Contempt

contempt-feelings-Meetville-Quotes-183739

Contempt usually functions as a defense against shame

Source: http://bit.ly/1JKd41D

Contempt is an emotion felt towards others that puts the person in an inferior, lower status position.The other person is regarded as being less in some way that the person feeling contempt considers important.

For example the other person may be seen as:

  • Less intelligent or less knowledgeable
  • Less important
  • Less powerful
  • Less moral or ethical

In the latter case, the person is seen as being bad, for example when they have transgressed values, in which case the contempt may be associated with disgust and other strong negative emotions such as anger and hate.

Feeling contempt is an act of separation as the person creates a relational distance between themself and the other person. This can make contemptuousness rather a cold act, although if values have been broken then there may also be a hotter anger.

Because contempt requires a mental position of superiority, the person feeling this may experience a certain pleasure.

Contempt can be seen in facial expression, in the tightening and slight raising of the corners of the lip, often on only one side of the face. [Also, personalised snarking and insults on electronic media].

Cost of contempt

Resentment and revenge

Contempt may trigger resentment in the other person, which is typical of a person who feels themself to be in a lower status position where they are unable to defend themself.

Lower status reduces the power to respond directly, and the resentful person may find devious ways of taking their revenge, which may lead to the contemptuous person being hurt in some way without knowing who has done this.

So what?

Avoid being considered with contempt by others.

If this happens, do not accept the invitation into a lower status position by being resentful. Rather, you can assertively respond as an equal or even take a competing superior position (although this will very likely lead to conflict).

The power of contempt means that even the threat of it can be very effective in changing minds, although the distancing affect of this means person affected must continue to want to be closer. The danger is that it can cause a reaction that pushes them away from you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s