Why Do I Feel Like Everyone’s Out to Get Me?


You know what they say, “Just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean I’m wrong.”

Do you ever feel like, "everyone's out to get me?" Where do these feelings come from, and how can you let them go?

If you wonder, “why do I feel like everyone’s out to get me?” you might be unconsciously putting out certain beliefs into the world. Others might reflect those beliefs about yourself.

So, here’s how to examine what you’re putting out there. Let’s look at how you can change the narrative to one with more positive, productive results.

What You Believe, You Create

I worked with a guy—Kevin—who was in a mid-level sales position. He was frustrated with the way certain situations were going in his department, including a manager who was unclear with expectations. Team members were pitted against one another in a highly competitive environment, which included a lot of passive-aggressive behavior.

Kevin told me, “I’m starting to feel like everyone’s out to get me. I don’t trust anyone in my department, and I don’t know where I stand.”

I posed the questions to Kevin, “Well, have you asked about the intentions? Have you confronted them on it? Did you ask your manager to lay out the expectations in a straight-forward manner?”

“No, because I feel like it’s not going to make a difference. They’ll think I’m an idiot.”

When you go into the situation believing they already think you’re an idiot, chances are high, they will believe it. You see it’s easy to get stuck in what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We all have beliefs about the world and ourselves. As Alfred Adler taught, we carry these unconscious beliefs about who we are and what we expect from the world. These beliefs are ingrained deep in our minds since childhood. In fact, some are established well before we remember the experience that reinforced them. Even if you had a seemingly perfect childhood (which no one truly has), you still carry limiting beliefs about yourself and your abilities. These beliefs are automatically reinforced and validated by the way people interact with you.

As a child, you’re small in a big world. Many activities are a struggle. You can’t read, you aren’t able to do “grown-up” activities, you’re told to be careful and that the world is dangerous.

Even as you grow up and become an adult, you will carry some of these misconceptions about the world. Some people are in denial about the dangers of the world, other people believe the world is highly dangerous. The truth is both views are right and wrong to a certain extent. We end up creating self-fulfilling prophecies that reinforce our beliefs.

How Do We Determine the Reality of the Situation?

So, when we’re in a situation where we’re trying to separate our perception from reality, the key is to carry out what’s called “reality testing.”

Explore your perception of a situation. How do I check this out? What is the intention of the people around me? What did they mean by their comments? What emotions am I feeling? Is this reality or my interpretation of events?

The other important step is to ask. If you’re feeling courageous, explain why you’re asking. Offer up your feelings. “I’m concerned I was misreading your comment, could you clarify?”

As we discuss in our book, “The Heart of the Fight,” there are rules of engagement. Whether engaging with our partner, our boss, our family, or coworkers, we’ll get productive results if all parties follow the rules of engagement. The goal isn’t to avoid conflict or get along all the time (conflict can be productive and bring us even closer). The goal is to communicate openly and honestly, to break down barriers to engagement, so we can better connect with others.

One of the critical rules of engagement is to assume goodwill. You can’t experience a significant connection if you believe the other party is out to get you. In most cases, they aren’t. They’re probably concerned with their situation, not yours.

Another rule is to speak and agree with the truth, always. We must also remember the rule no one gets more than 50% of the blame in any situation and the rule we’re 100% responsible for our own happiness.

If you struggle to believe everyone isn’t out to get you,  you may need a therapist or a great coach to help you work through this perception. The reality is, most people are so busy concerning themselves with their own problems, they don’t have time to plot out ways to “get” you.

Turn the Channel on Drama

People LOVE soap operas. The love reality television and over-the-top shows where someone is an evil villain.

In the real world, people are much more nuanced—no one’s all bad or all perfect. People have layers of wants, needs, and different motivations. It’s not nearly as clear-cut as what we see on the screen.

Dramas are so popular because the stories are based on the Drama Triangle. Stephen Karpman, MD, developed this idea over 40 years ago, but it continues to apply today. In the drama triangle, there’s a victim, a bad guy (persecutor), and a rescuer. We get engaged when we see it on the screen because from the outside we know how they can save themselves, turn around their personality, and so on.

Most of us like to identify with the rescuer. We want to look down on the persecutor and save the victim. This identification translates to our real-life drama triangle as well.

When we engage in the drama triangle at work or within our families, we can see the same patterns playing out. One person says something hurtful or critical. One person identifies as the victim and looks to another person to swoop in and soothe their feelings. This reaction creates a cycle of disempowerment and enmeshment that keeps chasing the tail around and around.

Instead, we can choose to disengage from the drama by speaking the truth. Rather than allowing ourselves to step into the role of “victim,” we can state what we want from the situation and request what we need.

