Thursday Thought — Judge Actions, Not Intentions
Never try to “mind-read” or second-guess why somebody is doing something, especially when they’re doing something hurtful. There’s no way for you to really know, and in the end, it’s irrelevant. Getting caught up in what might be going on in an aggressor’s mind is a good way to get sidetracked from the really pertinent issue. Judge the behavior itself. If what a person does is harmful in some way, pay attention to and deal with that issue.
The importance of this principle can’t be overstated. Remember, the tactics covert-aggressives use are effective tools of impression-management. They keep you second-guessing yourself about the true nature of the person you’re dealing with. So, if you base your opinions on your assumptions about intentions or are swayed by the various tactics, you’re going to be deceived about the character of the person with whom you’re dealing. Behavior patterns alone provide the information you need to make sound judgments about character. And past behavior is the single most reliable predictor of future behavior.
(Excerpt from Dr. George’s Simon’s book, In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People*, p146)