Home > anger, forums, interdependence, ranting > Big Girl Panties

Big Girl Panties


I interrupt my normal blogging content in order to get a rant off my chest. The last few weeks, ok, months, have been long and frustrating. As the final straw, I got a flat tire yesterday morning on the way to get a haircut which was overdue for a month (my hair is still way too long and my hairdresser went on vacation, so I’m going to look this way for another week. Trust me, it is NOT pretty. I look like Beethoven. The composer, not the dog.) Because of all this, I am cranky, curmudgeonly, and just plain out of patience, so I am going to indulge myself in a rant. If you are easily offended, or do not wish to see this side of me, may I suggest you stop reading now? For those of you brave enough (or foolish enough 🙂 ) to continue reading, thank you for indulging me. Also, if you read this and wonder if it is addressed to you, please do not ask me. This is based on an amalgam of behaviors I have seen over a long period of time and is addressed to no one in particular. But by all means, if you think it applies, you might want to stop and think what you’d like to do about that. One last note, I am not claiming to be perfect, I do more than my fair share of stupid stuff when I post, but this is my blog and I’m allowed to rant here.

***BEGIN RANT

Dear Internet Users (especially those who post on forums about therapy),

Please put on your big girl panties before venturing out to post. If you make broad, sweeping statements about categories of therapists and/or pick a particular way of practicing or a particular boundary and declare that anathema for all therapists, then the other people in therapy who go to one of those therapists is probably going to get either a little angry or a little defensive or both. We tend to feel strongly about our therapists and so we take offense to criticisms of them, especially those accusations we believe are baseless. If you want to post that kind of opinion, you have every right to do so, but you do not have the right to demand that everyone be perfectly accepting of your attitude or that any questioning of your statement is out of line. If you express a strong opinion, people will respond, sometimes by agreeing, sometimes by not. If you do not like knowing that some people will not agree and will even call upon you to defend your opinion, please do not post on a public forum.

Please also understand that you are entering a community and like all human communities there are unspoken understandings in how that culture operates. Take some time, read some posts, try to discern the rules of the road. You do not have to get it perfect, most people are very understanding of new people not yet knowing the ropes. But you should enter with a certain level of humility and with a willingness to learn. This includes not being offended that someone who has been posting for years longer than you, and has put in the effort to build relationships, is getting more replies than you. If you wish to get that level of replies, you need to pay your dues, and build relationships also. This is not a clique, this is how human relationships work. When you put effort into relationships, you tend to get support back. Yes, it will take you awhile to form the same level of relationships, but it took that person you see as so privileged a while also. EVERYONE is new at some point.

And, human beings being human beings, and adult relationships being reciprocal, do not expect to just show up when you need support, get that support and disappear and get away with it forever. On most support forums, all the other people are your  peers, also dealing with their own life struggles but who are still willing to volunteer their time and effort and insight to help support you. If everyone only takes from the community it falls apart. By all means, take breaks when you’re not up to interacting, and when you’re facing a crisis, it’s ok to lean on other people; that’s what support is all about. But there should be times when you are there willing to be the person leaned upon or willing to offer support or insight. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, you cannot always expect to take and never give anything back. Personally, if I see that kind of pattern in a member, you will no longer get responses from me. And yes, I know it’s scary to respond to other people and every other person who posts a response sounds so much more intelligent and insightful than you. How do I know that? Because I feel that way when I read other people’s responses. 🙂 Post anyway. We are all unique and therefore, bring our uniqueness to any given situation. Your point of view and your experience are more valuable than you think they are.

***END RANT 

Thank you, I feel better now. 🙂

PS If you are going to comment, please keep it civil and respectful, or it won’t last long. Did I mention I’m a little short of patience right now? That does not mean you have to agree with me or you are not allowed to challenge me about what I said (see rant above) but keep it civil and respectful and I will strive to do the same when I reply. So no name calling and no psychoanalysis of anyone else’s motivations for saying what they do. The role of therapist is already filled in most of our lives. And you’d be practicing without a license. 😀

  1. Ms. Sharkey
    March 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Hear, hear! A poster on a forum I read regularly raised some hackles last week by offering her unsolicited opinion on how another poster ought to be running her family. Several regulars called her out and pointed out that her posts were uncalled for, offensive and overstepping. She insisted that she had a right to her opinion and then whined that the people who called her out were attacking her. I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly fell out of my sockets.

