questions to elicit clarity

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Pepin

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questions to elicit clarity
« on: January 29, 2020, 02:55:08 PM »
For those of us that still have contact with certain PDs, what are helpful clarifying questions you ask when you are confused about their behavior or something they just said?  In a recent post I started, I realized that I have been lacking in this area by not having anything to say and I am allowing an attack on my vulnerability.  I feel that just a simple question would diffuse so much in situations like this. 

Why work so hard to have a relationship with someone that does not care the same way as you?

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

Born into a dysfunctional family and married into a dysfunctional family.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2020, 03:46:17 PM »
Today I used, “I’m hearing x. Is that right?” I’m expecting the response to be, “Oh of course not!” And then I’ll say, “Oh, good. Thanks for clarifying for me.” And then go back to doing what I was doing. But if they do say, “Yeah, that’s it,” I can address things directly instead of passive-aggressively.

This is an email thread with multiple members, if that makes a difference. Not family related. I expect it would work in person as well. Better with an audience.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2020, 03:54:58 PM »
Hah. Well that backfired quickly. Don’t listen to my advice.

I immediately got a long-winded appeal to authority and precedent and a call for gathering more data on what should be a simple question. She roundabout said I was right about what she said but with lots of extra smoke and mirrors thrown in.  :roll:

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Pepin

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2020, 07:32:30 PM »
Hah. Well that backfired quickly. Don’t listen to my advice.

I immediately got a long-winded appeal to authority and precedent and a call for gathering more data on what should be a simple question. She roundabout said I was right about what she said but with lots of extra smoke and mirrors thrown in.  :roll:

Yeah....this is what I would be trying to avoid...smoke and  :evil2: :angel: mirrors are their game.  *sigh*.  It sucks that they are able to get away with all that they do.

In my case, one win for me is worth 100 *cheap* wins for them though.  I have only had a few rare opportunities to get in a question or remark and it felt sooooo good when they had no recourse.   :rofl:  I know I shouldn't play their stupid games but sometimes....I have to.
Why work so hard to have a relationship with someone that does not care the same way as you?

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

Born into a dysfunctional family and married into a dysfunctional family.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.

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SparkStillLit

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2020, 09:55:42 PM »
YOU could try saying back the last thing they said.  Just because it backfired horribly on me doesn't mean it won't work.
I really am curious!!!

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2020, 12:37:21 PM »
Do you mean what sort of questions to ask so what they're saying or their behavior is clarified by them??

It's not something I see as happening. Ever. Reason being most PD don't want what they said clarified. (read that again) It *needs* to be fuzzy, couched in innuendo and mystery, left to you to figure out and mind read. If they wanted clear communication they would do just that but if you try to shine a light on it that's like flipping a light on cockroaches and the result is most times gaslighting, DARVO, denial, rewriting history as in a few seconds ago history, etc. pretty much all the Traits come running out to quick throw a rug over it.
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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2020, 01:52:36 PM »
 :yeahthat:

I asked for a yes or no answer. What on earth was I thinking?!? :rofl:

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BeautifulCrazy

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2020, 04:39:12 PM »
"Wait, I'm not following you. Would you please write that down."

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moglow

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2020, 05:47:45 PM »
Quote from: call me Cordelia
Hah. Well that backfired quickly. Don’t listen to my advice.

I immediately got a long-winded appeal to authority and precedent and a call for gathering more data on what should be a simple question. She roundabout said I was right about what she said but with lots of extra smoke and mirrors thrown in.  (https://outofthefog.net/forum/Smileys/default/roll.gif)
And
Quote from: spring butterfly
It's not something I see as happening. Ever. Reason being most PD don't want what they said clarified. (read that again) It *needs* to be fuzzy, couched in innuendo and mystery, left to you to figure out and mind read. If they wanted clear communication they would do just that but if you try to shine a light on it that's like flipping a light on cockroaches and the result is most times gaslighting, DARVO, denial, rewriting history as in a few seconds ago history, etc. pretty much all the Traits come running out to quick throw a rug over it.

