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  1. #1

    Default I wish the world would stop glorying in flat affect

    I remember growing up and I remember the extent to which it seemed that flat affect was the expected norm out of everyone, no joy, no sadness, you were meant to appear "hard" or "hardened" to pretty much all circumstances, good or bad, now I believe this is exaggerated by some social class conexts and perhaps its a response to people who have been treated badly, know they have been and probably treat others badly in turn too. Also I know NI is a "post-conflict" society too (although there's as much violent crime and shootings and probably attendent trauma in the US in some urban centres as there was in NI during the "troubles").

    Still I've been talking to some professionals working with kids from a range of backgrounds, cultural and national contexts and even some from pretty rich or affluent backgrounds too, who all exhibit a similar conception of "cool" which resounds with this kind of thing, this kind of expectation.

    This is really, really damaging, particularly to children in the first years of life who are developing attachments which will govern their understanding and relationships for the complete life cycle.

    In the bible it says "harden not your heart" and Fromm wrote books on this whole idea, its not something people reflect on much. Or so I think. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I remember growing up and I remember the extent to which it seemed that flat affect was the expected norm out of everyone, no joy, no sadness, you were meant to appear "hard" or "hardened" to pretty much all circumstances, good or bad, now I believe this is exaggerated by some social class conexts and perhaps its a response to people who have been treated badly, know they have been and probably treat others badly in turn too. Also I know NI is a "post-conflict" society too (although there's as much violent crime and shootings and probably attendent trauma in the US in some urban centres as there was in NI during the "troubles").

    Still I've been talking to some professionals working with kids from a range of backgrounds, cultural and national contexts and even some from pretty rich or affluent backgrounds too, who all exhibit a similar conception of "cool" which resounds with this kind of thing, this kind of expectation.

    This is really, really damaging, particularly to children in the first years of life who are developing attachments which will govern their understanding and relationships for the complete life cycle.

    In the bible it says "harden not your heart" and Fromm wrote books on this whole idea, its not something people reflect on much. Or so I think. What do you guys think?
    It is certainly a common psychological defence mechanism. It's purpose is to hide our feelings, not only from others, but also from ourselves.

    So we might ask what are we defending against? And how does this particular psychological defence mechanism help us manipulate others?

    And we need to point out that dissolving our psychological defence mechanisms is necessary to set us on the path of empathy and creativity.

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  4. #4
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Being sincere about emotions gives you a disadvantage in life. Which I'm not condoning or condemning, just stating.

    There are so many who exploit the emotional openness of others. And it's tied up with all those problems humans seem to share across the context of cultures, races...etc....Problems of fear and projection and pride....especially the image we want to appear as, the image we actually appear as and the fragility of identity.

    One of the more negative effects is that people confuse common problems with common solutions, or more precisely: common methods of dealing. There is a lyric from a song that I think sums up the point:

    "Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending
    That everyone's expendable and no-one has a real friend.
    And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
    And everything's done under the sun,
    And you believe at heart, everyone's a killer."
    But as usual its the how you deal with those common issues that's important, not the what of them existing in the first place. People are not all the same with regards to influences and experiences, but their problems often are...albeit heavily disguised.

    I think sometimes we could all do with lessons in vulnerability. But, words are cheap I need to start practicing what I preach.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.
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    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post
    Being sincere about emotions gives you a disadvantage in life. Which I'm not condoning or condemning, just stating.
    I agree with that. And it isn't about treating/being treated badly. I treat people very well, it just doesn't come along with an emotional response or cause me to have empathy to the point of feeling their misery myself. But I have heard that I need to change the way I think and approach things, in terms of emotions, my entire life. *shrug*
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

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    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    I agree with that. And it isn't about treating/being treated badly. I treat people very well, it just doesn't come along with an emotional response or cause me to have empathy to the point of feeling their misery myself. But I have heard that I need to change the way I think and approach things, in terms of emotions, my entire life. *shrug*
    It probably depends on whether or not that actually causes any major issues in your life and relations to others, although whether or not you would care is up to you. Especially since people can be pretty arrogant about their emotions and extreme emotionalism is usually a negative.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

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    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post
    It probably depends on whether or not that actually causes any major issues in your life and relations to others. Especially since people can be pretty arrogant about their emotions and extreme emotionalism is usually a negative.
    It doesn't. I have embraced vulnerability with a handful of people and I think that's plenty. You grow emotionally from that and with the right people, it can contribute to a rich relationship and life. I agree with that completely. It's this notion that emotions should be governed less, in general and if you don't, you have the problem.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.
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    I think some of this was generational style, GenX and what not, at least in the U.S. I find that the current generation is a lot more expressive, sometimes in an overly affective, and insincere way; it is still too dangerous to be completely open. There are definite trade-offs.
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    Get pissed off instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post
    Being sincere about emotions gives you a disadvantage in life. Which I'm not condoning or condemning, just stating.
    I agree and it's not just about being exploited, although few things will say naive to others faster than an honest expression of emotion. But generally others don't like to hear emoting, it's frowned upon, particularly if that emoting is negative in nature. In a kind of....don't bring your misery near me, you're bringing me down. attitude. I'm not sure why this is, but I tend to believe it's because it's perceived as some kind of emotional load that others don't appreciate or perhaps they feel that someone expressing is a call to action, wanting others to solve their problems.

    On the positive emotion spectrum, say in love relationships, people are reluctant to openly display emotion through fear of rejection and also a lot of social programming about treating human relationships as some kind of game.

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