Over the past decade, I’ve been observing, researching, and learning about people and their behavioral patterns. At the beginning of this journey, the primary focus was making me a better me. As I did this, every aspect of my life began to change: I became a better husband, father, boss, brother, son, and friend. I doubled my business in five years, which originally took me twenty years to build. The journey then took a turn in an effort to share this knowledge with other people. I began teaching business groups on how to create a balanced, yet thriving life. So, what did I learn? I learned that we have a lot of insecurities which keep us trapped in the very lives we want to break out of.
As my kids were growing into the adolescent stage of life, I began to teach groups of teens the knowledge that transformed my life. Watching their eyes light up when they achieved success, I felt the desire to target this age demographic. I got as energized as they did. But, I also saw the insecurities teens have, not just in those I was coaching, but also in my own daughter. Time and time again, I witnessed or heard stories of my daughter being betrayed by her friends. As parents, we can’t monitor our children 24/7 – nor should we – but, we can ask ourselves, “Why is this happening? Why would friends do this to other friends? Was it my daughters fault? Was she bringing this on herself? Was my daughter really the confident, honest, ethical teen I knew her to be?” I didn’t want to be “that parent” in thinking my child was perfect and it had to be everyone else’s fault.
Why is it teens tend to back stab their so-called BFFs? In my opinion, it boils down to one word: Insecurity. An insecure person wants what you have and as a way of positioning him/herself to a higher level of hierarchy, this person feels the need to sabotage your relationship. Rarely does it have anything to do with you as a person, yet many teens take it personally. However, it’s the culprit’s own insecurity which causes him/her to wreak such havoc. What’s amazing is how many times I’ve seen this in adults as well. One would think that everyone would grow out of this juvenile behavior, yet it exists in adult circles just as it does in teen circles. However, once you learn how to dissect the “why factor” of the person throwing the verbal mud, and you determine that it is caused by the culprit’s own insecurities, it allows you to feel bad for the culprit rather than feeling anger or hatred. You now get to decide how you’re going to handle the situation. On one hand, you can add fuel to the fire by throwing mud back onto that person; however, that typically leads to a bigger fire and creates more angst, splits friends apart, and ensures there are no winners. On the other hand, you can choose to understand where that person is coming from and ask yourself questions as to why that person may feel so insecure. A secure person would not feel the need to put down another or make another person feel small. “So, why would they do this?” you ask. As you begin to walk in the culprit’s shoes, you might just find the “why factor.”
Finding the “why factor” helps because it pivots you away from an angry emotion and moves you towards an inquisitive one. This helps in preventing retaliation and gets you to focus on the root of the problem. Maybe this person doesn’t feel loved. Maybe this person doesn’t feel pretty. Maybe this person doesn’t feel that you value the relationship as much as he/she does. The point is, you’ll never know until you pose the question and try to get to the root of the problem.
Telling another person they are insecure may not be the best tactic; however, going directly to the source and asking questions in a calm demeanor will usually help you uncover the “why factor.” In most cases, the instigator doesn’t truly know why they are doing what they’re doing. Do they really want to sabotage this relationship? In most cases, no. However, insecurities can push someone to do things they might not otherwise do.
Do you want the remedy? The magic wand or the magic pill to make it all go away? I wish there were such a thing. However, there is one remedy that lasts forever and it is hidden in the first paragraph of this article. That is, work on yourself. One of the most important phrases I’ve heard, tested on myself, and know it to be true, is the following: “Once you change, everything around you changes!”
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TEEN THERAPY CENTER CAN HELP!
Would you like additional guidance in this area? Teen Therapy Center provides individual teen therapy, family therapy, group therapy, parent support counseling, and in-home teen and family coaching 7 days a week, including afternoons, evenings, and weekends. For more information, contact us at 408.389.3538.