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Explaining oneself to others

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Yesterday, 23:10
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Apr 8, 2017
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#1
A lot of times I have intuition about social/moral situations, which I don't trust on its own. I need to figure out why something "feels" right or wrong in order to accept it. It helps to have others feel it out. Currently, I am working on this:

Looking at the dynamics between a perpetrator and a victim -

If someone does something wrong to you that makes you feel a certain way (hurt, uncomfortable, angry, scared, sad, etc) you will act accordingly (act awkward/uncomfortable, cold, unfriendly, angry, withdrawn, quiet, avoidant, etc). You have every right to have such a reaction, and it would be unfair to expect you to hide your feelings and be all smiles, pretending like you are okay when you are not.

THE QUESTION

Is it your responsibility to explain your behavior to the perpetrator, or is it the perpetrator's responsibility to realize that your behavior is due to their actions?

A situation where this would come up is if the perpetrator does not recognize that you are acting that way because of them, and assumes it is your natural state. In that case, is that on them for not realizing? Or is that on you for not explaining yourself?

MY INTUITION

It feels wrong for the victim to have to explain themselves to the perpetrator. They're the ones who did something wrong, not you, so why should you go after them explaining yourself? Then there's all this common motivational advice - you should do what you think is right without worrying about what others think; as long as you know you were in the right that's all that matters; you should never have to explain yourself to others; etc. etc.

I feel that if it were the other way around, and the onus is on you to explain and make sure the perpetrator understands, it doesn't fare well in the real world. How can one be a strong person and stand up for oneself, and refuse to be treated badly and take other peoples' bullshit, if you have to keep explaining yourself to them and worrying about whether they understand?

It definitely feels like there is an expectation on the perpetrator to look at the consequences of their actions (your reaction) and attribute it to their wrongdoing, becoming aware of how their actions affected others.

Think about it.. Imagine if someone assaulted you and you rightly felt uncomfortable around them after this. You would not be friendly to your attacker. But it seems absolutely ridiculous for you to walk up to them and say "Hey I know I'm not being friendly today, but that's only because of what you did to me yesterday", as if you have to justify/apologize for your behavior. Rather, one would expect the attacker to be able to see your discomfort and realize how they made you feel. If the attacker doesn't have this realization, and obliviously says "Hey I wonder why she is so cold and unfriendly to me, hm she must be a bitch", and writes it off as your natural personality without considering their role in all of this, we would be inclined to see the attacker as a huge arrogant jerk.

THE DOUBTS

Although this is my intuition, I don't completely understand it. WHY does it feel this way? Why is the onus on the perpetrator rather than the victim? Is it fair to expect them to realize something without being told? How are they supposed to know it is because of them if you don't explain? Why are they a jerk if they don't realize it? What is jerky about that?

It probably has something to do with empathy and other aspects of psychology but I don't know enough about the subject to make sense of it.
 
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Today, 03:10
Joined
Jun 9, 2017
Messages
5
#2
A lot of times I have intuition about social/moral situations, which I don't trust on its own. I need to figure out why something "feels" right or wrong in order to accept it. It helps to have others feel it out. Currently, I am working on this:

Looking at the dynamics between a perpetrator and a victim -

If someone does something wrong to you that makes you feel a certain way (hurt, uncomfortable, angry, scared, sad, etc) you will act accordingly (act awkward/uncomfortable, cold, unfriendly, angry, withdrawn, quiet, avoidant, etc). You have every right to have such a reaction, and it would be unfair to expect you to hide your feelings and be all smiles, pretending like you are okay when you are not.

THE QUESTION

Is it your responsibility to explain your behavior to the perpetrator, or is it the perpetrator's responsibility to realize that your behavior is due to their actions?

A situation where this would come up is if the perpetrator does not recognize that you are acting that way because of them, and assumes it is your natural state. In that case, is that on them for not realizing? Or is that on you for not explaining yourself?

MY INTUITION

It feels wrong for the victim to have to explain themselves to the perpetrator. They're the ones who did something wrong, not you, so why should you go after them explaining yourself? Then there's all this common motivational advice - you should do what you think is right without worrying about what others think; as long as you know you were in the right that's all that matters; you should never have to explain yourself to others; etc. etc.

I feel that if it were the other way around, and the onus is on you to explain and make sure the perpetrator understands, it doesn't fare well in the real world. How can one be a strong person and stand up for oneself, and refuse to be treated badly and take other peoples' bullshit, if you have to keep explaining yourself to them and worrying about whether they understand?

