Name calling, "safe places," and venting

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Name calling, "safe places," and venting
« on: January 05, 2017, 04:09:48 PM »
In recent months, there’s been a distinct uptick in angry name calling, followed by complaints [and members deleting their accounts without further discussion] when we feel the need to remind members of our guidelines.  While we all understand that anger is to be expected, that new members particularly are frustrated and relieved they’ve finally found people who understand, that the interactions with PD individuals can be at best challenging - this is still a heavily moderated board by design.  We all agreed to abide by those guidelines when we became members here. 

While OotF is our “safe place” [for lack of a better word] to talk about very painful situations and seek understanding as we search for ways to work through them, that doesn’t remove the need for boundaries or that we cease to respect each other with our choice of words.  This is simply where others truly understand, often when there is no one in our day to day lives in whom we can confide. 

We must learn to be accountable for our own behavior and learn better coping mechanisms going forward or we’ll just stayed mired in the drama and ugliness of it all.  There has yet to be any interaction that was improved by yelling or name calling, belittling or stepping all over others, whether here or out in the real world.  About the time any of that begins, one person or the other checks out and any possibility of understanding or compassion pretty much walks out the door – as it should. 

Many, if not most of us, have been the recipients of just that kind of behavior:  being yelled at, cursed at, called names, threatened, treated like we’re nothing, etc.  And yet members continue to insist on being allowed to further that behavior here, saying that people with PD deserve no better.  We are concerned with ALL humanity here at Out of the FOG, not just the ones with whom we agree.  Just because we have been abused does not make it okay for us in turn to abuse others – we have to learn a better way, lest we become what brought us here.

A few questions that have been raised, and our heartfelt responses:

Q:  Why can't I call someone a name like nutjob or bastard? It's just a word.

A:  We all work through many stages of anger, depression, grief on our road to recovery from the abuses we have experienced.  Sticking a demeaning or offensive name on people, lowering ourselves to that level, makes us no better and no more recovered than the very people who have hurt us so badly. 

It may be “just a word” but I’d bet money you’ve been called the same or worse.  Think about how that felt - did it help you?  Was it kind?  Did it serve any useful purpose or help you understand?  What does nutjob or [insert random label here] mean anyway??  It’s far more productive and helpful to describe the *behavior* instead, talk about what happened and how it made you feel, actually work through those very ugly emotions.  The latter option will give you different perspectives you’d never considered, and help you find a way to move forward while erasing that ugliness from your mind.  People who are simply reading will in turn benefit from the same discussion.

Q:  Why can't I talk about all the nasty things I'd like to see happen to the PD in my life?
A:  Why would you want to do that, really??  Wouldn’t you rather find peace and wish the same for others?  Wishing ill on someone else is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to get sick – it’s still your stuff, and it’s keeping you engaged in drama and negativity that you’ve already had more than enough of.  We very much understand the hurt, the anger, the frustration – but why further it by internalizing it and wishing more of it on the world?

Q:  Well, I've seen other people call PDs nasty names. Why can't I do it?
A:  If you’ve seen name calling on the board, that means we’ve not seen it.  The moderators are volunteers who can’t possibly read every post in every thread in every forum here.  We depend on members to self-police, if you will, and let us know when something is questionable [if not downright objectionable]. 

We do ask that you not engage another member directly, but make use of the handy dandy “report to moderators” feature at the bottom of the post in question as soon as you read it.  We’re notified of every report, discuss how best to handle the offense, and then act accordingly.  Know that we act as a group – if something you write is moderated, please don’t take it personally.  We’re doing our jobs:  managing the board and keeping the peace, while navigating the same waters you are.

Q:  I don't care if PDs get their feelings hurt.  Isn't this just a place to vent?
A:  Yes – and no.  As someone put it earlier today, “Venting when it is used as a tool to self-reflect and work toward change is valid and healthy; venting to complain and dump negative emotions is a flea.”

Coming here with the presumed intent of “venting” doesn’t always have the effect we’d hope for – a vent post very quickly devolves into ugliness that the moderators must try and manage as the reports and complaints start.  It flows out of one post and right into the next, with some one-upmanship and attacks on other members for daring to disagree.  People are deeply triggered – and understandably so – when this happens. 

A few years ago, Eclipse wrote the following in response to a member requesting a “vent” board and the subject of venting: 

The idea of a venting board was actually tried about 10 years ago at the previous incarnation of OOTF which was called "The Nook". The new board was called "Ranting and Raving." It only lasted about a month though before it was shut down because the moderators found that the amount of anger being expressed on all the boards - not just the "Ranting and Raving" board - suddenly started to rise exponentially creating a ton of extra work for the moderators to try to contain it.

We've got a section of our posting guidelines called "Dealing with anger" that has rules about what is OK to say/not say here for a similar reason - it's amazing how quickly a thread changes tone after a poster calls their significant other a jackass.  If the mods don't catch it within a couple of hours there will be half a dozen other posters using even less attractive terms in the same thread and within a day or two there will be multiple threads peppered with name calling. It quickly becomes a slippery slope and a huge job for the mods who have to decide "if we allowed Joe to say this don't we have to allow Jane to say that?"  It's far easier just to say "no name-calling."

There's also been quite a bit of psychological research done over the past few years on the subject of whether venting anger is a good or a bad idea which is really interesting. Most of the research says that expressing anger feels good at the time and gives you a catharsis but - sigh - it also gently lowers the threshold for feeling angry next time - a bit like the way a beaten path slowly forms in the grass after you walk over it enough times - eventually that path becomes "the way.”

Turns out our brains work the same way - developing new connections every time we choose to think, speak or act in a certain way in response to a situation. Each time I vent - even in a safe place like this - I reinforce the habit and increase the likelihood I will feel angry and potentially vent in a not-so-safe place later. The path forms a whole lot faster if lots of people walk on it with you - hence a board called "venting" becomes a catalyst for anger - that probably explains why the "Ranting and Raving" board became a problem so quickly.

On the other hand, research also shows there is a ton of good in accurately describing a situation you are in and how that makes you feel and combining that with talk about healthy, constructive choices you can make in response to a situation that initially makes you feel angry. Talking or writing about what you feel and connecting it to healthy responses takes more mental effort - a bit like trying to start a new beaten path in the long grass at first. If you do it enough times eventually there's a new path where you want to go and like magic the grass starts to grow over the old venting path. Eventually it's just easier not to vent.

So please do use our board to describe how you feel - that's what we're here for - and describe what has happened to you - that's reality. And also talk about healthy responses to unhealthy situations - that's the magic. We are all survivors here and we share a unique understanding. There is no distinction here between "major" and "mild" abuse. It all feels the same. If someone treats you nicely 99% of the time and treats you horribly 1% of the time you feel lousy 100% of the time. People here understand that. We want to validate you when you feel that and we also want you to find a way to "let it go" just like you said.

Lots of the old timers here (myself included) were full of pain and confusion and hot with anger when we first arrived here.  After a long time and a lot of validation from dear friends here and also after making some good decisions it just doesn't get me angry very much anymore - it just is what it is. I hope a few years from now you can say the same thing to a newbie here.

There are some good books on the subject of "Emotional Intelligence" or you can Google "Is Venting good for you" if you're interested.

Remember finally that we’re not all going to agree all the time – and wouldn’t it be a boring world if we did?  We learn more by being challenged on old habitual thought processes that aren’t working than we ever have being allowed to just wallow in our misery.  It’s okay to disagree, please just remember that we don’t have to be disagreeable in the process.

Please read or reread the board guidelines Guidelines, and make them your friend.  If you have questions or concerns, let us know so we can address it. 

« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 07:45:40 PM by Spring Butterfly »
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.  ~ Cap'n Spanky

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Re: Name calling, "safe places," and venting
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2017, 04:34:03 PM »
Moglow, thank you for this post and topic.

I have thought a great deal about this and to add to your point, what I have been doing as of late, and maybe not so successfully, but I'm working on it, is this: 

I have considered that what if my uNh reads everything I post here. 

