Sunday, April 10, 2016


Short Notes From:
Dealing with Bosses and Coworkers Who Brain You Dry
Albert J. Bernstein, PhD.
McGraw Hill Education
258 pages
Protect Yourself From The Emotional Vampires
The brain operates in two separate modes called dual process theory:
·         Fast thinking which is automatic and emotional, and
·         Slow thinking which is more reasoned and rational

In real life, the head should rule the heart, or someone will get hurt.  Fast thinking is mediated by the programming that came in the box with our brains.  Slow thinking involves using the newer areas of the brain to manually override the automatic programming and substitute rationale analysis for physiological reaction.  The ability to analyze a situation and do what needs to be done rather than what we feel like doing is the very essence of maturity.

Emotional vampires are less mature than you are.  Mature slows thinking recognizes rationalizations and does it best to talk to you out of them.  So, they rely mostly on fast thinking.  They are driven by their emotional needs.

Everybody thinks everything all the time.  Slow thinking means using your mind to unravel these mixed signals from your brain and decide which of them to act upon.  The more mature you are, the more variables you have to consider.  One of the main functions of fast thinking is to narrow options so that survival decisions can be made quickly.

Fast and slow thinking are not absolutes.  Whenever you recognize fast thinking in yourself or in the people you work with, you would do well to stop and slow down before you get lost in confusion.

1. Slow thinking moves towards gradations (any process or change taking place through a series of stages, by degrees, or in a gradual manner) rather than dichotomies (a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different)
Fast thinking dumbs down the complexity of existence into two category system:
·         good and evil;
·         safe and dangerous;
like me and different.
Slow, businesslike thinking is most often a process of balancing forces, rather than choosing one as better than another.
Work decisions are usually dilemmas that requires compromises rather than problems with a solution that is right or wrong.

2. Slow thinking moves towards internal rather than external control
Slow thinking begins with yourself.  The more mature you are, the more clearly you realize that the most effective way to control your life is to control your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Fast thinking looks outwards.  It is reactive, based partly on instinctive program for survival and partly on habits, which are thought and behavior sequences that we have learned, mostly automatically, based on the contingencies in our lives.  A contingency is an if-then situation.

3. Slow thinking moves towards connection rather than separateness
Fast thinking is by its very nature self-serving.  Its purpose is individual rather than group survival.
Mature, slow thinking appreciated the fact that everything is connected to everything else.
Human beings are social creatures.  We experienced full humanity only when we are a part of something larger.  We demonstrate this connection by following socials rules, examples:
·         Other people are just like me
o   Fast thinking divides all humanity into two categories: like me and different
o   Empathy is what maturity is all about.
o   Vampires don’t get empathy.  To them other people were created to supply their needs
·         What’s fair is fair
o   Mature, slow thinking adults use their sense of fairness as a yardstick for measuring their behavior
o   Vampires don’t do reciprocity.  They get what they want when they want it
·         What you get is what you put in
o   Adults understand that the more you give, the more you get
o   Vampires take
·         Other people have the right to say no

Social rules that emotional vampires follow:
·         My needs are more important than anyone else
·         The rules apply to other people, not me
·         It’s not my fault, ever
·         I want it now
·         If I don’t get my way, I throw a tantrum

4. Slow thinking moves towards challenge rather than expediency
Fast thinking view the choice between safety and danger, where safety lies in avoiding what is difficult or frightening.
Slow thinking recognizes that everything in life changes and that we must change with it or be left behind.

Understanding where a problem comes from is not the same as solving it.  It is far more important to understand the mechanics of human problems, how they operate, and what to do about them than it is to speculate about what causes them.  Emotional vampires’ immaturity allows them to operate without thinking about whether their actions are good or bad.  Vampires see other people as potential sources for whatever they happen to need at the moment, not as a separate human beings with needs and feelings of their own.

Everybody you know, including yourself, has some characteristics of each of the vampire types.  Everybody has some; nobody has all.  Most difficult people are a blend of two or more vampire types.

To be continued……
Coming up next: know yourself

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