Tony Angus Chat Time Podcast

Paul Gretton-Watson - High Conflict Personalities

June 09, 2020 Tony Season 1 Episode 2
Tony Angus Chat Time Podcast
Paul Gretton-Watson - High Conflict Personalities
Chapters
Tony Angus Chat Time Podcast
Paul Gretton-Watson - High Conflict Personalities
Jun 09, 2020 Season 1 Episode 2
Tony

Paul Gretton-Watson, Director, Consulting at Converge International, has more than 25
years’ experience in developing and delivering solution-based strategies, programs and training designed to meet the challenges of people and organisations. He heads up Converge International’s national research and innovation function with a focus on leading edge product development and thought leadership in areas of complex people risk.
Paul’s practical experience and specialist knowledge ensures that he is sought after as a speaker and training facilitator. He uses a positive psychology approach to build teams’ performance through appreciative enquiry and using a strengths-based approach. His areas of expertise and research include: high conflict personalities in the workplace, assessing and managing psychosocial risk in individuals and teams, managing the human aspects of change, and building team morale, engagement and performance. He also works with executive leaders both as an executive coach, trusted advisor and facilitator.
He is currently completing a professional PhD focusing on workplace bullying and disrespectful behaviour in surgical workplaces. He has partnered with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons as one of the lead evaluators of the “Operating with Respect” program being rolled out across Australia and New Zealand and plans to complete his research program for his doctorate in 2020.

In this episode Paul and I discuss High Conflict Personalities and the effects of COVID-19 on the workplace.  We also take a brief look at narcissism, including the personality traits of the president of the United States.

Show Notes Transcript

Paul Gretton-Watson, Director, Consulting at Converge International, has more than 25
years’ experience in developing and delivering solution-based strategies, programs and training designed to meet the challenges of people and organisations. He heads up Converge International’s national research and innovation function with a focus on leading edge product development and thought leadership in areas of complex people risk.
Paul’s practical experience and specialist knowledge ensures that he is sought after as a speaker and training facilitator. He uses a positive psychology approach to build teams’ performance through appreciative enquiry and using a strengths-based approach. His areas of expertise and research include: high conflict personalities in the workplace, assessing and managing psychosocial risk in individuals and teams, managing the human aspects of change, and building team morale, engagement and performance. He also works with executive leaders both as an executive coach, trusted advisor and facilitator.
He is currently completing a professional PhD focusing on workplace bullying and disrespectful behaviour in surgical workplaces. He has partnered with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons as one of the lead evaluators of the “Operating with Respect” program being rolled out across Australia and New Zealand and plans to complete his research program for his doctorate in 2020.

In this episode Paul and I discuss High Conflict Personalities and the effects of COVID-19 on the workplace.  We also take a brief look at narcissism, including the personality traits of the president of the United States.

Unknown Speaker :

So, folks, I'm with Paul Gretton-Watson. Paul, you're the Director of Research and Innovation at converge International. Is that is that an accurate title? Yeah, that's it and of late, and particularly with COVID up, I'm looking after Marketing and Communications as well. So there's plenty happening in my work world at the moment. Well, that's absolutely insane. Because probably each one of those if you broke them down, research, innovation, marketing, you know, they're all massive topics on their own ... huge portfolios. Yeah, and I think, I think with the mental health aspect of COVID, and also the bush fires not so many months ago, it's really we've seen in our organization, just a very significant dialing up of demand for all sorts of brand new types of product, all sorts of support from people who are in deep struggle, and a whole lot of kind of other materials to just help people get through these really unusual and disrupted times. So yeah, it's been a it's been very gratifying but but very intense time of my career. Certainly. Yeah, very testing time for people. And, you know, for most of us, one of the most sort of, I guess, testing aspects was it ... all of those came out of the blue. Yeah, I don't think anybody expected the fires to start as early as they did, or have the volume that they did; the destructive quality. And then of course, COVID, which was just, which was just a virus that just walked up behind us and smacked us on the back of the head without us even watching and, and then dragged us unconsciously into our lounge rooms where we've been locked away ever since. And it's very true, very true. I mean, we started watching the data pretty early, um, in our organization and started looking at the emerging kind of data coming particularly certainly out of China, but also in South Korea and some of those very early countries and environments where it was starting to take off Thailand, certainly Singapore, Taiwan. And we were kind of reading the tea leaves pretty early and made some very early decisions about how we would need to pivot the whole business to be able to respond, if and when it sort of hit Australia almost as inevitably it would. And so we were pretty well prepared, moved pretty early, and certainly considerably earlier than some countries did. So it's been an interesting ride. It's really interesting. Perhaps you should have been advising the government. Can I get back to what you said? And you said, we pivoted the business? Well, first of all, what's the core function of converge? Yes, so we we're a very large provider of counseling services to employees or a private organization. We provide a lot of counseling services under what's referred to as the employee assistance program, or some people notice the EAP. And many, many organizations have these in place, they vary in structure slightly, but in essence, they are free to staff and usually their family members as well. And it means that, if staff or their family are experiencing a particular issue or concern or something that's really creating a burden for them, it enables them to be able to access funded support without having to go to GP's and organize mental health care plans. And a lot of the stuff we do isn't wouldn't necessarily qualify as a mental health burden sufficient to perhaps meet the criteria for a care plan in the community, under the ... that's funded by the federal government. So it's it's designed to help people who might be struggling with even leadership kind of challenges, with maybe taking on a new role a new leadership team for managers through to anorexia, issues with teenage you know, kids through to a grief and loss conflict in the workplace, which is something that we'll probably end up talking about shortly, and all manner of things in between. So, it is a very important kind of psychological infrastructure that organizations increasingly rely on to help their workers. Very nice. So some of the organizations I work with they, they do exactly that and our guests, it's sort of five or six free, confidential sessions with somebody who's qualified to walk them through some of those issues. And I suppose, as a result of that, they determine whether that person must or should or it makes sense for them to go and seek further, like you said, treatment elsewhere, like a care facility or go to a GP to start with or get some sort of more formal counseling. So I can see it's a it's a massive service, every organization I work with has a really strong EAP program and, you know, EAP, EAP providers and yeah, so that's brilliant. And so how when you said you had to pivot the organization with COVID, it was more around, I guess, people being isolated from each other and not having those social connections and feeling the stress around the virus itself and perhaps even losing ... I know my own stepdaughter is about to have her 21st birthday and had to cancel a huge party. So those sorts of things. And I suppose people not being able to have their weddings, turn up to funerals, turn up to the you know, to the hospital and sit with dying relatives. All of those things must be terribly stressful. Yeah, they absolutely have been. And I think the thing, so we do a lot of work obviously in that counseling space. And we also do a lot of critical incident response. So that's obviously the more acute intense incident that occurs. And we're there to kind of help teams through that period of deep kind of impact and disruption. But the way that we've had to really, very quickly re-engineer our product has been making obviously as much, if not all of it as possible, virtual. And so we converted our whole training series into a tailored virtual experience through a webinar, a whole range of webinars that we ran every day, four days a week, with different topics for organizations and gave their staff multiple opportunities to dial into whichever one suited them. They're recorded. Question and answer kind of opportunities at the end ... a little bit didactic, not not as anywhere near as perhaps as dynamic as a facilitated type of dynamic that perhaps you and I are more familiar with delivering, but nonetheless met a need, because there was so much appetite for information and all of our product is ... we infused a very high proportion of specific knowledge and information and strategies for dealing with things like anticipatory anxiety, and all the kinds of things that sort of have arisen out of the bush fires and COVID. And, and that means that there pretty much hasn't been a product that we haven't re-shaped, either significantly or totally to reflect that kind of orientation and the type of information that people are seeking now. But it was a little bit one way and it is a little bit one way through through a webinar, but nonetheless, certainly helped us with that side. On the counseling side. We found that people very quickly adapted largely to phone and tele-conferencing, whether it be Skype, teams, zoom, type options. And, and so we've been delivering the vast majority of the services we provide via one of those mediums. Live Chats is another option that people use sometimes if they prefer to just type the type answers quickly and get responses. And so we've got a team that just respond through that medium. But mostly it's still phone and zoom, probably the two big ones. Yeah, it's amazing. And I think it speaks to, ultimately the resilience, the general resilience that we have, that people can adapt pretty quickly to these new, these new moods of sort of receiving information and getting counseling and to go, Well, you know what, at the end of the day, there is nothing I can do except put up with this new situation. So guess what I'm going to do? I'm going to put up with this situation. And I think and I but I think that speaks volumes about the potential for people to turn that mindset into other areas of their resilience. Surely, if they can say, well, there's nothing else I can do in this moment. There's nothing else that, I can, no other way i can think about this. It is what it is. Yep. So we have that capacity. It's almost like a muscle that can be developed, we can then turn that muscle and dial it into another issue that could be going on in their life in a regular way. Yeah, absolutely. No, you're absolutely right. And I think one of the things that really struck us and certainly, as a business, you know, we've been contemplating and many, many people have been talking about this that, you know, they've been thinking about how could we introduce this significant IT behavioral kind of shift or enable us to transition from point A to a point B way of functioning and many of these organizations, ours included, we set out these very long term kind of change management programs and with a lot of hand wringing and head scratching and wondering, you know, how we're going to kind of manage the complexity of the transition. And yet we move really early and within really pretty much a week, one week, not a year and a half. We had (as everybody else did), we had the vast majority of our workforce able to deliver services directly from home. So um, and, and we were kind of shocked and I think it goes to the heart of the pragmatism of people. When the chips are down most people kind of forego, the whingeing in the moaning, and in the, perhaps some of that fragility about the change required often and just get on with it and make it work because the pragmatism demands it and most people step up and do a great job, I think, at really making that rapid shift. Because they recognize it's not just their self interest, but it's the collective interest that needs to be served. I think that's a really valid point that it's not their own ... it's not only their self interest, it's, we have to consider the collective interest. And far too few people, I think, do that, do you think then. So, I don't want to get into too much USA bashing. We find ourselves right in the midst of this extraordinary time. But nobody seems to be dealing with it in a more extraordinary way than the United States. Yes. And it's led to these bizarre sort of behaviors and now, not that you can tie COVID to to George Floyd or the police brutality issue and the riots that have resulted from that. Sure. But one of the things that we, I think we should be proud about in this country is that ultimately people will still consider others in that collective thought process rather than saying "you know what, it's my individual ride and therefore I'm going to make a demand on that and and function" and they and that's one of the things that I see when I look online and I speak to other people throughout my workday or private life. And I noticed that people are still happy to make everything community. We have to for the better good. This is why we can't go camping because it hasn't hit the rural communities much but the moment we leave our Metropolitan urban environment and go camping, we're going to touch the water taps and the barbecues and the seats and, and the public toilets and all those things and leave our traces and potentially spread the virus and I think people understand that. And so there's that community aspect, which is, which is lovely. Couldn't agree more. Couldn't agree more. And I think that's one of the things that we're most I'm most proud of of this trailer is certainly the modeling that the government privately had prior to making big announcements about the initial restrictions was that Australians would probably on the basis of their best estimates, comply to about 70% with the request for the degree of social distancing that was being asked of them. And the modeling that saw a 70% type social distancing reality player would have had us battling with COVID-19 for probably three to four months longer before we would even have a hope of getting to the point right now. Yes, in reality, we had about a 92% compliance level in Australia, which is exciting. extremely high. And it's kind of matched by ... obviously we have a exceptional case study of New Zealand, just across the Tasman, and they went even harder earlier ... oh about the same time actually, they went really hard, early as we did, but they ... their level of restriction and the way that they managed it was extremely tight and under exceptional leadership, from my perspective, of Jacinda Ardern, who managed to find the impressive balance of intense intentional, very, very almost directive, management of the way people can live and move in the community, coupled with this genuine authentic commitment to kindness and compassion and connectedness as a as a people. And I think that you know, that is a lovely case study of how you do it, perhaps at its best, in a Western construct, and then if we look to the east, if we look at, if we look to, obviously China, and where there is where there is a far greater reverence and respect and possibly fear, but certainly respect for government and government directives, that if they were able to quite rapidly curtail behavior to have to get the social distancing required, and similarly, in Singapore, and a lot of the other Asian countries where it's much more naturally comfortable for them, and they naturally think collectively, Japan will be another example where it has been a whole lot easier to get the types of quick turnaround of what otherwise would be a runaway pandemic, by having people work and think and behave and consider themselves as part of something bigger as part of a collective. By contrast, as you alluded to, we have the fascinating and disturbing social experiments playing out in some parts of Europe. And Europe is kind of interesting because we have different countries with very different kind of choice of approach. And that pretty much tells a fascinating story, the data tells the true story, but the actual performance and the outcomes and the successes they're experiencing pretty much reflect their, their policies and also the the level of compliance that that they're able to engender in their people. The US, fiercely generalizing wildly here, of course, has been a huge amount of compliance there as well. But they acted so late and in such a non consistent way, and with so much politics and so much division. And the politicized nature of what happened there has really set upon a very bad trajectory. And for me, it's deeply distressing but nonetheless, not surprising that they're in the mess they're in. Yeah. So I think they use the term "tight" and "loose" to describe different types of cultures in terms of their willingness to adhere within a short timeframe to what government or whatever authority figure is telling them what to do. And we are lucky that we are quite a good deal more tight than the United States, which as a collective is, is considered quite loose and very individualistic. But even I think it's in these circumstances we see ... And it's almost like a perfect storm, isn't it when you have a certain type of culture, and even a certain number of people and a certain number of individual states within the United States, states and territories that are given autonomy. And so you then have the federal government arguing with 50 individual states plus the, you know, the Puerto Rico's and that, of the world ... Where ... Costa Ricas and that, that they have some influence over. And then, and then each of those has their own autonomy. And then within each of those states, you've got millions of individual people. You know, it must be very, very difficult when you when you're operating within that system (sure) to ask people entirely different and you can see the difference in result from Wuhan ... the Wuhan province itself has half the population of Australia and twice the population of New Zealand. And so but China managed to lock down 11 million people in sort of a weekend. And and I think that's an extraordinary thing. And so we could call them a tight community, I guess, but it requires really, really good leadership. And I think that's probably where we can take that discussion later on, because one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about the leadership, I read an article that you wrote about "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing", and it's that high, high conflict personalities. Yeah. And I was just wondering if you'd share your thoughts around what is a high conflict personality and, and how we as leaders, managers, recruiters, can be on the lookout for high conflict personalities. Yeah sure. It has sort of become something within my career that's sort of stuck and become a niche area of knowledge. I dare not call it expertise, but knowledge that people are very interested in because I think all of us have had the wrenching experience of working with somebody or being close to somebody or having within our family sometimes, somebody that is extremely intense, extremely difficult, extremely divisive, extremely self interested, having very low empathy or a natural kind of being attuned to others or caring about others, and all of that. Can I interrupt you for a second. I think you're you're almost purposely trying to segue me into a conversation about the American leadership. (laughs) Maybe Maybe. No, actually, Tony, that is another level again, that is and we'll talk about how that is so next level, about regular still employable, because they're not so bad, they're not employable, but employable individuals that tend to have very, very major impacts on their peers and colleagues, and often create a very powerful dynamic of conflict and unsettledness and an upset for a lot of people who work with them. The interesting thing is with high conflict personalities they often may well be quite good at managing up, they're very good with understanding their own self interest. So, in fact is the only thing I understand is self interest. And so if they aren't the CEO, or they aren't the chair of the board, they often are quite good at ingratiating themselves and making themselves look good. And they're shameless in the way that they might do and they often do or are perceived to be relatively solid performers and or very kind of impressive in the moment. Yeah, and my experience as well as they are pretty good task. People so that you you've, you know, they they do get the numbers they, they, you know, they make the sales, they know the policies, backwards. They, they're good with the books. They're just have arranged us with the people. But when when you when somebody might complaint that they the high conflict personality's supervisor will look back and go, "No, they're ticking all the boxes". Because, you know, their results are strong, they're selling more or they're reading more or they're, they're doing more. They're doing everything we asked them. So it becomes a very dangerous juxtaposition between their ability to do the task and the job. Yes. And their ability to manage anyone else near them in the job. Yeah, I think that that that, that certainly can happen. The other thing is that there often is a questionable morality to some of these folks, and they will often overclaim that it's not surprising when you find that they may push the truth a bit. Bend the truth sometimes blatantly lie about the performance they've done in sales teams. They often claim other people's glories They, you know, so there's a whole kind of unpleasantness about how they often achieve those outcomes that you talk about. And they usually have a major impact impact on those that certainly report to them or in their immediate inner world that helped them to achieve the kind of outcomes that you're talking about. So it's not without its costs and consequences. And I think that that's the part that has fascinated me through my time is in working with organizations and particularly focusing on the psychological journey of work and behavioral kind of aspects of work, that these particular individuals are relatively few in number, but are profound in the impacts and the footprint that they leave behind in organizations that they tend to work in. And when they're at their worst, they can be quite devastating really on the the sorts of impacts that they can have on their peers and colleagues, if you're interested, I've just got some research here that I sometimes quote when I'm talking about this what's called toxic or uncivil behavior, the impact it has on others. The research by these two particular researchers called Pratt and Pearson, they have done this research over a number of years, and they find slightly different percentages. But this will be a bit of an idea. About 50% or 48% of work effort is reduced when you work with these particular individuals. 47% of the time people avoid being at work. 38% of the time, so we're talking about nearly half on both of those. 38% reduction in work quality. A 68% ... So over two thirds, reduced performance, nearly 80% reduced organizational commitment, so people disengaged from the workplace, and 80% of the time worrying about work. So that's the kind of impact that they can have on those working with them. These are probably reasonably extreme examples. But nonetheless, even if you dial that back by 20% 50%, it's still an unacceptable impact and consequence for those working with these high conflict individuals, well, none of those statistics an organization would want to hear (no), if you, even if you dialled those back by 50%, if you came to my organization, and you said, you know, 25%, of of lack of productivity, lack of morale, increase in stress, not wanting to attend that work or worrying about it, even if you said, 20%, I'd be going. "Whoa", because 20% is massive on the bottom line. Absolutely. And it's usually when it's usually when these individuals have been in an organization for a period of time that the dots start to get joined up. As I say that quite often quite good at managing up. So they, they have quite long honeymoon periods because they often articulate, they're often charismatic, they're often compelling. They certainly memorable. They're confident enough to go and represent the organization early in the recruitment process. They can be seen quite quickly to be a really can do, confident, reliable person to have in the team. But it's only when the quieter folk that they work with start to disappear. Many of them just leave passively because they're just too dominating. And it's only when you start to see the fallout of some of those statistics that I shared a moment ago that HR departments and fellow colleagues and others start to go "hang on a minute, what are we dealing with here?" and most people at peer level will have experienced in peer meetings a heightened competitiveness and often very interests of unfathomable and confused behavior that they start to see from these individuals, as they relentlessly pursue whatever their ambitions may be. So is it what's the likelihood that a person with HCP personality, I mean, obviously, I'll double that like, ATM machine. HC, so high conflict personality... What's the likelihood that that person can actually make it up into high management near partner level? Look, I would have said probably some time back, let's go back one generation. I think that the qualities of an ultra driven results at all costs, type of individual who just bashed and crashed their way through to get whatever the outcome was that they were seeking. As long as that was the line with what the organization was seeking, they effectively became untouchable and organizations tolerated a disproportionate and and perhaps today in today's sense and from an OH&S perspective, an outrageous level of consequence from these individuals working in that way. And if you think about that ultra charismatic, but bombastic barrister who wins, you know, a very, very high proportion of the cases is confident enough and compelling enough in in the courtroom to pretty much dominate their way - and I use that word intentionally - dominate the results that they get in court, they effectively become pretty much untouchable. So if there's questions about sexual impropriety or then dominating others, or people feeling uncomfortable working with them or whatever else, you're going to mention the managing partners who are all directly experiencing wealth, creation and kind of a whole lot of positive self interested kind of reasons why this person is good to have around, they will oversee and overlook and pay off. And yeah, this is this kind of the history of maybe, as I say, a generation ago in business today, I think that it's different. I think that the qualities that people are recruited for the types of behavior that are accepted the legislative and regulatory environment that people are recruited into, is so vastly different, that the stick if you if you allow these people to cause untold damage to others, the costs and consequenc to the business through all sorts of penalties and and, you know, various kind of some negative press or or it may be risk to reputation or whatever it may be, that all of those things that are impacting the risk profile of your organization may become so intolerable that they will have to act and and get rid of these people. And also I noticed they're not getting into the most senior positions as much as they once used to, because they aren't a well rounded unit, they often have very strong, very driven and the performance, but they don't do the behavioral and the empathic. And if you think about the sorts of people that they employ into chair commissioners and police type roles these days and and other senior roles in government, there is a very strong skewing of balance toward what has traditionally been afforded to the some more feminine attributes of leadership. And and I see that trajectory as a heck of a long way to play out fully. And we noticed that without we maybe get onto the some global politics a little bit ever so briefly, not that I'm any expert on it, but some of my observations about some of the shifts there. So these high conflict individuals, in summary, were around a lot more before in elevated and senior roles. They're still around in in areas where there Where the benefits outweigh the costs, but today, the costs are measured quite differently to the way that they once might have been. And, and I am noticing more and more that these people are getting caught up with a lot more quickly. It seems to me, I mean, one of the things that's fascinated me forever and I throw a theory that I have at you ... that we as a culture and a society, we evolve incredibly quickly. (Mm hmm.) But as a thinking creature, we evolve slightly slower, but as an emotional creature, we evolve terribly slowly. And so and so, I find it quite amusing because if we consider that a culture is asking all of these things to change, and like you said one generation ago But in that one generation, you're going to have people fight that change emotionally. I don't want to be a different person I don't. And it because it's a shifting ... a tremendous shift in values. And I think that this plays out when you see, you know, the the whole honor versus dignity culture thing, where, once upon a time, if I was affronted by somebody, then I would simply confront them. And I would say "How dare you you want to step outside?" and it's that look after my honor, I slap you with a glove and we go and do we duel at 20 paces. And nowadays, we're shifting to a more dignity culture that says, I'm not going to take the law into my own hands. I'm above that. I'm going to pass it on to a an authority and I'm going to ask them to deal with the bullying or the illegality of what I'm receiving. And then, and I'm not going to lower myself to that level. But there's this tremendous clash in cultures where you can even describe that to someone and have them completely say, "if you can't ...", like I did, only today on Facebook, (and we won't go there). But somebody said, "Oh, if you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen", having been quite rude. And it's a it's a fascinating little byplay that's taking place where we're kind of asking people to become better. And they're holding on to those traditional values, those man values that say, "I sort things out myself. We keep it in house, what's between you and me, I keep in house and through the strength of my own will and my