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April 7, 2019

Dysfunctional Families: Growing Wings
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:53 PM * 34 comments

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a new entry to this community, and I know the comments on the last one have gotten unworkably long. I’m sorry. You deserve better.

There’s been stuff. There still is stuff. I’ll explain in the comments.

But I’d just like to point out that even with my highly intermittent presence, this community has continued, and continued to be a wonderful thing.

I’ll continue to be back as I can. But it fills me with so much delight to see the egg I hatched, the hatchling I fed, grow wings, spread them, and fly.


This is part of the sequence of Dysfunctional Families discussions. We have a few special rules, specific to the needs and nature of the conversations we have here.

  1. If you want to participate but don’t want your posts linked to your contributions to the rest of Making Light, feel free to choose a pseudonym. But please keep it consistent within these threads, because people do care. You can create a separate (view all by) history for your pseudonym by changing your email address. And if you blow it and cross identities, give me a shout and I’ll come along and tidy it up.
  2. On a related note, please respect the people’s choice to use a pseudonym, unless they make it clear that they are willing to let the identities bleed over in people’s minds.
  3. If you’re not from a dysfunctional background, be aware that your realities and base expectations are not the default in this conversation. In particular, please don’t do the “they’re the only family you have” thing. Black is white, up is down, and your addressee’s mother may very well be their nemesis.
  4. Be even more careful, charitable, and gentle than you would elsewhere on Making Light. Try to avoid “helpiness”/”hlepiness” (those comments which look helpful, but don’t take account of the addressee’s situation and agency). Apologize readily and sincerely if you tread on toes, even unintentionally. This kind of conversation only works because people have their defenses down.
  5. Never underestimate the value of a good witness. If you want to be supportive but don’t have anything specific to say, people do value knowing that they are heard.

Previous posts (note that comments are closed on them to keep the conversation in one place):

Comments on Dysfunctional Families: Growing Wings:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 05:14 PM:

So, a brief explanation of my absence, posted with permission.
CW: suicide, self-harm
Spoiler: no one is dead

In October of 2016, my then 12 year old daughter came to me with a note—she couldn't bring herself to say it to me in person—explaining that she was not only depressed (which we knew, but not to what degree), but also harming herself and struggling with suicidal ideation.

The years since then have been spent navigating the various therapeutic options, helping her transfer to a school that might improve things, and riding a difficult and exhausting emotional rollercoaster.

She turned 15 earlier this year, a lovely young woman, with a remarkable artistic talent. And still-crippling depression and impulses to suicide.

The only way out is through. As her parents, we are doing everything we can think of. But it has required me to, with as much clarity and love as I can, carefully control what other commitments I can keep. I cannot promise that I'll be around any more than I have been. I'll try, and I am reachable at this username at this domain.

I love this community. I am, as I said in the OP, immeasurably proud of it and impressed by the people who make it up. My delight that my absence has not destroyed it is enormous.

Much love.

#2 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 05:35 PM:

I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this, and hope you all come through to better times.

#3 ::: J ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 06:31 PM:

Our family has been on a similar journey; even the ages match. Much love and prayers, if wanted, from the other side. You can't go back, of course, but the vista does widen again.

#4 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 08:40 PM:

Abi (and daughter): witnessing. I remember that age as being extremely difficult, without the added challenge of that level of depression. She’s fortunate to have such supportive parents, and it's only fitting that your focus is there, not here.

#5 ::: SpawnOfTheDevil ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 09:31 PM:

dropped off this thread almost nine years ago, when my mom (with whom i'd had a mostly tolerable relationship) showed me that an accusation of racism is much, much worse than, y'know, actual racism. she said a racist thing. i said, whoa, that's racist, and she decided she didn't want me to come visit any more, and took me off her power of attorney, and lordess only knows how she changed the will. she did not invite me to visit for her husband's last days, and i know that pained him.

but i asked myself: if i could repair this rift, would i want to? are the visits not harder and harder (aging bites)? is it not wearing to be always prepared to fly in and fix whatever she's managed to break? do i think sainthood and wearing myself out for the unappreciative is so very inviting?

so i've let it go. we send each other cards on birthdays and holidays. we exchange token gifts. i make sure she has flowers delivered for mother's day and her birthday. other than that? nada. we were always strangers, and now we act like it.

i'm okay with that.

abi, i am sorry to hear of the troubles that have visited your family. i'm pretty sure, though, that being taken seriously, being listened to, being important enough to be taken care of, are all gifts your daughter needs, and that many of us in this thread are still repairing the absence of in our early lives.

holding you all in the light.