It definitely feels like there is an expectation on the perpetrator to look at the consequences of their actions (your reaction) and attribute it to their wrongdoing, becoming aware of how their actions affected others.

Think about it.. Imagine if someone assaulted you and you rightly felt uncomfortable around them after this. You would not be friendly to your attacker. But it seems absolutely ridiculous for you to walk up to them and say "Hey I know I'm not being friendly today, but that's only because of what you did to me yesterday", as if you have to justify/apologize for your behavior. Rather, one would expect the attacker to be able to see your discomfort and realize how they made you feel. If the attacker doesn't have this realization, and obliviously says "Hey I wonder why she is so cold and unfriendly to me, hm she must be a bitch", and writes it off as your natural personality without considering their role in all of this, we would be inclined to see the attacker as a huge arrogant jerk.

THE DOUBTS

Although this is my intuition, I don't completely understand it. WHY does it feel this way? Why is the onus on the perpetrator rather than the victim? Is it fair to expect them to realize something without being told? How are they supposed to know it is because of them if you don't explain? Why are they a jerk if they don't realize it? What is jerky about that?

It probably has something to do with empathy and other aspects of psychology but I don't know enough about the subject to make sense of it.
Very interesting.

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Today, 04:10
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#3
I'd need a specific reason to explain myself to someone nowadays - like, maybe I'm talking with someone I care about or the interaction/situation is valuable in some way.

Long ago, I made a conscious effort to not explain myself or defend my beliefs to others.
 
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#4
I'd need a specific reason to explain myself to someone nowadays - like, maybe I'm talking with someone I care about or the interaction/situation is valuable in some way.

Long ago, I made a conscious effort to not explain myself or defend my beliefs to others.
i would like to get to this point, i feel the urge to defend myself still
 
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#5
We all have that urge (i think) initially, but when i have explained myself in the past it only leads to hurt. I feel like when I do, I make myself too vulnerable. No one ever *really* understands either. I have learned from an older intp that i dont owe anyone an explanation for my behavior or the way I am. I have become more aware of my reasons for doing what I do, but I will not explain myself. People don't really give a shit anyway. If they reallt want to know, let them ask... then decide what you will or won't tell them.
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
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#6
The issue is complicated...

Yes, we do expect the perpetrators to realise the consequences of their actions. Because anything else seems unfair, right?

Ideally, this would happen, but it doesn't - funny that, because if a perpetrator realised the consequences, they would not hurt other people to begin with...or would they? I think very few people fall in the latter category, but perhaps I am naive, despite my long experience with fucked up people.

The basic premise is that no person is inherently good or inherently evil. It is rooted in upbringing. Most children, if brought up to be socially functioning, will snap out of their little echo chambers by 6-7. At this point, they begin to realise that other people matter because they can perceive that other people have internal lives too. They gradually become more conscious of their own selves, and therefore conscious of the effects their behaviour has on others.

For a child to be socially functioning, they would have had to have received the appropriate amount of autonomy, security and love. This is a tricky line to balance.

However, most parents are not that perfect (of course - they are the result of their own upbringing, and therefore not likely to be conscious enough to break the patterns), which means a percentage of the population are still stuck in their little echo chambers, and therefore still regress to childish behaviour. Because they are incapable of getting out of their own heads, they are unable to empathise with others, or make the connection between their actions/inactions and the reactions of others.

Unconscious people will be inconsiderate and/or abusive to others, and some victims (people who have been conditioned to blame themselves through child abuse) will find excuses for this unconscious behaviour. Small children cannot rationalise abuse any other way - it only makes sense that they themselves should be at fault, because the person they trusted should not be capable of such malice. So, to blame themselves is the only logical explanation, as there is no other option.

At the same time the abuser, due to being unconscious (often as a result of being abused themselves), is incapable of putting themselves in the victim's head, because they have already fully justified their behaviour - the other person is at fault, so they assume the right to yell, swear, patronise, be overbearing, interrupt, bully and intimidate. It does not matter if the other person is hurt, because it is the fact that it was them that pushed the wrong button in the first place, that resulted in the abuse.

A victim will accept the abuse, because any attempts to defend their behaviour will be met with gaslighting (the abuser blaming the victim: "it's your own fault for being difficult"; "it's your own fault for being too much like your father/mother"(implying there is something wrong with either of these); "you're not tough enough" (of course the victim cannot handle conflict because they have been conditioned to think it is always their fault); "you're being typically male/female"(implying there is something inherently wrong with either of these); "you're being too girly/too manly"(implying there is an inherent natural standard that must be complied with to quieten my egotistic fear of being perceived as either of these myself, because I, unlike you, give in to pressures); "it's your own fault for not meeting my expectations/being stupid"; "you asked for it", etc).

