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  • 03.01.08

The Leading Edge – Hillary Clinton – A Case of “Fearful Aggression”

Hillary Clinton + Anticipatory Rejection + Fearful Aggression = Lost Presidential Bid  

Hillary Clinton + Anticipatory Rejection + Fearful Aggression = Lost Presidential Bid

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Anticipatory rejection
is a state of mind where you believe that regardless of what you say,
people will push back, counterattack, minimize, deny, become defensive,
make excuses, blame or use some other tactic to reject whatever comes
out of your mouth and also deny responsibility (one can only imagine
the exchanges between Hillary and Bill towards the end of his second
term).

It
is usually based on the experience of years – if not a lifetime –of
people pushing back at you and not accepting what you say and then
coming to believe that it will always be that way and acting
preemptively.

Fearful aggression is a behavior and something that show dog trainers know well and that we all watched in the movie, “Best in Show.” It occurs when a tightly wound, highly pedigreed dog (or person) is cornered or frightened, and it reacts with aggression. To
the outsider the dog appears to be on the attack, but from inside the
dog, it is completely fueled by the fear of being attacked.

In
a nutshell, when you’re on the defensive (fueled by your anticipatory
rejection mindset and fearful aggression reaction) and nobody is
attacking you, you are perceived as being both on the offensive and paranoid…and you offend everyone.

And
the solution? Maybe an update on Freud’s famous dictum: “Where id was,
let ego be” (ego as in being in touch with reality) is called for, such
as: “Where ego (self-righteousness) was, let graciousness be.”

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© 2008 Mark Goulston

About the author

Mark Goulston, M.D. is the Co-Fonder of Heartfelt Leadership a global community whose Mission of Daring to Care it dedicated to identifying, celebrating, developing and supporting heartfelt leaders who are as committed to making a difference as they are to making a profit.

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