Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al
livredor

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How not to handle me when I'm upset

Just a guide so that you (collectively) will know in future. I don't mean it personally; I do actually know that everybody who did the things I'm listing here meant well, and I appreciate all your good thoughts.

  • E-hugs. If you care about me enough to want to make me feel better, at least show it by taking the time to compose a sentence that's relevant to what I'm upset about. Just *hug* looks thoughtlessly generic, even if it I know it isn't. Besides which, when I'm upset even the thought of being touched makes me tense up because I feel invaded.

  • Actual hugs unless you know me extremely well and can read me and unless you ask first. I am frighteningly likely to snap at if not actually hit anyone who gets too close when I'm in that sort of mood. Suppressing that, and being polite and acknowledging that the person hugging me meant well, takes emotional energy that I need for holding myself together.

  • Cliches and platitudes. It will all turn out for the best, Nothing worth having comes easily and the like are not very comforting because they're not very plausible. And I'm in a bad mood to start with, so I'm not about to be tolerant of this kind of thing.

  • Telling all your friends what I'm upset about, so I have to do my bloodied but unbowed act with a load of total strangers. See above re emotional energy.

  • Asking for details of what went wrong. If I wanted to expand I probably would without prompting. If I explicitly said I was finding the subject painful to talk to about, it's not likely that I want to repeat all the background. I probably will want to go over the details at some later stage, in which case thank you for listening, but not at the immediate moment when I'm upset.

  • Retrospective advice. I really don't want to know what I should have done six months ago to avoid getting into this bad situation now.

  • Making me cry. Once I start crying I won't be able to stop, so right now I'm avoiding starting. Please do back me up in this!

    *sigh* I'm really, really glad I have lots of kind people in my life who care about me. I'm posting this not because I'm annoyed at anyone, but because I assume that people genuinely want to make me feel better, so they will want to know how to do so effectively (and not inadvertently make things worse). The answer is: distract me. Talking to me reminds me that I do have all these wonderful connections with my friends. But talk about something that isn't my problems, politics, what's going on in your life, whatever.

    Right now I am most grateful to usuakari and tooticky who organized an extremely pleasant and distracting evening on Thursday when I was reeling from bad news. It's great to meet new people, and they were really sensitive even though they'd never met me before, and generally wonderful. Also to MK and family with whom I had an absolutely wonderful, relaxing, happy weekend. Settlers of Catan is a top-notch distraction, and I find it impossible to be upset when I'm being smothered in affection by the Most Adorable Boy in the World. Not to mention lots and lots of good food and cute fuzzy animals... just try staying in a bad mood while watching platypuses playing or tickling a wombat's tummy.

    I've extended my stay in Australia for another week. There are various reasons for this which I shan't go into in a public post, but the main thing is, expect me to continue more or less incommunicado until 30 November. I need to post properly about everything I've done since Wednesday, and a review of The Worm Ourobourous, and probably some more detail about the thing I was upset about on Thursday and what I'm doing about it.

    And thank you all for being good friends to me, (even if some of you haven't quite got the sensitivity thing down). Now a few days have elapsed I'm revisiting people's comments and actions and feeling loved instead of my initial reaction of feeling annoyed and upset.
  • Tags: rant
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