Unconscious people may change as they grow older, but it seems rare. In a few cases when these people become parents themselves, they may have the realisation that everyone around them is someone's daughter or son, and the fact that they are not directly related does not automatically render them faceless, disposable entities available for anyone to abuse, intimidate or humiliate.

The interesting thing is that the internet seems to be a medium that attracts both victims and abusers. It is a place where abused and abusive people have a voice. The conflicts seem to escalate out of proportion as the voices of the internet reach into normal society. People have become more wary, suspicious and reactive in general, because they now expect the abuse.

It is difficult to not get sucked in. Sometimes, it seems impossible. How do we resolve these issues? It all seems to come back to parenting, and the institutionalised brainwash that children are subjected to during their upbringing. Kids have been, and to a large extent are - still treated as second class citizens. It's like a child's voice doesn't matter at all; there is no outlet. And then we are surprised and outraged at their reactions.

Dismissal of kids is subliminally reflected in the way society is set up, where kids are not taken seriously because of their age, and there are very few places that are family and/or child-friendly. Unreasonable working hours and expectations force parents to spend more time away from family. You are expected to send your child to all these activities, they have to be successful at school, they must comply with seemingly arbitrary regulations that are not explained to them in a way they can understand - and then they are dismissed as weak, difficult or whiny when their problems are as real - if not worse, than adults.

It's like society is telling us that kids and grown ups belong in different worlds. Up to a certain age you are just this thing without a voice, and after that - you better grow the fuck up.

Grow up...into what? Where is the foundation? Who are they aspiring to, and why?

And we wonder why people are conflicted/fucked in the head.
 

Jennywocky

guud languager
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#7
Polaris covers a lot of it better than I can.

But the basic gist is, while your instinct (abstraction) is that the perpetrator should be able to piece it together and ideally this would be the "fair" approach, realistically they are usually not in a position to understand their actions and the ramifications upon you. You are stuck holding the bag whether you like it or not.

So the victim in general has to (1) deal with the abuser's behavior and heal, (2) then decide what THEY need to do for peace of mind in order to move ahead in life and feel coherent/whole/balanced about their own actions. This might mean engaging the abuser, this might mean just never engaging them again.

You should never go to the abuser with the expectation they are going to give you something you need. If you heal, it has to be without their apology or even their understanding of how they wronged you... even if you might be fortunate enough to get that kind of catharsis.

I would also say along with the "people are all fubar in some way and this leads some to abuse others as they were neglected or abused" theory... you will occasionally meet some sadistic twisted f---s who know they are hurting others, enjoy hurting others, and are committed to hurting others and they might have been just fine growing up or at least had a reasonable life. If you can identify them, those people don't deserve to be reasoned with or given leeway and you cannot afford to be vulnerable around them.
 
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#8
Couple things to consider.

  1. Is it an abusive relationship or does the person who is abusing not know what they are doing? We are going to assume the later because otherwise its no longer a question and just a "get the hell away from them" answer.
  2. The next thing that matters is how bad is the offence(s)? If its minor and you have a decent relationship with the person already, its up to the person taking the offence if they want to bring it up to them. The only way the person who is abused shouldn't bring it up is if:
    • Its a one time thing AND
    • Its going to hurt the relationship more than help it to bring it up
  3. The next step is to create a healthy boundary with that person. To do this, you need to assert your needs to that person. You can do this with a skill called DEARMAN.
  4. You may have to do the previous step multiple times. Additionally, the abuser may be completely taken aback that they were even doing it in the first place or how hurtful it was for you.
  5. If the person really didn't even know what they were doing, then you can add a FAST skill.
  6. Finally, remember that relationships are a two way street so using the Give skill.

Basically, you can't count on the abuser to stop doing what they are doing, so its best to set a boundary with people so that they know what NOT to do. If they persist, then you may want to think about ending the relationship, which can be difficult.
 

TransientMoment

_ _ , - _ , _ -
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#9
What,what,what? No. Hang on. (Edit: I was targeting the OP and earlier responses. Sorry QuickTwist.)

