how do make brain not do an anxiety over potential fights

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by evilas, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    So, I'm finally making a Braiiiins thread wrt this thing.
    Took me long enough.
    I would like some help with this thing, it's been a problem for so fucking long.

    Every so often, some friend or another, let's call them Person A, makes a comment, or states their opinion on a thing. Be it political (a lot of the times it's political), or a comment on what someone else said, or criticizes something (could be anything from an idea to a person to a movie). The point is, at some level, what they said might be seen by some to be controversial.
    Person B, some other friend, has a habit of finding the topic Person A chose to be very sensitive, or they tend to find opinions similar to A's triggering, or maybe they think those opinions that A unapologetically holds are Bad Opinions, toxic beliefs that are harmful to them personally.

    I use generic names like these not necessarily to hide anyone's identity, but because I've had many Person A's and many Person B's who were and are my friends

    If Person A says their opinion within Person B's hearing range (groupchat, forum, Tumblr post, whatever), then I immediately panic. Or, at the very least, spiral. I get this overwhelming dread, feeling of "oh no things are gonna go Bad", I get this weird burning chill in my face and back, by breathing gets all wonky, I get dizzy/nauseous, you get the picture.

    One of the thoughts I spiral around is "who is right? What opinions are okay to have? Cause there are some opinions that are clearly Not Okay to have, but... do Person A's opinions fall under that category? If so... then agreeing with Person A, or finding their views "not horrible", makes me horrible. Not to mention I might be hurting Person B. If they don't fall under that category... how do I know? How do I find these views acceptable while Person B is visibly being hurt by them?

    Will I need to choose between the two? Can I ignore this completely? I could, but if I completely ignore all of Person A's opinions and Person B's reactions then am I even still their friend at that point?

    That's not even touching the fact that maybe I'm overestimating and A and B don't fight over this. How do I figure out when it'll lead to a fight and when it won't? I've had so many examples of all of the above happening and all of the above not happening and I can't tell them apart.

    I want to stop feeling like crap every time there's even a chance that one of these situations will happen and I don't know how to.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  2. shmeed

    shmeed plant me

    this post is kinda old but i was browsing through and think i can help
    you do not need to do this for your friends. you do. not. need to do this for your friends. this sounds exhausting and incredibly emotionally upsetting for you, and honestly pretty patronizing to person B. i cannot imagine that person B wants you to be putting yourself through this insane amount of stress and social juggling to placate their potential reactions. person B is in charge of their own moods and reactions. they aren't yours to manage.
    person B should not want their friends to do this for them. would you want your friends to go through this mental stress, for your sake, because they're worried someone might offend you?
    again, not your job. there are some very specific circumstances where you might want to take a more active role in this kind of thing, but not in general. unless youre a moderator or something

    yes, because disputes like this are not your job to mediate and preempt, especially if it makes you uncomfortable.
    if friend A or B is complaining to you about the other friend's reaction, and that makes you uncomfortable, you can tell them that you're uncomfortable and don't want to be involved with this, because you're friends with both of them and feel pressured to take a side. your friends should respect this.

    also in general
    this sounds like walking on eggshells and incredibly exhausting.
    you shouldn't have to feel this way with your friends. it's not that you have to agree with everything that everyone says all the time. but most people can meet in the middle on most things*, or at least not hold it against you if you disagree. people who regularly do that are holding their approval of you hostage in order to get you to only express certain things in front of them, which sucks.
    if you want to know what the right opinion is, think about it for a while, maybe research it, and come up with your own opinion. maybe then discuss it with some people to hear their feedback, and you can integrate that into your opinion and see if it weakens or strengthens it. you don't have to just agree with what people say. variety and difference of opinions is so valuable and fun. your opinions are worth forming and sharing with the world.

    *i mean, unless the opinions that are "Not Okay" are, like, super hateful, like racist shit or "gay people suck" or something like that. then yeah, that would cause serious problems socializing in some crowds, and most people won't meet you in the middle there.
    there are some subjects, like religion or politics, that are also really hot-button and can be very hot or cold. but even with those, i've found that people of a similar age range can usually be civil about differences. exceptions exist.
    but if it's just like, general opinions, nah
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  3. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    Thank you for digging this up. It means a lot to me that you gave me that thorough of a response.

