ASK AMY: Are hurt feelings your own f...

ASK AMY: Are hurt feelings your own fault?

There are 48 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Aug 17, 2008, titled ASK AMY: Are hurt feelings your own fault?. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

D ear Amy: There is a course called Personal and Social Responsibility. I took it, then taught this lesson to teens and parents about 15 years ago.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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Daria

United States

#1 Aug 17, 2008
LW1--"One must never state something to the effect of, "You made me so angry when you called me stupid yesterday. You hurt and embarrassed me."

Yes, one must, and one should, if that is indeed what happened. Save the psychobabble for your therapist.

LW2--"In my answer to this question, I noted that teachers should be circumspect when they are around students—even if they are off-duty (although I agree that the teacher is not at all to blame for whatever choice he made)."

Huh?? A true "politician's answer". Brava, Amy.
Sam

Leesburg, FL

#2 Aug 17, 2008
Both Amy and the other commentator missed the whole point of the "less confrontational" language which is simply to be LESS confrontational.

First, there is nothing wrong with being generous enough to assume the person that wronged you did it unintentionally. Many, otherwise, good people have bad moments. It occasionally happens that we are too busy, stressed out, distracted, or whatever, and end up being less considerate of another person then we would be otherwise. Also, in social situations, sometimes alcohol will impair someone's judgement and cause their humor to be inappropriate.

The non-confrontational language gives them an opportunity to apologize and in a way that preserves their dignity and possibly saves, or builds on, your relationship.

The Japanese call this "saving face" and giving someone the opportunity to "save face" is considered the action of a gentleman (or woman) and shows them to be of high moral character.

On the other hand, if you are spoiling for a fight, then go ahead and assume the worst (what does this say about your own self image?), and take the confrontational approach which is sure to escalate the situation. What is one more incident of social "road rage," more or less?

And what if they DID wrong you unintentionally? Are you so sure you can read someone's heart? My Dad used to say that "two wrongs don't make a right" and, to my way of thinking, being rude back, is still being rude.

Sadly, our society has become a lot "meaner" over the years. Bullying and humiliating one another, judging others and playing "one-up-manship" has become the national past-time. We even have reality TV shows based on these concepts.

I guess it really just depends on what kind of a world you want to live in, and whether you want to contribute to it being a better, more civilized place, or whether you want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to looking for opportunities to vent your own frustrations and petty grievances.

Want to do the former? Read "Ethics for the New Millennium" by the Dalai Lama. It does not matter what your religion. If you want to strive to be a better person, to do the right thing, this is a "must-read." It takes some complex philosophies and puts them in language that is easy to read and it is probably the most compelling of his books. It's a "fun" read, will really make you think, and will help you strengthen the relationships around you as well as showing you how to lead a happier life.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#3 Aug 17, 2008
L1: Non-confrontation = good point. "That lets the other person know your feelings, but it assigns blame and implies that the other person was capable of making you feel something. The simple truth is that you chose anger as a response" = not a good point.

L2: I don't know what to make of this. If I were the teacher, I probably would waited for the kid to leave. On the other hand, I don't see an automatic problem with the guy changing. Your in a locker room at a pool. That is what a lot of people do in a locker room at a pool, right? Um, writer, I don't think a boy in the mens locker room has anything to do with or needs to have anything to do with your belief that "education on the differences in the sexes needs to start much sooner". Besides, as one, I can tell you most boys tend to be pretty good at figuring these things out on their own.
Been there

Lisle, IL

#4 Aug 17, 2008
Sam wrote:
Both Amy and the other commentator missed the whole point of the "less confrontational" language which is simply to be LESS confrontational.
First, there is nothing wrong with being generous enough to assume the person that wronged you did it unintentionally...
Thank you for such an intelligent, well-written answer, Sam; I enjoyed reading it. I will look for the book you recommended. I agree with you that our society has become a lot meaner. The venom one reads in posts on Topix alone is appalling.

