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Old 02-25-2019, 06:29 AM #1
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Question Perceptions of what is supportive

The discussions about being supportive on this forum have led me to reflect that perceptions are dependent on our emotional state at any given moment and on learned behaviours. Context is important.

For example, a teacher told me yesterday that something I made in a beginner's class was a "complete" mess - and I found that honesty both charming and funny. It was said with a smile and within a general context of respectfulness. None of the hate or impatience that I fear from teachers.

I think there is a big range of what might be called supportive by some and unsupportive by others - there is even a big range of perceptions in therapeutic situations around what is interpreted as supportive of healing and growth.

There have been intimate moments in my life when if someone else breathed too noisily I would fly into a panic... Within an intimate relationship I would expect another person to behave cautiously.

There have also been years of my life when I had to deal with others who grew up in even rougher situations than I did, or who grew up protected but felt entitled to spit on other people. In the street, in housing situations and at work you have to deal with people who hate you just because...

Somewhere in between those two extremes lies PC forums... and to cultivate an atmosphere of trust methinks we have to evaluate what we write to each other - but within the context of respecting that we come from very different life experiences.


For me to change my behaviour, another person has to meet me with willingness to change their perceptions..... For you to change your behaviour, I have to meet you with a willingness to change my perceptions?..... There needs to be some curiosity about the world outside my particular mind-set +++++ the willingness to take time and step back from initial emotional reactions?

I've never found time to think deeply about perceptions in my life before. "It could be that I perceive you as unnessarily sensitive"... "it could be that you perceive me as unnecessarily brutal"... "it could be that we both feel utterly Justified"... OR "it could be that we are curious about our differences"?

What is a perception? I guess that's the basis of many behavioural therapy processes. That there are habitual perceptions triggered deep within the brain beyond our consciousness?

Do we need a range of perceptions and experiences on this forum?
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Old 02-25-2019, 07:23 AM #2
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

Some people who come here may not be in a place where they are ready to change their perceptions, no? And so you have to respect that not everyone is in a place that is ready to hear your honest perspective, even if you believe it will help them.

I cannot force people to all be on the same emotional page when they come here for help. Instead, it's up to members to figure out where their fellow members are on their road to recovery, and do their best to reach out to them there.

Keeping in mind, too, that some folks who come here haven't even yet begun on their journey.... but may just be feeling things out and contemplating change.
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Old 02-26-2019, 11:25 AM #3
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

Thinks to self: "hum, this is Doc John's perception, and this is my perception... don't polarise… try to see whether I can listen without giving up the subtlety of what I started the thread off by saying. Yet I feel that Doc John has not really attended to what I was really saying - just would like me to act differently. I'm finding it difficult to hold onto what I started this thread by saying, because it feels like I'm already over-ruled. So be it... anyways...

When I lived in social housing, I couldn't afford to be too sensitive, I couldn't afford a hyper-sensitive place of any kind. Now I live somewhere safe, I have a range - in my consciousness, I'm living a range from rough people and environments to delicate people and environments - not quite knowing where I will end up, more a constant back and forth.. I refuse to reject people for being rough round the edges because for me that has been a question of social class and opportunity.

YET I hear you saying that I should PAY ATTENTION to where someone is on their journey, and I feel that you are correct in that. I have sometimes said to myself, "you are older and should have more patience" for example.

Possible trigger:


My message to myself following your valuable comment is to PAY ATTENTION before pinging the post button.

I am grateful for your thought-provoking reply, and hope that I have listened correctly to you!?
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Last edited by saidso; 02-26-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 02-26-2019, 12:07 PM #4
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

Quote:
Originally Posted by saidso View Post
. . .
YET I hear you saying that I should PAY ATTENTION to where someone is on their journey, and I feel that you are correct in that. . .
Possible trigger:

. . .
I think I understand the dilemma you are describing and feel a similar tension myself. I came from a more "refined" background, where being nice was extremely important, where roughness and whatever roughness contributed to survival were discounted and frowned upon. I was taught to "be thoughtful" and to pay attention to the other person. And I learned to cut off part of myself as a result.

So, now, I appreciate frankness. Because of the "delayed-response" aspect of online conversations perhpas, PC has been helpful to me in learning to to hear feedback, thank the person (mentally if not actually), and then evaluate on my own terms. The other person's perspective and perception is that person's and I'm learning how to kinda tell that sometimes. Appreciate what's helpful, avoid what's not.

But not everybody is at that place. Some are too hurt, or something, and don't or can't handle even good-tempered roughnesses of life. Let alone the deal with harsh realities.

At some point, yes, it seems like it might be helpful for them to hear other perspectives. And to hear the realities of what art critics of the world might have to say about their artwork -- but within the general context of respect, as you mentioned. Seems like it could help the student figure out how to deal better, and in that sense would be very supportive.

But some of us just aren't there sometimes yet. (I include myself in "some" because I have been there, just hopefully not so much now.)

I was debating offering my view on DocJohn's reply but it looks like now you've gotten there yourself without my help!
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Old 02-26-2019, 12:40 PM #5
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

I feel like once a month these same kind of posts come up about what is supportive or not supportive.

I think the question is actually somewhat loaded. Because I'm going to go on a limb and say we are all here to be supportive. That is our intent. It is not our intent to be unsupportive.

But at times, because we disagree or have differing opinions or perspectives, it may come across as unsupportive. I think as listeners who are asking for support, it would do us all good (myself included) to breathe and remind ourselves that whomever said something hurtful probably did not intend that. And I think that if we can calmly say, "thank you for trying to be supportive, but I do want you to know that that line of thinking is invalidating to me and not very helpful right now, so let's go this way." Just like you'd tell your therapist, "hey, I don't want to talk about that right now, I can't handle it."

