because deceptive people hide amongst those in need, they can create a feeling of doubt and insecurity in individuals who wish to use their excess resources to help others. If you want to help others but find that many people are manipulators, what can you do?
Have expectations. One of the more foolish ideas surrounding aid is it’s cruel to have “expectations” of the people you are assisting. Nothing can be farther from the truth. When people need help, they need to utilize your resources in productive and positive ways. You should expect they will not waste what you give them. If they do, then you need to cut off aid and assistance.
Help Those Who Will Help Themselves
For example, I was helping someone learn how to drive which was a time and money investment. However, this person, after months of practice, had not listened to my advice, refused to practice, and never showed an interest in improving. I cut my losses and took my time, energy, and money elsewhere.
We should always hold people to a high standard. Poverty, handicaps, and other unfortunate events give us no right to look at the needy and view them as “less” than us. They, like everyone else, is capable of greatness and they can only achieve their highest potential if we push them to be the best versions of themselves.
If you give your resources to someone and they squander those resources, then they are deceptive. Always set expectations and voice these expectations to the person you are helping. If they break your trust, then forego any “second chances.” Write them off as a lost cause and move forward with your life.
Weakness and Individualism
Weakness comes from wanting validation and applause when we have earned neither. Weaknesses of virtue, emotional control, and willpower will ensure we are incapable of being the best versions of ourselves.
Now that we understand how to approach and interact with weak individuals, I want to go over how to avoid becoming a weak individual. How do we remain strong, capable, and virtuous? We are all capable of weakness. Thus, it is essential to consider the demons which may dominate us if we do not properly prepare.
Return next week for the conclusion to this series on weak individuals.
- Reflect on a moment when you were weak, petty, and abrasive. Were you being an insecure, dominant, or deceptive individual? Why?
- In your personal life, which type of weak individual do you encounter frequently? How can you minimize their influence in your life?
- Which of the three archtypes of weak individual nothers you the most? Why?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash