Topic Dodging; Subject Changing

"Topic dodging is a political control tactic that's used often in regular conversation.

You say "Look at that tree, what kind is it?"
I say "Which tree?"
You say "That tree, right in the middle."
I say "That tree? Oh I thought you meant the one over there with the red pointy leaves, that's a Tupelo tree. See it?"
You say "Oh yeah" and look at the Tupelo tree.
I say "They're really good for carving wooden models like ducks. The wood is easy to work. It's also used for pulp for making paper, and it's used for the inside of plywood, and the inside of furniture."
You say "Oh interesting" or "I have one in my backyard" or "My cousin carves ducks". You might be impressed, or you might be annoyed, but either way I was successful in my intention to divert the topic.

Now you've forgotten about the original tree, pretty much, and your original question, and I don't have to admit that I don't know what kind of tree it was. Also, the impression now (unless you realize what I did) is that I'm more knowledgeable than you are about trees in general; I knew facts about trees and you didn't even know the names of the trees. I "win", I just smoke screened you into allowing me to be "dominant", subconsciously now you might actually see me as the Leader in our relationship. My intent was really just to avoid answering the tree question without getting noticed, but the effects of my dodging went further.

What you don't realize is that it was only one tree that I knew about, and it was limited information. I kept talking, filling the air with "facts" so I could keep control of the topic, and you wouldn't ask anymore direct questions, so I would not have to admit not knowing the answers. And even if you did ask another question, I could have done it again with each new question. As long as you don't realize I'm diverting the subject, you won't catch on.

Insecure people may do this often, trying to avoid embarrassment or ridicule, but Narcissists nearly always do this when they don't know an answer or don't like a topic. They can not just say "I don't know", and they can't have someone who's 'supposed to be' lesser than them know something that they don't.

How Are You Conditioned To Behave?

In your community, work, and social circles, do you notice more people treating you better when you express enthusiasm and speak and behave with confidence?
Or do they seem to treat you better, more kindly, with less resistance, when you're being passive, acting less confident, self-deprecating, or when you're worried, nervous, or pessimistic?
Do more people seem to treat you better when you act like you're GOOD at something, or knowledgeable about something, or do they seem to treat you better when you act like you're NOT GOOD at something, and LESS knowledgeable?

Obstacle To Change, Fear Of Leaving

Obstacles To Change

One of the biggest obstacles to change can be our fear of humiliation, rejection, and slander. It's not just the "name calling", its what can come with it.

A person who has been rejected by the Personality-disordered for any reason, serious or trivial, real or completely false, is usually ALSO smeared to whomever possible, directly attacked either verbally, physically, financially, or emotionally, and often "kicked out" of home, family or social circles, community circles, work, and cut off from normal resources.

Without access to normal supports and resources that others take for granted (don't even realize they have), the person is not able to live their life "normally" in the same way as others, and can then be conveniently labeled as a "loser".

When someone labels a person as "loser", "unstable", or "bad news", few are aware or mature enough to investigate past the label, and simply avoid being associated with the person, or give them any resources or help, and often won't even treat them with normal or minimal courtesy and manners.

So while they're trying to recover from rejection and attack, they are also struggling for regular survival, which means they have LESS resources for recovery than others (money, human connection, access to travel, access to healthcare for themselves or their children), never mind daily life. They are actually MORE LIKELY than before to be targeted by those with ill intent.

Human beings like to go by what they've heard about others; almost everyone denies that they do it, but almost everyone does it. So if the odds of a person getting hired, getting a loan, getting anything whatsoever, even fair customer service or plain social courtesy from others are very low if someone has even IMPLIED that they are "less than". Only if a person had a positive impression of the person FIRST, or if they personally are attracted to them in some way, will they "give the person a chance". Most humans LIKE an excuse to think of a person as "less worthy" than themselves.

It's no wonder that the fear of other people's reactions often deters a person from changing their lives, leaving negative situations or  stressful relationships, doing things to improve their situations or taking positive risks (like returning to college, getting a new job, quitting substance abuse, writing a book, going to church, singing on stage, volunteering, taking certain classes, or learning a trade. Or changing careers, running for office, or doing something outside of their stereotype.) If the change is likely to poke someone's brittle or inflated ego, then the odds of them doling out negative consequences against the person are high. The more people there are in a group who have brittle or inflated egos, the higher the odds are of dramatic negative reactions to any changes, especially if a person has already been targeted.

Superior To You

It can be difficult to keep in mind that many children are literally taught that they are superior to others by the adults around them, and that this supposed superiority is what makes them valuable. In other words, they're taught that humans are either Superior and therefore valuable, or Inferior, and therefore not valuable.
They are taught to believe that any person can ONLY BE one or the other.

So they live life trying to make sure they are accepted in the "Superior" group. They judge all others to be either in the "Superior" group OR the "Inferior" group.

To them, if they are not seen as a member of the "Superior" group, then they will be considered "Inferior", and therefore tossed aside, left out of important groups, and treated terribly.
(How accurate is this belief in our culture?)

They believe that if they are a member of the "Superior" group, then THEY are entitled to disrespect, rule over, and/or use those who they think are in the "Inferior" group.

They DO NOT KNOW that this concept is not "the way things are", because they were taught so early that it IS "the way things are". In their minds, the sun comes up in the morning, the sky is blue, water is wet, coffee is a drink, grass is green, and people are either Superior, or Inferior. 

In the person's mind, every human goes into a category. Every person is classified with a "value", in basically the same way objects are classified. You (and they) are placed either in the "valued" group, or in the "non-valued" group.

Only those whom the person has placed in the "valued" group will be treated with normal, equal, or above average respect, courtesy, attention and integrity; listened to, or believed. In fact, those who have been placed in the "valued" group will often be given much, much more credence, recognition, credit and respect than they have actually earned. Their obvious mistakes or even blatant violations of laws, rules, and respect toward others are likely to be excused, covered up, or rationalized. (The reason any of this exists in the culture at large is because of the very large number of people who were raised to think this way, usually by those who were also raised to think this way, and so on. It doesn't require an entire family to raise a child this way, only a few poignant adults at a few poignant periods in the child's development).

Those who the person has categorized in the "non-valued" or "inferior" group will be treated as a lesser and lower-status being at all times, in all things. They will be interrupted when they speak, even "shushed", they will be "disciplined" like a child, they will be ASSUMED to have less knowledge, experience, or understanding, they will be assumed to be less capable and less able to learn. It does not matter what the person does, anything and everything that they do or say will be doubted, ignored, argued with, or deemed "unnecessary" and "unimportant".

It can be hard to imagine it from a different point of view, but it's important to understand since it's really the way so many people are raised.

We will and do come across "Superior/Inferior" minded people all the time. We will have to go to school with them and work with them. They're at the grocery store, the electronics store, and the hardware store, both as customers and as employees. They're probably at the doctor's office, the hospital, government offices, recreational facilities, and in your child's elementary school. They play and coach sports, they are dance class and yoga students and teachers, they're at the gym, they might be in the Police Department, they may be running local businesses and politics.

To put it into perspective:
The Superiority/Inferiority-minded person will categorize every person he or she comes across, based on certain superficial key traits that they learned during childhood. So a person applying for the Front Desk position at a Doctor's office who is Superiority/Inferiority minded is already categorizing the rest of the staff as "above" or "below", before they even get the job, and that includes the ENTIRE staff. The person may place the Doctors themselves in the "Superior" category at first based on their titles, but then again they may not. If the person uses "Race" as an assessment tool, then that will supersede the Doctor's degree. So if the person sees dark-skinned people as Superior, then he or she will place the dark-skinned Doctor in the Superior category. If he or she sees light-skinned people as Inferior, then he or she will place the light-skinned Doctor in the Inferior category.

Whatever the person uses as "assessment tools" supersede everything else. A person they've categorized as "Inferior" could save their life, their children's lives, and find a cure for world hunger, and they would STILL classify them as "Innately Inferior", perhaps with an 'asterisk' (*Inferior but above other Inferiors).
If they use gender as an assessment tool, then ALL PEOPLE of one sex will be placed in the Superior category, and ALL PEOPLE of the other sex will be placed in the Inferior category. After the initial categorizing, they may "reassess" an individual, but it's usually a change from "Superior" to "Inferior", not the other way.

Other common keys for assessment can be age, height, appearance of physical strength, vocal tone, accent, mannerisms, hair, clothing, or subjective physical attraction. Anything may be used, however, keys are limited only to the person's imagination.

~Those who are in "Superiority/Inferiority" mindset usually don't know the difference between objective fact and subjective opinion, because they were not taught the difference, so when they find a person to be attractive, they believe that EVERYONE has the same opinion of the person's appearance, including the person themselves. They believe most or all of their subjective opinions to represent objective reality. "Vanilla is better than chocolate" or vice versa. This cognitive gap plays a rather large role in their thinking process. Whether it's nature or nurture remains unsolved, but it appears that it's directly encouraged at a young age instead of guided away from, regardless of its origin.

Watch the way people interact with others to see if, and how, they classify people. Sometimes we might do it ourselves and not realize it, since we were most likely raised alongside those who were being taught this way. It can even occur within the same family, under the same roof.