own determination. I will deal with you." But I'm certainly not going to say "excuse me, but your behavior doesn't suit me in my new understanding of self. And I'm now going to go to management or someone like that." And I think there's this unbelievable clash that's happened, as you said, in one culture. And so we've got these people still hanging on. I think that's very, I think that's a you ... claimed as a theory, But I think that there's a heck of a lot to it. Because if we think in terms of generational spaces, if you think back three generations, which isn't very long ago, in the scheme of our evolution as a species, everything moves at the speed of a plow, nothing move faster than a horse and a plow. You know, really, that was the pace of life. And so, our great grandparents or maybe great, right, but certainly not almost within, you know, living memory of our parents. There was a time where the pace of life was very much more ... Just a whole lot slower. And you've heard those amazing statistics about how a six year old today has had more stimulation and imagery and experienced more ... just experienced more stimulation in total than their grandparents, the great grandparents and the grandparents did in their entire lifetime. Yeah. And I think that that that quickening of pace and the fact that even now we know with email exchanges, there's sort of an impatience, people can experience impatience if they don't get a reply to the email within sometimes seconds. Whereas, you know, and again, it's only a handful of generations ago that you wrote a letter, you sent it took, you know, if you think back to it, say with the US for a moment the back when you know when letters were shared between the two coasts, even using the Pony Express and the rapidly the rapid, which was considered blisteringly fast at the time. It was like three days, one way three days the other with these people who just handed on, like Chinese whispers here this parcel of mail between the West Coast and the East Coast and that was as fast as you can possibly imagine. And of course, other other letters were taken by ships with six to 12 weeks kind of between, you know, port and port and for those letters to arrive, and then they'd reply and it will take another 12 weeks. So the actual that as a reality compared to the blisteringly fast, and we now count in in fractions of seconds, that we are now breaking sort of our timelines down to ... nanoseconds and smaller ... that we are expecting information to be shared and for information to be valid. So I think that, as having a mammalian brain that's been evolving that whole time and a reptilian brain sitting under it, which is a lot more kind of stable and primal. I think that there is a deep struggle With the speed with which we have evolved as a species, fundamentally, physiologically, compared with what's required of us, cognitively, and emotionally to your point. And if you think also about some of the deeper, some of those aspects that are slower and less quick to evolve, they often are rooted in much more fundamental reptilian parts of our brain rather than the high cortical parts of our brain. And and I think it is kind of dissonance and disconnect and struggle that we feel variously as as a species that makes for or sets a context for why so many things perhaps do arise as issues and struggles and problems in our various societies. So I don't think you're far off the mark Tony with that kind of observation, but I think there's quite a lot of evidence from a an evolutionary perspective and from a sociological perspective that can help us understand why We have evolved so much so quickly, but still have our moments of deep struggle. And, and perhaps under pressure, we revert to a much more primal kind of way of thinking and behaving. And that's sort the stuff you were talking about a moment ago. Yeah. Well, I think that it's interesting to me that and I say this in my classes that you can be an utter genius. But when when things go bad, if the bank wants to foreclose on your mortgage, you've got fight or flight ... this, you know, it's this sort of thing that happens that goes, I don't care how smart you are, I don't care how many letters you've got after your name. And I don't care where you've been what you know, I don't care what your name is. You've got fight or flight, like anyone's got a fight or flight. (absolutely) And so we tend to be very very unsophisticated when the ship hits the sand. Very true. I think There's been a lot of research and we understand what happens when we have that absolute surge of adrenaline and the that fight flight response that you're alluding to that flood of hormones are shutting down in your cortex, like, we know that the cortex literally shuts down. And if you're scanning somebody who's in that deep fight and flight mode, there are parts of the brain that are kind of alive and on fire, but there's a much more primal survival parts of the brain, not the parts that sort of, can do complex, you know, calculus and some of those really high cortical type functions. So that's sort of Amygdala response or that very primal response is well understood. And well, I think we know that and you know this because, you know, a heck of a lot more about it than I do around anger and that that white rage part where you basically are dealing with somebody who is impossible to reason with in that moment. And that's why you, you know better than anybody that that is not how you deal with them. In that moment, you don't appeal To the higher cortical, you have to find other ways to circuit break that that really intense dynamic in the moment. Transcribed by https://otter.ai