Some of the things posted in the guide blog don't make sense

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ChickenNugget

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For instance, some of the descriptors on the main page may be misleading:

Examples of Avoidance

A woman leaves the home for a week when her in-laws come for a visit.
A man goes to his bedroom when his wife's friend comes over.
An employee habitually keeps their office door closed.
A woman refuses to attend social gatherings with her husband,
A man begins to shun an acquaintance after they express an interest in developing a closer friendship.
A woman hides her true emotions from others and pushes them away socially, for fear that not doing so would subject her to rejection.



How is avoiding a toxic dynamic wrong? For instance, a woman may leave the home for a week once it has been established that the dynamic with the in-laws is one that causes conflict. A man or woman leave if they feel uncomfortable around someone. People choose to attend or not attend social gatherings for a variety of reasons - the underlying conflict leading to the avoidance hasn't been established, which leads me to believe that these examples may be misappropriated. For instance, it would be completely appropriate to "reject" advances from an acquaintance which have sexual undertones and amount to emotional or physical cheating otherwise.

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Navigating through the rest of this blog there begin to emerge other concerns. While at the surface level a lot of the writing seems to be helpful, it doesn't clarify or the nuanced elements or situate them within a reasonable context, leading the interpretation of this material to be either published or perceived with abusive intentions. It seems like a typical reader may very well end up hurting themselves or others by misinterpreting the (vague) definitions, and examples.

For instance, in the section under boundaries, the author absolves themselves of personal responsibility while using "boundaries" in an attempt to rationalize x or y behaviour - which could lead to an exploitative dynamic based on the who wrote this and who interpreted it.

In another example, the writer goes on to ponder if their boundaries cause pain to others, thereby rationalizing pain which they are causing to a partner through a "growth mindset" excuse - since when are you the moral authority on who gets to feel pain when? Furthermore, it's psychopathic to even consider inflicting pain onto others. At that point, you ought to simply be removing yourself from the dynamic altogether.

tldr: Certain things on your blog sound like they were written in as part of an elaborate set of mental gymnastics in order to appease the someones (the *cough* writers *cough*) narcissistic behavioural patterns. That being said, maybe this is written by a psychopath, because they openly muse about inflicting harm onto others.

Check out Michael Samuels post on narcissism for an example of what a thorough post looks like.

At the end of the day while I can see the potential benefits, the way a lot of this content is presented elevates the chances that it can be used to rationalize further abuse.


Here's another one:

There is a way that has worked for me in reducing the size of the mountain. Instead of looking at the relationship as a black and white issue (that either they have to get completely healthy or I have to gain complete control over them) I have found that all I need to do is get just a little more than halfway to be on healthy ground.

... Or, in sporting terms, if the zero yard line is being "in the gutter" and the hundred yard line is "narcissistic", then all I have to do is be at least one foot across the 50 yard line to be on healthy ground.


First of all, coming into a relationship with a control issue means you're the one with the issues in the first place, and you have no place rationalizing a lot of control or a little bit of control. At the point where you see someone acting in an unhealthy way - it is up to you to leave the dynamic, and not stand by and try to pretend like you are even remotely entitled to influencing the behaviour of someone you claim is already struggling.

So while you seem to feign empathy, the more and more I navigate through this writing - the more and more it looks like the elaborate gymnastics of someone who either stifles their empathy or lacks empathy altogether. Someone who presents a dynamic where they are entitled to controlling the other as if it's completely expected and as if it's completely normal. Furthermore, this gives me the impression that the writer is painting themselves as some sort of parental guidance figure, which in a romantic relationship would be completely inappropriate. In fact, perceiving one as such is a classic sign of a person who rationalizes emotional abuse. Therefore, in the context that this is written for romantic relationships the ultimate question remains - if apparently you 'notice' their suffering, why are you not separating yourself? Why do you continue to attempt to parasite off this dynamic?

Certain things written in the main sections (what to do, what not to do, for instance) are clearly manipulative and seem to attempt to rationalize abuse.

So as you read through this blog, look at it from both sides. Is the writer pushing forward abusive/exploitative dynamics while alleviating personal guilt? Is the writer avoiding responsibility and communication that follows along with a relationship? In what context is the determination applicable, in what context is it inappropriate? Is the writer employing strategies to create toxic dynamics to undermine the actual victim, and do they attempt to retaliate with control strategies?

Keep in mind that your average blog-poster doesn't offer up a page-long disclaimer before providing advice on the internet, and the fact that there is a bolded disclaimer on the front page shows me that there is something you're trying to protect yourself from. Something like a lawsuit perhaps.

I've looked through some of the blog posts here and I can see that y'all have good hearts, and I would hate to see evil people stumble upon this place which they can use as an excuse to support their parasitic rhetoric.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2021, 06:59:20 AM by ChickenNugget »

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xredshoesx

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Re: Some of the things posted in the guide blog don't make sense
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2021, 07:46:34 AM »
Thanks for the feedback.

Sunds like OOTF may not be the community to fit your needs.  Let us know if you want us to delete your account.

