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Something I hate
November 13, 2003
12:51 pm
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Anonymous
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It bothers me very much when people phrase their views and thoughts with "I feel" at the beginning. And they keep repeating "this is how I feel". It's sometimes a way to prevent me from expressing my own views and discussing the thoughts, since "feelings can't be argued with, they're always right and they just are". But feelings are feelings and views are views. Views CAN be discussed, but if the person keeps claiming those are their FEELINGS, I just have to shut up.

"I feel that..." is always a thought, an opinion. Yet, because they used the word 'feel' instead of 'think', I may not argue.

November 13, 2003
1:05 pm
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gypsygirl
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I use that often, only because that is the only way I can show my feelings. I often welcome an argument though.

November 13, 2003
1:24 pm
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eve
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Well, if people really 'feel' that way - you can't tell them that you know better since you're not inside their heads. But if they state what they feel they should also listen to what you feel, and perhaps not 'feel' but *think* and *discuss* about the situation and possible consequences - taking everybodies feelings into account, of course.

I was taught to use 'I' messages for good communication. But I guess that the reall thing about good communication is that you 'd better really want to communicate *whith* the other person, not *at* them. Maybe these peole know what good communication should sound like, but forgot about the lsitening part?

November 13, 2003
1:42 pm
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gingerleigh
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I know that if I am in a conversation and I say "I feel..." and the other person gets angry at me or dismisses how I feel, that really hurts and puts me on the defensive. When I feel something, I don't want someone else to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way.

Mafi you're right, feelings can't be argued with, they are what they are... so long as the words "I feel" are being used to express emotion, not opinion. For instance, it's ok in my opinion to say "I feel really sad right now" or "I feel really angry" but it's a misuse of the "I feel" introduction to say "I feel that you are making a mistake" or "I feel that it's wrong to do such and such". That's where the "I think" intro seems more appropriate.

As for arguing with feelings, why would you want to argue with how someone feels? It's ok for you to feel the way you feel, right? So why not for everyone else? You don't necessarily have to understand where they are coming from, but just understanding that they are going to have feelings that are out of your control (and that you are under no obligation to change how they feel or "argue" with their feelings) is probably enough.

It sounds to me like you might be taking their feelings too personally.

Just my two cents, and definitely an "I think" category kind of post. šŸ™‚

November 13, 2003
2:15 pm
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Anonymous
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"I feel that you're making a mistake"

That's a very good example of what I mean. Since the person says "I feel", I'm not supposed to argue with their vews, I just have to sit there and agree, because it's a 'feeling'. I hate that !!!!!!! They found a good way to preach undisturbed !!!

November 13, 2003
2:19 pm
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mj
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Or its a simple case of improper usuage of the English Language. I know I have lots of trouble expressing myself without worrying if I am doing it grammatically correct.

November 13, 2003
2:33 pm
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eve
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Funny thing, MJ

I realized that "I feel that you made a mistake" would translate into German very different from "I feel sad". But then - the English language was really honed for being polite *at* people. An other good one is "you'll want to review you opinion on...".

November 13, 2003
3:12 pm
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arwen
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When "I feel" is followed by "you..." then in my opinion, that is an open door for discussing different points of view. For example, if someone were to tell me "Arwen, I feel like you are selfish because you didn't donate any of your time to our fund raiser." I can respond, "My children take priority over this kind of activity." I don't have to even validate the word "selfish", or that person's feelings regarding my actions.

If a person says "I feel hurt when you don't call me." I can respond by saying "It was not my intention to hurt your feelings. Sometimes I'm not the most dependable person in the world." No apology necessary. No excuses offered. Just simple statements (that happen to be true of me, by the way...)

A lot of times people open with "I feel..." because in the world of therapeutic communication we are taught to use "I" statements to keep others from feeling attacked. However, the thing that people don't comprehend is that when a "you" follows the "I feel...", then the "I" statement is gone. It's become a "you" statement, so of course someone is going to feel like they are under a microscope to a degree.

