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Is there such a thing as "too honest"
May 16, 2005
12:37 pm
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Cici
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I've admittedly been enabled enough in my life to recognize it for what it is. I think it's a waste of energy to type out a long post that basically says "oh, bummer for you, babe". What's the point?

I get frustrated. Why ask for support, when all you seek is validation for unhealthy choices? And why should I be implicit in that validation? not going to happen.

And writing style is writing style. You can't mediate how someone else is going to interpret written words, with no vocal inflection.

May 16, 2005
12:52 pm
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sewunique
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I have been still reading and thinking of this question. I still maintain my thought that sometimes you just need to vent to a good friend and sometimes to get a hug.

But, there are times when you are asking for advice or references, that honesty is the best thing to give. How you phrase what you say, you have to gauge what that person is asking for or perhaps feeling. Not always easy, nor always possible.

Yet, had it not been for some people here to give me honest and shouting out blatant feedback, I would probably still be in a vicious circle of wondering if, if, if....was this abuse? was it my fault? ...and so on.

I am grateful for what feedback I have recieved here. Many times I had to go back and read it and wonder just what they meant to say or how they said it. Overall, it was right on target. If someone is shouting out for you to sit up and take notice, do so, otherwise, ask what they meant by what they said, or don't bother asking.

Theere have been times when I have started a thread and have requested straight out answers, to not hold back anything. When you really seek the truth to answers, you want honesty, which is the truth.

May 16, 2005
1:52 pm
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Cici
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The person I think of most when I read threads like this - is Molly, who used to post here often but now only shows up VERY occassionally.

She gave some brief, hard-hitting responses. Sometimes people would get reactive and upset with her. But I was always appreciative. I need a kick in the pants.

May 16, 2005
2:46 pm
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kc30
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Hmmm...good points on posting here on the boards. I wasn't really thinking about that when I started the thread...it just seemed like an interesting topic in general that had come up on a different thread.

Writing is soooo tough...so easy to be taken out of context when you can't see or hear the person.

I guess I was just thinking more about your life in general...your own experiences as both the giver and receiver of honest feedback.

Had a friend once who often vented about her husband- they were in a typical "down cycle" ...he had been quite sick (needed surgery), she was pregnant and there had been a death in the family. It was very hard on her because he was in the hospital, facing his mortality, and wasn't quite the picture of cheerfulness. She was supportive of him throughout and never complained, knowing that he was really in a bad place physically and emotionally, but when she got away from him, she would have to get it out. This continued for a good 6 months...he went through surgery and came back home. Eventually he resumed normal activities but it took him a long time to get through the depression that accompanied the illness. It was very hard on her...

One day, she was thinking maybe she had skewed her friends judgement of her husband, who she loved deeply and enjoyed a great relationship with most of the time, when things were "normal"

She addressed her friends in an email to say "hope nothing I've ever said has given you a bad impression of him. I do love him, it's just been a hard time for us."

The response? A few girls decided to jump in and tell her what they thought of her husband! It wasn't pretty...she didn't get too pissed, but she doesn't vent to them any longer. And...a lot of the other girls don't vent to each other any more either. It's too bad because we all need to vent! BTW- I know this girl and her husband very well...spend a lot of time with them...they have a GREAT marriage...I always took her venting with a grain of salt. And now, if she's having troubles, she calls me to talk.

I can be honest with her when I'm asked, but usually she just needs someone to listen to her. Maybe that's where a lot of us go wrong...we talk when we are only needed to listen?

I've always liked the old mom analogy. I can say my mom is a bitch...but DON'T YOU DARE call my mom a bitch!! haha

kc

May 16, 2005
3:41 pm
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tracylyn
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My opinion on this is short and simple. I'll show you by example.

Say a child is messing around by the hot coffee pot. They know right from wrong, they know they should'nt but for some reason they do it anyway. The hot pot of coffee dumps over and pours scalding hot coffee onto the body of the child. The child is screaming out in pain and is crying and is so very hurt.

Do you:

A: Come rushing in and hold the child and do everything you can to help them. Do you comfort them, console them and tend to their every need until the hurt has lessened. Then, after the initial shock and pain and hurt has worn off, take a minute to talk with the child and be yes, brutally honest about why such an occurrance happened and how it could have been avoided.

Or...

B: Come rushing in screaming at the child and tell them how wrong they are, how this is all their fault and how they should have know better. You are brutally honest and tell them that they were wrong and that this wouldn't have happened if they had done what was right, then leave the room for them to try to comfort themselves.

Hummmmm, the answer seems clear to me.

I'm all for brutally honest. I confront my friends and sister and children and co-workers with pure honesty. I don't usually sugar coat my thoughts but I do it when the time is right. I agree though that in these thread one does not know when the time is right and one does not always have a clear picture of the story making difficult to pinpoint when and what is needed.

t

May 16, 2005
4:55 pm
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Cici
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Wellllll, tracylyn, what if you DO that and the child keeps burning themselves?

May 16, 2005
5:20 pm
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Amazed
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Again I feel that reactions in person are VERY different than on a web site.

I think the answers to some questions here are more obvious when you think about being there in person. If I could see a smile, a tear or hatred I think life has shown each of us an acceptable way to react. Same with a person who got hurt. I think reaction is always to help first, then teach later after things have all calmed down.

I can't remember a time where I've seen anyone come screaming at a severly hurt child. But how many people have you seen that are screaming at their kids BEFORE they get hurt. If it was around something that could get them severly injured I would think quite a few of us would take that risk.

Or how many times have you witnessed people just screaming at each other. When this occurs most of the time people are stareing or moving away as it's unacceptable behavior. We all know there is the exception but the norm is to think this is abnormal.

