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happi duck

This is rude...right?

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7 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

The only comment I have with the additional information is that it does somewhat depend on who the other person was. I would share feelings of being distraught with my spouse or a close adult friend but I would not put that on one of my kids. (That doesn’t mean that I don’t share feelings with my kids. It’s just that “distraught “ seems pretty intense and heavy.  I don’t think that either of my young adults would be able to respond to me telling them that.)

I agree 

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The added context is a big deal.  I was thinking of scenarios that might be similar to reminding a child about chores or telling a spouse about a financial purchase or in-law issue... that kind of content.

I have someone who has difficulty hearing negative emotions.  I don’t think of it as rude, but it is definitely painful. Joint therapy helps.

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If this is an adult walking away when you express deep emotions - and those emotions are appropriate to share with that adult - then the hearer needs to be educated in helpful ways to respond to that kind of communication.

If this is someone other than your spouse, the first question would be, was this an appropriate emotion to share with this person?  If not, then I would leave it at that.

If this was appropriate to share, then the second question is how to teach them better.  Definitely wait until everyone is in a better mood.  Use whatever communication method this person responds to best.  Discuss helpful responses (I'm sorry.  I hear you.  Is there anything I can do to help?  Do you want to tell me more about it?  Would it help for me to come back at X:00 and talk it over?....)  Also agree on a phrase that is safe to use when the person does not know what else to say/do.

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Context really counts.  I have someone in the extended family who uses emotions to get attention...essentially everyone ignores now because nothing one says or does helps, the goal is to take the target's time and remind them that the person is a victim.  The target these days is usually someone who can't leave -- mom who just delivered, cancer patient in treatment, wake... someone who isn't close enough to help anyway. There are much better things we could spend our time on rather than a session of rehashing and crying over the past, especially since the other people in the stories are dead, but all are rejected.  And since none of us are trained therapists, nothing we do or say can help the person.  "I'm sorry to hear that" and then leave, or we are stuck .  We cannot provide the emotional support, because the person will not let us - our designated role is not to uplift.

I don't think the OP can post here on the history, but a therapist will be the most helpful if emotional support is truly desired.

Edited by HeighHo

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12 hours ago, happi duck said:

Thanks for all the viewpoints!

We spoke.  In response to my emotion, "I'm feeling distraught" they did not know what to say so just left.  I asked them to say "I don't want to talk" or "gotta jet" or something. :). I'll see if it sticks.

I was assured it was not a boundary or holding back, just nothing to say.

I'm really sorry you were alone with your pain. I know you have been through so much the past few years.

(((happi duck)))

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I stand by my belief that it's rude... but with the added context... I think some people (especially some folks on the spectrum, but some other folks too) are just cruddy at helping other process their emotions and have zero ability to be a support, even when it would be an appropriate thing to do. Several things occur to me. One, it may not have been an attempt to draw a boundary by this person, who may actually care that you were distraught, but obviously in a practical sense, they're not going to ever be a great support person for your emotions. You need another outlet who isn't this person. And when you express emotions to this person, maybe they need to be tied to a specific thing you need from them. Like, "I'm distraught about this. Therefore, can you take care of the dishes/give me some time alone/take the kids out/whatever thing you need while I deal with it."

Two, maybe you need to give this person a script. Like, if dealing with others' emotions is really that challenging for them and they really aren't trying to blow you off but have no clue what to say to the extent that they would just leave you there upset, then maybe you need to give them some canned phrases to say. Not just, "I can't talk about this," but things like, "I understand you're upset." And finally, if this person is someone who you really need to rely on emotionally on some level, like a spouse or a close sibling or something, maybe you need counseling together. Even just a little bit could be beneficial to get a mediator to help bridge the gap in communication.

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I've only had time to read part of this discussion due to time constraints, but it reads as extremely feminized to me.  I have 3 older brothers, so I get that sometimes a male, or a female with more stereo-typical male personality traits, can be so angry that anything other than silence and complete physical control like freezing or removing oneself from the situation are required to reign in their reaction to someone.  Expecting verbalization can be unrealistic. Separating themselves from the conflict is the responsible thing to do and that action speaks for itself.  There is a biological reason people can be rendered speechless in moments of intense emotion.  I think our smaller families in the last few generations have left many women unaware of this because they don't have enough experience with a very wide range of males in a wide range of emotionally intense situations growing up. It's been a tragic loss for men in some respects.

Was it rude?  Maybe, maybe not, it all depends what's going on with the person and there isn't enough information to go on in the original post.  I'm not at all saying this how a person should typically handle most conflict situations, but it's definitely an appropriate reaction in some situations.  Unless we know the details of the conversation and the history, there's no way to say with any degree of certainty. Those kinds of details may not be appropriate online.

ETA: I should probably state explicitly that when someone tells you straight out they don't do emotion and you insist that they do emotion there's a high likelihood that they'll react with some sort of anger because from their point of view they told you no and you didn't take no for an answer.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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It's a tragic loss for men that they sometimes have to learn new emotional skills ?

What is it with these boards lately, and their 'poor blokes' narrative ?

Firstly, all of us posting 'know' Happi, and if we bothered to apply our memories to her posts and experiences, we 'know' that she is a perfectly appropriate person who happens to have suffered quite a lot over the last few years. In precisely no universe is it unacceptable for her to say to her another adult of either sex in her family 'I just feel completely distraught' - what a shocker! Of course she does, and I'm a stranger on the interwebs.

Males do not have a part of their brain that prevents them from learning pro-social ways of coping with uncomfortable emotion. It is not beyond the capabilities of a male to learn how to respond to a distraught loved one with  'I hear you, but I can't respond right now. I just need to step away to sort my own reaction out.'

As to the leap to male anger - what ? Why would males be angry about a loved one being sad and overwhelmed ? Any man who responds to that with anger is not a good man, and probably needs to take himself off to anger therapy. Women don't express genuine emotion to manipulate men. And I am 100% confident that Happi didn't!

All of us - male and female - sometimes respond to the needs of close others in less than optimal ways, and both male and female individuals can have individual reasons why it takes more work and effort for them to respond in a better way.  The appropriate response there is 1. apologise later 'Hey, sorry I didn't acknowledge what you said. ' or 2. do the (unfairly more- yes - so what, life's not fair ) amount of work it takes to learn to respond/apologise.

Men are not Neanderthals - they are not disadvantaged in their vocal abilities - they are very capable humans, as capable as women. If a woman can learn to respond in pro-social ways to family members or friends, it's almost insulting to men to say they will struggle.

Anyway, Happi. My personal opinion of you is that you are a pretty straightforward person, who has had a really rough time of it, in regard to which feelings of distraughtness are totally understandable, and you deserve verbal acknowledgement of your feelings. 

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8 hours ago, unsinkable said:

I'm really sorry you were alone with your pain. I know you have been through so much the past few years.

(((happi duck)))

 

Thanks for taking the time, like Maize did,  to acknowledge this.  That was really nice of both of you. Good posting/response models.

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30 minutes ago, happi duck said:

To those who mentioned it, thank you for remembering me.  I wish I could express what that means to me. 

❤️

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14 hours ago, StellaM said:

It's a tragic loss for men that they sometimes have to learn new emotional skills ?
That's not what I said at all.  You either didn't read my post carefully or you consciously went off the deep end to extremes.  That's not useful in this discussion.

What is it with these boards lately, and their 'poor blokes' narrative ?

Acknowledging that generally speaking, males and females are different and can commonly respond differently is not "poor blokes."  Again, you've gone off the deep end to the extremes by mischaracterizing what what I posted.

Firstly, all of us posting 'know' Happi, and if we bothered to apply our memories to her posts and experiences, we 'know' that she is a perfectly appropriate person who happens to have suffered quite a lot over the last few years. In precisely no universe is it unacceptable for her to say to her another adult of either sex in her family 'I just feel completely distraught' - what a shocker! Of course she does, and I'm a stranger on the interwebs.

Don't be naive, we don't know anything about each other online like you describe. No one is perfectly appropriate all the time, social interactions and family dynamics are complex, nuanced, historied, and complicated, as is each individual interaction, including the one she gave very little specific information about.   Knowing that, I did leave room for both the possibility of the response being rude and the response being an attempt to not lash out inappropriately. 

Males do not have a part of their brain that prevents them from learning pro-social ways of coping with uncomfortable emotion.
I didn't say it was only males, but I was talking about a male in this particular situation. And we do know that males tend to be less verbal than females, and we know that males tend to be more prone to physically lashing out, making a well socialized male aware of this and possibly motivated to restrain himself completely (verbally silent and removing himself physically.)

There is brain research about people in intensely emotional states not being able to speak at those times because the parts of their brains that handle fight/flight and threat and anger are engaged, not the speech center parts.  An angry male is more likely to experience this. Adoptive parents of traumatized children are taught about this (BTDT) and warned that engaging verbally and requiring verbal responses is unreasonable when (not only trauma historied) people are very angry about something.  It applies universally to people, so people should be aware of it. I hear precious little about this outside of adoption and teen parenting circles, but it's still applicable.  It's usually women who disregard it, but I do sometimes hear men articulate the need to give people space to calm down before verbally engaging. 


It is not beyond the capabilities of a male to learn how to respond to a distraught loved one with  'I hear you, but I can't respond right now. I just need to step away to sort my own reaction out.'

