The authoritarian personality makes life very difficult for people, especially those he or she has power and influence over.
Authoritarians share a similar psychological posture, which is difficult to address.
The unexamined inner lives of an authoritarian parent/teacher/boss/political master and others oppress sons/daughters/students/employees and citizens.
The Upper Inner Regions of the Authoritarian Type.
Such a person need to be understood in the upper regions of their mind and in the deeper regions,
The upper regions and deeper regions co-exist in conflict with each other. The upper region rejects the deeper region as much it rejects the sensitivities of others
The upper region of the authoritarian type is controlling, dominating, overbearing, intolerant of dissent and unable to listen,
The authoritarian type believes s/he or she knows what is best for others without consulting them or only shows a superficial curiosity about their wishes or needs.
Such a person shows itself in a dismissive attitude, insensitivity, rudeness, harshness of voice, interruption of others and rejects different opinions. The authoritarian cannot tolerate dissent or being treated as an equal.
Those under the influence of the authoritarian personality find themselves resentful, talking behind the back of the authoritarian type, avoiding contact, fearful of their outbursts or patronising comments.
Those who endure the authoritarian type feel oppressed, abused, mistreated, misunderstood, irritable and indifferent.
The Deeper Inner Regions of the Authoritarian Type
Beneath the surface of the authoritarian type is the desire to control the behaviour of those they perceive as subordinate.
Beneath the desire to control others lurks the fear of losing control over others.
Beneath the fear of losing control over others is the fear of rejection from others.
Beneath the fear of rejection of others is a deeply rooted insecurity.
The authoritarian type lives in fear of insecurity.
Unable to handle this fear of their own insecurity, the authoritarian makes others fearful so they feel insecure instead.
He or she wants to appear strong and powerful to compensate for their appearing weak and vulnerable.
Deep down, the authoritarian type has a low sense of self-worth. They cannot admit this to themselves and they cannot admit this to others.
All authoritarian types share the same unresolved inner issues.
Unable to cope with a low sense of self-worth, the authoritarian exerts pressure on others, undermines and belittles them as a way of achieving self-worth and self-importance.
Such a personality needs to be understood as a demanding, agitated AND insecure human being
We take bold steps to challenge the authoritarian (s) in our lives.
What Steps to Take?
You cannot meet blind force with blind force.
The authoritarian type has an acute need for recognition, respect and personal acknowledgement.
Keeping a low profile is not an option.
You must find an appropriate language with the authoritarian.
You show you are not afraid to speak candidly with the person. You are not afraid to report back to the authoritarian the exacts words he or she said that reveals a dominating, intolerant mindset.
You discuss the matter openly with colleagues. You see if the collective can work together to find strength in the face of adversary.
You stay true to your values and concerns.
Saying nothing is not an option.
You speak up. You take risks.
You may lose your job.
Your integrity and dignity is worth more than your job.
If you experience bullying, threats, intimidation and attempts to undermine your worth, then you address these issues. This requires a precision in language, a sharpness of memory of incidents of what the authoritarian said or wrote.
To repeat: Saying nothing is not an option.
The Art of Communication
You express appreciation initially for any qualities you perceive in the authoritarian type. This helps them to relax.
Deep down the person wants to feel loved and appreciated.
After the appreciation, you engaged in the polite raising of questions. You tell the person you have questions to help you understand the situation and the authoritarian’s role in it.
You require a calm, measured voice throughout the communication. You need to be able to listen to the reactions without getting upset. You need to express appreciation for any acknowledgements from the authoritarian type of their problematic relationship with others.
You endeavour to build a bridge in communication. You quote precisely their words. You never exaggerate. You ever go back too far in the past.
- “Is there a way we can get on better?”
- What would be your response if somebody treated you the same way you treat others?
- “Do you think this is the best way for you to communicate?”
- Can we listen to each other without interrupting?
- Would you like reminders when you are demanding and forcing your views on others?
- Do you think a calm and clear voice may bring the best out of people?
- You act as if you don’t care what people think of you. It is obvious that you do care. If you did not care about what people think of you, you could listen and be at ease. Would you agree?
The angry voice of the authoritarian resists even the most thoughtful feedback because the authoritarian fears the views of the other (s). The anger becomes an emotional strategy to avoid feeling insecure. Deep down, the authoritarian cares a great deal about what people think of them.
If the person starts to explode, you may need to quietly withdraw from the communication and leave them with their outburst. You say you will return later to discuss your concerns when the person has cooled down.
A clear communication with the other cannot guarantee a change of heart in that person. It may be a series of small, thoughtful steps that start to change the authoritarian.
Submission in the face of oppression, subtle or gross, shows an indifference to others, who may feel abused or traumatised by the authoritarian.
We have words, spoken or written, to make crystal clear our concerns. Action in the face of the authoritarian shows ethics, integrity and respect for oneself and others.
You speak up to change the unwarranted demands and belittlement from the authoritarian.