When someone else is taking on the victim role, we can empower him or her to speak up rather than rescuing them. Even with the best intentions, rescuers don’t get their own needs met, and they may actually take away the personal power of the victim.

It’s important to remember everyone isn’t out to get you. Stop creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Speak out and express your feelings, speaking the truth always. Don’t engage in the drama cycle. Operate openly and honestly, empowering yourself and those around you.

You will discover you have more power than you may have previously thought.

For more on finding your personal power, visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. Don’t miss our special downloadable courses available now at a special introductory price.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Dealing with Adult Sibling Rivalry

Adult sibling rivalry is alive and well in most families.

Think sibling rivalry ends when you’re a kid? Think again! Adult sibling rivalry is very common. Here’s how to address competition among brothers and sisters.

All you need to do to start recognizing adult sibling rivalry is to hear the criticisms many siblings have for one another when they talk about their brother or sister.

  • “She always gets everything she wants.”
  • “I hate how Mom and Dad coddle him.”
  • “I can’t believe dad loaned her the car!”
  • “Mom acts like his kids are perfect, and mine are hellions.”

And the complaints go on. Sometimes, we may feel so frustrated by our adult brothers and sisters that we want to avoid spending time with them or our parents.

If you’re feeling the pangs of adult sibling rivalry, here’s how to get it out in the open and address your feelings. You may even work it out…like adults.

Acknowledging Adult Sibling Rivalries

A significant element of sibling rivalry in families is the idea parents should “never have favorites.” In fact, this mythology is so ingrained in many of is, it’s difficult, even painful to admit. Most parents won’t want to identify any sign of favoritism.

But if you want to know who’s the “favorite daughter” or “the good son,” ask the kids. Chances are, every member of the family can immediately identify Mom or Dad’s favorite (and it may or may not be the same person).

This idea that there are no favorites and we’re all on an equal footing plays into the family mythology and rules about what you do and don’t say within families. There’s a tendency to keep these truths unspoken because they’re often painful to discuss. There are family beliefs that people are fragile, and rivalries or favoritism is damaging to the siblings or their relationship.

As most of us know, the favorite child still exists, whether we acknowledge it or not. Leaving it unspoken may even make the adult sibling rivalry stronger and more damaging.

I’ve worked with many people on understanding their family dynamics, and often the most challenging area is examining family mythologies. Families are often an area we hold sacrosanct. Our relationship with our parents, brothers, and sisters, has been building since we were born. It forms the very basis of our identity and who we are.

That’s why people often get lost in their family rules and beliefs. The rules are so ingrained in their identity that it’s hard to pinpoint them or see the forest for the trees. This is often where an outside perspective is helpful. Discuss your family dynamic with another sibling, an aunt, uncle, or family friend. They will offer insight into the patterns you may be failing to identify. This insight will really help you dig down into these beliefs and understand how your family rules might affect what you can and cannot say.

Everyone Has Different Roles in a Family

Another way to examine adult sibling rivalry is to look at who’s competing with who for attention. Siblings to get different roles—one is the earnest do-gooder, one is the rebel, one is the prodigal son or daughter.

One way to start the discussion is to say, “let’s not confuse ourselves. No matter how many of us there are in the family, there are still favorites.”

Now, Mom’s favorite child or Dad’s favorite may not be the son or daughter most like them. In fact, Mom may feel frustrated by her daughter because they’re too similar. Dad may feel a higher affinity for the son who’s creative when another son followed in his footsteps as a businessman. Parents often appreciate the traits they wish they possessed or those qualities “proving” the effectiveness of their parenting.

If you want to clear the air, it’s important to accept everyone has favorites and it’s perfectly okay!

Because Mom or Dad has a favorite (and especially if you aren’t the favorite), does it mean they don’t love you? No! In most cases, they love you differently. Like it or not, there are favorites. Mom and Dad won’t love each child equally. In fact, we don’t know how to measure love, and to quantify it is a ridiculous pursuit.

Start talking honestly with each other and start getting honest with yourself. Look at your feelings about the fact that there are favorites in the family. How does it feel to know you’re the favorite? How does it feel to know you aren’t?

To get a visual picture of your family dynamic, we often ask students to draw their family relationship map. Draw your family with mom and dad at the top. Siblings come in at level two. Between each person, there is a relationship line. What does the line look like? How is each person connected, and how are they disconnected? Where are the barriers?

Instead of fighting the idea of favoritism, let the idea of favoritism contribute to the honesty and reality of your relationship. Unless you were an only child, you were likely competing with a sibling in some regard. It just happens. Certain family members will “click” while others will clash.

Family Dynamics Change Over Time

Growing up with my parents, we knew I was my mom’s favorite. My sister was my dad’s favorite. When we got older, my sister and mother became closer. Eventually, I would say she passed me up as Mom’s favorite.

The dynamics of our family relationships are often fluid. They may change over time and as situations change. Spouses may play a role in your connection with your parents as well as your brothers and sisters. Marriages, divorces, illness, children, and many other factors are incorporated into our family dynamics, even as we grow older.

Think of what your family looked like when you were very young. Chances are, you were born into a family that evolved into a different entity over the years. Perhaps when you were born, your parents were married, and you were the oldest. As time passed, your parents divorced and remarried. Maybe your parents stayed married, but they had more children. For those kids, family relationships look different.

Older siblings often complain they can’t believe what younger siblings “got away with” or that parents were tougher on them. Younger siblings may complain their older brother or sister got to stay out later or try things first. Parenting styles, attitudes, and comfort levels shift over the years.

There are mixed emotions in any family. We have colliding yearnings to be the favorite or to be the most liked. We may want to reinforce our identity as the “rebel,” the “good girl,” the “smart one,” or even “the screwup.” Because these roles are ingrained into our identity, they are tough to overcome.

Let’s stop these illusions and myths by acknowledging the truth. Simply because there are favorites and different connections, doesn’t mean there isn’t an affinity and appreciation for each member of the family.

Rather than competing for the most love, what if we work on strengthening the connections we share and appreciating our positive qualities?

Family connections are built on engagement and truth. How do we see each member of our family for who they really are? What is our brother or sister yearning for? How will we meet them in their truth?

If you want to get past adult sibling rivalry, accept that each person in the family will experience different connections and get along in different ways. Put the truth out in the open and then forge ahead to strengthen your relationship with your family members in the here and now. Speak honestly and openly about these family mythologies you are living under and start to appreciate who you each are as independent adults.

While everyone might not get along equally or connect on the same level, you may discover new and exciting aspects of your adult siblings (and parents). These discoveries you may have never realized because you were too busy competing for a spot as the favorite. Be honest and open about where each person is now, not where you were growing up.

For more on building your relationships, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where we’ll explore the mythologies that may be holding you back. We’re also happy to offer our courses for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about getting more satisfaction by living a life you love.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Mistakes at Work:
What to Do if You Screw Up

Everything is going along smoothly at the office…until you make a big mistake!

Mistakes at work are part of life. Rather than stressing out and beating yourself up, what if you identified the opportunity in your screw up?


Maybe you deleted an important file, crashed the server, or offended a client (or your boss). You instantly feel fear and perhaps even anger. How did you let this happen?

First of all, none of us is perfect. Every single person makes the occasional error. Mistakes at work are part of life.

The way to rectify the situation is to stop beating yourself up and get proactive about the solution. Here’s what to do when you screw up and make mistakes at work.

Mistakes Are Inevitable

The biggest problem I’ve seen when people make mistakes at work is their internal voice starts beating them up. Often, the voice inside your head is your worst critic. You mess up and then spend time ruminating. You replay the moment over and over, long after everyone has moved on.

Now, it’s easy to get stuck in the place of self-criticism. Most of us are much harder on ourselves than anyone else. Most of us would never tolerate a friend talking to us or tearing us apart like our internal voice.

Similarly, most of us wouldn’t talk to a friend as harshly as we speak to ourselves. A quick test to see whether you’re too hard on yourself: say the same words that are playing in your head, but direct them at a close friend. If the thought makes you cringe, then you’re probably stuck on self-critiquing rather than learning. Stop punishing yourself.

When you realize you royally screwed up, what should you do?

You can’t undo a mistake. Hiding it away or trying to cover it up, will only lead to stress, fear, shame, and more self-criticism. You may fix a mistake or come up with a resolution if you’re honest and proactive about it.

Instead of replaying your mistake over in your mind, what if you celebrated mistakes? Does the idea of celebrating sound outlandish? What if you viewed mistakes as an exciting way to learn something new, discover a different strategy, or re-route your approach to a problem?

Learning to make mistakes and celebrate them is an important skill to build. It’s one many people lack because most people won’t put themselves out there. Most won’t allow themselves to keep failing multiple times. They mess up, throw up their hands, and quit.

When this happens, they’re missing out on a powerful opportunity to bring about an even better outcome.

Set Yourself Up for…Mistakes?

You see, we all make mistakes. We all fall at some point. If you look at pro athletes, entrepreneurs, or successful authors, they all have something in common: they’ve all messed up. Most athletes fail constantly. They get injured. They miss the mark. They strikeout. Because they get back up and keep playing, they end up stronger and more successful.

Many successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they had to make many mistakes before they built a successful venture. I often advise those entering the career field to wait and learn before jumping into becoming your own boss. Don’t quit your day job. It’s not because they can’t succeed, but because failures are an inevitable part of the journey.

Authors and other creatives understand rejection and mistakes too. To get a book published, many authors go through brutal edits and rejection after rejection. When we hear about someone’s overnight success, it’s an outlier, not the norm. Most people struggle for years before ever finding success in creative fields. Why do you think so many actors work as bartenders and waitresses? Rejection is part of the game.

The truth of the matter is, we all face moments where we mess up. We might fall behind, send the wrong message, offend someone, or mess up an order. You aren’t perfect, and neither am I. It’s part of being human.

One of the assignments we give our students during their Year of More training is to go out and INTENTIONALLY make mistakes! Wow! Imagine putting yourself out there to screw up? For some people, this prospect is daunting and even terrifying.

But what our students quickly discover is that the world really doesn’t give a shit about the mistakes they make. It’s no big deal. This realization is often a shocking discovery. Most people lead their lives so afraid of disappointing others (or themselves) that they always play it safe.

Big Mistakes Lead to Big Break Throughs

While everyone makes mistakes, most of the world doesn’t make mistakes big enough to change their trajectory. They haven’t screwed up or messed up where they’re forced to learn and grow. Most people create too many internal strategies of self-criticism rather than self-celebration.

You see, growth is often a painful process. Remember, as a child, when you would experience growing pains? Or perhaps you’ve trained for a sporting event, only to feel sore every night as you built new muscle.

Like our bodies, our minds find growth uncomfortable. Many choose to keep the status quo and stay in a comfortable, but stagnant spot. Rather than face the pain of growth, they zone out and stay in a fog.

But if we want to live vibrant lives—lives filled with purpose and meaning—then we need to break out of our comfort zone. So you make a fool of yourself. So you screw up. So you feel embarrassed. So what? Most of the world barely notices anyway.

Your mistake doesn’t happen so you can feel shame and disappointment. Mistakes offer us an opportunity to push ourselves further and learn.

So, the next time you make mistakes, ask yourself, “what is the lesson here?” March forward, take responsibility for your screw up, extract the lesson, and keep moving forward. If you make mistakes at work, ‘fess up. Admit what happened, offer your plan to deal with it. Most importantly, extract the lesson from experience.

You may learn you need to adjust, and course correct. You may discover your current path or situation isn’t serving you. You may need to think about what you want and get honest with yourself about your situation.

The most crucial step is to figure out what you need to do to get back in the game immediately. Don’t wait or sit on the sidelines filled with rumination or regret. Move forward. Get back up, dust yourself off, and learn the lesson.

For more on empowerment, visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. We’re also pleased to announce that many of our courses are now available for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and grow!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

What to Do When You’re
Sick of Dating

Are you sick of dating? It’s time to change your perspective on dating, take the pressure off, and enjoy the dating scene more.


A man kisses a woman's hand in a coffee shop: are you sick of dating and ready for a new perspective?

I’m sick of dating!

There are no good men out there!

Women are full of drama!

I don’t meet anyone I click with. I can’t find the ONE!

If these complaints sound like you, it’s time to rethink your mindset on dating. Here’s how to start having fun on dates, instead of dreading them.

It’s Not Your Date…It’s You

We’ve all been sold the Hollywood idea of dating. We see romantic comedies where two people find their soulmate. Typically, through a series of mishaps (some ridiculously outlandish), the stars align, and these two lonely people find each other and feel fulfilled.

This very idea of this type of fairytale romance sets us up for failure. In fact, it’s a bunch of bull.

True romance comes from sharing intimacy with another person. It comes from opening up. It doesn’t come from sex, either. It comes from engagement.

Now, I know it may not sound as exciting at first. We want someone who lights our fire and gets us excited. We want someone who stirs up our feelings and piques our interest. But most people are multi-layered individuals. If we’re really working on getting to the heart of who they are, to connect, and to see and listen to them, we will discover everyone is interesting.

That doesn’t mean you’ll experience a romantic connection with every person you date, but you can enjoy a human connection.

The idea of finding “the one” has sent us down a difficult and misleading path. We’re searching for someone who completes us, who fulfills us and makes us feel whole. But you are the only one who can truly make yourself feel whole. It’s not your date’s responsibility, nor is it even in their capacity. You may feel turned on and intrigued, but don’t mistake those feelings for fulfillment.

So, what’s a single person to do? How do you start going on better dates?

If you think dating sucks, you need to take a step back and assess. Has it occurred to you that when you’re on a date, you have all kinds of thoughts you aren’t saying? There are plenty of ideas and judgments going through your head. Maybe he’s a loud chewer. Perhaps you didn’t like what she said. Maybe you aren’t sure what to order because you want to make a good impression. Perhaps you’re wondering if this person has potential as a partner in the long term.

It’s your cowardice keeping you from saying what you really want. It’s fear holding you back from expressing your wants and true yearnings to your date.

Opening Up: What if You Told the Truth on Your Dates

What if you radically told the truth on your next date?

After all, it’s not the other person’s fault you’re noncommunicative (and judgmental). It may sound harsh but think about it. You’re going into a date assuming the other person won’t be open to your perspective. You’re walking in, figuring they won’t like you for who you are, so you feel like you should put on a false front.

When we’re trying to “seduce” someone, we’re deceiving them in a way. We’re convincing them to go to bed with us (or to love us). What if we thought about it in more honest terms? What if we stopped attempting to charm the pants off our date, and instead we told them how we felt? What if we were intimate with them through honesty?

You may be surprised at what happens when you start to behave honestly and openly on dates. What’s the worst that could happen if you began to call out your dates when they did something you didn’t like? Imagine if you were clear about your expectations, what you wanted, and what you needed from someone else.

Often, we take dating so seriously. This comes back to this delusion that there’s only one person out there for us.

If we’re looking for the ONE, we may believe we only get a single chance with one person. If we blow it, that’s it, and we’ll be alone (and unfulfilled) forever. What a sad scenario—no wonder we put so much weight on our dating experiences!

When we shift our mindset to believe there are plenty of people we could connect with, and some we could even form a partnership with, it takes the pressure off. The pressure is alleviated even further when we realize it’s not up to our date to boost our self-esteem, make us happy, or whole. We find fulfillment and purpose with ourselves.

So, if the pressures off, start letting the truth out! Say what you think. Order what you want to eat. If you think your date’s being a jerk, say so!

View dating like a playground. We get plenty of opportunities to meet new people and connect. We will have fun as we test out engagement in this great big sandbox. We will see what feels genuine, what meets our yearnings, and what satisfies us. Approach dating like a game—not a deception, but an experiment!

Dating is All About Give and Take

Women (and sometimes men) often fall into the role of emotional caretaker on a date. They’re sensitive and open. They listen, rapt (or pretending to be), as their date waxes on about how great he is. They stroke his ego and let them emotionally barf all over them.

Years ago, a mutual friend suggested I start dating Judith. This was after seeing her at a party. I’d watched her talking to a guy spill his guts out on her all evening. She listened but couldn’t seem to get a word in. Judith is a great listener, but she’s often not a big talker.

I said to my friend, “You want to fix me up with Barbara Walters?!”

My friend said, “I think you should tell her that’s what you think of her.”

When we went into our first date, I said, “This is going to be a mutual conversation of give and take. I don’t want you to sit there and listen to me just to feed my ego. I’m not going to be one of those guys who is going to barf his emotional guts out on you like at that party.”

Judith said, “Well, you’re not going to be the asshole that you were at that party, either.”

And that’s how our first date began. We’ve continued to operate in honesty. That means, if one of us doesn’t like what the other person is doing, we don’t tiptoe around it. We say it. We obey the Rules of Engagement as outlined in our book, The Heart of the Fight.

The Rules of Engagement are:

1. Accentuate the positive.

2. Minimize the negative.

3. No one gets more than 50 percent of the blame.

4. You each get 100 percent responsibility for your happiness and satisfaction.

5. Express and agree with the truth, always.

6. Fight for, not against.

7. Assume goodwill.

If you want to get something great out of any relationship, whether you are friends, colleagues, spouses, or dates, you must get honest. You can’t hold back your feelings or sugarcoat your needs for the other person. You want something amazing, but you don’t want to be vulnerable or make the wrong impression. Fight for, not against the relationship, but don’t avoid the big stuff.

Instead, say what you’re really thinking.

If the date ends early, so what?!

You may discover all those bad dates in the past weren’t the result of dating boring people (you might even realize YOU were the boring date). You weren’t engaging and expressing yourself honestly to your dates.

So, if you’re sick of dating, remember, dating should be fun. Think of it like a big game or an experiment. Go in with an open mind and a commitment to be 100% truthful. You may be surprised at how much more interesting and exciting your dates become!

For more on engaging with others, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. We’re also pleased to announce our courses are available for download at a special introductory price. Learn how to strengthen your relationships, hone your leadership skills, and build the life of your dreams!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.