    No - in fact, I'd pretty much try my hardest to not show myself getting hurt by anything any friend thinks of me or anyone else.

    Well, friends need to be there for each other when they're hurt.

    But I see what you mean about saying you don't want to be involved with this, but like. What if an opinion is harmful? If someone's hurt by an opinion, they have every right to ask you to not express it. How do you know beforehand whether an opinion you have will hurt someone?

    That's the problem though. Everything is political! Because everything is a moral dilemma. Is liking a Let's Player who's said some shitty things in the past morally acceptable? Is liking a movie or a TV show that was made by someone who was found out to be a shitty person okay? Is liking a movie that's got some shitty themes embedded in it or uses shitty tropes something I should allow myself to do? Do these questions all have different answers? I don't know! Some people will say "no, because by giving them views and revenue you're supporting them and everything they've said and done." And I genuinely don't know whether that position is right or not.

    I had written this post a couple of weeks after part of my polycule broke up due to trust issues.
    My boyfriend... let's call him B, got extremely upset by the fact that my other boyfriend (let's call him W) followed and frequently retweeted stuff from a sorta-right-wing YouTube vlogger who had said some shitty stuff in the past. B got upset, overreacted. He then apologized for overreacting, but asked W to not retweet stuff from that person anymore. W felt like B didn't trust him enough, he got scared, he asked B to trust that he didn't believe those things even if he did retweet stuff from that vlogger and B said he had a lot of trouble trusting people to that extent.....
    long story short: they both have shitty trust issues, those trust issues became incompatible, they broke up. And... I now only rarely talk to W. We haven't broken up, but. Well. Yeah.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    • Witnessed x 1
  4. shmeed

    shmeed plant me

    my slow response is because that's a tough one, and im not sure how to approach answering. i see that this is indeed one of the more nuanced forms of this issue, and that's an issue that a lot of people feel differently and strongly about. i started one response and it ballooned into thousands of words.
    i know where i personally stand on that issue, but dont want to present it like that's the only available option, and trying to figure out how to look at it without too much bias.
    yes, if an opinion is harmful, people have a right to ask someone to not express that. this can be a slippery slope into walking on eggshells, and super nuanced. in general it's good to respect people's boundaries with stuff like that, and encourage that. but if something feels wrong it's really good to get outside feedback (like what youre doing right now! ive found the mod closet to also be helpful, or maybe a totally unrelated friend)
    as for knowing beforehand, you can guess based on things you already know about a person, but too much assuming gets into patronizing territory. ultimately it's up to people to articulate for themselves what they're comfortable with.

    fwiw, from the context snippet, my personal take is that B is being a controlling douche to W. i definitely believe that you can like artists without condoning everything they do, and the decision of "how shitty, and what kind of shitty, does an artist have to be before i boycott them" is a personal one, and that trying to force your line on other people is controlling and shitty.
    • Informative x 1
  5. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    Well, yeah, I tried to present the most nuanced thing I could talk about, but like. Don't get me wrong - I have (frequently) had meltdowns over thinking a movie was "objectively good/bad" (which is different from liking or not liking it. I like several things that I know are objectively bad) - but apparently my brain is like "okay there's this complex and nuanced issue. I understand the complexity and nuance. And until I can't figure out an answer for this very difficult topic, I won't be able to understand what the right thing to do/say/think is in any situation".

    ...come to think of it, I don't think I'd ever stopped to consider that these are actually 2 different problems, that my brain is just doing the whole "unless we have a PERFECT ANSWER FOR EVERY SITUATION we can't accept ANYTHING" thing to.

    If you really like a movie that has anti-LGBT themes, does that make you homophobic? If that's not an answerable question, then where can you draw the line?
    ....sorry, I know you answered it and by asking that question we're just going in circles.

    (no, brain, this does not mean "B is evil and you should break up with him" that is not what they said stop it.)
    There was more to it than that, and I think neither of them was being the douche in the situation. But idk.

    hmm. Is this what you mean when you say "it's not the only available option"?
    Idk, like. To what extent?
    ...because if 2 people disagree on that, then they won't ever be able to get along. Cause although many people agree with you (including many friends), a lot of people (including many other friends) think that it's not personal; that "what artists you follow" is part of political activism.
    How can 2 people who disagree on that ever be able to get along? After all, thinking that someone or something should be boycotted and calling for its boycott implies thinking that whoever doesn't boycott the thing is a bad person, right?

    ....or is that the part I'm tripping up over?

    Cause if that's the part I'm tripping up over (and the more I think about it, the more I feel like it is) then I... feel like I'm gonna need a lot more help than I thought :/
  6. shmeed

    shmeed plant me

    personally, i don't think so
    i run into this with mostly trans stuff. there are a lot of excellent movies/shows/books that have really uncomfortable transphobic shit in them. you're not transphobic for still enjoying the thing.lik
    like, say, silence of the lambs? incredibly fucking uncomfortable re: trans issues. still an excellent book/movie in my opinion.
    ive seen plenty of people liking things with problematic elements, and what they do is something like, "i like this media thing, although it does have some problematic elements that can't be ignored." if they're really egregiously problematic you might want to preface saying you like them with that. or you could just only clarify if someone asks you.

    god sorry in retrospect i shouldnt have taken sides, i really don't have a lot of context at all and it's a really bad habit of mine.
    no, definitely not, b is not evil and you shouldn't break up with him.
    relationship stuff like this is complicated and i really, truly am missing a MASSIVE amount of the full picture, and im not even kind of qualified to be making judgements like that, so, once again, sorry

    yep, i know where i fall for it and i know how i weigh the issue when stuff comes up, but you'll have to come up with your own scales and weights

    this sounds like something you'll want to think about to decide. lots of people have written about both sides of the issue. you can look up things like "is it okay to like problematic things" or "why you shouldnt like problematic things" or "the importance of boycotting problematic things" etc. and try to read lots of different sources and sides of the issue, and see what feels most right to you.

    it might be that they can't get along. it might just be an unreconcilable difference.
    and, about the second part, not necessarily. personally, if i boycott an artist, i don't judge other people who like them, because i think it's a personal decision to make. i also personally don't think that most personal, individual boycotts have much effect for anyone except the person doing the boycott, so take that with a grain of salt. but, it's definitely possible to boycott x without thinking x fans are bad.
  7. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    No, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have made you feel bad. I know that's not what you meant.

    Sorry, but I don't think that's an acceptable answer for me. I know which opinion I want to have be right and which one I feel should be right (it's the same one you have) but I'm scared it's not The Real Morally Good And Right One.

    Yeah, that seems to be the issue tbh. When people boycott or protest or start a Twitter hashtag, it's because they think that the thing deserves to be stopped. So... wouldn't it make sense to be angry at people who actively oppose that by continuing to watch it?
  8. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    tbh, i think the only thing B is being remotely effective at stopping is you, as a result of your scrupulosity issues.

    when it comes to the youtube vlogger, frankly, he's just flailing his tiny fists at the sky and hoping they hit him but instead just hurting you and W.

    he can boycott the youtube vlogger himself if he wants and he can make his case for why the vlogger should be boycotted in a post intended for a general audience (and either convince or fail to convince people with his arguments) but going up to W and being like, "why do you retweet this vlogger? stop retweeting this vlogger" just ends up hurting W and you a lot.
  9. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    ...dude wtf, this isn't something B is doing at me. He's helped me with these issues, when I bring it up with him he's helped me a lot and when he has said something that hurts me, I learned that I could bring it up to him and he apologizes and acknowledges that he did something wrong and tries to get better. I've had these scrupulosity issues before I met him, and continue to have them wrt things that have nothing to do with him.

    Please stop, you have no idea what you're talking about.

    EDIT: also, there is way more context surrounding things than I shared in that one-paragraph bit.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  10. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    i know you had them before you met B. i'm not saying he caused them.

    i'm saying that the only thing he managed to accomplish with his boycott was upsetting both you and W, and making your scrupulosity issues worse.

    the youtube vlogger doesn't care and isn't affected at all, quite honestly.

    and B has no right to tell W who he can or can't retweet.
  11. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    Please stop. Please leave.
  12. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    alright, i'm leaving.
  13. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    thank you. I mean, you can stay but please understand that I'm not in a place where I can have this discussion without splitting which is what I wanted to sort out in the first place because I did feel uncomfortable with some things W retweeted.
    • Like x 1
  14. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    I'm sorry I told you to leave. Please listen to me when I say that B's not The Single Jerk here though (also, he had apologized and recognized that he'd overreacted). There's more context than what I showed you and I'm not willing to lay out my entire history with 2 other people here.