How would I feel if I found these kinds of stories, recounts, incidents posted 'publicly' about myself from an alternate perspective?

For as much as he has abused me in our nearly twenty years together, as angry as I may be about it, I do not wish him harm.

As much as this is indeed my 'safe place' to say how I feel and what I think, I still have to consider the other party and their feelings.

Maintaining objectivity in these kinds of situations is very difficult, but it is very healthy if you can manage it.  It allows for unbridled introspect, something very crucial to self improvement and development.

Ok, really I just wanted to say thanks for this, and as a contributing member I will make more effort to mind my own "p's" and "q's".
"Only I can change my life.  No one can do it for me."
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Re: Name calling, "safe places," and venting
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2017, 07:38:04 PM »
In regards to a rant/rave board;
It's so true that one's anger level will increase if other people help fuel the fire. This is a situation I've personally seen happen, and while some of those involved in that particular situation may have tried to help, their actions were completely misguided. Their "help" ( which included harassment of the people this person was angry with) only made this situation much more painful for so many people. The situation escalated into online threats, creating fake FB profiles in anothers name, and the involvement of other  people who probably did not wish to be involved.
I think if the situation had been handled without constantly validating this person's anger, it would have been more helpful to everyone involved.



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Re: Name calling, "safe places," and venting
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 04:34:00 PM »

[Warning: rant ahead]

Okay, seriously, we have guidelines here. We enforce them, ALL of them. This is not a new thing and isn't likely to change.  Whatever special circumstances may occur in your life, our guidelines still apply here.

We've put a great deal of thought, time and discussion into the management of this forum, our guidelines, and overall moderation of Out of the FOG. Who we are and what we do are posted all over the place. Presumably you came here appreciative of those very qualities.

If you happen to be moderated and receive a PM notification, READ IT. Read all of it. The answers you seek and the reason you were moderated are there. If you have questions, you may easily use the "report to moderators" at the bottom of the PM to obtain clarification or for further discussion. That's what it's there for.

First and foremost, it's not personal unless you make it so. It can't be - none of us know each other. Secondly, the moderators and admins work as a group. We share PMs when a member has questions, and we discuss to arrive at a consensus. Thirdly, We can and will answer all your questions, given time to get back to you.

Please keep in mind that we are 100% volunteer-driven. We come here as and when our fulltime jobs, families and other obligations allow, just as every other member. Having a stomp and schnort because no one answered you immediately is fruitless and demeaning. Deleting your account over some imagined wrong serves no purpose.

And again, refer back to the board guidelines, always. The answer you seek regarding a moderating decision is there - if you don't see it, please bring it to our attention so we may rectify our error. We're first and foremost members of this same board, and deserve the same respect and grace as any other member.

[Rant over]
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!


Spring Butterfly

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Re: Name calling, "safe places," and venting
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 09:17:56 AM »
This is a flip side of name calling I had never considered:
Quote from: VividImagination
Although feelings of rage and grief run deep, please remember that name calling is not allowed regardless of how heinous the crime. Name calling can actually mask and generalize the true depths of a perpetrator's actions. For example, calling a rapist or child molester a demon dilutes the perpetrator's accountability; their actual actions of brutalizing another human being and the accurate label are much more damning than a  word that could be used for any "bad" person. We can facilitate our own healing by accurately considering and stating what a person is - womanizer, misogynist, molester, abuser, attacker, criminal, etc. - than by unconsciously disassociating their actions through use of a general, albeit derogatory term.

Finally, I understand how freeing and relieving it can be to finally let go of our innermost pain and horrors. However, please be mindful that, as supportive as the members are anyone on the Internet can read what is posted here. Although we all have a certain amount of anonymity, many millions of people have the potential ability to read this now and for years to come.

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our mod/admin team.
"dilutes the perpetrator's accountability" isn't something I had considered. By calling the abusive person a name rather than calling the abuse out as abuse we actually in a way give up our voice.

Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
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