Even further - what happens if you witness a screaming match. Do you just run right over and take a side and back that person up. Probably not, instead you kind of walk away. Why? Because you don't know the whole story. You can't make a judgement that fast AND you don't want to get involved. Yet you might go away but continue to listen to the arugment. Why? Because you are interested. Over time you might even take a side on who you think is right or wrong. I know I've done that and sit there and say "how can she take that" or that isn't fair. I think that happens quite often. You learn and make decisions based on what you learn - not a quick response because you see something. Taking physical abuse out of this equasion.

May 16, 2005
7:36 pm
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Cici.

You said:

"And writing style is writing style. You can't mediate how someone else is going to interpret written words, with no vocal inflection."

Exxxxxacttttly!!!!!!

So upon writing anything at all, one must expect at least one reader to add, in their own mind, inflections and intonations that trigger off negative emotional responses in themselves without realizing it.

For me, the trick is not to take angry reactions personally. The only way that I can do this is to see that these people are angry at and threatened by 'demons from their past' and not really at me.

I try to write in the third person, objectively and in generic terms to avoid triggering others off. But then I get accused of being cold, dispassionate, elitist, hard to understand - you name it.

I guess that one just can't please all of the people all of the time.

May 17, 2005
10:58 am
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site coordinator
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In regards to intonation, triggers, angry reactions, as written above by Cici, Amazed, and Tez.

Fact: intonations are important in verbal expression. But, from these boards, my message has been that there are more important messages and life lessons to learn about 'yourself' than what someone is saying to you, in whatever tone.

In other words: if you are 'triggered/angered/aroused', as Tez stated above, these are 'your past & present demons' speaking to you - - not the person typing. These words are anonymous and 'hurt-free'? It is ourselves, that inflict our own pain on these threads.

But then one might say, if that is true, then why the need for guidelines, no?

And sure, there is advice here, but in 95% of the cases here, we have our own best advice already (don't we know our own situation best?) - "Many times, advice is what we ask for when we already know the answers but wish we didn't".

So, if intonations are inacurrate, and advice is something we already know, then what's left to 'gain' from being here?

May 17, 2005
12:58 pm
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Amazed
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Good food for thought SC.

I have to wonder if we are only self taught then how do we expand? How do we learn so that we can apply those lessons to ourselves? I think I learn about how to respond to people. I can respond to myself and force myself to do something - I know how I'm driven. But I also learn from others what is a new way of thinking, etc which might eventually help me to learn to be better, different, etc.

I like the statment that is ourselves that inflict our own pain - but isn't that what society is anyway? You could put that statment on anything - think about murder. Isn't that painful to us because WE think about what that is? Sure that is an extreme example but isn't that true. So in general doesn't society also teach us what painful is? What about a hot glowing ember - do we have to pick it up to discover that it burns? No we learn it from other experiences. So my thought is that society does teach us what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Just like there are acceptable ways to write and not to write. FOR EXAMPLE THIS IS YELLING ON E-MAIL. This is an innotation on e-mail 🙂

I would say that it appears a lot of people here have a predetermined idea of what they expect from starting a thread. I have LEARNED that sometimes expectation is to just provide support. I am still struggling with finding a way to determine that is all the person wants. Again, I'm learning. I don't know how to do that here and I don't think I have anyway of teaching myself that. So by example I would hope that some people are here to learn just like I am doing. Along the way I expect people to disagree with me and maybe I learn that isn't the acceptable norm for people. I also hope that people would expect the same from me. Which is why I post when I feel comfortable enough - BUT I think that by posting you have to take accountability for your words and what they mean to people. That I'm not sure happens here with just supportive "you go girl" posts.

Here is one that just drives me nuts. I have not heard one person give me a good answer yet - but it's pretty simple. I've seen a lot of women wearing a very nice, almost engagement type, rings on their wedding hand but on the middle finger. I see it more and more. Does this indicate anything or is just jewerly. I like it but I don't want to "wear" something like that if it means something to society.

May 17, 2005
6:28 pm
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SC said:

"So, if intonations are inacurrate, and advice is something we already know, then what's left to 'gain' from being here?"

Whether we know it or not, we all need the many 'mirrors' presented here, all at different angles, to give each of us a more wholistic reflection of who and what we really are.

June 13, 2005
1:05 pm
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exoticflower
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bringning this up again, it really touches on some hot topics today!

June 13, 2005
1:06 pm
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exoticflower
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If you hit 'view all' you get the whole thing, not too terribly long.

June 14, 2005
11:54 pm
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on my way
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I have heard that if ew women ask if we are fat, the anser should be no. ha ha.

Seriously, being too honest is soemtimes not helpful adn sometimes is. I thik it matters on the personality of someone on the receiving end, and the subject at hand...so it depends.

I do appreciate honesty on all counts for me though. And, I want to be honest and have others be honest wiht me. But soemtimes on this site, all we are are words, no faces, and being honest can hurt. My thoughts anyway.

June 15, 2005
12:40 am
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bonita1
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Quoting from Dr. Laura Schlessinger:

"Not all truth should be spoken."

Like You're too fat, too ugly, too stupid, stuff that is hurtful...

June 15, 2005
1:10 pm
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eve
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Bonita,

I'd not say that "too fat, too ugly, too stupid" can be truth. Sounds like judgements to me.

June 15, 2005
6:46 pm
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exoticflower
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I think it's also the "too" there. Who has the right to decide that?

June 16, 2005
2:40 am
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sewunique
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Good points both to Bonita and Eve.

Never thought of them being judgements, refreshing slant on it.

June 16, 2005
10:45 am
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bonita1
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eve & ef,

good point!

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