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Does the Peaceful Parenting Philosophy, Have Sympathy for Miserable Parents? On Louis CK...


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#71
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

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Hey! I just found a podcast about this sort of stuff

 

1633 – How Many Children Are Abused?


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“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax” - Abe Lincoln


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#73
LifeIsBrief

LifeIsBrief
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Okay, just in case you're arguing in good faith... Here are the first two articles I could find on sadists and psychopaths.

 

http://m.livescience...n-they-try.html

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm....ubmed/224177758

 

Of course, at no time did I argue that everyone has significant amounts of empathy. I even suggested that you could drop it to  .01% of their conscious mind being left intact, with the capacity for feelings universal to all human beings who have ever written literature, philosophy, religious texts, economic models, psychology books etc.  You don't seem to listen to anyone but yourself however.  If you think sadists lack empathy, you're completely mistaken based on all psychological research.  They actually have to empathize with their victim in order to derive pleasure, and every brain scan shows this.  Psychopaths on the other hand experience a dramatically lower capacity for empathy, still it is not non existent, and that is all I have ever argued.  There is a conscious human being in there, no matter how repressed.

 

You completely misunderstand my point about the "spare the rod, spoil the child" quote, and it seems intentional.  My point, is that if hitting their children with a rod, felt good... they wouldn't need a threat/justification/excuse at the end of the saying.  If when a parent hit their child with a rod, it felt good, or even tolerable, the statement would simply be "Hit your kid with a rod".  The fact that there is an "or else" at the end of the statement proves that the person saying it needs an extra justification.  This is axiomatically true.  You wouldn't need an "or else the child will spoil", if you weren't instantly filled with sadness when you hit your children.  They're not liars, they are making excuses for something they know feels wrong.  If the speaker, wasn't inherently averse to striking children, they would need no further explanation.  They aren't liars, they're cruel people looking for an excuse to justify behavior that naturally makes them feel bad.

 

There is a mess load of research on psychopaths and sadists, and absolutely none of it suggests, that there is no conscious human being there, or that they have 0 empathy.  Things exist on a spectrum.  So long as their empathy isn't reduced to 0, they are, in part, personally responsible for their actions and choices, and this is an important part of understanding abusers.


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"Is he crazy... Or are we, who can remain unperturbed in an insane world, the crazy ones?"  Written by Akira Kurosawa for the film "Record of a Living Being"


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#75
PatrickC

PatrickC

    London Meetup organiser

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Ok, for clarification, because it was rather late here when I wrote my last response.

 

I think there is a misunderstanding between how people here feel about abusive personal relationships (friends, family, lovers, colleagues) and between what you (STer) consider as an important step to better understanding abusive behaviour.

 

I know from (anecdotal) experience how I have improved my relationships and personal life by removing these dysfunctional fellows from my life. Does this mean we have a toil free life, well of course not. I was listening to an interesting talk presented by Jordan Peterson (clinical psychologist professor) that I posted recently, about the necessity of virtue. He used the Buddhist analogy that life is suffering. Not that he is Buddhist mind, but that he concurred that suffering is very often a part of life. He also claimed that a lack of virtue can literally make people ill. Virtue he claimed, is seemingly wrapped up in the relationships that we have with other people. They can either make or break our virtue.

 

That said, I certainly don't was to discount the possibilities that people who are untouched personally by these abusive people, that they may discover root causes that are currently beyond our grasp. Brain/genetic/psychological research are very valid lines of research I'd like to see more progress with. As to the degree of conscious/unconsciousness abusive people have of their actions is I think a scientific question and not necessarily a philosophical one. Because we simply cannot know entirely. All we can know, is the effects of their actions. Which leaves us with a philosophical decision, whether to engage or ostracise that person into or away from our personal lives.


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#76
LovePrevails

LovePrevails
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Can you clarify your criticism?  What do you mean by "not cut people enough slack"?  Could you define what that means, give examples of it, and what specifically needs to be corrected?

 

Hi James thanks for the response, and sorry for taking so long to get back to you
 
I noted in myself some reluctance to respond, for several reasons
 
1) Partly because I was quite busy and it would be emotionally demanding for me to do so, and I wasn't sure if it was the best use of my time. Perhaps I needed more time to process and think about it as well, but a friend asked me why I didn't respond and that got me thinking so here i am
 
2) I would much rather practice what I preach than be a backseat driver. Stef is doing great work and who am I to come on and start correcting him and saying he is wrong? The best thing for me to do is create content and show the alternative by example and let people make their own decision on the right approach. For that reason I suggest you watch my video on Gender Issues and compare the tone of it to Stef's on gender issues such as female violence and consider which tone is more likely to be convincing to feminists. (I got a few private messages from feminists said they thought it was very educational and good to get a man's perspective, only one told me it was a whole load of 'mansplain'.)
 
