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Working with Denigration of Others

“Well, I can tell you one thing, I have never had such an incompetent boss!”. Those who devalue others (and not their intentions or behaviours) always expose themselves to the suspicion that this fulfils an avoidance function in themselves. “You seem very outraged, because your boss is not coming up with the performance which you expect from him. Why are you so outraged, that you actually condemn him wholesale?” Putting down others is a welcome phenomenon in counselling, because one interprets this as information about the client, and not as statements about the ‘real’ world. Entering into the research process usually only succeeds if the client can see that his denigration is not used as a reproach against him, i.e. that his denigration is not responded to by the denigration of himself by the counsellor. Instead, it is about seeking out the inner distress (envy, jealousy, impotence, fear about the jealousy of the boss, inner aggrandisement which is not allowed to be etc.), in order to understand the function of this denigration of others and to make the underlying conflicts accessible for processing.

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