    People who play the “I have a right to my opinion!” card irk me mightily.

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 3, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      Ms. Sharkey
      Can’t tell you how relieved I am that the first comment agreed with me. 🙂 What drives me nuts is that, yes, they do have a right to their opinion, but other people also have the right to their’s and to express opinions about your opinion. An attack is when people call you names, or call your motivations into question. As long as someone is dealing directly with what you said and is being respectful then either stand up and defend what you said, or get out of the kitchen ’cause you can’t take the heat. 🙂 xx AG

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ms. Sharkey
        March 3, 2015 at 6:49 pm

        Can I just say that I also totally hear you on what a difference a good haircut makes? I got my hair done last week and my stylist did a perfect job. I felt a million times better walking out of his salon. I hope your haircut makes you feel just as great!

        Like

      • Laughing Dragon
        March 3, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        You were honest. Genuine activity is praise worthy activity.

        Like

        • March 4, 2015 at 1:12 pm

          Hi Laughing Dragon,
          Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. I love your handle. Thanks for the reassurance about the post, I appreciate it. And I did understand you meant praise. I corrected your original comment and deleted the second. 🙂 Hope to see more of you! ~ AG

          Liked by 1 person

  2. March 3, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Actually, I do have a license. 😉 However, I happen to agree with you that I find the behavior majorly aggravating, so all is well.

    That said, (here is the but) I also understand how difficult it can be to write an open, honest post that feels like it exposes tender facets of myself and then sit there for a couple of days, with no one responding in any way. It brings out all of the anxious, clingy, ‘I’m invisible. No one notices. I’m not worth anything. No one cares. I drive people away’ responses. I have learned that someone will eventually respond to those posts and they will almost always say, ‘I really needed to hear this’, but at first it was terribly difficult and even now it’s a huge relief once I get that first message.

    My reaction tends to be to go and hide away. I have even taken down posts. I imagine that others react to the other extreme.

    So maybe it’s a sense of entitlement, but maybe it’s also fear of isolation and rejection that is being expressed in an obnoxious manner. It’s still the job of the person in question to fix it and I don’t know how you or I would know the difference, only seeing a bit of that person, but just some thoughts that I had.

    I hope that your hair cut is fantastic, when you get it!!!

    Like

    • March 3, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Cat, I totally agree! There are few things more terrible than the time between when you put up a vulnerable post and the first reply. We have ALL deleted posts when our inner critics were screaming. I have no problems with people deleting in order to feel safe. I also have no problem with people expressing how hard it can feel to not get replies and the messages that get evoked. What I resent are people who have a sense of entitlement or never look to their own behavior. I have seen people who have offended or been insensitive to a majority of posters and/or consistently criticized the responses they’ve gotten, then post about how horrible everyone is for favoring other members! But my point about contributing to the community was that just a handful of people cannot reply to everyone, but if everyone contributes there’s much less chance someone’s going to be left hanging. I say this not to disagree with you, as always you make excellent points, just to add nuance to a post sorely lacking any. 🙂 xx AG

      Like

    • FindingMyVoice
      March 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      As someone who rarely posts on any of my favorite blogs, it was such a relief to read Cat’s Meow’s response… the stress of waiting for a reply is too much for me, right now. My therapist and I have this running joke… I’ll say something like, “I’ll never be able to respond to the people who touch my heart without being terrified,” and she’ll say “you can’t do it, yet!” So sometimes in conversation she’ll say something that she thinks she’ll never be able to do and I love to catch her with a “yet!”

      Anyway, I appreciated your rant, you model letting out your feelings of anger, frustration… in a healthy, appropriate way. One thing I wanted to be sure you know though is that many of us still can’t do the work necessary to build the relationships that you mentioned. I only pop in and out of blogs as I can, but I gain so much from what people say about things they are going through, and am always so (silently) appreciative of people like yourself AG, and Cat’s Meow, who can write what so many of us experience…. you help us feel less alone. I can only, very rarely, post responses to the people out there who do help me along on my own path to healing. I don’t have the skills to build healthy relationships that don’t terrify me… yet!

