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Don't hassle people for doing what you want - Input Junkie
February 3rd, 2018
10:37 am


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Don't hassle people for doing what you want



I mean, it seems pretty obvious when you put it like that.

But how many families, when an introvert sibling or child makes an effort to socialize, snarklily say, so you've decided to join us"?

Or when someone does something they've had trouble doing, say "Why can't you do that all the time"? (Happened to me, all too often.)

Or any sentence containing the word "finally".

If someone makes a step, a small step, in a direction you want to encourage, encourage it. Don't complain about how it's not enough. Don't bring up previous stuff. Encourage it.

Because I swear to fucking God there is nothing more soul-killing, more motivation-crushing, than struggling to succeed and finding that success and failure are both punished.


Here's my comment: So, why do people do this?

Two theories: One is that they're still angry about the past lack of accomplishment. The other theory is that they just want to claw at the person.

This entry was posted at https://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1097166.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:February 3rd, 2018 04:32 pm (UTC)
Very good questions!
[User Picture]
Date:February 3rd, 2018 11:46 pm (UTC)
"But how many families, when an introvert sibling or child makes an effort to socialize, snarklily say, so you've decided to join us"?"

Dysfunctional families are all about keeping everybody in their designated family roles, so naturally the family introvert has to be punished whenever he or she isn't acting introverted.

"Why can't you do that all the time?"

In recent years, I've cultivated the intensely annoying habit of taking "Why can't you...?" and "Why don't you...?" questions with bloody-minded literality, as invitations to Explain why I can't or don't at whatever length it takes to make the Point. Which is, of course, that all such questions are rude AF.
[User Picture]
From:Douglas Scheinberg
Date:February 4th, 2018 04:48 am (UTC)
Because they're going about it in a completely ineffective way?

Me: "Mom is cleaning up the junk pile, Dad, like you wanted!"

Mom: "See? I'm going through the papers and getting rid of the ones I don't want."

Dad: "When I told you to get rid of those boxes of papers, I did not mean that you should look at each individual page in each box at a rate that would result in the area being clear after two straight months of work! Just throw them out!"

Edited at 2018-02-04 05:31 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 4th, 2018 06:51 am (UTC)
I don't think that's the "finally" pattern.
[User Picture]
Date:February 4th, 2018 08:28 am (UTC)
Probably the reason the papers have been sitting there so long, instead of being just thrown out, is because Mom DOES want some of them, and won't know which ones until she looks at each individual page. It's real easy to label someone else's stuff as "junk"; people are usually a lot less sanguine about just throwing out their own stuff unsorted.

Anyway, nancylebov is quite right: Dad's nasty retort surely will have killed whatever pride and enthusiasm Mom had for the task, and replaced it with humiliation and resentment. That's not the way to get anybody to do a task more efficiently, and it's definitely not the way to secure their affection and respect.
[User Picture]
From:Douglas Scheinberg
Date:February 4th, 2018 09:42 am (UTC)

How do you tell someone, without angering them, that their stated reasons for holding on to something are stupid and they should get rid of it? ("I want to throw out those old children's toys that our children are too old for. There is no space for anything in this house any more because you never throw anything away!" "Don't you dare! Our future grandchildren will want them!")
[User Picture]
Date:February 4th, 2018 02:44 pm (UTC)
That's a good question, for sure, and leads straight into the wider question: is it possible to tell someone that their reasons for doing or thinking anything are stupid, without angering them? People seriously hate being called, considered, or treated as stupid, and contempt is the number-one predictor of bad relationships.

Therefore, the safest answer would be: you don't - not if you care about their feelings toward you. Think what you like about their stated reasons - which may in fact be stupid, and which also may not be their real reasons - but keep yer pie-hole shut, because expressing your unrequested and unwarranted judgement will not get you anything you want.

It's quite true; her future grandchildren probably won't want most of those old toys, though they may want some of them. She knows this; every mother knows this; that's not the real reason we hang on to that stuff. I don't know if you've ever heard of the Point-of-View Gun...? Too bad it's fictional, because it sounds like Mom could really use one, and certain members of her family really need to be hit with a good blast of her feelings about "just throwing away" the dear remnants of her babies' childhood. I strongly suspect you would be sobbing on your knees within three seconds.

I also strongly suspect that the old childrens' toys are not what's taking up the bulk of the wasted space in the house, and that focusing on them rather than on some less emotionally-charged items is, as nancylebov phrased it, "just a way to claw at the person". What about Dad, then? Has he already gotten rid of all the stuff Mom thinks he could do without? When one spouse is a hoarder, usually the other is too.

The toys have been kept this long; they might as well be kept until the future grandchildren have a chance to pick them over. If there are really too many - if she's kept them ALL - then perhaps the future parents of the potential future grandchildren might come and lovingly help her sort through their cast-off gear, pack up what's worth saving, and donate the rest to Goodwill. Emphasis on 'lovingly'. The true reason she's kept all that junk is because she loves you. Is that a stupid reason?

Edited at 2018-02-04 02:45 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 4th, 2018 04:56 pm (UTC)
"I resent the thought that you believe you have a right NOT to join us if you don't feel like it" would be my guess.

Staying away from people, being reserved, is implicitly a claim to higher status. If you express pleasure at the other person's presence, you may feel that you're confirming that claim. If you harass them, you're making them enter the group at the bottom.

That may be all wrong; I don't understand social hierarchies very well.
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