#6 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 09:54 PM:

::Kermit flail!:: Hi, abi! Your post makes me very happy.

#7 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 09:59 PM:

abi: Having now read your update: I can't say how glad I am that your daughter was able to come to you, and that you have prioritized her well-being. I delight in your presence here; I delight even more in reports of your parenting. Best wishes, know you have my support in your ongoing efforts.

#8 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 11:00 PM:

My wishes for good fortune and better days to you and your daughter, Abi.

#9 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 01:45 AM:

Abi: I'm so sorry to hear of your family's difficulties. I'm glad you've been able to share that with us, and hope that you and yours have light ahead of you.

#10 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 08:14 AM:

abi, what Jacque said @7. Glad to have you here, fully understand why your primary attention needs to be elsewhere, wishing the best for your daughter and all your family.

SpawnoftheDevil @5 with the exception of being unable to visit during your stepfather's last days, this sounds like a good outcome. Good for you for identifying what you were and were not willing to live with.

#11 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 11:33 AM:

So, since we have a shiny new thread to play in, I have a question:

I have, over the last year, had two cases of that thing where you object to someone's (a man, in these cases) behavior, and they come back with, "Oh, just relax." Meaning they don't like that I'm objecting, and want me/my objection to just go away.

I know there's been lately talk discussion around that and related phenomena, but I find myself strangely bereft of vocabulary around this. Is there a name for this particular behavior? It seems related to but not the same as gaslighting. What are y'all's thoughts?

#12 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 12:32 PM:

Abi @OP, witnessing. Your daughter comes first; we'll keep muddling through without you as long as necessary. But it's good to see your pixels, however fleetingly!

Jacque @11, again, this is not quite the right word, but perhaps my flailing will help someone else come up with it.

This behavior seems to me to be inextricably intertwined with privilege. The person doing it simply cannot see the ten thousand microaggressions that preceded his (in my experience, 90% of the time it's "his") comment or behavior, and can't understand why anyone would react so strongly to a "harmless joke".

Catcalled on the street? "Oh, you should take that as a compliment!" Unwanted hug or too-familiar touching? "But I'm just being friendly!" And so forth.

Utterly trivial anecdote; I play D&D in the same mixed-gender group I've played with for thirty years. In one linked series of games, I played a wizard character that was only sixth level while the rest of that particular adventuring party was about tenth level (we all have multiple characters in that world, and we they needed a wizard, however under-powered, for one particular quest); the leader of the group was introducing the party to an NPC and when he came to my character he said, "And this is Seamus. He... tries." It was legitimately funny. We all laughed, me included. But then, every single time I played Seamus, even in situations where he was balanced with the rest of the party, that "he... tries" joke came out. Every. Single. Time. It honestly started to hurt; it felt like my playing, not the character Seamus, was being mocked.

I said this privately to my husband (who plays in the same group) after a game; he'd been repeating the joke himself. "It's just a joke!" he protested, but after I fumbled to explain myself, he apologized and immediately stopped saying it. The other female players noticed my body language in reaction to the phrase coming up again and again and didn't repeat it after the first game where it was, to be fair, appropriate and funny. But the other three male players still say it sometimes, although I know my husband has privately asked them not to. It's made me reluctant to play Seamus.

For weird socialization reasons I haven't felt like I can complain publicly about this to the gaming group. I don't know why. Because I'd be whining? Because it's such a trivial thing to be upset about? Because it'll make me look thin-skinned and like I can't take a joke? Because if I leave it alone it's the character being mocked, instead of me? Until I started writing this post I haven't actually unpacked this....

Like I said, this is a trivial example. It's a game; it's not my parents or my boss or my spouse or anything that truly matters. And these are people I've known, some of them for thirty years, all of them for at least twenty years, none of whom would deliberately hurt anyone in the group. (So why can't I say anything....? I don't know.)

#13 ::: SpawnOfTheDevil ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 01:41 PM:

otterb @10 thanks. i admit to channeling elsa at the top of my lungs when the movie came out: LET. IT. GO.

jacque @11: "just relax" unpacked:
"you don't matter. i do."
"my reality is the only valid reality."
"the natural order of the universe dictates that if anyone objects to me, they are the ones in the wrong."

so here's the thing: consequences are a gift. if you are kind enough to point out to somebody that they're being a dick, and they reject your gift, they have told you an important thing about themselves. you get to choose how many spoons they are worth.

when similar things happen to me, my face telegraphs my sudden realization: "oh, i get it: you're an asshole. all right then, move along. we're done."

#14 ::: J ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 05:12 PM:

@Jacque no. 11, CassyB no. 12: SpawnOfTheDevil speaks truth @ no. 13. It's tempting to try to tackle the root of the behavior--to enlighten the person so they won't do that anymore. I shared a gaming group with one of those smirky-berkies myself, though, and I can tell you that as long as one person in the room thought he was funny (or not that bad, or that he would stop on his own eventually, or that I somehow had the power to make him stop by adjusting my own behavior and wasn't using it for reasons)...then he thought he was just the awesomest and anybody who protested being used as his straight man was hilariously square. This lasted until he decided to use the cops, those hilarious squares, as his next straight man, by removing some of the kibble from a cop car while it was parked behind the cop shop. When a judge told him he wasn't funny, it stuck. (The judge told him that the court was not pursuing a felony indictment only because he was obviously too stupid to understand that the world was not his oyster, but that was his one chance to quit clowning around.)

Barring your respective smirky berkies getting a similar slapdown from the Clue Bat, there's really no point in hoping that they will change. So your options are, as SpawnOfTheDevil says, limited to a more immediate response.

When you say no, don't even try to justify it.

"That's not funny. Stop saying it."

"I don't care if you think it's funny. It's not funny. Knock it off."

"I'm sure you think you're funny. Moving on." [Immediately turn to someone else to speak, or change the subject.]

Or, there's always the long, quiet, silent stare. Channel your inner large-cat-confronted-by-yapping-chihuahua.

If they play any card at all--"You hurt my feelings," or "You're just a square," or "Politics time!," your response is the same: "I asked you to drop it. Drop. It."

And if they won't, or if other people start to gang up on you...then it may be time to find another venue to do [thing].

Note that this does not apply if they are in a position of authority over you. In that case, if there's nobody to go to (their boss, for example), your only option besides gritting your teeth is to find a way to get out from under that authority.

Also, @Jacque in particular: In my opinion this is just plain bullying.

#15 ::: fagricipni ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 07:31 PM:

(In the first story, X gets her-series pronouns; and Y, he-series -- Z is only mentioned once in the singular.)

I had a friend X tell me about how another friend Y was rude to her. I tried to explain to X that I didn't think that Y intended his actions in the way that X interpreted them. X wasn't having it, even when I used examples of the "shit-talking" between Y and Z; they were best friends, but from the words alone one might think that they were worst enemies. So I decided to talk to Y about it. (In retrospect, not telling X that I intended to talk to Y was probably not the right thing to do, but no harm came to my relationship with X from it.) At any rate, I figured that I could be gentle with Y about it. What I got out was, "You might want to ease off on the joking with X; you've kinda hurt her feelings." What I got in response from Y at that point was "Well, f*** her if she can't take a joke." At which point, I instantaneously gave up on trying to smooth things over between X and Y. It was hard for me to hold in my head that Y was unintentionally offending X when his reaction to being told that he had hurt X's feelings was to verbally aggressively attack the messenger. It is perhaps of interest to note that while I still consider X a friend, I no longer consider Y a friend; and part of it is my perception of a lack of empathy on the part of Y which he revealed that day.

(Forgive my use of the expression "offending party"; I haven't come up with a better short way to express the opposite side to the expression "offended party".)

