Archive for November, 2011

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Being angry (resurrected)


Kindly supplied by “e” who had this post in their feed-reader.  I don’t know who e is, but I owe them a drink.  :)

 

As promised, a post on anger.  This is completely out of my head without any supporting psychology theory exactly, though I suppose I could go and find some somewhere.  Anyway… anger and my experience of it.

I can confidently say that my role models for dealing with anger as a child were not very good.  I don’t know any people who had good conflict, frustration, or anger role models as children.  My parents, like many people had troubled childhoods (which is a nice way of saying that for the most part both their childhoods were incredibly traumatic), and a lack of good role models in their life to deal with conflict, frustration, or anger.

I think that this lack of experience in seeing anger as another emotion, much like being sad, happy, concerned, worried, silly, etc, meant that my ability to be angry did not mature as my other emotions did.  I no longer am sad as I was as a child, or a teenager, I am not longer happy as I was as a child… but my anger is… well… immature.  My first response is to just go quiet and cold.  To be angry, but not even to be able to express it.  Anger was avoided in my family, both my parents would be angry behind closed doors, failing to hear each other (I thought), and eventually one of them, usually my father, storming out of the house and going for a walk.

When I moved out of home I unconsciously resolved to communicate differently with my partner than my parents did with each other.  It certainly helped that I ended up in relationships with people who generally communicated with a similar language set and meanings (my parents do not seem to have the same dictionary when talking to each other – or perhaps it is an implicit/explicit communication conflict).  Anyway… although I feel I communicate with my partners better than my parents communicate with each other, and I manage to avoid conflict through miscommunication along the way, my initial way of dealing with conflict and anger was to avoid them as much as possible.

So when angry, I’d walk away.  I mirrored my father’s behaviour and his reaction to being angry.  I didn’t lash out physically or verbally, I’d retreat and go away.  Eventually (sometimes quickly, sometimes not) I’d come back and be in tears because I didn’t have a better response.  I felt guilty about being angry about some things, and justified but unable to explain exactly what I was feeling in others.  Part of that guilt I know is that women are supposed to be nice, good, quiet, biddable, etc creatures (not really human after all), who don’t get angry, because if we’re angry we’re bitches, shrews, shrill, uppity, etc. Part of the guilt had to do with being angry with people I loved and over things that were difficult for us to deal with at the time (my husband being clinically depressed for the first 9 years of our marriage for example).

When I was unable to communicate that I was angry, I would get upset.  Much like feeling stupid is something that upsets me, being unable to articulate (and therefore feeling that I can’t communicate, therefore am stupid), upsets me.  Feeling, as I did at the time, that I had to explain my anger/disappointment/whatever gently and carefully in order to not distress my husband added to the burden of dealing with anger and conflict, and made me even more likely to avoid it.

My husband was treated for his depression, we found the big wide world of polyamory, and having to deal with conflict and anger became something I could no longer avoid.  Polyamory challenges assumptions about relationships, forces you to look at the relationships you are currently in and assess the health of habits and behaviours that you and your partner have been wandering around in (well it did for us).  The relationships that we became involved in challenged both of us, and the way we acted towards each other, the things that we just put up with, the idiosyncrasies, and our avoidance of conflict.

It would be true to state that my first polyamorous relationship (outside my marriage) was with a high drama and high maintenance man and resulted in conflict with him and some of his other partners during the life of that relationship.  I didn’t handle the conflict, anger, or frustration well (I still don’t think I do), but I learnt a lot.  My counsellor was instrumental in helping me accept that anger is a valid emotion, one that is completely ok to have, and it is not the end of the world (or relationships) to be angry.  I learnt that if I can’t immediately articulate what I’m angry about, that it is ok (though this I still struggle with because I take a while to process strong emotions and often the whole thing is done before I have a handle on why I’m angry/upset).  I have learnt that I can talk about it, I can experience it, and it is another emotional response to stimuli as the others are.

As I have accepted that anger is ok, and a valid response, it has changed and grown into a different emotion than it was 6 years ago.  I am no longer guilty for being angry, though still struggle with whether anger is necessarily the best emotional response (not quite the same as guilt).  I also have a hard time processing some comments (particularly those I hear versus those I read) quickly, so am meaning deaf to comments that might otherwise make me angry until I process them at a later stage.

What is the moral of this story (apart from not write blog posts late at night because then you tend to ramble)?  It’s ok to be angry, and it’s ok for your anger to be the anger of a younger you.  The more I accepted my anger, the more it matured.

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2

The post that was eaten by a goat


Well I did write a post on being angry, and the related emotional journey I have had with anger, but it has been eaten, I can only assume by the internet goat.

I can’t find a cached copy of it anywhere, and hadn’t backed up my site immediately after posting, so it’s gone.

Normal service will resume shortly.

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Feeling stupid


There is this thing that I… hate… detest… suffer from… something… the feeling of being stupid.  I’m not sure why exactly I have a thing about this, because I know I don’t know everything, nor do I understand everything, and I’m also quite smart… but feeling stupid is something that sometimes really upsets me.