Mafi, you are not obligated to validate anyone's feelings, whether someone thinks they are right or wrong. The only time you have to validate what someone says is when you find that they are right and you have to take responsibility for something you've said or done. Otherwise, the problem really belongs to the other person if they are upset.

Sometimes, it is hard to tell if we have made a mistake. When that happens, I just ask for time to think about what happened before I respond. Or if I'm in a situation where I feel a group of people are attacking me, I can decide to step back and take my time in responding if I need to. It doesn't mean I'm weak, it means I'm trying to be careful and that is a good thing.

It's alright not to agree with how everyone "feels". It might not change how they feel, but you have just as much freedom to believe that they are wrong as they have to believe they are right.

Love,

Arwen

November 13, 2003
3:13 pm
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silence
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I feel your frustration.

November 13, 2003
3:35 pm
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Anonymous
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"I feel that you should ______. I'm just expressing my FEELINGS, so you can't disagree".

Disgusting.

November 13, 2003
3:46 pm
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eve
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Well, if she feels that I should rather walk around whith a hen sitting on my head, or that I should write left handed, or that I should feel miserable because I am who I am

- does that say anything about me?

- doesn't that say anything about her?

šŸ™‚

Maybe a good answer would be 'hey, that's interesting, you're quite brave to share those feelings of yours openly. Does this happen often?', then tsk a little and shake your head disapointedly.

šŸ˜€

November 13, 2003
5:41 pm
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gingerleigh
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Nah, when she says "I feel that you should ________", what she really means is "I think that you should _________________." It's what she thinks. Feelings are about ourselves, not about other people.

Maybe "She would feel better if Mafi did ____________". Same thought, but it's a lot easier for Mafi to see her statement for what it is... an opinion, not a "feeling".

November 14, 2003
1:35 am
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Anonymous
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"Feelings are about ourselves, not about other people."

Exactly.

It's a subtle control tactic. One of the most subtle I know, that's why I hate it. When someone starts a sentence with "I feel..." we become automatically more accepting, because we are expecting a vulnerable sharing. We therefore become a bit more vulnerable ourselves, matching the other's vulnerable disclosure...we go quiet and listen attentively...and zas ! the harsh criticism comes as a surprise, embedded in the "I feel" sentence and catches us at our vulnerable state.

mj,

I'm talking here about people who not only use an "I feel" sentence but the body language also matches the language of vulnerable disclosure of personal feelings (sad look, hand placed flat on chest, head shaking slowly) but the "disclosure" that comes with it is harsh criticism and NOT a feeling.

Thank you all for the validation !!!

(Validation: giving room to my feelings and relating to my feelings and thoughts and helping me deal with them)

November 14, 2003
8:30 am
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mj
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Hi Mafi,
I am glad that you are not talking about my improper use of my thread "How I feel about DUI". I must have been personalizing that.

Hope that you feel better.

November 14, 2003
2:26 pm
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arwen
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When someone says "I feel you should..." to me, shamefully, I tune out whatever follows. I don't want anyone telling me what they think I should do. Silly, I know...

It frustrates me because most of the time, they are telling me to do something that I've already considered. I don't like that because it feels like the person advising me is assuming I'm too stupid to have considered all the possibilities. It frustrates me because if I want to be told what I "should" do, I'll ask! It frustrates me because I have this idea that friends are meant to support each other, even if they don't agree with each other. And it frustrates me, too, I'm sure in part because I think it's alright for me to tell people what they should do, so I have to recognize that I'm hypocritical that way.

The thing that really makes me nuts is when someone says "I feel you should..." and they end up suggesting something that I didn't think of, is the best solution, and I have to say "You're right!" Those are hard words for me to say, but I'm trying to get more used to it!!!

Thanks for helping me think about all of this, Mafi.

Sincerely,

Arwen

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