But for people who learned to prize intellect above compassion — where the quick comeback, even a sadistic retort, scores points, gives a rush of pleasure even while dismissing the validity of the injury to another — we deny how our words can really hurt.
It’s not “just a joke,” but we tell ourselves it is.
Mountains are created to be conquered; adversities are designed to be defeated; problems are sent to be solved. Thinking about intimidation is hard enough, let alone talking about feelings of being intimidating and intimidated by one another, in pairs or even groups.
People who are razor-sharp and calculating, surrounding others with apparent hyperawareness, can be intimidating without meaning to be, just as people who are very attractive can be.Competition and the need to win no matter what the stakes make it easy to hurl a clever quip, to lash out verbally, cornering and trapping, employing what classical psychoanalysts famously referred to as oral aggression.We don’t see that we are intimidating when we do this, because we don’t empathize with the injury we are causing.And yet at the same time, there can be pangs of piercing regret and shame over losing control.
We recognize that if others are scared of us — if others expect that we may unexpectedly hurt them, or pressure them in unwelcome and distressing ways — we leave ourselves in a very lonely place, regardless of whether they stick around or not.Intimidated, intimidating, intimidation To add complexity to the discussion, sometimes people, of course, are perceived as being intimidating, when in fact they really feel an entirely different way on the inside — vulnerable or scared in some way.