A case in point happened last week, while I was in a work training course.  We were doing a role-play of a real life scenario, and consequently didn’t have ALL the data.  We were provided with a three page summary of what was happening, and my team were the guinea pigs for this case.  This meant that our team was under the greatest pressure in the case study, we had the least preparation time for the two scenarios (they were back to back), and we’d only just been trained in the theory that we were practising.

Halfway through the first case study, I realised I had no idea of what was going on.  The team I was a part of seemed to have read a completely different case study to the one I had read, well that’s how it felt, and I suddenly felt cast adrift.  In feeling like I’d missed a major point or issue in the case study, I suddenly felt like I was stupid, which really upset me.  Upset me to the point of tears, in a training room with many of my colleagues, and members of my senior leadership team.  So yes, I was feeling stupid, upset and humiliated all at once.

It’s not necessarily about being wrong, because as I said, I don’t know everything, and I will be wrong sometimes.  I think it’s a lot to do with how I feel (I was exhausted at the time of that role play), the amount of stress I’m under, and how important my competence/image is at that moment.  Given how I’m still not feeling 100% sure in my current role, feeling stupid is a really big deal.  The added stress of nearly bursting into tears during the role play was extra stressful and extra humiliating.

I suppose that this really ties into some of the important (and mostly fucked up) messages I got as a child.  Image is important, very important.  Being smart was as important as looking smart (I’m not sure how that works really).  I suppose that me becoming an adult at 3 years of age has kinda warped some of my ideas about what it is to be an adult, and what is and is not important.

Next post – being angry.

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01

Dear Google (again)


Hi there, you seem to have not noticed my first letter to you, which I found a bit disappointing.  Perhaps you did notice it, and thought “well we’ve got all these secret plans which will resolve this issue, but since they’re secret we’re not going to say anything”, which still sucks, because you could have at least said, “Yes, we’re aware that this is a problem and we’re working on a solution”.  I would have been much cooler with that… since I wasn’t the only person who had raised this as an issue, something I discovered after checking your google feedback and issues page.

So you didn’t notice, and life moved on.  You created Googe Plus (G+), a rival to Facebook, something that looked interesting and inviting until the Nymwars began, and I quit.  I didn’t quit all my other google products.  I still have my calendar, my email and my RSS feed with Google, it’s annoying (though not impossible) to move them all.

I didn’t complain when you changed the way that Google Calendar looks, although I think it looks sterile and ugly.  When there was mention that Google Buzz was going to be shut down, I wasn’t particularly concerned – afterall, most of that stuff was on Google Reader anyway, and Buzz wasn’t all that popular.

When I heard that Google Reader might be rolled into G+ I was concerned.  I use Reader a lot.  I share articles with friends and people with similar interests to me.  I read articles shared by friends and people with similar interests.  I have a decent investment in Reader, but I thought to myself (clearly blithely) that most of the existing functionality of Reader would remain, because not every Google client is able to use G+ (particularly those with nyms, and/or a need for anonymity).

Clearly I couldn’t’ve been more wrong.  Google, you broke Reader.  You broke everything that made it a product that I enjoyed using, and that my friends enjoyed using, and that was actually useful.  You broke communities of people who shared stuff with one another, in the hope of improving your G+ product.  I don’t understand why we can’t have both G+ and Reader.

Now, if I want to see what my friends have read and are interested in sharing, I have to rejoin G+, something I’m not interested in doing until you’ve fixed the nymwar issues.  I know that you are working hard on this, you’ve had your VP of Social wassname come out and say that pseudonyms will be allowed, but without a time-frame.  I’m not willing to rejoin until that happens, so for me, and all of those who can’t or won’t use G+ until that time?  You’ve taken away communities from us.  That sucks.

The other issue, the one you appear to have completely failed to take into account, is about how much people want to share, and who they want to share it with, as well as how people use Reader and the items that people share with them.  In moving Reader to only share on G+, you’re effectively making people spam the feeds of their friends, and not allowing those who don’t have time every day to check the items that someone has shared, to stockpile those and read them when they have time.

I know you can create circles on G+ so that you only share things with people you want to share things with, but do I, or anyone else I know, want to flood a friend’s feed with a whole range of blog posts that interest me, when they can’t pick and choose the time to go and read them?  That was one of the best things with Reader.  I could leave it for a couple of days if I was really busy, and then spend some time to catch up.  There have been months when I’ve had very little time to read posts shared by people who read some very fascinating stuff, and letting it stockpile until I had time meant that I didn’t miss out on anything, and that I knew it would be there for me to read when I found that time.

I know I’m not a lone voice in the wilderness about this.  I know that I’m not alone in being very upset that you’ve killed off a community building function so that you could focus entirely on G+.  I urge everyone else who is reading this, and who is upset at the removal of sharing functionality from Reader, to sign the petition.

 

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