When we behave ‘as if’ something were the case, we are being either neurotic, creative or realistic — and there’s a big difference between our reasons and motives for each one.

The Neurotic As-If

If you’ve ever been curious about people’s behaviour, like I am, you’ll be wondering why so many people behave ‘as if’ something were the case when in fact it isn’t.

Have you ever said something quite innocently to someone and they responded (or rather, emotionally reacted) as if you’d meant or intended something totally different from what you did?

They take offence and twist what you’ve said to being something negative towards them such as a put-down or a criticism of some sort.

This is the neurotic type of ‘as-if’…and it’s the result of the other person overlaying what you’ve said or done with something from their own history and self-concept. It’s their own ‘old stuff’ distorting what they hear, imagine, think, feel — and consequently, how they react and behave towards you.

They then try to make you feel guilty or ashamed for hurting them — whilst you remain baffled by what just happened.

The wires are definitely crossed and you can either try to untangle them — if the relationship is worth the effort to you — or you can walk away knowing that future conversations and interactions with this person will probably be strained, through no fault of your own (assuming you didn’t have an underlying intention to shame them of course).

I had this happen recently… I’d offered someone something for free and they somehow took that to imply that I thought they were a ‘charity case’! I replied that I didn’t see them like that at all, and I was curious about why they would interpret what I’d offered to mean that, and that the offer was still there if they wanted it, and if they didn’t that was fine with me too.

The best way to deal with these neurotic ‘as ifs’ is to calmly notice them and comment with interest on how the person has interpreted what you said — and then state that this is different from your intended meaning.

The more you’re aware of these crossed wires the easier it is to challenge them — and not just be left with feelings of awkwardness and confusion about what happened.

They’re easier to understand and empathise with when we remember that the ‘neurotic’ response is an emotional reaction from the wounded inner child in the other person.

They are trying to avoid repeating the bad feelings they experienced in their past. They are projecting that piece of their own history into the present day and attacking it — even though it doesn’t really exist here and now.

Neurotic people with a wounded inner child, will over-think, over-analyse and go over and over a scenario in their mind and scrutinise every minor detail of a conversation. Particularly so if it’s by text or e-mail — which is then used as the hard ‘evidence’ for their mind to forensically examine, looking for the negative intentions and undertones they imagine and expect.

They make mountains out of molehills, and unpicking a scene with them so as to reassure them of your positive intention can be very draining!

The Creative As-If

Have you heard about the Law Of Attraction? If not, how have you managed to avoid it? 🙂

Well, a crucial part of this process of attracting what you desire into your life is to live your life ‘as if’ you already have that aspect of your life in place, and to really feel it!

That might be the feeling that comes from having and enjoying financial wealth — and you’ll then behave as a wealthy person (without getting into debt in the process!), and feel like someone for whom the energy of money is abundant and welcomed. You’ll imagine yourself ‘as if’ you had a life of wealth — using your five senses to elaborate your rich abundant life.

Similarly, if it’s a loving relationship you want then you’re advised to think, feel and imagine already having that, and give this vibrational energy out to the Universe — which in response will match that energy and deliver whatever it is you’re focusing upon.

I’ve heard very mixed results about ‘manifesting’ — but with my interest in quantum science I find the energy theory is very compelling and good enough reason to have an ‘as-if’ life if it brings you a ‘got-it’ life as a consequence!

The Reality Check As-If

Finally we have the ‘yeah right, as if THAT is ever going to happen to me’ type of ‘as-if’ living The pessimistic ‘reality check’ — which can be self-limiting and create less of a life than we might otherwise be capable of having.

This has both good and bad points. It can keep us living ‘down to earth’, or it can create a ceiling that prevents us from flying any higher . This limits our relationships and the people we attract to us, and other aspects of a successful and abundant life.

So, the take-away from this is…

  • Check out if you are automatically doing the neurotic as-ifs and seeing the bad in someone else’s motives or actions. If so, work out why — and stop doing that! (If you need help getting to the bottom of why you do this, then please see the link below for some free help and guidance from me.)
  • Creatively life your life as if it were already the best it could be and attract more of the same good feelings and experiences to you.
  • Keep your ‘reality’ checks in check…because you create your own reality from the inside out and you set your own limits on what you can attain and experience.

Remember, your thinking, feeling and imagining are all forms of energy generated by you, which will attract more of what you give your time and focus to.

As if you didn’t already have enough to think about!

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR


(Where you will find some FREE help and guidance to live your life free from the ‘as-ifs’ that get in your way.)

www.maxineharleymentoring.com — helping women to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours — to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better!

Originally published at lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk on September 2, 2015.

Originally published at medium.com