First of all, problems aren't caused by one single factor. There are a number of reasons. Second, we see ourselves as victims for a number of reasons, not just one.
Consider, for example, problems caused by simply having different priorities/preferences/personalities - various parts about our own mentality that are "built-in" or come about naturally in ourselves that we think other people should also see. ... Not everyone has the same goals, preferences, moral standards, etc. Hence, something that you might consider essential - for example, freedom - maybe trampled on and perhaps upset someone who values something - for example, security - that, for certain cases, opposes your values. In a debate between freedom and security, someone is going to lose out. We end up with compromises. Lots of compromises. No doubt, the more one side presses for their goal, the more they hurt the other side. I recall speaking with an ISTJ type (btw, highly common type in America) about Snowden. He was furious. He felt like the gov - and his country, for that matter - had be victimized. His moral values had been betrayed by a man who - in his eyes - dared claim to be a fellow American. But how do you think Snowden felt? No doubt, he himself felt victimized, and he felt Americans were victimized. In such cases, there is no perfect resolution unless somehow we magically turned into trustworthy people overnight such that we'd all be able to trust each other (and then we wouldn't need law) and I can't see that happening.

Then we have your general "I'm oblivious of your value system" case. In such cases, there are two grounds to stand on. First, as much as people might want to deny it, we all have a common moral ground on some issues: Don't kill me, don't steal from me, don't cheat me, don't rape me, don't do anything to physically harm me. Other issues are debatable, but we do have a number of things that should be obvious, and might I say, align rather well with "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". That said, I don't think in such cases you need to explain yourself. If someone hits you in a manner that can't be classified in anyone's book as a "love pat" or "buddy nudge", they are simply being mean, and they know it. If you point it out to them, and they try to defend it, then you really know they are being mean, and you know that they know they are being mean. Some people actually want to be that way. I've met a few, and they admitted it. But, as you would expect, there is motive. Sometimes it's revenge, sometimes dislike of a person (for whatever reason), perhaps they use it to manipulate people, or perhaps simply wanting to feel like they can do as they please.

Then there are cases where the other person isn't going to know because there's no reason for them to know. If, for instance, I don't like people blowing up fireworks next door, but there's no law that says otherwise, I have to tell them about my displeasure. After that, I would expect some justification for their activity. I may not like what they do thereafter, but I would be more appeased knowing why they are doing what they are doing than having to work in the dark.

Since it isn't always known what another person knows, try it out. In fact, sometimes insisting on your views or reminding the other person of them again and again will get them to finally acknowledge - even if unwillingly - that you don't like it. If you don't like something and you want it to stop, then taking this approach first gives you a step up, and it's something the judge - or whoever ends up playing arbitrator - will recognize if, for some reason, matters get much worse.
 
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#10
In order for a perpetrator to make the connection between their action and the victim's reaction, a few things must happen:

1. Perpetrator must be aware that the victim disliked the action. This awareness can either be self-realized "hm, I wonder why she is acting that way toward me. maybe she did not like what I did yesterday." or informed (victim makes perpetrator aware that she is against the action).

2. Perpetrator must make the connection between the victim's behavior and the victim's position on the action. "she is acting like a bitch because she did not like what I did." So although it is, overall, a connection between the action and the reaction, that connection is achieved through making a connection between the victim's position, and the victim's reaction.

Using Transient's fireworks example: X blows up fireworks, and Y dislikes it and acts cold toward X. The end goal is for X to make the overall connection "Y is acting cold due to my fireworks." In order to make this connection, X must first (i) be aware that Y disliked the fireworks, (ii) make the intermediary connection of Y's coldness and Y's position on the fireworks (since Y disliked the fireworks, Y is acting cold). Putting these two together, creates the larger connection of Y's coldness and X's fireworks. It looks like this -

X's fireworks -------Y's position---------Y's coldness

all three have to be connected.

Why is this relevant? Because some people above have commented that X may not have the capacity to understand how X's actions affect other people. But I think such understanding has more than one element to it.

If X has a high degree of empathy, X might be able to have the self-realized awareness of how the action affected others ^^described in point 1.

If X cannot do this, X might have to be told ^^ also in point 1. I think this is what other people in the thread were referring to when y'all said the perpetrator may have NO idea.

But the point is, that point 2 is something X should be able to do alone. Once X becomes aware of Y's position (either self-realized, or told) X should be able to make the connection between Y's behavior and Y's position.

Basically, all of the examples given in the posts above, where X has no idea how X's actions affect others, are referring to a lack of point1. But it is fair to say that if point1 is established, there is no excuse for failing to realize point2.
 
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