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  1. #1
    videodrones; questions Verfremdungseffekt's Avatar
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    Default The Possum Syndrome

    Okay. So.

    I’ve a huge aversion to anger. Anger, aggression, accusation – it scares me stupid. Even if it’s not directed at me, it still throws me out of kilter.

    My mind goes blank. If there is anything going on inside me beyond my autonomous systems, it’s a subconscious voice chanting “oh God oh God oh God” at an undulating speed. Everything else is drowned out. I go both tense and limp, and after a few minutes it’s difficult to avoid falling asleep.

    I mean, I’m there. I see and hear my environment. I understand all the words I’m hearing in the moment. But I’m basically switched off. My mind has no foothold.

    On its own, this reaction (or lack thereof) is harmless. I just… don’t do anything. I can’t do anything. So I just sit there. Or stand there, or lie there. And the situation washes over me until it settles. Then, my mind comes out of stasis and starts to work again. If it were just a matter of me, then hey. Whatever. What’s more of a problem is the dynamic that this reaction can create.

    What happens is a sort of a feedback loop. I pick up on someone’s anger, and I freeze. My lack of a response fans the flames, increasing the other’s anger. That in turn solidifies the ice, making it that much harder to react. Back and forth, until the situation gets terrible.

    This scenario once kicked in during an interview at a press gig. Though my editor had made an appointment, the guys were just looking to shill their product, not answer probing questions. I expected a cordial one-on-one, but I wound up with four guys staring at me, defiantly. Whenever I opened my mouth, they cut me off and snapped back at me. After a few questions, I totally blanked. I stammered a bit, then just wound up staring at a point about three feet behind and through my notebook. The seconds passed, then the minutes. Their tone grew all the more patronizing, and then some PR guy swooped in and took pity on me. He walked with me until I calmed down enough to figure out how to board a bus and go home.

    Never got paid for that assignment.

    That’s an extreme example, and an impure one. The intimidation in there complicates things. But my reaction was the same. I actually began to fall asleep in front of them. I’m still embarrassed about that event, and I note that my editor never assigned me another interview.

    Does anyone have experience with this mechanism I’m describing, and some practical advice in working with, around, or against it? I’d like to stop my brain from shutting off at the first hint of anger, so that I have the faculties to deal with and possibly defuse whatever situation I’m in. This possum thing – it’s got to stop.

  2. #2
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Heh, that's kinda funny. I think I am the opposite.

    I always get on edge around anger, and I mean real anger. My body gets pumped with adrenaline, my senses are strong but very focused and direct, like tunnelview. But I try to remain still and passive if possible. Trying to see what's going on, where it is going on, why it is going on. Basicly Ti on steroids in my brain while my Ne is focused entirely on the target.

    But if the situation gets out of hand, and I feel cornered and decide it requires 'my attention', all hell breaks loose. This only happened twice in my life though. And these were pretty bad situations to begin with. In general, with not so aggresive aggresiveness, I remain quite still, but very focused on the anger, and not on anything else.


    Oh and if someone is angry but doesn't have a reason to be, I tend to be patronizing and sarcastic and shrug them off.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  3. #3
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Isn't this the extreme manifestation of fight or flight, where flight is your inclination?

  4. #4
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Hmm, I do understand both, fight and flight. Sometimes a person angering you succeeds or leaves you speechless.

    I dunno what to say but I think thats a perfectly human reaction. Maybe its a bit very strong for you, but we all have a weakness somewhere in some place. My weakness is curiosity, I cant keep my nose out of things.

    I dunno if you should judge yourself to hard on your reaction in the interview. Every normal human being who knows what a human being is should have respect for your reaction in that situation. Of course its a bit shocking to see oneself that way, but maybe the next time this gives you the advantage to see it coming beforehand.
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  5. #5
    ThatGirl
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    Lol, I read the first two sentences of the op, looked down, "Yup, INTP."

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Aderack View Post
    Okay. So.

    I’ve a huge aversion to anger. Anger, aggression, accusation – it scares me stupid. Even if it’s not directed at me, it still throws me out of kilter.

    My mind goes blank. If there is anything going on inside me beyond my autonomous systems, it’s a subconscious voice chanting “oh God oh God oh God” at an undulating speed. Everything else is drowned out. I go both tense and limp, and after a few minutes it’s difficult to avoid falling asleep.

    I mean, I’m there. I see and hear my environment. I understand all the words I’m hearing in the moment. But I’m basically switched off. My mind has no foothold.

    On its own, this reaction (or lack thereof) is harmless. I just… don’t do anything. I can’t do anything. So I just sit there. Or stand there, or lie there. And the situation washes over me until it settles. Then, my mind comes out of stasis and starts to work again. If it were just a matter of me, then hey. Whatever. What’s more of a problem is the dynamic that this reaction can create.

    What happens is a sort of a feedback loop. I pick up on someone’s anger, and I freeze. My lack of a response fans the flames, increasing the other’s anger. That in turn solidifies the ice, making it that much harder to react. Back and forth, until the situation gets terrible.

    This scenario once kicked in during an interview at a press gig. Though my editor had made an appointment, the guys were just looking to shill their product, not answer probing questions. I expected a cordial one-on-one, but I wound up with four guys staring at me, defiantly. Whenever I opened my mouth, they cut me off and snapped back at me. After a few questions, I totally blanked. I stammered a bit, then just wound up staring at a point about three feet behind and through my notebook. The seconds passed, then the minutes. Their tone grew all the more patronizing, and then some PR guy swooped in and took pity on me. He walked with me until I calmed down enough to figure out how to board a bus and go home.

    Never got paid for that assignment.

    That’s an extreme example, and an impure one. The intimidation in there complicates things. But my reaction was the same. I actually began to fall asleep in front of them. I’m still embarrassed about that event, and I note that my editor never assigned me another interview.

    Does anyone have experience with this mechanism I’m describing, and some practical advice in working with, around, or against it? I’d like to stop my brain from shutting off at the first hint of anger, so that I have the faculties to deal with and possibly defuse whatever situation I’m in. This possum thing – it’s got to stop.
    I wish I had some advice... I'll say that my INTP father and a couple of INTPs I am close to experience this exact same thing. I've seen that debilitation before. I hope another INTP can offer some useful input.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  7. #7
    Senior Member ThinkingAboutIt's Avatar
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    I have never felt that way. I would rather see someone angry than crying. I prefer anger not be directed at me/don't particularly like being yelled at, but I am not one to cower. Cuz I can fix or appease anger, but I don't know how to fix broken hearts. For me, anger actually makes me more physically productive - I clean/organize more and exercise better. I guess it is energizing.
    Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

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