Friday, August 05, 2011

Choosing sides

I would like you to join the conversation, but first let me challenge you in your response:

* Note the word "immediately." Think on that for a minute.

* See if you can dialogue without saying, "Yeah, but ..."

* Only think about yourself. I get it. You're already thinking of a handful of people who do this, have done this or are currently doing this. This is about self-reflection.

* In only thinking about yourself, own it. Admit it out loud.

To help you be a little more brave in your vulnerability, let me quote what one friend shared in her response: "Certain issues will trigger more extreme reactions in me--usually an issue that I am uncomfortable with on a personal level & don't want to address!"

"Without vulnerability, there is no connection." - Scott Dinsmore


Rachel said...

For me, it tends to be issues that inspire a visceral reaction that is immediate. When those issues arrive, I hesitate to even believe there is a middle ground. Morality, for me, is black & white. There is no middle ground when it comes to Truth.

Now, other issues (like, say, the "mommy war" issues or parenting decisions)? You are right. I need to get past my immediate reactions and calmly survey the middle ground. Definitely food for thought!

Jessica Rudder said...

I don't know if this counts as I'm referring to a study rather than myself (though, not with the intention of pretending I'm not susceptible to the same thing), but, I do think it pertains.

There have been studies (and, I apologize for not being able to provide a link) which show that when people hear an argument they agree with, the parts of their brain that deal with emotional processing light up. When people hear an argument they don't agree with, the parts of their brain that analyze and criticize are more active.

This makes it a lot easier for us to tear apart "the other side's" argument without feeling just as skeptical about our own point-of-view. Unfortunately, because we aren't aware that we're treating the arguments differently, this also makes it easier for us to think our idea makes more sense (simply because we haven't yet looked for the flaws in our own position).

I suppose the first step is awareness.

The second step? Perhaps it's starting to hold our own arguments to a greater standard of proof than the arguments of others. Make sure we've actually done the research. Make sure our position(s) logically follow from the supporting evidence. Make sure we aren't cherry picking evidence in order to only 'see' the data that shows us what we want to see....

In truth though, it's easier to just go along as we've been going along. Learning and actively applying true logic is tough.

Nobody said...

I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older, or if I have been parenting trauma for a long time, but my immediate response to a brewing disagreement is to shrink away from it. And I was always a bit of a scrapper, so you can't say it's just my temperament. I am just so dang tired of fighting, squabbling, debating, disagreement. It wearies me to the bone, so even when I find that I disagree 110%, I am inclined to change the subject and find something we can both enjoy together. Or if that's not an option, walk away. Now if you ask me for my opinion, that's a whole different story. And by "ask me for my opinion" I might mean "are one of my children". ;)

Diana said...

Ha! There's a situation like that in my life right now. It's a situation in which I believe there is a clear line of moral (and legal) right and wrong. Based on my own life experience, It's also something I feel VERY strongly and very passionately about and unfortunately know way more about than I've ever wanted to.

Well, we've reached the time in which, for whatever reason, the powers that be have deemed that justice has been served. There's nothing I can do about it. I very much believe that people can change and should be given the opportunity to fix their mistakes and reclaim their life. I've worked hard (and am still working hard) to let go of the anger toward a certain individual. I really, truly do want this person to have that opportunity.

However, I also firmly believe that regardless of what the powers that be say and for whatever reasons they have for doing what they're going to do, clear boundary lines of protection and separation MUST be drawn. Long story short, I want NOTHING to do with the afore mentioned situation or person. That includes having contact of any kind with myself or my children.

It would be easy enough to do if it were just about me and my kids. However, there is another person whose opinion seems to holds a LOT more weight than who is keeping the situation a situation that has any relevance in my life at all is...and that is completely oblivious to life and the significance of why things are the way they are. I believe mostly for said oblivious person's sake and "family preservation", there are many who are willing to stand by her, accept the other party, buy into the story that the deed wasn't intended to be malicious, the evidence is accidental, there's no threat or danger, and we must forgive and embrace and move on with life as it was.

I can't do it. The thought of doing so makes my stomach turn...especially since I know full well what will happen in my world if I don't keep those boundaries in place. And guess who's getting all the flack? Me. Everyone else is ready to rally and embrace the offender. I'm the one with the problem. I'm the one destroying the family. I'm the one unwilling to bend. I'm the one who needs to change.

So, the struggle for me right now is how to find that middle ground of allowing someone the opportunity to heal and reclaim their life while still protecting my own and my family and not throwing up on everyone in the process.

GB's Mom said...

When I was younger, it was common for me to see things in black and white and jump to one side or the other. Life and experience have changed a lot of that. The main area I still struggle with is professionals and my kids. I tend to react first and think later. A work in progress.

Jess said...

For me issues aren't the trigger as often as the way other people are appearing to think...or just plain appearing. If it appears to me that someone is being arrogant and self-involved and thoughtless in their choices, arguments and actions my personal reaction to this is most often shut them down or go into attack..... which, of course, is totally not arrogant and self-involved and contains no trace of thoughtless-ness at all /would you like extra sarcasm with that?/.

It is a continuing thing to stop an realise that arrogance and self-involvement so often stems from pain and fear of not being heard. It takes a great amount of prayer, growth and stepping back to hear people who are in that place without joining them in that place.

I am more likely to react negatively to people who are conventional in appearance and lifestyle because it is easier to perceive such people as thoughtless, ignorant drones. I have been known to assume that someone who "looks" alternative will have put more thought into their conclusions simply because of the way they look - which of course is not an ignorant, over simplified stance at all /little more sarcasm for you there/

And the crazy thing is, if you were to see me out without my kids, or with only a few of them, to all intents and purposes, I look pretty conventional.