I have contemplations on acknowledging intention and effects, but I don't know how useful it will be in any of the situations mentioned. I have seen situations where the offended party basically says that offending party's intentions don't matter to em; or worse refuse to accept any explanation of actual intention except that offending party had malice -- I am referring to situations where an honest unawareness of the problem is still a reasonable explanation. While the response of the offending party that I am about to describe is not always a reaction to "demonizing" of the offending party by the offended party, sometimes I think that it is. In contrast to the offended party saying that intention is irrelevant, the offending party takes the position that effects are irrelevant -- only intention matters. My own desire when I am informed of giving unintentional offense is to have my innocent intentions acknowledged, yet at the same time I care about the effects that my actions are causing; and if they are causing bad effects, I want to know this so that I can better achieve the more positive effects that I do want. Unfortunately, I have run in to a few situations where I have felt that the innocence of my intent was not only not acknowledged, but actively rejected: to those "messengers" their view of how social interactions should work is so ingrained in them as "The Right Way" that even considering that others might have differing styles is impossible -- I had to take what I could from the feedback about what effects my actions were having, and ignore their fixed assumptions about the intent behind my actions because they refused to consider even when given my explanation anything other than what they had already decided. Because in my discussion of my own experience I am mostly thinking of where the "messenger" was not the offended party and a third party was involved, I was more willing to filter out the "hostility" and use what was useful of the feedback. Also, a consideration for me is that it seems to me that one of the best ways to demonstrate innocent intent is to change the actions when asked; maybe, even some of the offended parties with fixed ideas about intention will change their minds upon seeing the offending party immediately change eir actions. But I can also see how someone who had innocent intention might be polarized in to the position of not being willing to make the effort to change eir actions for a person who refuses to acknowledge that eir intentions were innocent.

I'm not sure how useful my idea in the paragraph above will actually be: there are too many people who seem to want to do or say whatever they want without consequence to think that it is any silver bullet, but I know I would have felt less "slandered" had some people been willing to accept that the reason that I am choosing a different course of action in the future is that my intentions were never bad in the first place.

#16 ::: fagricipni ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 07:41 PM:

As far as,

Catcalled on the street? "Oh, you should take that as a compliment!"

I'm male and I have on a couple of occasions been catcalled by women. Perhaps it's because I'm less confident in my ability to defend myself than the average man, but it's still an uncomfortable situation to me. I tried to take it as a compliment and maybe half-managed, but it felt more like teasing/bullying than anything else.

#17 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 09:24 PM:

A dog humping my leg is just being friendly because he likes me. Why should I treat a human any differently from the unwelcome dog?

#18 ::: rooster ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 10:48 PM:

I don't know how to deal with people, in general, but also this person, in particular:

He seems to want to be my friend. Invites me to things. Sometimes forcefully. "You're going to come to this thing, it will be good for you." Honestly, I'm grateful that someone wants to spend time with me.

He's delighted to find out that we have things in common, until I'm doing it wrong. "You do this thing, but never learned to do a related thing? Oh my god."

He's reminding me of an abusive ex of mine, who was only ok with me if I was willing to apologize for the things I love. I could like Star Trek if I wasn't One Of Those Fans. The bad ones whom he hated. I got sick of being insulted for existing and left him.

Now I have this new person, and it feels the same. Is there a way to deal with this without just ... cutting him out of my life? We have social spaces in common. What's going on? Why is he treating me like this?

#19 ::: Lobelia Potswallow ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2019, 10:45 AM:

Abi: I am so sorry for what you and your daughter have been struggling with. Both of my daughters went through similar experiences at around that age--the elder, with self-harm and suicidal ideation, the younger, with what the psych community quaintly refers to as "irritability", which led to all sorts of destructive acting out, and which was set off by a suicide cluster in her grade that took one of her closest friends.

Older daughter is now almost 30, got married this winter, and is as grounded as a human can be about her ongoing (tho' greatly diminished) struggles. Younger daughter is 23, about to graduate from college, and already working toward establishing herself in the career she has chosen. I note all this to let you know that with love and support, our kids come out on the other side, often stronger at the broken parts.