All both of the above. I suspect mine would be very similar. You try and clarify something with mommie dearest in an effort to understand, and you get an immediate defensive wall of razor wire: "that's NOT what I SAID / What do you mean by THAT / you took it WRONG!!" ... regardless of the care to quote directly or couch your response in a neutral and respectful way.  Her gut response is to blame rather than explain. She may actually not remember her last words but doesn't want to say so.


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Andeza

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2020, 07:42:42 PM »
I'm with Moglow. Given the propensity for many PDs to talk nonstop from sunup to sundown, I seriously doubt they are capable of remembering all the nonsense that springs from their lips. I know my M couldn't, because I heard the same nonsense on repeat for the first 20 years of my life. :stars:

Sometimes I think they don't want us to understand, on purpose, so they can watch us "screw up" whatever "simple" instructions or statement they just made.

BeautifulCrazy has a good point about writing stuff down. My M used to tell me what chores she wanted me to do the next day, but the list was something like 12 items deep at times. She'd get mad if I couldn't remember and eventually started leaving a list of things to do on the counter when I woke up in the morning. If it wasn't on the list, you can bet it didn't get done! And then, she had no ability to complain.

More than once she'd storm in and say why didn't you do x? To which I'd shrug and say didn't know it needed doing, wasn't on the list. :tongue2: She hated being wrong.

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moglow

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2020, 08:43:48 PM »
Andeza, good point - however if i were to point out said item wasn't on the list, I "was supposed to know..." Doomed if I did, doomed if I didn't.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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BeautifulCrazy

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2020, 09:22:26 PM »
I use the phrase "Wait, I'm not following you. Here, just write it down for me." (Pulling pen and notepad from pocketbook) with my PDexh. When I feel like he is trying to obfuscate or argue or leave things open ended (for plausible deniability) or if what he is saying it's just bizarre or rediculous. It turns the accountability for what he is saying back on him. If he won't write it down (which happens almost all of the time) I know he's just playing with me. If he does write it down, I have some clarity plus tangible proof (in his own writing!) of our conversation when he inevitably tries to twist it later. Nowadays he just brushes it off angrily, or uses it to make fun of me but I no longer have to deal with much b.s. from him. As soon as he starts the show, he realizes what is about to happen, sneers "Do you want me to write that down?" and then the conversation is easily over. I can also now bring our interaction to a quicker close by just digging in my purse  :rofl:

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11JB68

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2020, 10:03:21 PM »
Quote from Andeza, "Sometimes I think they don't want us to understand, on purpose, so they can watch us "screw up" whatever "simple" instructions or statement they just made."
 :yeahthat:
Uocpdh does this. Gets mad if you do it wrong, gets mad if you ask for clarification.

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SparkStillLit

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2020, 11:17:11 PM »
I get that shizz about the grocery list!!! I have said countless times "if it's not on the list, it won't be purchased" but updh continues to flip his shit because I didn't purchase things that I'm supposed to KNOW and ALWAYS PURCHASE because he's TOLD ME A MILLION TIMES.  They weren't on the list.
Same with trying to clarify. Either he gets the "salad spinner" out and starts whizzing words/ the conversation in circles, or he doesn't remember what he just said one second ago, or he starts escalating with anger and blustering.
Nooooooo clarifying, EVER!!!!

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NumbLotus

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2020, 11:57:18 PM »
My H is strictly defensive, doesn't play offense, so there's nothing about having to read his mind or do things he didn't ask.

But when it comes to him defending himself, it's scorched earth and he eill burn it all down. Things he said a second ago - DENIED. I said X only after he said Y - NOPE IT WAS THE OTHER WAY. He agreed to X before, we had a very big deal conversation about it and X is what he wanted - NO IT WAS Y.

I started saying we should write everything we agree down - YOU'RE JUST *OBSESSED* WITH "RULES" YOU'RE LIKE A CRAZY PERSON JUST OBSESSED.

I did end up emailing an agreement to him and got his confirmation. But I wanted to know how to handle it if (WHEN) he didn't keep his end of the agreement. I kept pushing - what should be done or said? I wanted exact words, words that were okayed by him. He dodged and dodged and there was never an answer. And he definitely did not keep his end of the agreement. I kept my end. And he still had the nerve to, in another argument, claim otherwise.