I think it's common that we are so upset (again, myself included) that we believe everyone who even looks at us means to harm us. So we lay that context of being defensive on every reply we read.

My therapist always tells me to slow down. We want to shoot off a reply to hurt the other person the way they've hurt us. But they're trying to help us, even if they don't fully understand or are even misguided by old traditions, whatever.

I think it would be helpful for us all to remember we are all here to help each other. I really don't think anyone is here to intentionally hurt other members (aside from the few trolls that get in occasionally, as any place).

I know it's hard to ask ourselves to be compassionate to others and think of others when we are the ones hurting, but it's what is necessary for effective communication here. (And yeah, I know I'm not always the best at this. I'm learning too, and human too.)
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:07 PM #6
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

It's a challenge saidso because there is so much we don't know about the people that we post to and interact with when it comes to this site. For example, you might be one the feels it's perfectly fine to disagree with someone or criticize what that person is saying, however, what you might not know is how that person has been living with individuals that constantly criticize them causing them to constantly feel unsafe. That can mean that person is a lot more sensitive to posts that can seem criticial to them. Add to that how there are individuals that have been raised with certain cultural beliefs where what is considered normal and expected in their culture is something you find dysfunctional and unacceptable. Also, someone might post to you and not really be all that familiar with where you are coming from as well. It's most certainly quite the mixed bag when it comes to interacting on this site. Also, we never really know where someone is at psychologically either. For myself for example, I interacted on this site while at the same time battling serious suicidal impulses, I never shared that with others on this site when I joined. I also was struggling to understand what ptsd really meant and had never experienced all the debilitating symptoms I had been dealing with before. For the most part saidso, a lot of members are just learning and simply might be in a bad place mentally that even they themselves don't understand all that well, looking back at that time when I myself joined this site I can most definitely raise my hand when it comes to feeling lost on several levels, and in many cases "unaware" too. One thing spending time on this site can teach someone is there is a lot more to understanding different people than often one may be experienced with, adding to that how a lot of members are also struggling with some kind of mental illness can make it even more challenging, yet, at the same time can also provide an opportunity to learn a lot too.
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:07 PM #7
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

I was always taught to meet other people where they're at. The same can apply to perceptions of support.
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Old 03-05-2019, 04:24 PM #8
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

OpenEyes, I don't think that I was proposing criticising anyone. In fact I've been supportive on one of your own threads, but I guess that made zero impact.

I just don't think that I can be totally controlled by another person's triggers - to the extent that you and some others would like me to be controlled? Assuming someone is attacking just because they are not absolutely controlled seems to me in itself to be an aggressive stance.

Anyways, I'm not posting any more beyond a couple of forums where I feel comfortable. The rest of the space can be free of my evil behaviours . My own need for SAFETY AND HEALING means communicating in places where people are committed to taking responsibility for their own behaviours instead of imputing hostility to others who may have different strengths and/ or vulnerabilities. I need to be valued for my gifts, actually.

If I was supposed to be sweet and nice, then the privileged classes needed to give me some space to grow into that rather than making me fight for my survival and education from the age of 7 years through to 55 years old. Generations of my family fought an honest daily battle for survival - so many working people don't have the luxury of controlling people who might hurt/ upset/ exploit them. I've found the strength to stay human despite the aggressions of middle class teachers, managers and profiteers. Respect!!!


Thanks to everyone who listened here!!! You won't see me on the general boards, but I love you guys lots and I have my real life projects to focus on now. It's all good!!!


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Old 03-07-2019, 01:42 PM #9
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Open Eyes View Post
It's a challenge saidso because there is so much we don't know about the people that we post to and interact with when it comes to this site.
I share the same view.
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:10 AM #10
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Default Re: Perceptions of what is supportive

Quote:
Originally Posted by saidso View Post

I think there is a big range of what might be called supportive by some and unsupportive by others - there is even a big range of perceptions in therapeutic situations around what is interpreted as supportive of healing and growth.

Somewhere in between those two extremes lies PC forums... and to cultivate an atmosphere of trust methinks we have to evaluate what we write to each other - but within the context of respecting that we come from very different life experiences.
I agree. I think with PC forums it depends on what someone is asking. If someone asks for support then sensitivity should be used to provide that. Some people want to vent or rant, some want opinions, some want suggestions, some just want people to agree with them. In order for me to have my needs met I learned to ask for what I needed. I learned to explain if I was ranting or venting. I learned that if I ask for suggestions I have to be prepared not to like them. If I ask for opinions I have to be prepared not to like them. IMO its all about expectations. If I do not say what I need then its hard for others to guess what it is I am looking for and they may suggest when I dont want it, or give and opinion when I did not ask for it or- just offer support when I really wanted opinions and suggestions.

Quote:
For me to change my behaviour, another person has to meet me with willingness to change their perceptions..... For you to change your behaviour, I have to meet you with a willingness to change my perceptions?..... There needs to be some curiosity about the world outside my particular mind-set +++++ the willingness to take time and step back from initial emotional reactions?
This is why I think it is so important to admit when you are wrong and be willing to make amends or say sorry. Sometimes people will get caught up in being 'right'. You can be right but still say sorry if what you said may have hurt someone or be insensitive. Saying sorry isn't forgoing your own opinion, admitting defeat or agreeing with someone else- it just means you would rather be kind than be 'right'.
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