Dark Matter In Space And Life(2) ~ Late Night Thoughts

There was a slight (?!) pause between the last post and this one (OK ~ I regard 24 hours as slight…in posting time anyway.) However, I had a delay in getting an answer to what was wearing me out.

However, here is where I’m standing at the moment. Exactly how can someone be told what the bitter anger, resentments and “persecution” is doing to them and to those around. How can you show someone – who can not see the examples around them – that things can and should be different.

As I was searching for answers, I stumbled over the answer right in front of me. There is no use “telling” someone what their anger/bitterness/resentments are doing to themselves and/or others. Doing this could result in an enormous argument with denial and even more anger. Instead of helping, it creates more barriers to any change or epiphany to create a sense of what needs to be done.

I would love to say that this is the “WD method of handling people” and market it. However, it really is a combination of a number of ideas that I’ve heard/read/ripped off/been told over the years. In this problem, it involves two parts: 1) the I part and what I will call 2) the directed question part.

Often, when someone has a problem with another person, they tell them so by using a “you-statement,” for example, “you didn’t …..!” While the statement may be true, by phrasing it that way, the listener is likely to get defensive, and begin to argue. They might reply, “I couldn’t because the deadline was unreasonable!” or “You are always pestering me…..!”

Another approach to the same problem is using an “I-message:”

When you interrupted me speaking
I felt angry because
I was feeling unimportant.

While this disguises a “you” statement, it allows the thoughts/feelings of the person to be expressed in a fairly non-threatening manner. Hopefully, it will cause the other person to think and not simply react. However, there has been some rethinking about these statements. (But wait ~ there’s more!) The point of the statement is to get the other person to see the problem from a different non-threatening point of view. However – there is a tendency for these statements to come across as stilted, childish and somewhat patronizing ~for adults anyway.

Situation 1: Mark is yelling at James because James changed the channel on the television from MTV to VH1. Mark is calling James names and telling him to turn it back or else Mark will pound him.

Traditional “I” message:
James says to Mark: “I feel angry when you call me names and yell at me and I want you to stop it.”

The above statement would warm the heart of almost any trainer/consultant over the last few years. What I think it would NOT do is change anything in the situation.

New “I” message:

James says to Mark: “Hey, Mark. Cool out, man. I’m starting to get angry. I don’t like it when people call me names and threaten me. I didn’t know that changing the channel was such a big deal. Can we work this out like friends?” (no doubt a sanitized version of the actual conversation)

(And as a bonus ~)

I thought these kind of statements were easy ~ I was given this example from the Ohio Commission of Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management. I would be interested in answers. Aside from the fact this brought up a huge set of memories (not so pleasant) that, frankly, surprised me.

Jerome is walking to his locker when an older student bumps into him and then begins yelling at Jerome about being stupid and clumsy.

Jerome say to the older student:
(ten bonus points if the end of the statement does NOT involve Jerome hitting the other student or both of them getting expelled/suspended.)

Now, the second part that could be used is (as I said) what I’m calling the “directed” question. These questions are somewhat probing and yet, non-threatening. These are more difficult to phrase. This is actually what I’ve begun to use with the problem I’m facing. I want SE to see for them self what their behavior is doing to them self and those around.

These type of questions take thought and some planning.

—more on this tomorrow (within 24 hours I promise!)

Not The TV Fear Factor ~ Early Morning Thoughts

“Confronting our feelings and giving them appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness.
It takes strength to acknowledge our anger, and sometimes more strength yet to curb the aggressive urges anger may bring and to channel them into nonviolent outlets. It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.”
–Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers.

I picked up that quote a couple of days ago.
I realized that I was sailing/floating in some uncharted waters (for me) and in order to reach the shore facing some things that have been eating at me was the only way to deal with them. Otherwise, I would continue to wander like the Israelites in the desert…and frankly, I don’t have a generation or two to wander as I wonder.

One of the most difficult feelings I have to deal with is fear. Not the monster in the closet type fear, but the “what if” kind of fear. This is a really insidious kind of fear as it may or may not have basis in actual fact. It also is the fear that can keep me from dealing with unpleasant situations. I grew up in a “peace at any cost” family and I made choices that transferred that into my own life. If I’m not alert to it, I will make decisions that allow the path of least resistance on anyones part. Of course, that’s occasionally not the best choice to make.

This is a somewhat fun party game (after a couple of drinks, of course!). Lay a plank down on the ground and ask people to walk across it blindfolded. Then – while the blindfolds are still on – raise the plank one or two inches at one end, and again ask them to walk the plank. You’ll find that a lot of them won’t do it – their perspective makes them fearful that they will fall. Even though it isn’t high at all. It’s the perspective that makes the difference.

I’m dealing with D&D (when am I NOT dealing with them!) and their “problems” with Toby and our friendship. I am going to have place myself in a position of creating some boundaries that I didn’t want to have to draw. As I was looking at the situation earlier this evening, I was struck with the realization that I had the wrong perspective.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, reportedly told of a time when he climbed into a taxicab in Paris. Before he could utter a word, the driver turned to him and asked, “Where can I take you, Mr. Doyle?”

Doyle was flabbergasted. He asked the driver if he had ever seen him before.

“No, sir,” the driver responded, “But this morning’s paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi stand where people who return from Marseilles always come. Your skin color tells me you have been on vacation. The ink-spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduced that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

“This is amazing!” the writer exclaimed. “You are a real-life counter-part to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes.”

“There was one other clue,” the driver said.

“What was that?”

“Your name is on the front of your suitcase.”

If only all clues were that obvious! However, many times they ARE that obvious if I will only take the time to look for them. In dealing with D&D and the current situation, I missed that clues that the problem was not TOBY (more on that tomorrow) but rather what THEY were expecting to occur in the situation and what they were expecting MY reaction to be (of course, in line with theirs!). Remember the false luggage tag of other peoples expectations?

There is also another tag people will try and put on your luggage. Those who are familiar with PAC will recognize “get back where you belong.” This tag doesn’t allow for changes on anyones part – and makes an attempt to place someone back into whatever category someone else has placed them.

This can be difficult. However, along with the help someone else is able to give, or what we can find within ourselves – help may come from unexpected sources. The quote from Mr. Rogers is an example of that.

This is a temptation I can fall into very easily. It is almost second nature for me to worry about “what if” until it becomes “that’s what’s going to happen.” Sometimes what I have worried about will happen (after all, the hypochondriac’s tombstone DID read: “I told you I was sick.”). But more often than not, it doesn’t happen that way – unless I create a situation where that’s the only outcome possible.

–What does all this have to do with D&D, Toby and other events in my life? To misquote Paul Harvey – “Tomorrow, the rest of the story.”

–fear painting