If i say something humiliating to a guy...?And he turns around and stands very still with his back to me for a very long time and doesn't move - what does that mean?
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reader, anonymous, writes (6 February 2011):He is pretending you don't exist...which is colder than an insult.
I would apologize directly to him in person, if you still can.
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reader, Abella + ♥, writes (6 February 2011):He is unhappy with you.
This is an area I studied a few years ago. And I find it fascinating when I see examples of this behavior.
And it ties in with one of my favorite books, written 4000 years ago in China by Sun Tzu. And still relevant today. Because amongst the many 'rules' it includes information how people try use power and to indicate power and displeasure. The book is rules, all of which are applicable for life, leadership, business, goverment and military structures.
And whether people realise it or not, people in power still follow these very ancient rules.
The powerful person is not the one who makes the most noise and is physically violent. The out of control swearing screaming person has lost control, and so is no longer the one with the power to say they 'in control' of a situation.
The most powerful person is often the calmest quietest person who acts strategically. At the right time, in the right circumstances.
Though many others try to use this strategy. Some are not ready nor able to use this tactic effectively.
Turning away like that is a tactic.
It's a way to show a rebuke and displeasure in a very controlled way.
I've observed it used where a person(B) has appeared to show disrespect to (A).
This kind of rebuke is may be used by a very controlling person(A) who perceives that they have a 'higher standing' in the pecking order or higher 'social status' than (B). And (A) feels that (B) has to be shown up in public.
And where (A) does not like to show direct aggression. And So uses Ostracism or excluding a person instead. By shunnning (B)
I have seen it used where a very an older woman was verbally insulted in public by her husband's much younger mistress. The older woman(A) showed no emotion, politely turned away as if she never heard the words of the mistress(B). And went on to greet another person, as if the mistress was of no concern to her. In that instance it was done with dignity, I think (A) did it, so as not to have to even acknowledge the existence, of the mistress. The younger woman was also asked to leave the function as the older woman was a benefactor of the place, while the younger woman(B) was a guest of an invited guest. The older woman showed immense control at the function.
But I have also seen it used where the tables were turned. Where a person had been very pompous and self important. But the self important person(A) had been found to have done something bad in the community. And had been found guilty. And the person he hurt (B) did it to (A). It was to show displeasure. But was a more powerful humiliation since previously the self important (A)person had been very nasty to the one who turned his back(B). I thought the (B) who did it was either fearless or felt vindicated by the court and so felt empowered to deliver the rebuke.
Centuries ago a whole community would use this form of rebuke for a transgressor.
A religion would use it to remove a non-believer and drive them from the congregation.
In a work setting 'ostracism' can be a form of collective (by many A persons) social workplace bullying and can be psychologically damaging to the excluded (B) person. If so excluded, where once the same people talked to (B).
So, usually, I think the rebuker thinks they are in a more powerful position to the person they are rebuking.
Please see the examples I have seen.
I've seen it used in situations where a person(A) is delivering a rebuke - where they might be afraid of losing face themselves, if they showed direct anger.
Eg a Mayor who was asked a potentially embarassing question by a reporter. If he said anything he might lose votes. He arrogantly dismissed the question as beneath contempt. Trying to make the reporter look at fault for daring to ask. And turned away from the reporter.
I have seen a Doctor do it to a Nurse. Though later it turned out the Nurse was right, and the Doctor wrong and the Dr was generally pompous to all.
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