This post continues a series on the distorted thinking patterns displayed by disordered or disturbed characters. Earlier posts have dealt with the distubed character’s penchants for thinking in distorted ways (see: What Were They Thinking – Pt. 2), thinking of others as objects to possess and control (see: The Possessive Thinking of the Disturbed Character), thinking of themselves to the exclusion of others (see: Egocentric Thinking) and paying attention to only what they want (see: The Innatentive Thinking of the Disturbed Character).
Disordered characters, most especially the aggressive personalities, also tend to view the world as a combat stage. They see most situations as a contest that they have to win. They expend a lot of mental energy thinking about the battles they want to wage and stances they want to take against the demands of the world. Right from the first minute they think someone is asking something from them, they start planning how they will resist acceding to those expectations. They do battle so readily because they detest the idea of backing down, conceding, or giving ground, even when it would be in their long-term best interest to do so.
Habitual combative thinking is what primarily leads to the unnecessarily hostile, confrontational, and defiant attitudes that underlie antisocial conduct. The undisciplined, destructive fighters among us are who they are because of how they think about life and the world around them. Determined to win at all costs, and finding no value in concession, they end up resisting the many efforts of their parents, other authority figures, and society to socialize (i.e., civilize) them.
One of the ways I advise people to deal with this combative mindset is to be constantly on the lookout for win-win scenarios. Because they see life as a contest and they always have winning on their minds, finding a way to give diturbed characters some of what they want as a fair exchange for securing something you want can be a helpful strategy and makes living or dealing with them a lot easier. It should be said, however, that no aggressive personality has ever matured into a more pro-social being until they have dealt directly with their abhorance of submission of any kind and overcome their penchant for thinking too combatively. At some point they have to accede to the notion that winning in the long-run sometimes means conceding or giving ground in the short run. Because to internalize one of society’s prohibitions is necessarily an act of submission, they have to learn to be more at peace with the notion that caving-in sometimes is not the end of the world.