I also want to witness the terror and rage and helplessness that having a beloved child go through this can bring to a parent. Be as kind to yourself as you are to your daughter.

Courage.

#20 ::: Lobelia Potswallow ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2019, 10:45 AM:

Abi: I am so sorry for what you and your daughter have been struggling with. Both of my daughters went through similar experiences at around that age--the elder, with self-harm and suicidal ideation, the younger, with what the psych community quaintly refers to as "irritability", which led to all sorts of destructive acting out, and which was set off by a suicide cluster in her grade that took one of her closest friends.

Older daughter is now almost 30, got married this winter, and is as grounded as a human can be about her ongoing (tho' greatly diminished) struggles. Younger daughter is 23, about to graduate from college, and already working toward establishing herself in the career she has chosen. I note all this to let you know that with love and support, our kids come out on the other side, often stronger at the broken parts.

I also want to witness the terror and rage and helplessness that having a beloved child go through this can bring to a parent. Be as kind to yourself as you are to your daughter.

Courage.

#21 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2019, 02:24 PM:

abi #1: Witnessing. I've had my own struggles with depression (though a few years later in life), and both of you have my sympathies.

#22 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2019, 04:35 PM:

Moderators: I think Lobelia Potswallow might have inadvertently left a revealing URL linked on the above comments on this thread, and may want it redacted. Please handle as you see fit.

#23 ::: Jacque flags the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2019, 06:13 PM:

for Clifton's @22.

#24 ::: Lobelia Potswallow ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2019, 10:58 AM:

Clifton@22: thank you! I was just worried about deleting the extra iteration... Typing while morning.

And thank you, Moderators.

#25 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2019, 02:59 PM:

abi:

You and your family are in my prayers.

#26 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2019, 04:45 PM:

abi: Huge sympathies for what you and your daughter and the rest of your family have been and are going through. My thoughts are with you, and a zen *****hug*****. Take the time you need, be kind to yourself - and many thanks for making the time to start this new thread.

All: I've been rather intermittently getting to the previous iteration and by the time I'd caught up on the comments was always way too far behind to comment. But I have been reading and witnessing.

Jacque @10: definitely a privilege thing. I've been on the receiving end of that myself. Sympathies.

Cassie B.: it's difficult, when there's something like that. I find it a lot harder to call out bad behaviour directed at me - easier when it's directed at someone else.

#27 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2019, 11:39 PM:

Abi,

You have been in my prayers for some time now. I will add you daughter and family as well.

I wish I had more to offer you, for making this wonderful place.

#28 ::: J ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2019, 01:26 PM:

@rooster #18: I'm in the grip of a double-whammy sinus & migraine today, so pardon me if I make no sense.

First: I do not mean the sweet codswallop that some lady once told my old child sexual abuse survivors support group, that "we attract toward us the experiences we need in order to grow." That is self-serving bullshit devised by people who don't want to admit that other people freely choose to do bad things to third parties.

That said, it is true that we may subconsciously attract people who are, consciously or subconsciously, looking for somebody who fits certain criteria. They may be self-aware abusers who know how to push certain buttons and so look for them because they get a charge out of it. But usually they're--well, here's speculation about your current friend's thought process: "It's my duty to find and fix people who aren't as honest and forthright and with-it and together and certain of themselves as me." The underlayer of that being, "I am the pattern; people should be like me." And the underlayer of THAT might be, "I only know how to interact with people in the roles of controller or controlee, and I don't like being the controlee."

And that's where you come in. For whatever reason, you subconsciously send signals that to anybody else might mean "I am not an aggressive person, I don't like to argue or lay down the law," but to people who have their controlly pants on, the signals mean, "Aha! Here's somebody in need of the awesomeness that is my wisdom," layered over, "My opinions are best," layered over, "I gotta control somebody and rooster looks like a possibility."

How to get out of it? Explaining all of the above to the person who's trying to force their pattern on you is pointless; they either won't want to hear it or you'll discover that they have a "Please be my therapist and also my uncritical support system" mode and have switched to that.

