Today’s rant is a follow up to my previous post regarding systems which do not allow for complex and uncomfortable feelings, having them, safely expressing them, exploring them, coping with and resolving them.
So, while all of the team players actively avoid honestly sharing or acknowledging their own difficult feelings, they also practice this other confusing(for me) line of behavior. A calling out of others, for having a feeling. Not curiosity or interest and desire to hear about it but a passive aggressive tactic meant to silence, shut down, and shame.
Example: A conversation gets hot. And the one managing to appear the least affected, skillfully demands of the the person failing to mask emotion, one of the following. The question is never a genuine inquiry, but a condenscension/shut down, dominance tactic.
“Why are you so angry?” (Look at yourself- get it together- You are wrong)
“Why are you yelling?” (You look unhinged and crazy- You are wrong)
“Why are you so emotional?” (Ew- Shame on you- You are wrong)
My favorite: “What is your problem/ What is wrong with you?” (You are not worth dealing with- You are wrong)
My boys frequently ask the other why they have done or said a thing, but they are not asking. They are declaring: You failed. You are lame. You are wrong and bad. You are bizarre. Nobody gets you. WE all disapprove. Nowhere in the question is there curiosity or a hint of genuine interest. We discuss this. Of course. I explain that you can judge or disapprove, just be honest about it. Say to yourself, inside your head: “I am being judgmental and disapproving.” And then work on that.
We are breaking the cycles of toxic shaming. Sweet Greg knows exactly what to do when I try to pull that with him. Fuck— who taught him this wizardry??? I frequently will “challenge” him with a statement (judging and disapproving more than curious) that begins with “I don’t understand how(or why)……..” And he calmly says: “You don’t have to”.
Also, in my lil family, we are onto the people that begin their judgments in one of the following ways: “I am just confused that__________ or I am curious how _________”. Because they are not curious or confused, they are asking you to defend yourself and also not interested in hearing or listening.
Beware. Jilan Catherine GhoneimMuch Love,
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