I once started VIDEOING him doing something that he denied doing. Next time he denied it, I said "I have it on VIDEO RIGHT HERE." He gave me a look of utter contempt and I am sorry to say I did not even bother playing the video because I saw right then that EVEN VIDEO EVIDENCE WAS NOT GOING TO WORK. (He did reduce his denials of the behavior even so and next time he really denied it I ripped him a new one - yeah, I tiptoe around like a mouse but when my back is against the wall I will go ballistic, nothing left to lose).

IME, there is no point in clarifying or trying to pin anything down, except to see how far the crazy goes. And I feel like my mind is breaking when it goes far. I think that's why I didn't play the video, I think my mind could actually break if reality is distorted too much. I had everything to lose playing the video, and nothing to win.
Just a castaway, an island lost at sea
Another lonely day, noone here but me
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Bloomie

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2020, 12:03:44 PM »
Pepin - A part of coming OOTF for me was learning some ways of wisely responding to disordered, difficult, and rude behaviors and comments.

I was most often caught off guard. Even if I already knew the character of the individual was most likely disordered and their behaviors consistently oppositional and divisive. :doh: Covertly and overtly. I still have the trauma response of freeze. I was ill equipped due to having never had those adept social skills modeled and taught to me as well.

So, I had to learn some communication skills under pressure and work through the fear that froze me in place in the face of aggressive or passive aggressive behaviors toward myself or those I love. I still work on that area of my life because it does not come easily to me.  At first when I began to use the skills I had learned I was so uncomfortable I would just blurt things out and it came out as a strange hybrid in tone or all of the trauma responses.  Sheesh! Talk about a work in progress!  :blush:

I have learned that sometimes the best course of action is to stay silent. Sometimes the best course of action is a simple and firm: 'No'. Sometimes the best course of action is a direct correction of inaccurate statements about ourselves and others. Sometimes the message being conveyed by a disordered person is covert and insidious and that requires discernment and wisdom to decide in the moment if or how to speak up. It is complicated and I don't know if there is any 'right' or perfect response to chaotic and deliberately misleading and confusing communication.

I have been greatly helped by the vids of Dan O'Connor. They focus on how to respond in difficult situations. He offers simple phrases and includes help in watching what we are nonverbally communicating when dealing with rude, passive aggressive, and difficult behaviors. He offers danger phrases to avoid and power phrases to keep in your back pocket for those times we need them. 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dan+oconnor

I see this necessary work as another area of living our boundaries and gaining self confidence and this work has brought a lot of healing in my life. Skilled communication is kind of like an ambient PD repellent.

Good luck with this!



« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 12:07:35 PM by Bloomie »
"If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow." Dr. Caroline Leaf

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Kat1984

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2020, 12:57:21 PM »
I tend to freeze when confronted by verbal assaults and confusing accusations.
My therapist is helping me come up with a few phrases to have in my back pocket for any interaction with my PD.  So far this is what I have:

"I heard you the first time"
"Don't analyze me"
"Let's not be at war"
"It's too difficult to talk about this now.  I'm going for a walk and will be back in an hour"


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mdana

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Re: questions to elicit clarity
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2020, 01:21:32 PM »
From my experience, PDs see and live in a completely different reality.  Once you step back a bit, you can see and hear exactly what they are saying (once you understand their illness, and motives).  They often deceive with their words, so don’t rely on everything you hear, actions speak louder than words.  They can say exactly what you want to hear sometimes (to hook you in) but don’t forget their past actions and behaviors.

If you are trying to respond in order to reach mutual understanding or quell the attack, the best response is  to walk away. The more they know about you (how you feel, think, your vulnerabilities) the worse things get because they use it as ammunition.  There’s also no “teaching them a lesson” —not in the same terms we think of.  It becomes a fight you never win, with them.

The only thing that has worked for me is to say nothing, or simply repeat what they said and go gray rock.  Then, forgive yourself for not being able to reach, understand or fight back with that person and focus on the parts of your life that you can change and enjoy.  They are simply too limited to be relational.  It’s really sad, actually.

M

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama