PsychotherapyHELP NEWS

by Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D. MFCC

Don't Let Detractors Pull You Down!

Question: What is a detractor?

Answer: A detractor is a person who for some unconscious reason and motivation, feels compelled to minimize, subtract, take away, and ignore another person's value and contributions.

A detractor is notorious for giving only negative feedback (especially in a positive or neutral situation) and thereby distorts a situation and can't see the truth. Reality is lost and detraction is usually the underlying psychological device of someone who needs to project a positive persona.

The world is made up of plus and minuses. A good balance to a personality, is the integration of opposites. If someone tips the scales of balance and tries to project only a positive image, that fašade will eventually crack and disintegrate; only to ultimately reveal the negative side of the personality. The trick is not to be fooled by what you see when someone keeps putting out how wonderful and positive they are. That device will eventually wear thin and flip to the other side and you will see the more real, revealing side of the personality.

Question: How does the detractor affect someone?

Answer: In a nutshell, the detractor can pull you down, darken your mood and eventually you'll start getting defensive. The best defense against a detractor is to accept your own disagreement with the detraction. You will have to vigorously reconfirm your own solid evidence for your value and the contribution that you make. A detractor can pull you down and make it very difficult for you to work cooperatively with such a person who uses this device.

Another aspect of detraction is the tendency to focus on one small aspect of a larger picture and ignore the total picture. The detractor sees only what s/he wants to see for some self-serving reason. Because of that tendency, reality is lost.

Question: What type of situations and personality types reflect aspects of a detractor?

Answer: Some type of internal stress or distress creates a chemical situation that triggers detraction. Detraction is a reflection of an inner mood. The social facade begins to crack, a regression takes place and slippage to a lower level of functioning becomes apparent. In such a situation, a formerly healthy person, may show signs of emotional, personality and mental disorder. This can either become a temporary or a more pervasive pattern. If it is temporary, it will pass. If it is pervasive it can becomes more permanent and destructive. Detraction is a distancer. It is meant to create space and distance between individuals. It's a flight into safety. When reality becomes too much, people will regress into more primitive forms of behavior. The antidote is to expunge the pain.

Question: How can I take care of myself when I am hit by a detractor?

Answer: Take care of yourself and focus your efforts on healing yourself from the inside out. Forget about challenging and confronting the detractor, especially if they are locked into minimizing, distorting, denigrating who you are and what you contribute. Don't buy into their perceptions, interpretations, accusations and other obvious distortions of reality. Check your perceptions with other people whom you trust, but only if they are healthy and clear themselves.

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"Coping with the Disorder" - now available as an E-book!

"Coping With The Disorder" is a step-by-step guide on how to deal with and address personality disordered behavior, whether in yourself or others. Based on years of Dr. Hannig's expertise, it is an excellent, to-the-point manuscript filled with knowledge, techniques and powerful strategies. Plus, the e-book provides immediate delivery of Dr. Hannig's full length resources.


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Hypnosis, trance work and advanced relaxation techniques are powerful, therapeutic methods that work. Call our office and find out how these tools can benefit you. Office consultations and TelephoneTherapy sessions available.

Questions? Have a problem or subject that you would like me to feature in an upcoming newsletter? (anonymously, of course) Then, contact me directly at Since it is difficult during therapy and coaching hours to answer questions by telephone, email works out best.


Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D.