I’m so over it. Anyone who say this is, by definition, not over it. Therapists call this a reaction formation.
Suppose you start a new job, only to discover your new boss is kind of an obvious jerk. But now you’re stuck with this guy. So maybe you do your best to convince yourself you admire his arrogance or enjoy his “colorful” sense of humor. You try to convince yourself you feel the exact opposite of what you actually feel. Maybe you even defend your boss to people who don’t like him, telling them he’s an “acquired taste.” You form a reaction to this person as a way of justifying your move from your old job. Part of you doesn’t want to admit you may have made a strategic error in leaving your previous job, so you tell yourself your new boss, although unconventional, is exactly the inspiration you need at this time in your career.
Of course, much like all desert mirages eventually reveal themselves to be plain old desert sand, all reaction formations eventually implode.
How do you recognize your own reaction formations? This can be especially tricky because reaction formations are designed, by your unconscious mind, to fool your critical thinking. Two strategies can help.
First, be mindful of your initial reactions to people and situations
Take note of your “gut” feeling, your unfiltered first impression. This is your nervous system’s way of quickly assessing this person or situation, and it may be more accurate than your later attempts at “thinking things through.”
Second, carefully consider any ideas, beliefs or impressions about which you feel especially passionate or “certain.”
This can be quite challenging–but can you seriously consider the exact opposite of your most certain thoughts, feelings and beliefs? Can you authentically try on for size an opposing viewpoint, however temporarily? Anything truly steadfast will withstand repeated inspection and re-evaluation. Anything uncertain eventually dissolves, one way or another.