On that topic, if you want to know what I think would be a more convincing tone to take, just watch Warren Farrell  dealing with people who disagree with him, he is a master at keeping his cool and the integrity of his convictions while showing understanding to people who disagree.
 
3)I also felt a sense that no matter what I said it wouldn't be satisfactory to you and that this was not genuine curiosity but a chance to find fault with my reasoning  and lay down my perceived "criticism" which is not what I think it was, it was my observation from my particular perspective which includes working as a communication coach to help people resolve conflicts.
 
Now my suspicion could be completely misplaced, perhaps it was curiosity, but it was corroborated independently by another board member to me who expressed the same view that he felt irritation reading your post because he thought "Well i think no matter what you said in response he would have some answer to reject it. It wasn't genuine curiosity. Like, even if you explained it the way you explained it to me he would just say something like "well, out of all the people in the world are you saying Stef is the most harsh" or whatever. "
 
I am not saying these judgments are true I just want to make you aware of them as background, before I share my views.
 
 
Firstly, you assume I think something "has to be corrected" ... I did not say that.
Perhaps something could be improved, but then on the other hand I accept:
1) Different tones speak to different people, maybe his particular tone is completely necessary
2) If we want to change the world we need lots of healers, everyone has a different style and part of that is their personality, it's no use if we are all carbon copies of one another.
 
However, as you asked, lets construct an argument for Stef cutting people a bit more slack and see if there is any value in it
Stef's gets more listeners because there is a NEED for the information he puts out there he is a charismatic speaker and he is doing good work. so he is not the one most in need of correction:
1) That is why I am reluctant to criticize him and would rather create my own content and lead by example, however, I do acknowledge that Stef speaks to a lot of people who are interested in doing some good in the world and that increases his responsibility because if he makes an improvement in his approach, potentially so do all his listeners.
2) However, that doesn't mean he wouldn't already have far more listeners if he took an approach closer to Warren Farrell's (for example.) 
[On the other hand, yet again, perhaps his tone is necessary, perhaps there is a certain audience that needs that "harsh task master" approach]
3) However, that doesn't mean that if Stef can improve his approach it wouldn't make it even more helpful to far more people, even if it doesn't need to be corrected
 
 
Be advised, there is such a thing as a science of persuasion. Attributing negative qualities to people who don't share his position makes them less receptive to changing their views than giving them the benefit of the doubt. Stef says "lets be empirical, don't waste your time on politics, focus on peaceful parenting and ways of applying the NAP and reducing aggression in your own life." By his very own UPB he should consider the science of persuasion.  One application may be not act like liberals, marxists, communists, etc. are evil for disagreeing with him or set himself up in opposition to them because this may make him very persuasive to people who already agree with his positions but it will make people who disagree with him opposition and LESS likely to change their opinion. The other day someone I knew  posted a comment on a picture from a feminist saying "you are militant because you ignore facts that have been ignored" before posting a link to a Warren Farrel video debunking the pay gap, I just use this as an example because this makes the OP less likely to "eat humble pie" and say "hm those are interesting facts I have never come across them before" than if he's posted assuming the OP was open to new information, whether or not they actually were.
 
similarly, when dealing with parents, Stef often dismisses any background information as "making excuses" when sometimes they are just providing context. Nothing happens in a vaccume. Some people do bad things because they are in a lot of psychological pain.
That IS NOT an excuse, and it SHOULD NOT get them off the hook for appropriate consequences, but it may be some mitigating circumstances.
 
Different people are in different degrees of psychological pain and have different defenses in play,
being in psychological pain is not an excuse for hurting others, but, it makes you more likely to do it,
Some peoples defenses are turned inward ("I will punish myself before you do") and some outward ("I can't take criticism so I will be aggressive to scare anyone away from ever criticising me") and no one has any obligation whatever to deal with anyone if they find their defense lead to them behaving in a way they find upsetting or hard to tolerate, however lets take a smaller scale example:
 
Supposing you come home and I snap at you for no good reason, then I say "Sorry I had a bad day, and I'm just a bit sensitive right now, I'm a bit touchy, you've not done anything wrong." I am sure you are very likely to be very understanding and say "it's alright I'll give you some space," or even "Do you want to talk about it?
 
