Standing Up to Experts and Authorities: How to Avoid Being Intimidated, Manipulated, and Abused

By Sharon Presley Ph.D.

Sharon Presley, Ph.D. – Every individual has the power to think for him – or herself, the power to stand up to experts and authorities when needed. But the experts and authorities can take your power away by manipulating, bamboozling and seducing you. Examples are everywhere: Experts dazzle you with jargon and mystifying technical language. Physicians won’t answer your questions or they tell you to leave it to them because they are the experts. Officials cloak themselves in the trappings of authority, using uniforms or fancy settings to cow you. Bureaucrats give you the run-around. Clerks say it can’t be done. Bosses expect you to help them cheat. Co-workers harass you. Talk-show hosts or authors claim they are experts merely because they have Ph.Ds. Smooth-talking salespeople trick you with persuasive selling techniques. A committee chair bamboozles you into working on a committee you don’t really have time for. Politicians seduce you to their point of view with sly imagery that plays with your emotions. The examples are nearly endless. If you don’t recognize what they are doing or know how to stand up to them, they’ve got you.