We’ve probably all experienced the person who seems to argue and disagree most of the time. When I spot these behaviors on a consistent basis, I know I’m dealing with someone who prefers to use the “fight” response when threatened. Usually these are people who lash with the fear response– they rarely “lash in” in self-blame or self-criticism. In Pack Leader Psychology I call people who generally use the “fight” response “Dominators.” They often try to dominate and intimidate, using emotional upheaval or aggression or the threat of either or both.
While we all get angry at times — and sometimes with good cause — these Dominators seem to get angry for very little reason or over-react with too much anger.
My second husband was a classic Dominator. Even for the most minor offense on my part (talking to a colleague at a holiday party or planning a business trip), he would fly into a violent rage.
I couldn’t comprehend his urge to lash out. I rarely became angry — which, of course, I later learned was a major problem for me. (As a “Submissive,” I was unassertive as a preferred response, even in situations when I should have been angry as a self-protective measure.)
Now I can clearly spot someone who has had the “fight-or-flight” primal response triggered. The fight response is quite easy to identify.
But the really helpful part of the Pack Leader Psychology paradigm was when I discovered what causes the over-reaction of “fight-or-flight” behavior. Lots more on that in the book!