Should I Stay or Should I Go?


I have not had the fury or insight to write. I have not had that drive. I look over this [blog] and I’m happy I did it. I wonder though, does this blog help or does it just come off like the rantings of a very smart lady. I don’t know. But this website may go…

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What’s the Big Deal About Gossip?


Eh.

Gossip is *such* a double-edged sword.

When it comes to gossip you usually have two camps. The first being “gossip is horrible and never to be done.” The second being “ooooo guuurl tell me what sh*t happened last night.”

And then there are those of the second group who love to re-distribute their recently heard intel to everyone else, regardless of if the intel has been fact-checked and verified.

There are also others who love to start gossip; and sometimes, those people doen’t even need to see anything to get the gossip going.

It’s easy to demonize gossip and those who spread gossip but are those who demonize all who gossip right?

If you were to trust in religion and other forms of thinking that come from non-scientific origins then yes. Religious types and most who subscribe to “rules of thumb” or “common sense” thinking and tend to be all-or-nothing, tend to label all gossip as bad and nothing good can come out of it. (Even though when they talk to their friend about someone possibly being a child predator because so-and-so’s child got the bad touch from this person, this person is indeed gossiping. And something indeed good is coming out of that gossip. Oddly specific example, I know.)

However if you believe in science, then you may know that not all gossip is bad. For example, a 2012 study from University of California, Berkeley, suggests that gossip can help us “police bad behavior, prevent exploitation and lower stress.”

And in 2006, the American Psychological Association (APA) published an article about the “evolutionary past” of gossip and what that past means to us now.

“Natural selection, he theorizes, pressured people to learn as much as possible about the people in their social network-be they an authority figure, potential romantic partner, teacher, political ally or enemy. Knowing about other group members helped people eschew risky alliances, by informing them, for instance, which group member might double-cross them.

“In the process, gossiping also helped facilitate bonds by showing others we trust them enough to share information. …”

Read about the University of California, Berkeley study on the UC Berkeley News Center website. (Is it just me or does the article neglect to mention the title of the study?)

Read the APA story “Bonding over others’ business.”

The point isn’t to completely turn a blind eye to gossiping. Vicious, malicious rumor-mongering is never something to be praised. With that said, finding out indirectly that your buddy is hurting because of money or because a partner just left them or maybe even learning that that guy you’re dating has an issue with impulse control is not such a bad thing and might even be beneficial to your personal health and the health of your social community.

 

It’s Not You, It’s Him: Men Who Gaslight


Yashar Ali  may be either a brilliant diabolical writer who wants to get laid or just an insightful guy who likes to be helpful.

Ali’s article “A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not ‘Crazy'” is one of those rare articles that gets it right and brings to light a topic that many women must struggle with.

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You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!

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That dreaded feeling a woman gets when she wonders “Was I right to do or say that? Am I getting too angry about this or do I have the right to be angry over this?”  This nagging self-doubt can suck the confidence out of even the most well-adjusted, perfect woman.

This habit, whether it be because we’re woman and it’s an evolutionary trait or whether it be something that developed via cultural influence, it exists. And unfortunately, it is a habit that can be used against us.

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Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling — that’s inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.

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Women have a hard time sticking up  for themselves. I don’t mean the act of sticking up for themselves but being convinced they should stick up and keep sticking up for themselves.

It is far too easy for a man or significant other to simply say “you’re overreacting” and expect the conversation to end at that. If the conversation continues, the next steps will be convincing the woman she is also crazy or dependent or [insert defect here]. With all that negative feedback it’s hard for a woman to stand her ground. (And heaven forbid if she cry or show some kind of weakness because then she’s manipulating the person.)

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I think it’s time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation, and we need to use a word not found in our normal vocabulary.

I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a term often used by mental health professionals (I am not one) to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy.

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Robin Stern Ph.D.  and author of the book The Gaslight Effect: Don’t Be Afraid To Speak Your Truth, writes that “Gaslighting is the systematic attempt by one person to erode another’s reality. This is done by telling them that what they are experiencing isn’t so – and, the gradual giving up on the part of the other person.”

Stern’s evaluation of gaslighting is a little cliche after that though, with her mention of the “Gaslight Tango” which is “the dance you do with your gaslighting partner, where you allow him to define your reality.” Cliched because like a lot of psychology authors, these authors somehow know that we know our realities and the thoughts that make our reality exactly; and because of that, are of course just as responsible as the person doing the gaslighting.

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The form of gaslighting I’m addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.

Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction — whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness — in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal.

My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, “You’re so sensitive. I’m just joking.”

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Gaslighting can be as blunt as this or…

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But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, “You’re so sensitive,” to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, the speaker is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.

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Ali finishes his article with a conclusion about why women take such treatment and what it means if women continue to take this kind of treatment.

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Why?

Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.

It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: It renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”

That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.

No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.

They say, “I’m sorry,” before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.

You know how it looks: “You’re late :)”

These are the same women who stay in relationships they don’t belong in, who don’t follow their dreams, who withdraw from the kind of life they want to live.

Since I have embarked on this feminist self-exploration in my life and in the lives of the women I know, this concept of women as “crazy” has really emerged as a major issue in society at large and an equally major frustration for the women in my life, in general.

…..

As far as I am concerned, the epidemic of gaslighting is part of the struggle against the obstacles of inequality that women constantly face. Acts of gaslighting steal their most powerful tool: their voice. This is something we do to women every day, in many different ways.