----------

Now, does anyone here who has read Sam's post truly disagree with his/her post?
Jen

United States

#5 Aug 17, 2008
Sam does indeed make a good, strong point. Much better than LW1, actually. :)
yellowdoggie

Oklahoma City, OK

#6 Aug 17, 2008
I agree with both Sam and LW1. IMO, Amy really missed the boat on this one. She needs to grow up. And Amy, if you read this, try not to take it personally, okay?
Erika

San Antonio, TX

#7 Aug 17, 2008
LW1: People hurt/anger other people no matter what happens. That's just the way it is for any human being who has feelings. The only thing one can control is how they respond to being hurt/angered. They can
a. forget it
b. push it down and ignore it,
c. confront someone or
d. beat the heck out of someone. Hopefully the majority of people know that d is definitely not the answer, lol.

LW2: Amy really needs to get her head checked on this issue. I can't believe she actually thinks the teacher should've stopped changing his clothes when one of his eight-year old students with an adult father WALKED INTO THE MEN'S ROOM!
Lois Homer

Hammond, IN

#8 Aug 17, 2008
I liked your answer about handling hurt feelings. If someone is making fun of you or putting you down, and they tell you that you are too sensitive when you confront them, you have to decide if you really want to be around someone like that who is really not your friend at all.
Angela

Saint Paul, MN

#9 Aug 17, 2008
I liked Sam's response as well.
Mia

Chicago, IL

#10 Aug 17, 2008
LW1 - 15 years ago, huh? This explains a lot. That was about when lies became "communication problems," adultery became "growing apart," tantrums became "acting out," neglecting children became "quality time."

When I read what you wrote today I sensed that you were suggesting that bullies shouldn't be taken to task for their behavior. I felt like vomiting.
Mia

Chicago, IL

#11 Aug 17, 2008
Been there wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for such an intelligent, well-written answer, Sam; I enjoyed reading it. I will look for the book you recommended. I agree with you that our society has become a lot meaner. The venom one reads in posts on Topix alone is appalling.
----------
Now, does anyone here who has read Sam's post truly disagree with his/her post?
If people are meaner maybe it's because it has become politic for us to sublimate our feelings of indignation when others treat us badly, so we rein in our agression when it is appropriate only to vent our aggression when it is not.

How's that for a theoy?
Daria

Detroit, MI

#14 Aug 17, 2008
Been there wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for such an intelligent, well-written answer, Sam; I enjoyed reading it. I will look for the book you recommended. I agree with you that our society has become a lot meaner. The venom one reads in posts on Topix alone is appalling.
----------
Now, does anyone here who has read Sam's post truly disagree with his/her post?
If someone calls me stupid, I have every right to call them on it. They chose to use an inflammatory, hurtful word.

Now there is a difference between saying, "You a**hole, why are you calling me stupid???" and saying "You made me angry when you called me stupid. Why did you feel the need to do that?"
Been there

Downers Grove, IL

#17 Aug 17, 2008
Physo Bob wrote:
Daria: I don't think you should say teachers should be circumspected--this is a medical decision and one that is truly personal. If a mom and dad think the son should be circumspected, that is their choice.
But to say teachers should be circumspected that is a violation of their civil rights and must never be a consideration for being selected a teacher. What would be the similiar requirements for female teachers??
Uh... you are just goofing around here right?(If you're making a joke, emoticons help.)
Mia

Chicago, IL

#18 Aug 17, 2008
Physo Bob wrote:
Daria: I don't think you should say teachers should be circumspected--this is a medical decision and one that is truly personal. If a mom and dad think the son should be circumspected, that is their choice.
But to say teachers should be circumspected that is a violation of their civil rights and must never be a consideration for being selected a teacher. What would be the similiar requirements for female teachers??
Right on man! There is no evidence that circumspection has any health benefits, and no woman should be forced into circumspection, but especially not women teachers.
yellowdoggie

Oklahoma City, OK

#19 Aug 17, 2008
Physo Bob wrote:
Daria: I don't think you should say teachers should be circumspected--this is a medical decision and one that is truly personal. If a mom and dad think the son should be circumspected, that is their choice.
But to say teachers should be circumspected that is a violation of their civil rights and must never be a consideration for being selected a teacher. What would be the similiar requirements for female teachers??
lol! You're a riot!
Wow

Decatur, GA

#20 Aug 17, 2008
LW1: Anyone who calls me stupid will not have my company or audience the next day. They will not be told they offended me because calling someone an offensive name is almost never a mistake. If they mistook me for someone else or are in major pain,(labor), or are out of their mind,(depending on the circumstances), there may be an exception.
IF I choose to still associate with them,(barring the above mentioned "explanations" that is my choice and I deserve what I get from then on in.
You spent good money on another insipid class talking about it's ok for others to treat us like sh*t because we allowed it or deserved it. Yuh... NOT.