      Like

      • March 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

        FindingMyVoice,
        I am so glad you commented, thank you for risking it. And I totally agree with your therapist’s “yet!” You’re very kind to say that this was a model of how to express anger and frustration, but the truth is that, as your comment shows, nothing is that cut and dried. As I said before to Cat, there was a certain lack of nuance. 😀

        I do want to be clear though, that I truly do understand that risking being out there is too much for some people. There was a time when it was too much for me. And I remember when I first started posting on a forum, I was in constant agony because so many negative messages would rise up. It can still be difficult. And for people dealing with trauma or neglect, a sense of safety is paramount in my opinion. so I wouldn’t want someone posting if it felt too scary. The people that I am frustrated with aren’t those who lurk, it’s the people who plunge on to a forum without any regard for how it runs, start posting up a storm, then lash out because their not getting as many replies as they’d like. There is no sense of entitlement in what you’re saying, only a realization that something is still outside your comfort zone.

        And btw, I am not at all referring to my blog. I know there are people who read but do not comment and I am fine with that. What I do here, I do because I need a place to speak and it is my hope that what I write might help others. I am very grateful for the wonderful group of people who comment here, but I am not owed that. I chose to write the blog and no one has to respond, nor do I expect them to. I mean it’s nice knowing that I’m not just yelling into an empty room, but I truly wouldn’t want someone to push themselves too hard out of some sense of “having” to post. It’s a gift and a choice and should be done only when the resources allow. I’m sure you can see how often i step away from the blog, it can be hard, but I need to give myself permission to stop giving when there is nothing to give from. Same thing as people who find it too scary. I’m not sure if I am explaining this well, but this was most definitely not directed towards people who struggle to post. (In fact, most of the people who spring to mind who inspired that part of my rant, were anything but laconic 🙂 ). I hope that helps. I can come across as a little too black and white at times. Thanks again, I really do so appreciate you putting this out there. xx AG

        Like

        • FindingMyVoice
          March 4, 2015 at 7:06 pm

          Thank you for such a helpful response. (I told myself I wasn’t going to check for a response, but then just took a chance:)) Yes, you explained yourself very well, and I do know the posts that you mean, and no I’m not one of them! 🙂 And… something I’m working on in therapy is accepting where I’m at and honoring that rather than beating myself up. Your response helps with that… in fact, I might bring this to my session next week! Take care, AG!!

          Like

  3. March 3, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Not enough cussing or exclamation points or all caps to be a rant. I’ll consider this a rough draft. Please try again.

    Totally kidding. Sounds reasonable to me. Humans are annoying sometimes, especially when you notice patterned behavior. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bourbon
    March 3, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    I agree. I wont write anything else because my natural behaviour is to psychoanalyse and you dont want that 😉

    Like

    • March 3, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Bourbon,
      I don’t have any problems psychoanalyzing people in the abstract! Fire away! My problem is when people are directly responding to another person and instead of engaging with what was said, they instead make assumptions, usually unflattering (passive-aggressive and manipulative seem to be two of the favorites) about why the person said what they said, even when the person gave a reason. It’s that whole “you don’t know what you’re really doing, let me explain it.” It’s a dodge. Address what was said, not what you decide their motivations are. Does that make sense? xx AG
      PS but thanks for being so respectful of what I said! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ann
    March 3, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    I hear you AG! You are in a tough position, but this is your blog!!!! You have the right to rant when someone(s) is (are) putting too much pressure on you! Last week, I posted on another site which deals with spiritual abuse. It is suppose to be safe, non-triggering, and supportive. Imagine my shock when another reader warned me my spiritual practice was demonic!! That brought back all the fears and condemnation I had felt in my former church.
    Do you think some people don’t understand the purpose of your post? Some may not understand blogging etiquette. I am sure you get all types of hurting people, including those who only know how to take and not give back which tends to put off others! Of course you can block whomever you want!!! You have provided a tremendous service for us all just by sharing your insights. Period. Nothing else is required.
    Even if from now on you only rant, I will continue to be an AG groupie! I will even carry around your sound equipment. 🙂 I love you and all you do. Xoxo Ann

    Like

    • March 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      Ann,
      Ironically enough, it wasn’t written in response to pressure on me. I tend to be pretty good at handling that kind of pressure and having clear boundaries (we can have another conversation about internal pressure about correspondence. 😀 ) I actually have this protective streak I have to watch, so I tend to get angry on other people’s behalf and step in instead of allowing them to handle it. Gets me in trouble. It grows out of a very young part of me wanting someone to see when something bad is happening and to step in to stop it. I have this really hyper sense of justice. So this was really about just expressing some frustration so I didn’t act out.