 But what if I have been trained to think I always have to be perfect otherwise I am not worthy of love, and I have  a lot of blocks that make it hard to say that because it is admitting fault? 
You are under no obligation to tolerate my behaviour, however, supposing you were very present and talented at disarming me  - you might instinctively say, "have you had a bad day you seem a bit edgy?"
I go "uhhmmm uhhh... umm"
You're like "I don't mind if you are, it's ok to say it"
And maybe I'm then like "Well, to be honest perfectly honest, yeah... bla bla bla"
 
That requires some flexibility on your part, and sometimes I don't think there is enough of that on Stef's approach
On the other hand, in no way do I mean to suggest that Stef should be empathising with the parent when the caller is the victim,
the attention should be fully on the caller, but perhaps when it comes to appeals to parents in this time all three components to a convincing argument which Aristotle pointed out (including pathos and ethos) not just logic could be considered.
 
I recently saw a thread where a poster said "none of my relationships survived RTR", and maybe that person was surrounded by douchebags, or maybe RTR does not provide enough tools for disarming peoples defenses. 
 
Is there any obligation to disarm peoples defenses? Hell no!
Is it useful to be able to do so where possible? Hell YES!
Why?  Well, Stef said are unlikely to meet a partner who is an anarchist , to one caller, but if you choose someone with critical thinking skills who is dedicated to reason and evidence as a caller you can create one over time.
 
You may be unlikely to meet friends who feel safe being vulnerable, are excellent empathisers, can identify and discuss emotions, are great critical thinkers, who know how to problem solve and resolve context etc. But, if you become excellent at all these things and meet people who are coming from a place of reasonable integrity then you can create them. Sometimes that does not take a BAM all or nothing right now approach but a gradual growing of trust, the more they trust you the more unpallatable truths about themselves they can digest because they know you have their best interests at heart, you're not criticising them to do them down but to promote mutual understanding because you have a long history of being there for them, etc.
 
Perhaps you don't disagree with a lot of that! Just throwing some views out there.
 
As I said, i don't want to be a back street driver, I will make videos about effective communication and share them on youtube in the new year and you can judge for yourself if I am talking out my ass or there is a lot of truth to what I say.
 
the best thing I can do is not whine about it, I need to start creating content modelling this behaviour, so that people can judge for themselves if I'm right and give me feedback if I'm wrong.

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#77
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

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1645 – The Religion of the Argument from Effect


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“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax” - Abe Lincoln


#78
Mike Larson

Mike Larson
  • 69 posts

The argument from effect is not necessarily a negative approach at the personal level. We use the argument from effect all the time to justify our actions (and rightly so). In fact, it could be argued that everything we do, we ONLY do because of the argument from effect.

 

My understanding of what Stef is saying in FDR1645 is that it is not valid to use the argument from effect to make justifications for violating the NAP.


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#79
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

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The argument from effect is not necessarily a negative approach at the personal level. We use the argument from effect all the time to justify our actions (and rightly so). In fact, it could be argued that everything we do, we ONLY do because of the argument from effect.

 

My understanding of what Stef is saying in FDR1645 is that it is not valid to use the argument from effect to make justifications for violating the NAP.

That's not my understanding.

 

He shows how it's used to justify violations of the NAP as a demonstration of the principle. Part of the problem with the argument from effect is that there is no guarantee that the effect will happen, and often there is absolutely no reason to believe it would (like in the examples he gives in the podcast). Another problem is that when you focus on the desired effect, you end up more frustrated since you cannot control these things.

 

Another problem I have with this approach is the goal "have someone listen to me" is not the same thing as them stopping hitting their children. I've seen many of Stef's detractors who vehemently disagree be strongly affected by his arguments such as people who have problems with defooing ending up establishing more boundaries in their personal relationships, or people who think he's too "extreme" in his views about spanking stopping spanking themselves. He is like Socrates' gadfly in that respect.

 

It's a mistake to think that because you can have a calm conversation with someone and you get some sort of agreement out of them that they will change their behavior. If you've dealt much with addicts you know what I mean.

 

The effect is nearly impossible to determine, especially in the moment. That's why this show focuses so much on principles rather than strategy (at least in that sense).

 

I could make an argument from effect that says that not treating child abuse as the tragedy it is will only serve to normalize it for people.

 

And that's another problem with the argument from effect. You can justify mutually exclusive things.


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“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax” - Abe Lincoln


#80
Mike Larson

Mike Larson
  • 69 posts

 

Another problem I have with this approach is the goal "have someone listen to me" is not the same thing as them stopping hitting their children.

 

Yes, but I think there is reason to believe that "having someone listen to me" could (potentially) lead to the ultimate goal of getting them to stop hitting their children.

