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Patronizing Behavior: Where it Stems from, What to Do if You Dole it Out or Receive

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  • Patronizing Behavior: Where it Stems from, What to Do if You Dole it Out or Receive

    To be patronized is to be treated as if you are less intelligent or knowledgeable than the person you’re speaking with, and it can be one of the most frustrating experiences you can have in life.

    Anyone can be patronized -- men, women, seniors, young people -- and patronization can take on many forms, such as:

    • Addressing someone by their first name when others are addressed more properly
    • Patting a person in a wheelchair on their head or soldier
    • Giving excess praise to someone for a fairly simple action
    • Assigning someone remedial tasks at work or at home
    • Speaking slowly or excessively loud to an elderly person
    • Talking “down” to someone

    Even objects can be perceived as patronizing. For example, a recent survey by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi found that many of the women surveyed felt patronized by the “abundance of pink objects” in the technology category, such as cell phones, iPods, etc.

    But being patronized is more than just frustrating. It can lead to issues with self-esteem and can negatively affect your performance at work.

    In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, male bosses who patronized their female employees undermined their performance. The bosses patronized the women workers by offering them excessive praise, but no “valued resources,” such as raises or promotions.

    "The patronizing behavior of male bosses created gender differences in performance where they otherwise did not exist," said Theresa Vescio, a Penn State University assistant professor of psychology who led the study.

    Why People Patronize Others, and What to do if You're Patronized

    “People patronize others because of their own insecurity and self-doubt,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. “They need to tear others down in order to feel OK.”

    If you are a patronizer, you may not even realize that you are doing it.

    For instance, Vescio said about the above study, 'It may be hard for men to see that they are behaving in discriminatory ways because the praise they are giving to women may feel like it is a reflection of genuine positive regard."

    Often, however, people who patronize others do knowingly try to boost themselves up at the expense of making someone else feel somehow less worthy. If this is something you engage in, you should turn to The Sedona Method, as it will help to instill confidence and security in you in a positive way.

    The Sedona Method, which helps you to release all types of negative emotions, thoughts, and feelings, works for the person being patronized as well. It works by teaching you to simply let go of the feelings that patronization brings up, so that it does not impact you at all.

    'If you are patronized, know that this is all that is happening and let go of any feelings it brings up in you, including wanting to get even,' Dwoskin says. 'You do not need to play that game with them. Simply stay strong in yourself and keep letting go.'
    Purchase Letting Go Movie on DVD
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