Obstacles to healthy communication are a direct outgrowth of the mind’s tendencies to judge, blame, and assume intent – collectively, the compulsion to evaluate.
These tendencies put up walls and turn people who are simply different from us, or who disagree with us, into adversaries.
The mind wants to label them as wrong and/or bad. The mind tells you they are misguided, stupid, and sinful.
You may feel the need to show them their errors.
Whether the issue is sexual behavior or something as trivial as washing the dishes, the outcome is the same: people who are different, who do things differently, or who disagree arouse anger and must be defeated or punished.
The compulsion to evaluate involves wearing emotional blinders. These blinders leave you so consumed with defending yourself that you likely miss what’s really going on.
You don’t see when others are hurt or needing validation or are trying desperately to connect with you. You ignore vital information, including your own deeply felt pains and hurts, because it has nothing to do with winning.
Evaluation also hurts your relationships because it prevents you from seeing life through another person’s eyes. Your sense of perspective is greatly diminished or distorted.
You’re unable to connect with what other people know and understand, including what you may learn from them via their life experiences, pains, hurts, disappointments, joys, and perspective about the world. The blinders keep all of this from view.
How Evaluating Creates Resentment?
Judging, blaming, and assuming are mental habits that are made worse by dwelling. When you dwell, you get stuck in mind loops, endlessly recycling the past through the same good or bad judgments, the same toxic labels.
Over and over, you play tapes in your head of what someone did or said, blaming them for hurting you. The result is chronic resentment and a growing need for revenge. You feel righteous, strong. You imagine justice finally being done.
But what comes of this? Does the pain or hurt ever really get better? Is the relationship somehow healed? In reality, nothing changes. The rumination provides a moment of relief – an assertion of one’s rightness, a shining fantasy of revenge.
But the long-term emotional consequence is to feel hopeless and stuck. The resentment deepens; the pain just goes on and overflows into other areas of your life.
How Evaluating Triggers Destructive Behavior?
The more we ponder or dwell, and the more we believe and buy into our evaluative thoughts, the stronger the impulse gets to hurt others. In truth, evaluations are just mental constructs.
They are no more real than the Tooth Fairy, and if you tell a big enough lie often enough, people will believe it. Judgments and blame work the same way. If you keep pondering upon a thought, and keep repeating the same thing to yourself, you can come to believe just about anything.
When you really start to buy into a negative evaluation, it then begins to take on a life of its own. It starts to require action.
Something must be said to set the offending person straight; something must be done to awake them so they’ll finally see the error of their ways. Psychologists say that a phenomenon called emotional reasoning starts to take control. [Anger and Emotions]
Emotional reasoning goes like this: “If I feel pain, someone must have done it to me. If someone did this to me, I have to hit them back so hard that they never hurt me again.”
This is schoolyard logic; the same kind of thinking that gets a lot of kids beat up. It’s the same logic that motivates drive-by shootings and destroys friendships and marriages.
When the mind decides that others are bad and wrong, when the mind obsesses about revenge, there’s often no end to it. The will to inflict damage goes on and on, and it can quickly get out of control. Inflicting damage becomes all that matters, all that motivates.