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spilt milk

 
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Rufus Laggren wrote: On reading through this thread, it appears that two words are being used, w/out turn signals sorta speak, for 5 different concepts and situations. Maybe that should be one word.  


I think that IS the problem, it gets back to what r ranson said in the OP

r ranson wrote: In English, the action is related to the person.  "He spilt the milk".  Whereas in other languages, it's more common to say "the milk spilt" or "the milk spilt itself"


My response to that was that yes, the English word is a problem (and Rufus just identified exactly WHY it's a problem, the same word is used for multiple concepts) and that the other half is we were raised with primarily the punitive/guilt definition as we were being taught to behave as we were told to.
Maybe if we define the concepts here, it would help with what we are looking for here (Rufus, I think it was less a specific incident as a multiple incidents bubbling up into a question, I know for me it is, that's why I'm interested in this thread, it happens WAY too often, and for no good reason I can make sense of with my weird brain.)

Concept 1 is punitive/guilt, which is what keeps coming up in this thread, and what we are trying to figure out how to avoid triggering. Problem with that one is habit, social conditioning, and previous trauma. It comes in several types:
1A is mild emotion based punitive/guilt. Generally used for training children. Careless habits.
1B is heavily emotion based punitive/guilt. "take down" blame motivated by wanting to see the other put down for some personal emotional/identity/security/political reason.
1C is heavily emotion based punitive/guilt out of malice, wishing to see the other suffer.

We are trying to AVOID all of these by our wording. None are ultimately useful.

Concept 2 is responsibility, which also breaks into multiple parts:
2A is emotion based responsibility, related to punitive. "someone must pay for this!"
2B is non-emotion based responsibility, related to consequences "I'll clean up my mess"
2C is non-emotion based responsibility, related to acceptance leading to preventing it happening again. "I learned from this."

Concept 3 is problem solving
3A is negative emotion based problem solving "Dammit, now how are we going to fix this?! I told you it was a piece of crap when you bought it!"
3B is positive emotion based problem solving "Oh now THAT is funny! How can we fix that? Wow! Never seen one break that way before!"
3C is non emotion based short term problem solving "It broke? ok, looks like it needs a new bolt."
3D is non emotion based long term problem solving "that bolt broke too? How can we keep these bolts from shearing off?"

I think what we are looking for is what words can we use to eliminate the negative ones (marked in red) move toward all positive ones (marked in green and ultimately lean toward make all conversations like this end up in 3D: non emotion based long term problem solving (marked in purple)

What are words that will jump over the rest and go straight to non emotion based long term problem solving?

And did I miss any categories? I read back though much of the thread and tried to get them all.
:D

 
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Really trying to change this with our kids. Accidents happen, it's what I tell them all of the time. Now sometimes it's obviously their fault. If I tell you to stop doing something, you ignore me and something happens, well I'm going to be mad at you. Otherwise, we just tell them, grab a towel and clean it up. There's no yelling or condemnation but we do make them clean up the spill themselves. I'm a huge fan of Dr. Wayne Dyer. I like to tell my children that they are in control of their own feelings. That their sibling cannot MAKE them feel/do something. It is their own choice and they can choose to stop. That comes with other emotional control measures. We do deep breathing or jumping jacks to help deal with emotions. It's not perfect but we're working on things. I hope my kids are way better adjusted emotionally than their father and I.
 
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I think it is very much about control.  Control of yourself, and... control over others.  How we exert that control comes down to how we process our thoughts and how we use the language, and that comes out in almost all aspects of our communication.

I have this habit of being defensive and dismissive and snippy, as if what the other person is saying, even if it’s a resonable statement, doesn’t deserve my attention while I’m mentally processing something that has gone wrong.  That’s part of my own stuff that I need to deal with., and it is most often brought to it’s forefront when I already have a history of dismissing or being defensive with a particular someone.  Apart from anger management (or frustration management), better listening skills is what I think most people need.  Many pay lip service to listening, but are already priming themselves for what they are going to say next, or are stewing and fuming on what has happened or what someone else has said.  And also by ‘listening’ I don’t mean just listening to the other person.  I mean listening deeply into the entire situation.  What is it really telling you about the world, and how can you make it speak something better to you?  Arrange a better place for the milk.  Also, what is it that you, yourself, are thinking?  What is rattling around in your head that is full of past wrongs and personal affronts, assumptions and preconceived notions?  What emotions does it bring up?  What are the deeper feelings that are effecting your emotional state.  I know myself well enough to know that in the past I would come into a situation fully loaded and ready to shoot that it’s surprising that I have as many friends and aquaintences willing to keep talking to me as I do.  I’ve mellowed, considerably over the years, but I still have much work to do.  