I don’t think this idea that women are “crazy,” is based in some sort of massive conspiracy. Rather, I believe it’s connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis. And gaslighting is one of many reasons why we are dealing with this public construction of women as “crazy.”

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Read the rest and the comments that follow at  The Current Conscience.

(9/11/12 — Yes, as women are human, I am sure women gaslight men but as I am a woman who has been gaslighted by men, I only felt the need to speak about my own experience as a woman.)

Sapiosexual Is a Word? And Other Stories


So a curious word was in my Facebook feed today. The word was sapiosexual. “What’s this?” you ask. I’ll tell you.

Sapiosexual is “a behavior of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use.”

OMG right?

Basically it goes like this:

Me? I don’t care too much about the looks. I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with. I decided this all means that I am sapiosexual.

I feel like this is …  has been the feelings of most people who have a bent towards rationality and logic; however,  never before has this abstract idea been laid out in such a concrete way. (By the way, the word sapiosexual is a neologism.)

And, as so often happens when you (or I at least) discover new knowledge, more intellectual knowledge/information in regards to intellectual love spewed forth. This time in the form of an old(ish) website post about “the needs of an INTP” spouse or mate. It definitely struck a chord with me. Maybe it will with you too.

Below is what I found,  a general gender-neutral statement about what an INTP mate needs. After the jump is what an INTP woman wrote about in regards to her INTP needs in a mate.

Cheers!

-=Eds

IGANOKAMI’S GUIDE TO THE INTP MATE

1. Lots of sex 
I dont think it is just me as an INTP who finds this a very important part of a relationship and the most important physical expression of love in a relationship – it is NOT a selfish act for selfish physical satisfaction. but hell, it is damn pleasing, too

2. Moral support 
It is a tough world out there for INTPs

3. An equal 
INTPs have no wish to dominate, and are crushed by domination

4. Someone who is next to unoffendable. 
INTPs tend to lack tact, but also want and need to be brutally honest with thier intimate partners – they want someone who they can playfully insult, who will then either laugh in thier face or give it right back.

5. Someone who can accept them for who they are and not try to change them. 
INTPs appear erratic to the casual observer in a relationship, for example – they appear to demand solitude one moment, sex the next. Non-INTPs find this VERY hard to reconcile with their typical conception of “love”

6. Someone who accepts the peculiar WAYS they show thier love. 
Be it really, really sappy hopless-romantic type drivel or passionate physical expression, or just a touch or a simple look. The INTP way is very hard to catch, if you blink, you miss it. Non-INTPs tend to want tokens and words, not a slow dance in a room with no radio, not a quiet cuddle in front of the TV at the end of the day, or the other strange and random expressions that INTPs tend to give. [This ties in with #5.]

7. SPACE [as in both physical and emotional space
In case it was missed, I’ll mention it again: SPACE!! INTP men need their free time to pursue intellectual pursuits, and CAN NOT be:
a.) disturbed 
b.) told they dont love thier partner because they spend too much time “alone”, etc. 
INTP men disappear for a while, then come out swinging. this FORCES most non-INTPs to think that the INTP partner only wants them for sex. This is wrong, but if the non-INTP is not capable of #5 and #6, they are forced to believe it.

8. Comforting. [this goes along with #2.]
The world sucks, particularly for INTPs. They are capable of an utterly staggering amount of patience and responsibility, but in the long run, without #2 and #8, the relationship will ultimately die, or the INTP will DIE a very real death. With #2 and #8, an INTP can take a spectacular amount of abuse, responsibility, and patience in life, as long as his partner supplies #2 and #8 in sufficient quantities.

9. An intellect. a person who can hold their own in a debate. 
The words “you always think you are right!!” are the LAST words an INTP wants to hear from their mate. The INTP wants debate! Wants intellectual stimulation! If they doesnt get it at home, #7 becomes very very very important. If their mate can not handle #7, there will be PROBLEMS. If the mate can supply #9, the INTP will be very happily occupied with their mate for a long, long time.

10. Someone to learn with. [This goes with #9]
Someone who is interested in learning and intellectual stimulation. The INTP needs someone who they can learn with and enjoy the mysteries and adventures of life with. Someone who can understand their interest in the esoteric, show appreciation for their interests, and even join them in these interests, or introduce them to new ones. 

11. Someone capable of self reflection and self analysis. 
Often the INTP finds that they are the only one “growing” in a relationship, the only one who can see the problems in the relationship. This usually forces the INTP to be the one to change, to be the one to compromise for their partner. Because many non-INTPs have no true ability to self reflect the non-INTP thinks they are ALWAYS right. The INTP spends their life examining themselves and their relationship to see what they need to do to make it work. So they spend all their time critically analyzing it, and the mate does nothing but demand that they change. This will eventually lead to the spiritual DEATH of the INTP, if not the actual PHYSICAL death of the INTP. To avoid this, the INTP person NEEDS a mate who can examine the relationship WITH them, so they can grow TOGETHER

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TV Tuesday: London Riots


I admit, I was clueless about the London  that started over the last weekend. So I was grateful to catch this news piece from RT News. Watching the news piece I can’t help but think about the LA riots.

An under-served community with high unemployment feels targeted by the police has a riot since they are so angry and in the midst of that people use this act of aggression as a cover for criminality.

What I love about this news piece is the response a man-on-the street interviewee gives. In short,  he says, “They do not respect our English ways. They are not proud to be an English man…. I do think something should be done….. Don’t being your standards into this country because it’s not my standards.” (Starts at minute 3, 58 seconds.)

Hmm sounds like white people sh*t.