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The “Cry of Arrogance”

The “Cry of Arrogance”


L.T. Force, Ph.D.


When you begin your study of the field and discipline of Psychology - you are presented with the History and Systems of Psychology - being introduced to different perspectives regarding the interpretation of human behavior. As a student, you are introduced to the work of Sigmund Freud - the Freudian Perspective. Other main schools of thought in American Psychology are the work found in the "Behavioral Camp" or the perspective offered by the "Cognitive Theorists" or "Cognitive - Behavioral Practitioners - or the variations that launch from these foundational theories. The reality is, wherever your training, experience and interests take you - you find yourself aligning with a particular focus or "theoretical lens". And, it is not uncommon, as you continue to build your practice….your craft…. that you may find yourself adhering to or changing to the principles of one group vs another. In fact, that is been my journey and experience.

In my undergraduate days I was exposed to a "Behavioral Paradigm". My training included a focus on; "Behaviorism' - and surrounded by what I call today: “Rat Psychology”. The emphasis was on training "White Rats in Skinner Boxes" - where one would implement different "schedules of reinforcement" thereby, influencing the acquisition of new behaviors, as well as the extinguishing of old behavior patterns.

In graduate school, the training curriculum was completely different - with a focus on "Freud and Jung". From a: "Psychoanalytic Perspective" - behavior is interpreted differently than from the "Behavioral Perspective". In graduate training, there was also an emphasis placed on the work of "Gestalt Psychologists". As I continued my doctoral training I was exposed to the theory and application of: "Task-Centered Practice" (a here and now paradigm aligned with a Cognitive-Behavioral perspective). So, as you can see I was presented with a variety of theoretical perspectives and practice orientations that helped to shape my view of interpreting behavior and implementing a therapeutic intervention. And then later in life I was introduced to a "Solution-Focused Orientation". It was like I was in a room and someone opened a window.... and fresh air came in "Solution Focus is a “here and now” perspective" - that as the name indicates - focuses more on solutions than problems. That is what I practice today.

As I tell my students - it is OK to blend together different paradigms - to create one that reflects your style, patterns and personality - as long as, you remember the origin and where those different theoretical tenets come from. So in essence, although I have aligned myself with different schools of thought across time - "I have taken what I like the best, or value the most, from those various perspectives and blended them like ingredients that now shape my therapeutic world-view". Do I believe in everything each paradigm has to offer - No. However, I have taken what I like from various modalities. For one, I like the "Psychoanalytic Perspective" that places emphasis on: “there are times regarding behavior - that what you see - is not the real cause of the behavior - but rather look one layer below". This makes sense - as the "Psychoanalytic Perspective" places emphasis on: early childhood experiences, the interpretation of dream-work and the importance of symbolism’. If you want to understand the behavior of someone - look at the underlying meaning behind the behavior. In using that perspective - I look at the question: “Why are some people arrogant? What is it that they get out of being arrogant?”


The definition of Arrogance:

1 : exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner. 2 : showing an offensive attitude of superiority : proceeding from or characterized by arrogance.

(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)


We have all been in the presence of an Arrogant Person. Whether it be family members, workplace colleagues or friends - they can be found in all settings. Fortunately, with friends we can disengage - and therefore remove them….move away from them… and their unacceptable interpersonal exchange. However, with people found in one's family or in the workplace - we don’t have the same freedom or luxury to remove these people from our: "inner-network of interactions". So what can one do to:minimize the impact of being in the presence of - or interacting with a person who is: "permeating the words and aroma of arrogance”. My recommendation is put your “Psychoanalytic-Glasses” on and try to understand the origin and reason for their behavior. You will find as you do that: "arrogance is not only words and affect: “Arrogance is a Cry”. It is a cry to be noticed, to feel better and stronger on the outside than you do on the inside….it’s a cry for attention. Knowing that, your understanding and interpretation of the person’s behavior will shift. No longer will you be offended by their actions and attitudes….but rather you will feel sorry for them - and only hope that: "their fragmented way of dealing with others will be healed - and made whole" - and that will occur - once they move away from infantile, self-serving and attention seeking behaviors. So remember, “Arrogance is a Cry”....don't be repulsed by it - try to understand it. And if you want to be helpful to that person....give them a Teddy Bear.for comfort and reassurance....

"Teddy Bears always win".


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