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moglow

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Re: Some of the things posted in the guide blog don't make sense
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2021, 03:50:50 PM »
Thorough as your review appears to be, you seem to have overlooked terms like "example" and "generally speaking." No one is trying to speak to specific nuanced situations, as the variables there are infinite and completely unknown to us other than what members choose to share. Literally every situation and every relationship are different, plus I've found when I want and look for problems I can inevitably find them somewhere.

The many mentions throughout our site of "in my personal experience" and the disclaimer you disdain clearly state that we're a grassroots group trying to help our fellow travelers navigate difficult relationships. No one is speaking from on high or in any professional capacity, and we intend to keep it that way. We're all only responsible for ourselves and our own behavior, and that is what we try to practice - not always successfully, but we try. We strongly encourage it via repeated reminders here on the board every day. When all else fails, I tend to go with "take what you need and leave the rest." Or via The Four Agreements: "don't take things personally" as they really very rarely are.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you find what you're looking for.
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theonetoblame

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Re: Some of the things posted in the guide blog don't make sense
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2021, 01:58:37 AM »
For instance, some of the descriptors on the main page may be misleading:

Examples of Avoidance

A woman leaves the home for a week when her in-laws come for a visit.
A man goes to his bedroom when his wife's friend comes over.
An employee habitually keeps their office door closed.
A woman refuses to attend social gatherings with her husband,
A man begins to shun an acquaintance after they express an interest in developing a closer friendship.
A woman hides her true emotions from others and pushes them away socially, for fear that not doing so would subject her to rejection.



How is avoiding a toxic dynamic wrong? For instance, a woman may leave the home for a week once it has been established that the dynamic with the in-laws is one that causes conflict. A man or woman leave if they feel uncomfortable around someone. People choose to attend or not attend social gatherings for a variety of reasons - the underlying conflict leading to the avoidance hasn't been established, which leads me to believe that these examples may be misappropriated. For instance, it would be completely appropriate to "reject" advances from an acquaintance which have sexual undertones and amount to emotional or physical cheating otherwise.

Hi chickennugget,

I was able to respond, so I'm assuming it's Ok to do so and moderators have left this thread open.

Your post is long, and more than I can really hold in memory and respond to. Your interpretation of this specific part is something I can perhaps provide context to. If a person were to read into the examples provided that the person doing the avoiding was making the healthy decision to avoid a toxic or damaging person, then yes, your question "how is avoiding a toxic dynamic wrong?" is on point. It isn't wrong to avoid people in this context. On the contrary, it's healthy and adaptive.

The thing is, these examples were not written from this perspective. They were written from the perspective of the avoidant person making choices to avoid others who are healthy. If we look at the tipping point where something transitions from being a normal spectrum of personality behaviors to being something of clinical significance, it then becomes about how these behaviors may cause the avoidant person social or occupational impairment and possibly harm. 

For example, if a fellow employee habitually closes the door and avoids people does this lead them to under perform in their job (impairment)? Do they then get terminated from the position (harm)?

As another example, if a woman refused to attend social gatherings with her husband, does this in turn lead to increased social isolation  (impairment), perhaps even despair (harm) and eventually depression and further withdrawal?

If the answers to the questions are yes, then the avoidant behavior is increasingly consistent with a personality 'disorder' of clinical significance. By not providing this type of context, I do agree that a novice reader may misinterpret the intent.

The forum moderators here are volunteers, and to the best of my knowledge none of them have clinical training. It is my impression that the forum is helpful to many visitors though. I wonder, is there a way to reframe your comments to provide suggestions for additions or clarification? If anything, I think the examples of avoidance I quoted above may be somewhat superficial and to lack adequate context (you may have touched on this later in your post). It's a common mistake to assume others have prior knowledge of relevant context and detail, perhaps this well meaning oversight happened here?
« Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 02:06:00 AM by theonetoblame »

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Bloomie

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Re: Some of the things posted in the guide blog don't make sense
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2021, 09:50:56 PM »
HI there ChickenNugget.

We invite you to head on over to the Welcome Mat and introduce yourself... which is customary and mannerly when joining a support community such as this.  Please review the scope of what we do here, guidelines, and terms of service you agreed to when you registered your account. 

Let us know what brings you here.

https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?board=1.0


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Starboard Song

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Re: Some of the things posted in the guide blog don't make sense
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2021, 03:28:28 PM »
For instance, some of the descriptors on the main page may be misleading:

Examples of Avoidance

A woman leaves the home for a week when her in-laws come for a visit.
A man goes to his bedroom when his wife's friend comes over.
An employee habitually keeps their office door closed.
A woman refuses to attend social gatherings with her husband,
A man begins to shun an acquaintance after they express an interest in developing a closer friendship.
A woman hides her true emotions from others and pushes them away socially, for fear that not doing so would subject her to rejection.



How is avoiding a toxic dynamic wrong?

The line immediately preceding this list says "avoidance behavior becomes dysfunctional when it significantly deteriorates a person’s quality of life, or the quality of life of those close to them." It strikes me as inappropriate for any reader to separate this list from that definition.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward