My horror movie defense mechanism

It’s the beginning of October, and that means it is now socially acceptable for grown-ups to let their hair down and have some fun. Around Halloween, some people’s idea of fun is to go see the scary movies that come out around this time of year. But let me tell you, I am the worst person to take to a horror movie.

Image of Jack from the Nightmare Before Christmas movie standing on a hill overlooking a field of jack-o-lanterns.

Why? Because I hate the idea of being scared. It’s not fun. If you think it’s fun to be scared, you’re a weirdo in my book. (It’s fine. I like weirdos.)

When I watch a scary movie, my ‘horror movie defense mechanism‘ kicks in, and I immediately start to find everything wrong with the movie that I can. I say, very loudly I might add, things like “That’s impossible!” and “Everything was fine until you had to go investigate that noise!” in an effort to minimize what I’m seeing, which, in my mind, also minimizes the fear, makes it less real, and less effective. I can hear people in the theater shushing me, but I don’t care, because I’m attempting to humiliate the person who dragged me into that movie so badly that they never do it again.

It’s ridiculous. I know it.

Somehow, my behavior in those instances reminds me very much of what some stakeholders do when they find out something needs to change. Their change defense mechanism kicks in. They say things like “That’s impossible!” and “Everything was fine until you had to go investigate that noise!” in an effort to discourage all the talk about change, which in turn helps them to feel less afraid. They want to humiliate the person who brought up change in the first place so badly that they never do it again.

In these instances, as a business analyst, I remember my own feelings, and I practice empathy. We all get scared sometimes.

Happy Halloween!

My horror movie defense mechanism

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