Pay attention to how people treat you.
Most people keep secrets about themselves away from the light of day. Much of their awareness of self is kept inside so not to reveal their innermost workings. It’s a sort of defense mechanism against exposure to unfriendly judgement. But if you know what to look for, you can begin to identify what it is people are trying to hide.
Often times, their sense of self comes out in the form of aggression toward others. If you watch and listen closely, you can see people revealing their own shortcomings by trying to lob accusations at you.
Cheaters will accuse you of cheating.
Have you ever been accused of cheating before? I have. And it turns out that the one doing the accusing was actually the one doing the cheating too. I don’t fully understand why. It could be that they just wanted to even out the score, make it seem like I was just as bad as them.
In the moment, I went into full defense mode. Of course I hadn’t cheated! Only later on, after the relationship had ended, did I realize what was actually happening. I was being shown something I wasn’t intended to see. By accusing me of cheating, I was catching a glimpse of an awful inner truth.
Liars will say you’re a liar.
In the absense of evidence, only you know when you’re lying and only you know when you’re telling the truth. What others take away from that is a matter of their ability (or lackthereof) to trust you. If someone says you’re a liar or you’re lying about something, even if you know you’re not, chances are they’re showing you something about themselves.
Just like with the cheating behavior, the idea is to deflect attention from themselves and their own tendencies to lie about things. And if you did get caught in a lie, the scales would be balanced. Their lies would seem less awful. In reality, if you know what you’re looking for, you can peg them as the liar they are and flip the script.
Insecure people will make you feel insecure.
Then there are people who feel insecure so they do whatever they can to make others, including you, feel less secure about themselves. This is the behavior that is at the heart of every bully’s inner complex. Most bullies have been bullied themselves and feel the need to let shit roll downhill, so to speak.
Often times, the remarks that make you feel insecure about yourself are subtle. But if you’re listening carefully, you’ll notice that they’re opening up a window that shows you their deepest insecurities. But don’t weaponize it! Try to cut to the heart of their insecurities and build them up. Don’t punch down.
The way people treat you is a reflection of who they are.
At the end of the day, most of the mistreatment you receive from others is something they themselves are worried about, or feel about themselves, or do themselves.
When you’re being accused of something flat out untrue, they’re not really accusing you of anything. They’re admitting something.
So listen closely.