First, try short responses. Don't explain or justify or argue. Just say the words. If they try to get you to make more words about your words (i.e. provide them with more to study in order to find an opening through which to get at you), say, "I've already said what I'm going to say," or "You asked and I answered, let's move on." If they demonstrate hurt feelings, that is not your problem.

Scripts:

"No, thank you."

"I don't want to."

"I'm not interested, but thanks for thinking of me."

"Nah."

"Not my thing."

"I have other plans." (Don't describe the plans. It's not necessary to actually have plans, other than "not doing the thing.")

If the controlly-pants person won't change out of their controlly pants, and makes a big fuss, and flounces off or comes after you, then you can switch to responses to a jerk, because they are no longer your friend: they are a jerk.

And if other people in your interest group come to you and say not to rock the boat: They started it. You ain't the boat rocker.

Also, it's very common for the signals we sent to come out of experiences in our past. Identifying the event, mapping the patterns the event set, and working on changing them is part of therapy (self- or otherwise).

#29 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 12:13 PM:

rooster #18: All of what J said. Additionally, speaking from my Vast Age & Wisdom™, save yourself some time. If he smells abusive, tick the tickey-box & move on. (I just fired a new therapist after two sessions because it "didn't feel right" in some vague ways. Further communications have given me no reason to change my mind.)

If you say simply, "This isn't working for me. I need to move on." and he gets weird about it, that's good information.

If you're not already familiar, Captain Awkward is a gold mine of perspective, scripts, and boundaries around this stuff. The specific tags that may relate to your situation: "Abuse," "Boundaries," & "Darth Vader boyfriend."

J @28: codswallop

Such a great word. I agree that there's no Cosmic Attraction Spirit Energy bringing you challenges for your Spiritual Improvement. It has, however, been my observation that people (myself included) tend to be attracted to other people who will play patterns that are familiar to us, and which hold extra "juice." Often that "juice" is dysfunction that we were trained into growing up. As we work through the dysfunction (like learning to recognize it, in rooster's example above), the juice fades, to be replaced by new, (we hope more functional) kinds of "juice."

#30 ::: J ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 01:53 PM:

@Jacque no. 29, also @rooster: I've also heard it called the normality filter. Our normality filters are calibrated by our formative experiences. We look for situations that fit through our normality filters, even if they are uncomfortable or actually harmful, because our experiences have taught us that these are normal. It isn't that we want them, necessarily; we just figure that that's how the world is supposed to work, like it or lump it. And recalibrating the normality filter is an important part of recovery.

I've certainly experienced that in my own life, particularly in my working life. I actually once quit a job in which I was given respect, dignity, and trust because it "felt wrong" and I was worried that I was "turning into a diva" and "acting spoiled." I immediately got a job that was so bad I ended up in arbitration for unemployment benefits. I freely chose that job because it "felt right." No, it fit into my normality filter. Guess how the people who raised me treated me...The good news, rooster, is that you can change the filter. I have changed mine to the point that the only cow orkers who leave me gaping without immediate response are the ones who do the same to people who have it a lot more together than me! :D

#31 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 03:13 PM:

@J: Far more eloquently-put description than mine. Thank you. And I learned a new term today!

#32 ::: rooster ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 08:00 PM:

Y'all make a lot of sense. Thank you. I don't want to give up the social spaces that we both occupy but I can dial back how much we interact otherwise.

How do you deal with, like, other people's normality filters? When they're like "this thing is not normal" and you're like "yes it is, for me it is." It always feels like gaslighting, to me.

#33 ::: J ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2019, 10:33 AM:

@rooster no. 32: It's useful to consider why the other person thinks that your experience isn't normal. Is it flatware thinking (paraphrased from C.S. Lewis: "The flatware our family uses is the true, proper, and normal flatware and everybody else's is weird and wrong"), or are they concerned because they see that your normality involves you being shortchanged or harmed?

#34 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2019, 11:35 PM:

@J

Or somewhere in between: "that's not normal flatware, why don't you use the big spoon/steak knife/whatever for that?" "Well, buddy, this is what I've got and you're right, it would be easier that way, but this'll get the job done."

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