Twisting Your Words to Make You Look Bad

Don’t you just hate it when someone twists your words, gets all heated up, and attacks you – using your own words – to put you on the defensive or make you upset. What’s happening? What can you do when someone’s twisting your words to make you look bad.

First of all, this is a common practice in the media because it creates the best soundbites, which causes people to tune in to your news show, radio program, media event, or a potentially viral meme on social media. In this arena, it’s called “spin,” and it’s an acceptable practice covered by free speech and parody, especially in public venues. Nonetheless, your words can be a very powerful weapon to hurt, harm, or disable any potential for good someone might have had in the world.

Far more common is the way someone in your social circle might twist your words to make you look bad. This is a tool used by many individuals who are not self-confident, have been severely victimized in the past, or live under high degrees of oppression, stress, or fear.

Twisting your words to make you look bad is an effective defense mechanism utilized by someone to project ideas hidden deep within their heart or psyches onto you, which releases the emotional pressure from unresolved emotional wounds left to fester and grow.

Such a person is not likely to be open to your suggestion of this fact. If wounded people are looking for demons, they will find them everywhere they look, until they awake to the idea that they might have some negative repression that is happening inside, and are willing to not only look at it but do the work of dealing with these issues to resolve them.

In the meantime, they will twist your words to make you look bad, which can have a huge negative impact on you, making you actually feel bad. When used effectively, the damaged individual twisting your words will make you feel bad, and this causes the sufferer to feel better, as they have transferred their pent-up emotional pain to you. This offers them relief. That’s why they do it.

He or she will continue to project these ideas onto you because his or her reward is feeling better about his-or-her-self by twisting your words to make you look bad. So, they are highly motivated to engage in this assaultive and potentially abusive activity.

In normal circumstances, you would be motivated to defend yourself against this attack or false accusation. It is a normal reaction to defend yourself if you’ve been falsely accused. The only problem with reacting defensively is that it creates more momentum for the breeding ground of this unfortunate circumstance which you’ve found yourself in.

Understanding this might offer you enough emotional space to not react defensively. Instead of adding more energy to the confrontation, which causes an increasing cycle of adding energy to an impossible situation, because no amount of your defensiveness or rationale will slay the emotionally injured person’s demons.

Plus, you can have some compassion or empathy for the person who is twisting your words in an accusatory fashion, because you know they are wounded and suffering inside, being careful not to feel sorry for them, because that would insinuate your superiority. Instead, you realize that if you were him or her, having lived the life he or she has lived up to this point, you would have reacted in exactly the same way.

A simple and calm response, such as, “That’s not what I meant, but you’re entitled to your own opinion,” might be enough to side-step a potentially volatile situation. If you don’t want to make things worse, it’s best to just avoid any conflict in this situation.

No one can make you look or feel bad unless you empower them by adding fuel to their fire and being defensive. There is no need for you to respond to anyone’s ridiculous false accusations or attempts to make you look bad.

Simply do not respond to anyone’s attempts to attack or discredit you, whether they are twisting your words, or concocting their own, unless you choose to offer clarification, for any part that may be true. But if you do offer clarification, try to find the space to think through the ramifications for doing so, because you may be offering up even more ammunition for them to fire back at you with even more word twisting.

If you are masterfully self-aware and tolerant, you might offer yourself up as a shock absorber for this person to release as much of their pent-up frustrations as possible. To do so effectively, you must have the ability or skill of letting someone verbally attack or abuse you without being emotionally engaged. A martyr might do so in lieu of having the ability or skill to avoid suffering the emotional consequences. Unless this is your calling or part of your life’s purpose, this will likely not apply to you.

So, we’ve discussed why people in public venues and media might twist your words, and why those who are emotionally wounded, or low self-esteem might do so, but we haven’t talked about why a psychopath or someone on the predatory end of the anti-social personality spectrum might twist your words to make you feel bad.

Their motivation is to undermine or destroy you and/or your credibility altogether. This is an entirely different subject, yet your response should be the same. Do not add fuel to the fire by defending yourself, walk away, and find someplace safe to be, where you can avoid the psychopath or sociopath.

People Click on the Darndest Things

While the Internet is one of the most amazing gifts of all time thanks to Tim Berners-Lee’s benevolent act of publicly releasing and not patenting his World Wide Web creation in 1989, which has grown virally since then giving us instant access to nearly unlimited data from around the world, it is proliferated with false information.

It’s a tough balance to maintain between data collection and free speech. We all agree (well, some of us) that someone should be able to think or say anything they want. Many of us use the Internet as a resource to access factual data, even events happening in real time that is not (could not have been, or might have been suppressed) by the media.

people click on the darndest thingsPeople Click on the Darndest Things

False Information Internet Narcissists (FIIN) stalk the World Wide Web scouring it to glean headlines, quotes taken out of context, and create photoshopped images to appease their addiction to obsessive click counting which send their dopamine system into orbit.

The quest for creating anything that “goes viral” on the Internet drives many non-malicious, twisted, thrill-seeking web surfers to create false information for the dopamine rush it provides (and maybe their 15 minutes of fame).

If you’ve ever posted something on Facebook that’s received a massive response, you know what the Internet-fueled hit of dopamine feels like. It’s a great high that makes you feel good, and it’s quite addictive. It’s what keeps us glued to our devices and clicking endlessly throughout our lives.

Not all of the fake news found on the Internet is spread in folly, some of it is posted and shared to manipulate the minds of Web-surfers. Before the present millennium, television, radio and newspapers were the media used to program and sway the minds of people to generate a particular mass mentality, and to separate us into manageable groups of polarized thinkers.

Now, the Internet provides us with a more effective access to each individual regardless of age. The programming starts as soon as a toddler is able to hold a device, and we all fall into line as it nearly becomes a demand that all individuals have access to a device connected to the Internet (though now, it is only a right, not a demand).

There are plenty of initiators of bad information with the malicious intent of controlling your thoughts or actions, as well as some who possess the well-meaning intent to sway the thoughts of others to align with their own perceptions and/or conclusions without malice.

When you are accessing information on the Internet, and you read something that seems quite fantastic, you might be better off doing a little fact-checking before joining the viral wave of fake news promoters.

We all do it. I even caught myself sharing a bit of falsified information because it was forwarded to me by a trusted friend. Because it was written in the first-person, I assumed it was written by my friend, whom I respected, and the message included a sincere request for me to share it on his behalf. (Which I’m embarrassed to admit, I did, without checking first.)

You cannot stop the spread of false information, but you can refuse to be party to its impact. Taking a few moments to do a little fact-checking before you re-post something can go a long way in slowing the spread of fake news.

All that Internet drama takes a toll on your physiology, causing cellular deterioration which can cause health decline for 8 hours following the emotional impact of a false news report.

Guarding your heart and your mind against getting sucked into a false media campaign will help you live a healthier, happier and longer life.