 

 

 

It's a mistake to think that because you can have a calm conversation with someone and you get some sort of agreement out of them that they will change their behavior. If you've dealt much with addicts you know what I mean.

 

I agree that there is no guarantee. The likelihood may be very slim, but the question is "What is the approach that is most likely to result in the desired outcome"? I think you are right that, in the case of addicts, it is particularly hard to influence a behavioral change. I just got through reading "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" by Gabor Maté and completely agree with his conclusion that the most effective way to reach these people is to help them deal with the underlying pain. There is, of course, no obligation for us to do anything. But If behavioral change is the goal, I think there is value in at least being curious about different approaches and their potential for achieving that goal.


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#81
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

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Right, I think the argument from effect isn't totally bogus in every instance. My beef is with this particular approach of being compassionate toward people who are either abusers or serving to protect abusers, partly out of painful personal experience with it. I've started being more assertive in my conversations with the people in my life (and online too) and I've been much happier because of it. I'm not invested in the outcome as much and the reactions people have to it are very interesting and diverse.

 

I've taken this compassionate, listening approach for years at a time with different people while expressing my concerns and had some minor successes, but they are usually short lived and it's a crushing experience.

 

I served a similar role in my childhood: the peacekeeper, always with the hope that the changes would be lasting. They never were. It's incredibly difficult to affect people to the point that they modify their behavior. The only thing I've seen work is a commitment to principled living.

 

I do use the argument from effect sometimes (even within this exchange) so I'd be a hypocrite to dismiss it entirely.

 

I, personally am not interested in this approach. That's why I dislike NVC so much (possibly out of ignorance I'll admit).

 

So that's where I'm coming from.

 

add*

And the big temptation is to think to yourself that you weren't this or that enough and you never know why the failure to affect someone happened. I hate that.


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“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax” - Abe Lincoln


#82
Mike Larson

Mike Larson
  • 69 posts

I agree that the foundation for any approach that we take has to be a commitment to principled living. I think that once we get our own internal systems functioning properly, the optimal way for us to interact with and influence those around is will happen quite naturally.

 

The internal family systems theory suggests that the way we interact with those around us is merely a reflection of how we relate to the individual parts within ourselves.


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#83
LovePrevails

LovePrevails
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  What do you mean by "not cut people enough slack"? 

 

 

Case in point I would say was the recent video about the woman who had circumcised her son.

 

I'm only 5 minutes in but oh my god, this woman was already sorry she had done it and didn't want to do it again, and Stef is just piling on the shame

 

What purpose does this serve apart from makign someone who feels shit feel even more shit?

 

 

 

If this is what other people think they have to face for admitting they are wrong then they are far less likely to admit that they were wrong.


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#84
Wesley

Wesley

    Self-Excavator

  • 1412 posts

Case in point I would say was the recent video about the woman who had circumcised her son.

 

I'm only 5 minutes in but oh my god, this woman was already sorry she had done it and didn't want to do it again, and Stef is just piling on the shame

 

What purpose does this serve apart from makign someone who feels shit feel even more shit?

 

 

 

If this is what other people think they have to face for admitting they are wrong then they are far less likely to admit that they were wrong.

I may have missed something, but I thought the point was that she wasn't really taking responsibility. She was passing off responsibility onto all of these other people. In order to apologize, you have to take responsibility for what was done, not say "I'm sorry" and then invent a bunch of excuses as to why it wasn't your fault.


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#85
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Philosopher in Training

  • 2302 posts

Case in point I would say was the recent video about the woman who had circumcised her son.

 

I'm only 5 minutes in but oh my god, this woman was already sorry she had done it and didn't want to do it again, and Stef is just piling on the shame

 

What purpose does this serve apart from makign someone who feels shit feel even more shit?

 

 

 

If this is what other people think they have to face for admitting they are wrong then they are far less likely to admit that they were wrong.

Maybe you should finish the video first ;)

 

Also, how do you know they are less likely? That's not how I work. It's not how other people I know have looked at their own wrongdoings.

 

When someone exposes an area in which I may be culpable I think about it and I want people to be as direct as humanly possible. I've had to face many of my own demons listening to this show, so when I say that I'm speaking from experience.

 

When someone is bluntly honest and direct about your shortcomings / wrongdoings do you just flippantly reject them? If no, then give other people a little credit. If yes, then you need to work on that.

 

Also, what is the point of your statement? You are suggesting that Stef is twisting the knife in and that he shouldn't, that it's going to drive them further from the truth. What experience is that meant to elicit? Joy?