    EDIT: also, this isn't a personal vent thread. To get back to the original point of this: do people deal with these situations?
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  15. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    Going back to Seed's original response wrt a different thing:
    I once explained to my dad that introducing 2 friends to each other, to me, was like being a shitty chemist who was only about 80% sure that mixing these two compounds wouldn't cause them to blow up.

    He basically replied with that same thing and... honestly, what else am I supposed to do? Introduce people, stand back, and if they blow up at each other not care and move on? Both of them are gonna say "god, your friend is a fucking jerk" at me and I really don't want that.
  16. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    i acknowledge that he's not.

    my reaction to this might be influenced by my history with my own scrupulosity issues and how i found that the thing that worked best for me, when it came to dealing with them, was basically deciding not to take anyone else's word on morality, to think critically and come to my own conclusions on right and wrong, and ignore anyone i saw as trying to shame me for my choices.

    but, evilas, there's nothing wrong with you asserting your boundaries and telling me to leave your vent thread. you don't need to apologize to me for that.
    • Like x 1
  17. shmeed

    shmeed plant me

    D: yeah i get what youre saying
    unfortunately your role is limited in this scenario. you can't make sure people like each other. there are a lot of my friends' friends who i find insufferable. it's something that happens.
    you can do a little bit of damage control if you know certain things about both of them beforehand. before they meet, you can bring up to A "hey, B is a strong republican, but they're really cool and i think you guys might get along other than that" and tell B, "hey, A is a strong democrat, [etc]"
    that way, they're both primed for this Big Uncomfortable difference before going into it.
    now, this only works if you think of these potential irreconcilable differences beforehand. you also have to be prepared that they might say, "oh, [person] is [political stance]? i dont want to meet them. i won't get along with them." which might be better than them meeting and then exploding actually
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  18. shmeed

    shmeed plant me

    and i agree with ua that this sounds like a bad case of the scrupulosities
    which is also a large part of why i arrived at the stance i have about this issue, and why i get so bristly at people why try to enforce "you can't like [x] because of [moral stance]".
    if you want, i can get more into the philosophy of why i personally think the "you can't support problematic art" thing can easily take advantage of people with scrupulosity. although it'll take a while for me to formulate and type it out.

    also, you said that some of the things W was retweeting was making you uncomfortable. i don't have enough context to be sure, but that sounds like a different issue. and i didn't realize that was happening from your OP, sorry, must have missed it.
    there's "i like harry potter even though jk rowling believes this political thing that i hate" and then there's retweeting jk rowling's hot political takes. the second thing is actively political, and isn't a matter of supporting problematic art.

    but i feel like you still have the problematic art question, even if the thing with W was on a bit of a different issue?
    • Like x 1
  19. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    Yeah, I've heard that as a common approach. I don't want it to be the one I take because I don't want to come off as a jerk to anyone and I feel like doing that will probably end up with me coming off as a jerk to many people.
    thank you. Though, it's not a vent thread, heh. But thank you.

    Yeah, that makes sense. Seems like there really isn't a Best Solution which would prevent all fights and have people get along and have me not worry about this.
    Guess I kinda just need to get used to the fact that people won't always like each other and it's possible to have 2 friends who each think the other is a jerk and who blow up at each other whenever a certain topic comes up.
    That. Really sucks. Like, whenever friend A says to me in private that friend B is a jerk and they hate them (this is another pair of friends I have, nothing to do with my boyfriends), I kinda... can't really tell them "no actually, friend B is a good person, you don't understand" without making them upset, right?

    And that kinda... really fucking sucks.
    • Like x 1
  20. evilas

    evilas Custom title cause all the cool kids are doing it

    well, I didn't make it explicitly clear. Think more "I think [person] is getting unfairly attacked, they didn't say anything too bad" and also retweeting one of their less contentious political takes.

    yeah, yes I do.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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