LW2: I've only read part of this discussion, but I would prefer my 8 year old not view an authority figure in his/her life naked.
In fact, I would tend to avoid any place where adults would be completely nude in front of my child.
If I would have walked in on this, I would have calmly ushered my child out of the room and either waited until the person was done or taken him to another secure area to change clothes.
It's not a big deal.... unless it's made a big deal.
Dawn

Arlington, TN

#21 Aug 17, 2008
LW1 theory sounds nice. It would be great if we had such control over our feelings. And it would be nice if no one was ever deliberately cruel, and meant to cause hurt feelings. But, it doesn't work that way. I'm sure most of us would rather turn off the hurt feelings like a switch rather than deal with those who cause those feelings. It would be a lot easier. But people do need to face the consequences of their actions. It's part of being social. Many of us already complain about how society is on the decline. Imagine how much worse it would get if we no longer had to worry about how our actions made others feel, because it was no longer our responsibility.

Besides, I'd rather have that feedback. I'd like to know if my actions caused someone pain. It's how I learned to become a decent human being. As I grew up, I learned that certain actions were hurtful because people told me so. I can't imagine the beast I would be if I never got that feedback. I just can't get behind LW1's philosophy. I think it has good intentions, but just isn't all that well thought out.
Been there

Downers Grove, IL

#22 Aug 17, 2008
Daria wrote:
<quoted text>
If someone calls me stupid, I have every right to call them on it. They chose to use an inflammatory, hurtful word.
I don't think Sam or anyone would disagree with you on your right to call someone on poor behavior. I read Sam's post as a discussion of 'how' to talk to someone who may have insulted you, not whether talking to said person is right or wrong. Sam is also suggesting giving the other person the benefit of the doubt if they may have unintentionally wronged you. I don't think Sam is saying that anyone should put up with insults.
Daria wrote:
<quoted text>Now there is a difference between saying, "You **** hole, why are you calling me stupid???" and saying "You made me angry when you called me stupid. Why did you feel the need to do that?"
I think this is part of the point Sam was making. We can choose to talk to another in a less or non-confrontational manner so as not to escalate a situation. So I don't think you truly disagree with him/her. Do you think you do?
Been there

Downers Grove, IL

#23 Aug 17, 2008
Mia wrote:
<quoted text>
If people are meaner maybe it's because it has become politic for us to sublimate our feelings of indignation when others treat us badly, so we rein in our agression when it is appropriate only to vent our aggression when it is not.
How's that for a theoy?
It's a great theory, one I've considered myself. I think of it as the 'kick the dog' or 'pecking order' explanation for aggressive behavior.

For an example:

A boss is mad & yells at an employee --> the employee is now mad, goes home and yells at oldest kid --> oldest kid picks on younger kid --> and so forth, until youngest kid kicks the dog.

But do you disagree with Sam’s suggestion that we could take a better approach to confrontation?
Not A Christian

Spartanburg, SC

#24 Aug 17, 2008
Been there wrote:
<quoted text>
It's a great theory, one I've considered myself. I think of it as the 'kick the dog' or 'pecking order' explanation for aggressive behavior.
For an example:
A boss is mad & yells at an employee --> the employee is now mad, goes home and yells at oldest kid --> oldest kid picks on younger kid --> and so forth, until youngest kid kicks the dog.
But do you disagree with Sam’s suggestion that we could take a better approach to confrontation?
Why are you so obsessed with whether or not people agree with "Sam"? It's almost as if you are hoping people will disagree and start a huge argument on the board. Why are all of your posts asking people if the agree with "Sam"? Are you Sam?

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