And no one said it was.  You'll notice, after a much more careful reading, that what I was discussing was the overstepping of an established boundary scenario  (someone said no, someone ignored no) which if OP did refer to as a possibility in a previous post.  I also addressed it from one person's point of view, meaning it wouldn't necessarily be seen that way by everyone.  Again there's complexity and nuance, no overly simplistic men=good or men=bad. 

My husband works in software engineering-one of the most male dominated environment with men who are the least likely to physically act out or rage, but it's very well known that even these highly educated men have very poor verbal communication skills, they're far less likely to be emotionally intuitive, and they commonly struggle with the expression and reception of emotion-and I mean just the ones not on the spectrum.  It's very common when emotions do run high that meetings or communications are temporarily suspended so everyone can cool down because verbal negotiations aren't going to be productive.  After the cool down, things can usually get fixed verbally. I suggest women keep this in mind when they're not getting verbal engagement from someone.

Yes, it is possible for men who struggle with other people's emotions to learn to do these things, but not in the heat of an angry moment.  Being upset and learning is yet another topic adoptive parents like me have be trained to deal with.  Again, scientifically we know that when cortisol is washing the brain in high stress situations, people can't learn things very well at all.  They need to be in a calm state.  Lecturing or hurtfully explaining to an angry person on social norms when they're really upset is completely pointless.  Sure, it might make the other person feel good to know they're right about social norms when they tell the angry person they're wrong , but it won't solve the problem.  It will pile on.  If they can step back and wait for things to cool down and appreciate that the angry person refrained from lashing out, there's a chance they could build from there. 

It's going to have to start with looking at what built up to things:  What's going on with someone who said they "Don't do emotion?"  Is this childhood patterning?  Is this person shut down due to some other reason?  Is there some sort of Autism Spectrum going on? Are there boundaries being established, defended, and over stepped by the people involved? A personality disorder?  Character issues? People with serious underlying issues going on run out of bandwidth eventually.  They get into crisis/survival mode and shut everything else down.  That's a very big deal that needs more than just a script mirroring back the other person's emotions.

As to the leap to male anger - what ? Why would males be angry about a loved one being sad and overwhelmed ?

With the OP not being able to give details we don't know if this is the root cause of the anger, or if something deeper and ongoing is at the bottom of it.  We we do have the information that the person said, " I don't do emotion." and the OP seeming to insist someone who said such a strange thing engage in comforting emotion.  I clearly stated in my post that if that's going on then it will likely be perceived as over stepping a boundary.  People get angry when that happens whether or not the boundary they set is appropriate or not.  

I also wonder if the OP has had previous experiences like this with this person.  If she has, then it seems unrealistic to me to go to this person for comfort.  If she hasn't and this person has been a source of comfort before, this is a HUGE red flag that something very serious is going on with this person.  Dramatic changes like that don't happen for no reason.  If this is ongoing, then there's likely history where this person has seen telling, signaling, demonstrating they are a bad candidate for comfort but the OP is still insisting on it.  Family counseling is a much better approach to solving that problem instead of continuing on with this destructive pattern.


Any man who responds to that with anger is not a good man, and probably needs to take himself off to anger therapy. Women don't express genuine emotion to manipulate men. And I am 100% confident that Happi didn't!

No one is suggesting manipulation, just recalibrating to more realistic expectations.  Either:

This is his normal and has been-find out why and treat the issue(s) with the appropriate specialist while the OP, under the guidance of the counselor, recalibrates expectations and boundaries in the mean time.
or
This is not his normal-find out why and treat the issue(s) with the appropriate specialist while the OP, under the guidance of the counselor, recalibrates expectations and boundaries in the mean time.

 

All of us - male and female - sometimes respond to the needs of close others in less than optimal ways, and both male and female individuals can have individual reasons why it takes more work and effort for them to respond in a better way.  The appropriate response there is 1. apologise later 'Hey, sorry I didn't acknowledge what you said. ' or 2. do the (unfairly more- yes - so what, life's not fair ) amount of work it takes to learn to respond/apologise.

Yes, he might, but we don't know if the OP owes can apology for contributing in the past to anything that built up to it, and even so, this probably requires intervention by a family counselor at least, maybe a psychiatrist.

Men are not Neanderthals - they are not disadvantaged in their vocal abilities - they are very capable humans, as capable as women. If a woman can learn to respond in pro-social ways to family members or friends, it's almost insulting to men to say they will struggle.

Again you are an over simplifier, and that's not conducive to these kinds of discussions.  You consistently mischaracterize.   

Anyway, Happi. My personal opinion of you is that you are a pretty straightforward person, who has had a really rough time of it, in regard to which feelings of distraughtness are totally understandable, and you deserve verbal acknowledgement of your feelings. 

 

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