Are You Borderline Civilised? 24 Ways to Recognise Beastly Behaviour in You and Me


When parents reprimand their children, scold their partners, tell off their colleagues, friends, neighbours or strangers with a smile and gritted teeth, what exactly do you think they’re doing because they are not fooling anyone?

They are being beastly – borderline civilised – as they are caught up in their angry “story” of the moment. Children are probably the only honest humans who will protest at the expression and tone of a reprimand and then forget all about it sooner rather than later; not so with us adults!

Instead of creating expectations of what should or should not be happening, cooperate with the form that this moment takes. Bring a ‘yes’ to the isness, because it’s pointless to argue if it already is. A greater intelligence is available to you when you no longer reject, deny, or ‘don’t want’ what is. Eckhart Tolle


When someone seems relatively “normal” but acts like an animal on two legs that is when we must pay attention because like it or not, it reflects an unpleasant image back at us which we abhor and thus reject out of hand by vigorously criticising the culprits or turning away from them.

It is important to note as well that it is not what you say but the intention behind what you say because it is the emotion that is transmitted to the listener. That is what creates the negative or positive impact and we need more positivity in our world right now, don’t we.

Noticing a single shortcoming in ourselves is far more useful than seeing a thousand in someone else. When it is our own: we can correct it. The Dalai Lama

The thing is though that people are people so go ahead and stand up for what you believe is right keeping in mind however that criticising the behaviour of another is a waste of time because nothing you or I do will change them.

We can only change ourselves. Others must come to the realisation on their own that they are only hurting themselves by acting out their neuroses with anyone who gets too close.


1 – The person does not accept responsibility for his or her actions and blames everyone else.

2 – They habitually denigrate and belittle others.

3 – They are blind to the fact that most of what they say is a “put down”.

4 – They emanate negativity with their very presence.

5 – Resentment underlies everything they do and say.

6 – They are emotionally insecure.

7 – They tend to become “addicted” to food, alcohol or prescription drugs (for comfort).

8 – They are efficient in their professional lives but are disliked by their colleagues.

9 – They are unable to say “no” to their supervisors.

10- They attempt to micro-manage everything and everyone in their lives (in order to feel in control).

11- They are incredibly brutal (in speech and manner) to those closest to them and will be the first to deny this fact.

12- They use their financial wherewithal as a club and manipulative tool to the point of depriving themselves of basic necessities (and their dependents become their victims); all done without a word on their part.

13- They listen to “talk” about themselves which fuels their resentment and disdain of others.

14- Those with whom they chat and joke would be shocked at their “Jekyll and Hyde” persona.

15- They are so filled with pain that they shout, lie, bluster and accuse and will stoutly defend the indefensible behaviour afterward.

16- Apology is a dirty word to them.

17- They resent expressing themselves verbally.

18- Lying is their standard defense, as it is for the rest of us by the way. Lying takes the form of outright denials, prevarication, lofty excuses, avoidance tactics and blaming others.

19- Their means of having a discussion is measured nit-picking, recrimination, accusations and outrageous demands underlaid by resentment.

20- They use their size to intimidate others (particularly when they are obese).

21- They have little energy and every action seems to require a significant effort.

22- They experience persistent health problems from minor ailments.

23- They are so eaten up by their tormenting emotions that they experience little enjoyment in life.

24- They do not have a life.


When a person is borderline civilised leaning heavily towards brutish, they do not know it and are usually taken aback by the reactions they engender in others. They strenuously resist the idea that they are at fault – it is usually other people – and seeking professional help rarely occur to them.

They must find their own way through the murk and face down their demons. Failing that, the emotional wreck that is their life will be laid bare when they implode or destructively explode.

Anytime you feel stress rising, heart closing, mind going into overwhelm, just bring your focus to your breathing and quietly repeat with each in-and-out breath: Breathing in, I calm the body and mind; breathing out, I smile. Ed and Deb Shapiro


The incredible insensitivity and brutality which these individuals exhibit is the hallmark of an extremely unhappy yet intelligent, industrious and prosperous person. They fail to recognise that the pain they inflict on others guts them as well.

What trips them up and encourages them to remain in denial is the fact that those closest to them are also dysfunctional and usually dependent on them in a significant way. Their “victims” unstintingly support them and their “stories”. Thus, nothing penetrates their shield.

Also, they have few real friends who will step up and say enough is enough, you need help. When the so-called “beastly folks” wake up – and we all have our moments – that is the first step on the road to healing.

From my experience, meditation is the only way to reconnect to the calm centre in each of us as it enables us to stay focussed and solid when facing life’s stresses and strains.