Jerks are known fools. Contemptibly obnoxious persons. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines them as “a stupid person, a person not well liked or who treats others badly.”
How do jerks think?
Jonathan is a certified jerk. Even with the slightest provocation, he’ll turn a minute or incomplete info into a basis to attack you. Verbally. Emotionally. Physically.
For over a year now, Jonathan has been verbally and emotionally abusing his two teenage children and their mother.
He abandoned his children since their childhood. Only to reappear last year in the guise of offering material support onwards.
Jonathan’s true state of mind thereafter is evidenced by his constant control and manipulation. He interprets interpersonal signals consistent with how he sees himself.
For example, when his children missed or forgot calling him, he assumed outright that they’re disparaging him. His expectations of them are excessively negative and unrealistic.
He also bad-mouths and blames their mother to no end, reading unverified threatening meaning into remarks or events. His lack of remorse and amend over past sins is so obvious.
Jerks are often deeply shamed-based. Their perceptual focus is always on the negative. All information they receive have symbolic meanings about their personal identity.
Psychologists/authors Dr. James Harper and Dr. Margaret Hoopes said that shame-based individuals guard against others’ discovering their shame. Much of it shapes the way they think.
Several cognitive patterns Drs. Harper and Hoopes describe as characteristic of shame-based jerks include:
• belief that “something is wrong with me” (impostor syndrome)
• an inappropriate matching of intensity of emotion with events
• label others negatively as if they’re the real thing
• distort incoming information in the perceptual process so that it fits with their world
• intention of others as well as themselves become very distorted
• overgeneralize and magnify
• poor reality testing
• frequent blaming of others and denying of one’s personal responsibility
• attributing ill will or motive to others without proper reason
• mind reading to the detriment of others and themselves
• believe even the most benign acts of others are directed against them to highlight their defects
Needless to say, jerks need a lot of help. But mostly, they fight it a lot.