I personally don’t think it’s a language issue, per se, so much as ‘English’ is to blame.  The Non Violent Communication poster shows ways that the English language can be very effective, and dissarming, and promoting of effective correspondence of thoughts without emotional baggage.  So apart from listening, it is also very much about thought processes, and emotional processes, and separating them and analyzing them and processing them, and coming properly to terms with the situation within yourself, before responding to the situation.  There is a big difference between responding to a situation and reacting to it.  Non violent communication is all about response.  It is a process:  A thought process, an emotional process, and then a check in, and then a formulation, and then a response.    It is not a reaction, a ‘shoot from the hip’ thing that makes a decision on the impulse and acts on it.  Those kinds of decisions are sometimes necessary, like when you grab someone that is about to step out infront of a rushing car, but I think we as a society tend to use that as our default program.  A reaction is much more often too tied up in the situation to be helpful emotionally or socially.  

Apart from listening to yourself and others, it is also about finding that place in your heart that reaches out to the other with empathy, compassion, and perhaps the higher form of love that is known as Agape.   But that takes a lot of conscious effort, as does the general Non Violent Communication patterns, until they become engrained in your personal language culture.  As such, I believe this problem with the way we communicate is a symptom, it is a cultural issue, it’s a part of the dominance culture, that we must consciously root out of ourselves and carefully steer others away from.  I understand these are deeply seated socio-psychological/emotional wounds that have been embedded culturally for millenia, in this culture which was built upon colonial imperial dominance.  The wounded become the wounder.  It’s cyclical abuse, but what we are talking about is on the small scale, it’s the microcosm of that.  It’s a language issue, for sure, but it’s a personal language issue.  I think any language will develop negative patterns if it is oppressed to the point that it is forced to express itself that way.  And then it just becomes the new norm...  The new base line of communication, and then it becomes the common spoken tongue, the new form that the language takes and, as such, the common way the language is used in a self-perpetuting cycle.  Even though better words and better ways of using those words exist, those ways have fallen out of disservice, or were never common in the first place.  

The reason it may be, or seem, that this is a problem of English, is partly due to the fact that the language arises from an invading culture.  The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes were invaders to Britain, and the Celtic tribes that preceded them (on which some of the language has roots) were also invaders to those Islands.  The Romans, Vikings, and the French, from whose tongues other aspects of the language have roots, were also invaders.  This invasive pattern, this war like nature, is rooted deeply in the culture and it’s language.   On top of this, the English, for their part, have invaded more of the planet than any other Nation, and then the Unitied States, also being English speaking, has taken over from Britain in becoming globally dominant with it's economy and military and it's covert operations.  Because of all this, the English language has become the lingua franca of the global economy as well as, oddly enough considering the topic of our current discussion, global diplomacy.  There is much work to be done to fix the way we do the business of language.  

Being nice, as part of Permies, is one small way that we can make this change happen.  

So to bring this back around to R Ranson's original post.

We seem to be conditioned as a society to 1) feel that everything bad must be blamed on a person and 2) get scared that that blame will fall on us so we need to be aggressive before this happens in hopes this will deflect the blame.  

I think you are quite right, the blame thing is part of the culture.  It is kind of like in present day China (the last place where English is unlikely to become dominant any time soon) where you can be rewarded for turning someone else in, or accusing someone.  That's the extreme version of it, but it exists in our culture too.  I'm sure that that has been present in other cultures on the planet at other times... East Germany comes to mind in relatively recent years... Not English, but English has a Germanic base!-ha, maybe it's a german thing... the Nazi's were German, Right?  But then Stalinist Russia comes to mind.  It is generally a dictator's thing... methinks.  A warlord thing.  A thing based, as mentioned, on conquest, on dominance.  By taking this way of communicating, we gain some reward, however sick and twisted it is, by putting the blame on someone else, or something else, but not accepting the blame or responisibility ourselves, by getting the eyes off of us.  I think there is something deeply inherent in this culture that brings that out of us, and we hold onto this part of ourselves as somehow important, however small and on many levels.  By placing blame, we make someone own it, but not us.  It's a cruel world in this way, and we do need to consider it, and we do need to act better based on better thinking, deeper thinking, so that this can be removed in any form that seems like it's going to be harmful in our interpersonal relationship and to us as a society.  

Great topic R      
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Holy Crap Pearl!  You nailed it.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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There I was typing a diatribe trying to figure out the why of the situation.  Ultimately that is only a small part of the problem.  The solution is where Pearl focussed.  
 
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Elle

> [control our emotions]

Seems to me that we can control out _actions_ and our path. Not so much our feelings. The Zen people say that trying to put the lid on feelings is extremely counterproductive. They advise maintaining a still place in your center and letting "feelings" flow through you without grabbing them to use to motivate and direct actions and path. Don't snub your feelings, let them flow through and out while directing actions from the quiet center. Not sure that's a very good description - always seemed a little hokey to me, but there is a powerful tradition behind that stuff. I may even have experienced something like that sometimes.

Counting 10, deep breaths, rule of thumb tricks, physical motions which aid the still center and calm progression.