      And trust me, I’m sure that a lot of people won’t get what I was aiming for. I could have been much more gracious about it, but in a weird way I’m trying to help. I think some people blunder around causing themselves all kinds of problems and then are confused as to why they’re being treated that way. I think i am hoping that some people would read this and think twice before getting into trouble. And no, I am not planning on making ranting a centerpiece here at the blog, if for no other reason, I seem to be no good at it. LOL. Thanks as always for your support and encouragement, Ann, you’re a gem! xx AG

      Like

  6. drgeraldstein
    March 3, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Hardly a rant at all, just some good advice!

    Like

    • March 4, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Oh dear, I am evidently not good at ranting. 😀 Thanks so much for the feedback, it was much appreciated and comforting to see.

      Like

  7. saba
    March 4, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Hi AG,
    Hope you have the best haircut!
    I had my last session before the big break (1 month!) yesterday.
    I tried to speak about my fear when my therapist is abroad. It was so hard for me and I just could say few short sentences. But he assured me that I can call him anytime I need to.
    Still a one month break is scary 😦

    Like

    • March 4, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks Saba! I seriously cannot wait to get it cut. 🙂

      A month break is pretty long and it’s understandable that you’re feeling anxious. And give yourself credit for what you said. It is hard and takes a tremendous amount of courage to express such vulnerable feelings. I also know it can feel scary to call, but I would urge you to take advantage of calling since your T is freely offering it. A short phone call of 2 to 3 mins can work wonders; just hearing their voice and knowing the connection is still there can really help to calm us down. And better your therapist spends a few minutes on the phone here and there then to come home and find you totally destablized and have to work really hard to put you back together. It’s his time and if he is willing to allow you to call, you can trust him to take care of himself. I hope it goes by much faster than you’re expecting.

      Like

  8. Moto
    March 5, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    AG,
    If I had a thousand claps to post I would! Thank you for never being afraid to voice your opinions. I don’t think it was a rant, just facts!! So glad you were able to get that out and post it and leave it up!! (Cheers) Can I say I did laugh at the exchange and think…well here’s AG’s protective side! =) I thought it was perfect! So glad you brought up the unspoken rules! Surely, I would assume that if anyone has been on the internet for more than a month would realize that. Of course, we all know what happens when we assume anything! So bravo to you!!

    Like

    • March 5, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks Moto! Yeah, that protective side tends to have a mind of it’s own. Have I mentioned it gets me into trouble? Glad you thought it was funny though. 😀 And yeah, these things seem obvious to me too, but judging by my experience they most definitely are not for everyone. Thanks for the kind words! xx AG

      Like

  9. Tami
    March 5, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Oh my! Yesterday, I read your post and completely support what you had to say. Then, I went to the only forum I read and post in and saw entries from yesterday. I am so mad. And, you were right AG, “that was out of line”.

    Like

    • March 5, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Tami,
      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. Ironically enough, this post went up before that exchange. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one that thought it was wrong. 🙂 I really struggled when I was a moderator, because people could often become fairly aggressive, while as a moderator you were constrained. But it could also be difficult when people accused you of abusing your power, because when no one said anything, you could start wondering if everyone saw you that way and were you doing that? (OK maybe not everyone, but I’m not the most secure person in the world. 🙂 ) So yeah, I didn’t want to leave the moderator hanging in the breeze. Moderating a therapy forum is a hell of a lot harder than it looks from the outside. AG

      Like

  10. Tami
    March 6, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Somehow I missed the first exchange but knew your rant was over something that I had missed. Then, I saw the new one. But, I am often bothered by an attitude of one person that seems to think that there is only ONE good therapy modality.

    Thanks for the welcome here. I’ve been around for a while, but this is my first reply! I’m working on being more open and seen. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to experience a place where I feel safe and comfortable to post.

    You’re the best!

    By the way, I too need a haircut… desperate for one.

    Like

  11. EllyBlu
    March 12, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I have read your blog for a long time, but never have left a comment until now. I think a good rant every now and again is just what we need, so rant away, and I do hear what you’re saying, and agree! By the way, I love your blog, and have found so much of your experience to echo my own. Therapy is just hard. I think it’s worth it in the end, but I’m not there yet.

    You go!!

    Like

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