It's not always easy to tell if we're in ORC territory. Beck cites some red flags. Red flag No. 1: a tendency among the people around you to become increasingly selfish, exploitative and unfair. Red flag No. 2: a growing disconnect between your own feelings and your actions -- directly proportional to how badly you're being treated and how far you've managed to stray from the truth.
Take a look at the following chart to gauge how your feelings and actions can escalate over time if not held in check, leading to obsessive thoughts. As the old saying goes, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."
Feelings and actions
Disturbed -- You easily brush aside your feelings and continue your nice, polite behavior.
Displaced -- You appear cooperative around the offender, still pushing away resistant feelings, but now fussing grumpily to yourself or to others.
Hurt -- You may actually increase niceness to hide the fact that you're feeling seriously wronged.
Resentful -- The offender's misdeeds begin to occupy more and more of your attention. Complaining about him or her becomes a daily pastime.
Seething -- The offender's bad behavior becomes a central feature of your thinking. You complain constantly to others. And, despite controlled "niceness," you seek to undermine him or her with passive-aggressive strategies like the silent treatment, backhand compliments and gossip.
Homicidal -- You daydream about thrashing the offender. You have knots in your stomach and can't sleep. You're irritable and depressed. You may occasionally lash out at loved ones in what appears to be irrational rage.
If you recognize yourself anywhere on this chart, you may want to reflect on one of my favorite quotes by author Anaïs Nin: "We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are."
You can reset your GPS and still take the high road, while also standing up for your own principles. Remember: We teach people how to treat us.
Linda Arnold, M.A., MBA, is a certified wellness instructor, counselor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or emailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.