And then sometimes it _really_ helps when the other party sees in fact you have "feelings about this". I helped a good friend years ago with a flat she was renting out. She expected her tenants who were nothing like her to act and feel the same way she did. She was _very_ proper and the tenant just kept on the same ol' same ol' shine-on because they didn't realize just how totally PO'd she was. One day after a completely "unproductive" session about... something... She turned away before she actually committed violence and about 60 seconds later the whole house shook when she slammed the back door and went and picked the lemon tree for 15  minutes. Nothing was ever said about this, but whatever particular issue was getting hashed over was never a problem again. I think it was because the tenant recognized for the first time that my friend _honestly_ had strong feelings about this and that her polite, even stilted, manner of speech did _not_ mean there weren't strong feelings, deep water and thin ice - _right here, now_.

But truth tell, I don't know how that scenario translates to online communication...


Regards,
Rufus
 
Rufus Laggren
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"Blame", amoung other things, seems to me a shorthand, a quick'n'dirty way to control something in your mind w/out bothering to actually "listen to the situation" as Roberto said. It's is sooo much easier to take a quick black/white position than to try to actually understand more of the situation. And it can be used to control others because the blamer offers _them_ a quick/easy answer to their confusion. And also, it helps to form and strengthen a group from disparate people who can all pile on the same victim. Even if they all feel ashamed later, it's a real high at the time. We're a herd animal, after all.

It's hard to look at that kind of concept, but I think it's a whole lot worse a problem to hide from that side of oneself. Besides, there's more to a person than their vices and poor behavior...

And interestingly enough, blame itself, or maybe I should say, assigning of responsibility, is _not_ an emotion - it's a thought process, assigning an explanation to a situation; it actually takes some thought at times. The idea, concept, then provides a channel for strong basic emotions.

And since we're all emotional creatures, consider this: We deal much more benignly with everyone, ourselves included, when we're in a good mood. So maybe part of the deal is taking some care to maintain a decent "frame of mind" as we go through our paces.


Cheers,
Rufus
 
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Jan White wrote:

Are there really that many people who when hearing, "Hey, can we try putting the milk in this other spot? It keeps tipping over when we put it here." will get defensive about being blamed? I guess I understand that some people might feel blamed if someone says, "hey, you keep spilling the milk when you open the fridge." A simple tweak in wording like above would be enough for almost everyone, I would think. Maybe I don't get it.



My late mother told me that oftentimes, she had difficulty with a task, finally found a way of doing it that worked for her, only to get unsolicited advice, "It's better to do it this way" -- which was a way she already tried and couldn't do. As I moved into adult life, I found that was often a problem for me, too, although thankfully less so as I get older. So yes, "Can we try putting the milk in this other spot" can feel like an attack if the person had a definite reason for not doing so.
 
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r ranson wrote:Story time.

I once lived with a person's who's entire world view was based on one axiom: If something happens, someone has to be to blame.  It's raining, the weatherman is to blame for hating us.  If the sun shines, the weatherman is to blame.  If the milk is spilt, someone didn't put it in the fridge properly and that individual must be sought out and punished for their crime.  

I wondered about this.  Why does every action have to have blame associated with it?

Then I remembered something a teacher said.  In English, the action is related to the person.  "He spilt the milk".  Whereas in other languages, it's more common to say "the milk spilt" or "the milk spilt itself"

This is the trouble I have.  Why must we blame someone for split milk?  If the milk spilt because it wasn't sitting in the fridge door securely, I want to talk with others about how do we fix the problem so the milk remains unspilt tomorrow?  

What they hear is "you didn't put the milk away properly."

What I'm saying is "the milk spilt because something is wrong with the design.  Do we need to move the lemon juice so that the milk can fit in there easier or maybe the milk is shifting as the door opens?  Maybe if we changed where the milk lives, then the future will have less spilt milk."

And what they hear is "you are a horrible person because you dropped the milk bottle."

We seem to be conditioned as a society to 1) feel that everything bad must be blamed on a person and 2) get scared that that blame will fall on us so we need to be aggressive before this happens in hopes this will deflect the blame.  



I always found it's better let spilt milk lie...

 
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The Myers Briggs personality test has a neat thing to say on this topic: Judging vs Perceiving

The first likes to keep everything in nice compartments with labels "you spilt the milk".  The second, reserves putting labels on things "there is milk on the floor".
A big problem is, that people in the extreme ends of these spectrums hear the templates that are in their head because that's how they interact with the world.

 
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Hi Raven,

I have certainly experienced both extremes as a CEO ....and both are difficult to deal with.  I had a key employee who had to assign blame to everything that went wrong ....and in her world, everything was wrong.   It was amazing because she lived a blessed life ...high school cheerleader, college with an advanced degree, wealthy husband.  She eventually hated herself to death.

At the other extreme was an innocent fresh out of college who confronted me with the theory that no blame should ever be assigned to any problem.  The concept was clearly part of her composition.  I responded by asking her if she was telling me she would not report a male employee sexually assaulting a female patient. She literally broke down in tears.

I take the approach of a football coach I knew.  A team member fumbled the ball, and someone wanted the player punished. The coach responded, "Do you think he did it deliberately?"    The fact is in most cases, whether or not fault exists, there is little need to assign blame. Most people will self-correct. And in most cases a dropped ball is simply a dropped ball and not all that important.
 
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