Imagine coming home to the scene in this picture. Your dog’s big brown eyes follow you as you walk by. He blinks slowly, shifts slightly and sighs deeply. You know he’s not human, but you still have a strong urge to ask him, “what’s wrong?”
My dog Ollie knows how to deploy the aloof strategy of energy stealing. I literally can’t help myself but to go over and snuggle him when he gets like this. I mean look at him!
It is far less adorable when my charming, intelligent husband utilizes this strategy. When Erich becomes aloof he withdraws from a conversation by becoming vague, unclear or quiet. He may shrug his shoulders exaggeratedly and then stop talking altogether.
Sometimes, when we have guests, he will position himself outside of the group circle, leaned back in a chair looking at his hands or up at the ceiling. Just like I’m drawn to Ollie, I find myself gravitating to Erich saying, “hey, what’s on your mind?”
The Aloof control drama is slightly less passive than the Poor Me. The energy field of an Aloof person feels like uncertainty. You can never be quite sure what they are thinking or feeling. They are harrrrd to read. Personally, I feel I know more men who fall into this category than women, but I’m sure aloof women are just as difficult to get through to!
When a person is being aloof he will give vague answers to questions. You might ask, “How was your day?” and he would respond, “Oh, fine.” It practically forces a follow-up question or it kills the conversation dead in its tracks. Aloof people might say, “I just don’t feel like talking,” but they will somehow keep you ensnared in a conversation.
It’s like pulling teeth!
If the Poor Me drama makes one look like the victim, than the Aloof strategy makes one look mysterious. As Redfield puts it, “The person constantly creates a vague and mysterious aura around herself, forcing us to pour energy into digging to get information normally shared in a casual manner.” This can be frustrating if the individual behaves this way on a regular basis and it can really take a toll on the energy of their friends and family!
Nothing is every black and white. That is why Redfield warns, “We must remember, however, that not everyone who is being vague or who refuses to give us information about herself is using an Aloof drama. She may just want to remain anonymous for some other reason. Every person has the right to privacy and to share with others only as much as she wants.”
It is only harmful when the Aloof person uses this strategy to manipulate others. The idea is to draw us in, yet keep us at a distance. When we start to lose interest in trying to pry information from them they might say something to get your attention. Many of my aloof friends know how to push my buttons so that as soon as I’m ready to walk away I get baited back into their game. Not cool!
How does one develop the aloof personality? Redfield explains,
As with the Poor Me, the Aloof strategy comes from situations in the past. Usually, the Aloof could not share freely as a child because it was threatening or dangerous to do so. In that kind of environment, the Aloof learned to be constantly vague in communication with others while at the same time finding a way to be listened to in order to win energy from others.
As with the Poor Me, the Aloof strategy is a set of unconscious assumptions about the world. The Aloof believes that the world is full of people who can’t be trusted with intimate information. She thinks the information will be used against her at a later date, or will be the basis of criticism. And as always, these assumptions flow out from the Aloof to influence the kinds of events that occur, fulfilling the unconscious intention.
I don’t like to play the Aloof game because it brings out the worst of my own control drama (we will talk about Interrogators tomorrow). Here is what author James Redfield has to say about dealing with an aloof individual:
To deal effectively with someone using an Aloof drama, we must again remember to begin by sending energy. By sending loving energy rather than becoming defensive ourselves, we relieve the pressure to continue the manipulation. With the pressure off, we can begin again, naming the game and bringing the drama into awareness by making it the topic of conversation.
As before, we can expect one of two reactions. First, the Aloof may flee the interaction and sever all communication. This, of course, is always a risk that must be taken, because to say anything else is to continue to play the game. In this case, we can only hope that our directness will begin a new pattern that will lead to self-awareness.
The Aloof’s other reaction may be to stay incommunication but to deny being aloof. In this case, as always, we must consider the truth of what the person is saying. However, if we are sure of our perception, we must hold fast and continue to dialogue with the person. Out of the conversation, we hope, a new pattern will be established.
It is my observation that trust may be the key to free yourself from being Aloof. If you have a tendency to keep others at arm’s length I encourage you to explore your own ability to trust your loved ones and more important yourself. Trust can help you build the foundation for healthy, strong inter-personal relationships. I found this nifty visual aid to help illustrate my point. Notice that each petal has to do with the individual, not with others. Trust, like any quality or belief, is best if you maintain an internal locus of control. That way YOU are in charge!
As usual I hope someone found this helpful! What are your experiences with aloof people? If you are aloof, what experiences do you think contributed to your developing that style of manipulation? I love hearing from my readers so please leave comments!