 

 

 

And just to anyone reading who's asking themselves the question in the thread title:

 

Does peaceful marriage have sympathy for miserable (and by implication: violent) spouses?

 

Maybe someone would (or should) have sympathy on some level, but you can't ask the battered spouse to be the one to do it.


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“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax” - Abe Lincoln


#86
LovePrevails

LovePrevails
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I am, and it was my intention, to finish the podcast.

 

I have gone into more detail on my thoughts above, you can check it out.

 

You may personally respond to shame as a strategy, for a lot of people it gets their hackles up.

 

I have some considerable first hand experience in helping people improve their relationships and how they communicate and currently train as a counselor with the intention of using what I learn for the same purpose, not to appeal to authority, the literature on communication is quite ubiquitous on the fact that people who are defensive are less open to new information. I suggest you do some reading. 

 

For my own part I'll try and model alternative approaches and you can decide for yourselves which you prefer, perhaps you are right and different voices appeal to different people so there is a value in having more than one person doing it but in different ways.


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#87
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Philosopher in Training

  • 2302 posts

You may personally respond to shame as a strategy, for a lot of people it gets their hackles up.

Shaming someone is a dishonest appeal to a person's insecurities. What Stef does is the exact opposite. He is being honest.

 

And what is that supposed to mean? That I like being shamed or something? What are you trying to suggest?

 

I have some considerable first hand experience in helping people improve their relationships and how they communicate and currently train as a counselor with the intention of using what I learn for the same purpose, not to appeal to authority, the literature on communication is quite ubiquitous on the fact that people who are defensive are less open to new information. I suggest you do some reading.

You have training that I don't. But I also have experience. This appeal to authority is meaningless to me, especially considering I reject NVC.

 

For my own part I'll try and model alternative approaches and you can decide for yourselves which you prefer, perhaps you are right and different voices appeal to different people so there is a value in having more than one person doing it but in different ways.

I already know. I'm not unfamiliar with what you are saying. Don't think that because I don't agree that it's because I'm ignorant.


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“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax” - Abe Lincoln


#88
LovePrevails

LovePrevails
  • 1825 posts

Shaming someone is a dishonest appeal to a person's insecurities. What Stef does is the exact opposite. He is being honest.

 

And what is that supposed to mean? That I like being shamed or something? What are you trying to suggest?

 

 

 

You have training that I don't. But I also have experience. This appeal to authority is meaningless to me, especially considering I reject NVC.

 

 

 

Kevin, let me know what you think,
It seems my comment about shame angered you a bit, which is understandable if you thought I said you liked being ashamed, but I assure you that was not my meaning. I just meant that shame is a powerful motivator for some people to change our behaviour, and sometimes it works but it is not ideal because it comes from a place of a lack of-self empathy. Shame is just an emotion that needs to be heard and understood so you can move past it, and that comes through feelings that are rather unpleasant but the more you do it the less scary they are because you know they don't harm you and there's a bit of distance between you and the pain. Using shame to motivate people to change, as I think moralizing often does, just triggers people without giving them a means to process the trigger which is probably the reason for a lot of their dysfunctional behaviour in the first place - many people avoid self-examination specifically because it provokes shame (or guilt, or fear, or anger) in them and they don't know what to do about it.
 
Re: You have training that I don't. But I also have experience.  etc.
 
I don't doubt the value of your experience but I would just mention that having experience in, say, planting vegetables does not an expert florist make. It reminds me of an argument my dad made when I said that he hadn't learned about anarchism and yet he had the authority to say it wouldn't work - he replied by saying that he wasn't an uneducated person and knew about politics and could tell from what he knew that it wouldn't work. I don't mean for that to be contentious, I just raise the point because I think it's fair to say that experience is the mother of skill and one need try certain approaches to discover for themselves whether they work or not. 
 
I didn't mention NVC, nor is do I tend to teach it wholesale - NVC is just a model of one way to communicate! - like RTR is a model.
Like all models it has its relative merrits and drawbacks. Personally I find it a quite unwieldy and convoluted way to talk.
It can be very effective if people are good at it, sound genuine, and can stay present while using it, but it's a lot of work.
In those cases its  useful with people who are very defensive but it's pretty hard-going and long-winded until you get the hang of it.
 
RTR is a model which has a lot of advantages in that it is big on the self-empathy, and being clear on your own experience and expressing yourself in the moment.
NVC is also big on the self-empathy but a lot of people overlook that part and try and go straight into it. The drawback I see in RTR is it allows one to express what is going on for them, but it doesn't offer the person who is  receiving the feedback any tools to help them help you.
A good NVC communicator can make it easier for the person they are talking to do the right thing.
 
But again it is only one model. It is not the be all and end all of anything. 
There are principles that underlie some aspects of it which are pretty universal in literature on good communication.
 
Carl Rodgers, one of the most influential therapists was quite clear that in order for change to happen, it helps in heaps if you can approach the other person with UPR - unconditional positive regard. This is obviously extremely difficult to do if you have reason to be resentful of the other person! Which is why we would never expect a prison psychologist to council their own rapist!
He or she would have to be a saint to do so... and the same can be said for people dealing with very abusive or neglectful parents.
 
Another model for communicating came from Dr. David Burns book "Feeling Good Together" stresses similar with EAR: Empathy, Assertion, Respect (Dr. David Burns is highly empirical in the approaches he prescribes in all his books, he had to throw out the first edition of the book and start again because he found the original CBT techniques he prescribed did not work. He rewrote the whole text with approaches that were empirically verified to improve relationships, but also acknowledged that some [even many] people just don't have the motivation to change.) 
He also notes the fact that it is very hard to get someone to take on board your feedback if they don't think you respect them. (This echoes other literature on communication such as IFS therapist Pete Gerlach's book Satisfactions, and the relevant sections of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) 
 
Let me give you an example of EAR with a friend I was bothered with for not responding to my messages. As you can see it apportions responsibility without any real criticism. I asserted my feelings and preferences, but also empathised and communciated with respect.
"Hey dude is everything allright with you? Not worried but checkin you're ok! :) come over tomorrow for a chat is you like. I know you enjoy your space but I appreciate it when you respond to my messages even just to say 'undecided' or 'need space'. :)"
 
Sending that message met my need to be heard for the fact I didn't like not receiving replies about possible arrangements, and I hope you'll agree that it was probably more effective than if I had just said I was bothered about it. Obviously I wouldn't expect anyone to be able to manage something even approaching this in the presence of an abusive parent - but I'm to model how it could be applied.
 
One way that often gets peoples hackles up and triggers them so they get defensive is they feel they are on the receiving end of blame.
Maybe the blame is well founded (I prefer the term responsibility to be honest - apportion responsibility ....) but nonetheless we have to ask ourselves what our target is:
 
If our target is really to get more of what we want - empathy, understanding, care, responsibility from guilty parties, etc.- then we might want to consider what is likely to work - which may involve putting that resentment aside for a minute, if we can, in pursuit of that goal - in order to express ourselves in ways that we can be more easily heard by defensive people. That might involve doing a lot of process ourselves before going into the situation (which will serve us in the long term whether we are successful or not) it also means that we are assured that if we were not successful that we really gave it our best shot and responsibility for the failure lies absolute with the other party.
 
Process must continue and continue particularly while we are in potential conflict situations - if we're strong enough to stay present.
If we're not then we definitely need to back off and self-empathise.
A bit more on process, this is my present understanding:
Unless they are in the defensive, many people generally do appreciate effective feedback because they are "trying to be good" - trying to be seen as good, worthy, "ok" - in whatever way they have been equipped and continued to equip themselves with - the values they choose, often without an serious thought about how they have come to choose them,  because considering it is very scary.
 
I say, unless they are defensive, because defensive people can only hear "us against them" in criticisms - they go to the back of their brain and have to defend themselves at all costs. It literally can feel like dying challenging an opinion. They also tend to push our buttons to get us triggered as well so we don't appear as reasonable - people can be incredibly effective at this because their ego defences were formed to survive abusive situations, they had to be extremely intelligent.
 
Some people are teetering over a constant state of defensiveness so trying to feedback is extremely difficult as we all know... for some even impossible... its up to you whether you want to go there or not - help them or not - but if anyone chooses to do so it requires a huge degree of empathy, which of course states with self-empathy and very very close self-monitoring... In order to be truly effective.
 
You can't empathise with someone effectively when you yourself are triggered and therefore defensive also, and in fact it is damaging to do so. attempt to ignore oneself in order to reach out and empathise with someone else will only accrue resentment.
Resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting to die!
 
Emotions are resolved by empathy. They need to be acknowledged for their existence, and understood for what they represent in order to be processed. When you're not acknowledging then you get a build up of negativity which can only lead to escalation of conflict in your life, because it's a trigger to your own defensiveness.
 
Unfortunately we have been taught to see our minor emotions as petty, because our caregivers did not know how to handle them, therefore they were seem as inconvenient, and we internalized the message that these feelings are irritating/inconvenient and often treat them with the same disdain by disregarding them. That allows lots of little emotions to build up as stated until we "over-react" (or just react to lots of things that we haven't yet reacted to.)
 
