“Dot” people is a term used by a Kirk Duncan, a lecturer who works to help people improve their lives and relationships.
The voices, spirits, influences, energies, whatever you want to call them . . . that speak to us in our heads are typically present in everyone’s life. You know, that little voice in the back of your head. The one saying, “There’s no voice in the back of my head!” We may think they are all our voice, but they are many voices, possibly from our past memories, but also possibly from good or bad forces working to help us, or influence us negatively.
Some of the voices are good and guide us well if we listen. Once, when I was getting ready to drive, I heard a little voice in my head say, “Maybe you should let John drive, if you drive you will get a ticket.” I responded in my head, nonchalantly, with, “Well, I will just be extra careful”. I got in the car and drove, with John as my passenger, and I got pulled over for speeding in a construction zone. I had not seen the sign. I got a ticket.
Some voices are not helpful — the ones Kirk Duncan calls the Dot people — they criticize, condemn, judge, flatter, etc. Those are the voices that say things like, “You are better than the rest,” or, “You’re so selfish,” or, “You are so lame.”
What I realized tonight is that the positive, good influence voices, speak in a non abusive way; and the critical, bad influence voices, or Dot people speak in an abusive way.
“The Verbally Abusive Relationship”, a book by Patricia Evans, explains that verbal abuse comes from other people pretending to be you and saying how you feel, think, act, and what you do, did, want to do, should do, etc. For example, someone might say to you, “You should get your car fixed,” or, ” You need to get your degree,” or ” You don’t want that butter brickle ice cream, you want the vanilla.” Verbal abuse can also be a commanding voice, “Move over,” or “Get a haircut,” or, “Take out the garbage.” When one person pretends to be another, claiming to know what they think, feel, want, etc., it can be very confusing to the person they are pretending to be. When a person uses the commanding verbiage, it can cause the person hearing it to resist and feel agitated or angry.
One can learn to communicate the same ideas without being abusive. Instead of saying, “Fix your car,” one could say, “Have you considered getting your car fixed?” The idea of getting the car fixed is communicated, but not as a command or judgement, but as a suggestion.
The positive helpful voices always speak in suggestions, like: “You might need that umbrella today,” When I don’t listen, I wish I would have, because later I realize I needed the very thing that was suggested. When I listen, I’m always glad I did.
The Dot people on the other hand, speak in abusive ways; in commands, criticism, or flattery.
Realizing this confirmed to me again that Patricia Evan’s book is correct. To be a positive influence in other people’s lives, we can speak in ways that allow and encourage free agency rather than trying to control and manipulate, like the Dot people do.
One might ask, “But how can a parent control their child if a parent can’t say, ‘do this, don’t do that?'” There are ways of getting around the abusive speak and still communicate parental expectations. Instead of saying, “Go clean your room,” you could say in a noncritical tone, “How’s your room looking?” A gentle question reminds the child about the room and gives them the opportunity to think of cleaning it themselves. If the child doesn’t take the hint, or avoids, a parent can remind the child about the rules in a positive, non critical tone, “OK, once the room is clean, you can go out to play (or whatever the next activity is).” A gentle, non nagging question reminds the child without creating so many feelings of resistance.
I am grateful for authors like Patricia Evans, who figure things like this out and give me a boost in my understanding.