ozarque (ozarque) wrote,

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The Phony Leveler; afternote...

Excerpted from "Recognizing the Satir Modes," pp. 60-61 in
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work [Prentice-Hall Press 2000]


People who use Blamer Mode are openly hostile and belligerent. They use lots of "I/you" words, and words like 'every, always, never, nobody, nothing.' They make accusations and threats; they give direct and abrupt orders. Their body language is threatening; they shake their fingers and their fists at people; they loom over people; they frown and scowl and peer at others. They speak too loudly, or they spit out their words between their teeth, or they hiss at you. They put an unusual number of strong, emphatic stresses on words and parts of words in their sentences.


People who use Placater Mode also use 'I/you' words and unusual, strong stresses a great deal. But instead of appearing belligerent and overbearing, they appear desperately anxious to avoid giving offense. They plead and cajole and wheedle; they praise excessively; they hedge even the smallest request heavily. Their body language, Satir said, will remind you of a cocker spaniel puppy.


People using Computer Mode avoid 'I/you' words and do everything they can to restrict their language to generalizations and abstractions rather than the personal. They try for the most emotionless and neutral communication possible. Their body language is minimal -- a flat tone of voice, very little movement, a single noncommital facial expression. They rarely use emphatic stresses on words or parts of words.


People in Distracter Mode appear to be totally disorganized, if not panicked. They cycle rapidly through the other modes... As the word patterns cycle, the body language cycles, too, and the effect is -- as the label suggests -- distracting.


The language behavior of the person in Leveler Mode is recognized by the absence of the word and body language patterns characteristic of the other Satir Modes. It is what doctors call 'the diagnosis of exclusion.' ... Since Leveling can always include the same words as those used in any other Satir Mode, it's important not to be confused by the words themselves. Compare these two sentences:

Blaming: "WHY are you LEAVing so EARly?" [Frown on face; fists clenched at sides.]
Leveling: "Why are you leaving so early?" [Expression of neutral concern; relaxed posture.]
Tags: verbal self-defense

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