I would guess the more defensive people are the less good they are at self-empathising. 
That is why sometimes empathising with them can be effective because it gives them permission to listen to themselves.
When I learned to use counselling approaches to listen to people at first I thought it was my empathy that was healing them, but then I came to see that it was actually the fact that I was helping them self-empathise and process their shit instead of ignoring it or dismissing it as petty.
 
If you want to be good at confronting people very effectively you need to self-empathise first, and then reach out from there to empathise with another from a place of balance, and self-respect - from there you can extend respect for their subjective experience (even if not for their behaviour), which can lead to mutual respect if you nail it. You respect the other person's emotional experience which helps untrigger their defensiveness -  I stress if and only if you are able and it is not damaging to you to do so - and that may help them help you - if you are a not on the defensive yourself. I don't say anyone has a responsibility or obligation to do this. I just observe that if someone chooses to do this that there are some ways that are more effective than others.

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#89
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Philosopher in Training

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I'm not sure what you want my feedback on...

 

What you said about having certain approaches to getting your needs met, negotiating things, offering criticisms etc all is true enough as far as I can tell. What I take issue with is asking victims of abuse to be therapists for their abusers.

 

I think an important point to establish informs your characterization of "moralizing", and by that I choose to interpret that as putting forward (valid or invalid) moral arguments, esp. arguments delivered passionately.

 

If you don't mind, I'm going to ignore the bits about how I'm not an authority like you are and how I lack self empathy. That's just not going to be productive, and it's not really important anyway. You don't actually know me.

 

You said:

 

Using shame to motivate people to change, as I think moralizing often does, just triggers people without giving them a means to process the trigger which is probably the reason for a lot of their dysfunctional behaviour in the first place - many people avoid self-examination specifically because it provokes shame (or guilt, or fear, or anger) in them and they don't know what to do about it.

If I understand you rightly, this completely disregards the most important part about moral arguments, which is whether or not they are true and valid arguments.

 

If I say that the world is round, and my friend Chuck gets upset or feels ashamed or any other emotional response (positive or negative), it's not me that has upset him. It's the truth that has upset him.

 

The infliction of false moral arguments on people in order to manipulate them through an appeal to shame is something entirely different. And honestly, I'm a little annoyed that in your very long response, you did not address this point.

 

I am not responsible for anyone's defensiveness or their baggage. I tend to be very conscious of where people's defenses are, which I learned out of necessity as a child. And I don't try and provoke them unless it's a necessary conflict, like someone who's harassing, or is in complete denial and are someone that I can't reasonably get away from (which is very rare). And if it's someone I am hoping to have an intimate relationship with then I tend to try RTRing as a way of bringing it across.

 

I am not interested in being anyone's therapist. And I reject the idea that adult children should be asked to do this with their parents. The prospect actually makes me sick to think about.

 

It makes sense for a mediator or counselor to use something like unconditional positive regard (within reason). This is not how healthy friendships work, though. Daniel Mackler has a lot to say about this sort of thing in his essays. This one in particular is relevant. I think this is obvious enough that I don't have to expand on it.

 

I refuse to deny my own judgment and prejudice in dealing with people unless it's something I know I have trouble with, or I'm ambivalent about it. And I don't want people doing that for me either. Treating people with respect is being honest about what you think and feel. And in peer relationships, it is not honest to take the role of therapist or parent. What that is is manipulation.

 

I don't want to manage how people respond to my honest thoughts and feelings. That's exhausting and it's manipulative. I just want to be myself and for that to be enough. Especially with the people who claim to love me.

 

You cannot reasonably criticize someone for telling the truth, whether that truth be moral or otherwise.


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“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax” - Abe Lincoln


#90
Lians

Lians

  • 525 posts

I'm only 5 minutes in but oh my god, this woman was already sorry she had done it and didn't want to do it again, and Stef is just piling on the shame

 

Why do you assume your discomfort was caused by Stef's treatment of the woman?

 

If this is what other people think they have to face for admitting they are wrong then they are far less likely to admit that they were wrong.

 

It doesn't matter whether people admit they're wrong or not. Accepting responsibility and providing restitution is where the rubber hits the road. The woman did none of that and sought to garner pity by appealing to ignorance. Why are you empathising with her and not the child who's going to grow up with his penis mutilated and a mother who refuses to take full responsibility for it?


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#91
MMX2010

MMX2010
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Sorry if this post is disconnected, but I'm trying to juggle multiple people's responses in this thread.

 

First of all, I have a lot of agreement with STer, who asserts that "we can't cite scientifically-supported facts when we like their implications, while rejecting those same facts when we hate their implications."  And I've enormous sympathy and support for his appeal to empirical science. 

 

Secondly, I admire the force with which Kevin Beal fights against the "sympathy for abusive parents" argument that permeates our culture. 

 

Thirdly, I thought xcellent's reply, "I think there is a misunderstanding between how people here feel about abusive personal relationships (friends, family, lovers, colleagues) and between what you (STer) consider as an important step to better understanding abusive behavior." was slightly misguided. 

 

I think there's an important wall between "how we handle our abusive parents" and "how we describe the cognitive capacities / degree of moral culpability of ALL abusive parents".  How we handle our abusive parents must always be a deeply personal decision, in which our emotions and instincts must lead.  But the second must be an impersonal, deeply scientific decision in which our emotions mustn't interfere with the scientific findings. 

 

---------------------

 

Some relevant personal details: my father is a highly abusive individual, but I'm also very certain that he has severe brain damage that causes him to be abusive.  Stef's comments that, "some people are just so fearful of self-criticism and self-attack that they'll bully anyone, in any way, just to rid themselves of it." perfectly matches my father. 

 

And, sometimes, when I hear these descriptions, I feel deep sympathy for my father's painful childhood (which he only rarely has mentioned, but I know was very bad). 

 

But I'm also extremely scared of letting that sympathy draw me closer to him.  And so my sympathy is always followed by a cold (but firm) "No." to the question of whether I should forgive him. 

 

So, overall, I think it's possible to be both scientific/mildly sympathetic about my father's brain-damage (and that of all brain-damaged abusers) and coldly self-protective about what he did to me. 


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#92
LovePrevails

LovePrevails
  • 1825 posts

Alright Kevin, got ya. Give me a while to get back to you. As you can see I spend quite a bit of time on my posts here and it's quite demanding.

tbh I think we disagree a lot less than it may seem on the surface of the point.

Why do you assume your discomfort was caused by Stef's treatment of the woman?

 

 

It doesn't matter whether people admit they're wrong or not. Accepting responsibility and providing restitution is where the rubber hits the road. The woman did none of that and sought to garner pity by appealing to ignorance. Why are you empathising with her and not the child who's going to grow up with his penis mutilated and a mother who refuses to take full responsibility for it?

 

good point Lians about my discomfort, I do find I tend to get quite triggered in general when I hear people been talked to in ways I think are incompassionate. But then I think that's useful data as well, because I'm uncomfortable with in then I think lots of people would be, and I have reason to believe that because lots of people are. As the whole point of my input in the thread is I don't want to scare people away from doing the right thing I hope the relevance is clear.

 

RE: "Accepting responsibility and providing restitution is where the rubber hits the road."

I couldn't agree more, but I don't think giving a moral beat down and sounding like someone's stern dad waiting at the door at 1am is  necessary to achieve that.

 

RE: Why are you empathising with her and not the child who's going to grow up with his penis mutilated?

Simply because it is the mother who is writing in asking for help and advice on what to do in the situation.

If it was the child writing in then of course it would be a different story and I would be empathising with them fully first and foremost.


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#93
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Philosopher in Training

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I don't want to scare people away from doing the right thing 

Respect people enough not to try and manage their feelings.

 

That's a Simon the boxer scenario. A child learns to manage their narcissistic parents and as an adult he encounters other petty people and is drawn to try and manage them to relieve his own discomfort with narcissists by feeling a sense of control over how much he can manage them. (Instead of staying away from these genuinely ugly people).

 

By putting that burden on the people responsible (where it belongs), it becomes less predictable and the result is possibly another petty narcissistic episode. That is obviously going to trigger Simon, the narcissist tamer, because he senses a loss of control.

 

The problem is that he ever believed he had control over these people in the first place.

 

Narcissists love being managed. Please don't enable them. They don't mind telling you what you want to hear as long as you feed their narcissistic supply.

 

That's why I vehemently reject your approach. I would quickly vomit from anxiety if I had to do what you do voluntarily. I literally tremble imagining it.

 

You say that you think we agree more than disagree, but either I have completely misunderstood you, or you don't understand the implications of what I'm saying. So hopefully, this addendum reinforces that component to it.


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“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax” - Abe Lincoln


#94
LovePrevails

LovePrevails
  • 1825 posts

Hey I'm still meaning to respond to this thread but I have a paper due Monday so it's on hold. Thanks.


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