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Life Goes On (was Oh Well?) Part 3

Old 02-17-2021, 07:39 PM
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hi Tatsy,
hope you’ll come back and talk to/with us.
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Old 02-17-2021, 07:45 PM
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unsolicited advice...hm, yeah, i can see that it might come across as criticism, depending on how it’s worded and intended, to a great degree.
i do at times put criticism in terms of advice; a prime example is on a trail when someone's dog is behaving outrageously, jumping on me or harassing my dog. i want to yell and criticize, and then put things in terms of “may i make a suggestion?” and offer some dog-training advice.
hm yeah, gu8lty of that.
though occasionall people light up and find it helpful. even though it was unsolicited.
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Old 02-17-2021, 07:47 PM
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O, i really like your “Allen has reasons...” notice.
very useful. and true. and they might be very screwy reasons, or stellar genius ones. no matter: they are his reasons.
we don’t need to know them. not always, anyway.
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Old 02-18-2021, 05:15 AM
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Many thanks for all your responses, but I'm unwilling to disclose my 'issues' on the open forum.
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Old 02-18-2021, 01:29 PM
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You don't need to disclose your specific 'issues,' Tats. I think the specifics vary with each of us, but the inner turmoil is relatable regardless of what sets it off. I'm sorry for the garbage and hope the collector comes soon to clear it up.
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Old 02-18-2021, 02:03 PM
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I don't tend to offer unsolicited advice, but I sure am guilty of offering unsolicited opinions. I'm trying to tame myself in that regard. Like the guy in the meeting the other night who was offering his speculation based on his doctor friend's insider information. I know that's blarney; not a one of us can predict what's going to happen in the future in regard to the current state of affairs. So I can speculate, he can speculate, everyone can speculate! (Just like Oprah - Everybody Gets a Car!!) But in the end, what does it matter? It will be whatever it's going to be.

The truth is that I get self-righteous. I feel like I need to protect others by spreading my knowledge or rational thoughts or whatever. When I was at the second rehab in February of last year, some of the patients and staff were really wiggin out. This 'counselor aid' came in one day to extoll us all with the survivalist moves he'd been executing, up to and including withdrawing as much cash as he could from the ATMs. That kind of stuff scares people, you know? They're in this rehab, can't see what's happening out in the world, and Mr Prepper is painting a picture of the apocalypse. Immature and irresponsible behavior in my book. Of course the freaking out patients went right "there" with him. I was inclined to tell the young man off, but I left it. Just let them natter on about hypothetical doom and kept my peace. I wasn't even terribly upset, I don't think. But this was something like seven weeks into my confinement. Rehab fatigue - it's a thing.

Anyhow, the point is that I do have this benevolent dictator side - I know the truth and if all of you would only listen to me, everything would run so much smoother. There's a great description in the big book of an actor who is just like me. The first couple few many times I read or heard that read in a meeting, I nodded sagely and thought, "Yeah that's me." ("But you know, at work, I really do know what's right.") And you know what, I think I still know what's right. But now I understand that story differently. When I am so sure I have the corner on the right way to do things and people haven't asked me for my advice, offering my opinion or "insight" is worse than saying nothing. Because I step on people's toes when I do that. That's not what I mean to do, but damned if they don't put their toes right in my path!

Hard lesson, that. But it is so very freeing to let go of that stuff... and sometimes to even be able to laugh at myself when I notice it welling up inside. It's not always that easy, but I'm learning. Sometimes that deep feeling of dis-ease arises and it really unsettles me. Those instances always deserves additional investigation until I'm able to find out what it's really all about. And when I do, I always find that I can survive it. Which is not at all what the panicky inside non-verbal part of my brain was feeling.

So yeah, unsolicited opinions or advice are tricky.

Also, I realized when listening to another guy share that inserting the word "just" into any suggestion is (at least for me) a dead giveaway that I'm being critical. "Why didn't you just (do this other thing I am suggesting)?" "If you would just (do this thing)" Yeah, that's criticism for sure.

It's like I had a brain block and things are actually starting to make sense.

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Old 02-18-2021, 07:30 PM
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sorry you’re suffering, Tatsy.
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Old 02-19-2021, 04:49 AM
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Tats, Don't want to push but know we are thinking of you and here for you.

O, reading your post 226 makes me even more convinced we are the same person.

Going to be a pretty weekend in Belgium after many weeks of cold, cannot wait!

XX
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Old 02-19-2021, 09:45 AM
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Why is advice and constructive criticism so bad though? Maybe it's a bit hard for me to relate from the inside as I'm not averse to either and have never been... I often feel though that it's very useful to learn to have good boundaries relative to criticism and advice from others (so many people don't have that) - listen, evaluate, take what's helpful, leave the rest. That way it won't damage self-esteem. But one can only learn it if they are exposed to it somewhat. I think if we never get critical feedback (either from inside or from others), if everyone is just trying to be too nice, accepting and non-judgmental, it's hard to improve in the absence of multiple references.

Don't get me wrong, I think I understand the goal to be balanced in communications, but not even expressing opinions and over-regulating to not express any judgment? Isn't it just as damaging, especially to the person who tries to walk on eggshells all the time around others (must be mentally quite taxing)? Again, I may be in the minority with how I feel about this, but there are many people who love constructive feedback and advice...I'm even making a career out of it with consulting (including career advice) and many people seem to like it and pay it pretty well . Or do you guys mean specifically in recovery communities? Even there... I dunno, some of the best I've personally ever gotten out of participating in recovery communities (here and in the programs I use now) is when people give me feedback and suggestions. Can't believe I'm the only one, so maybe this is also a good thing to assess individually, as much as we can? Think about how criticism and advice is expressed instead of avoiding it altogether? For example, the sponsor saying "you have to do exactly as I say" (authority but not useful on its own) could just evaluate progress with the sponsee and point out things that could be done differently and share what worked for them.
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:06 AM
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Missed my editing window on the previous post and want to add:
O, I personally always think you are super respectful (and careful) already when you express your opinions and suggestions, at least here on SR. Actually really good at it, part of the reason I read this thread - even if my challenges and what my mind focuses on are different, I find the content a great combination of critical thinking and respectful presentation. Not sure further regulation and suppression would improve the style, even when you are trying to help people who are more sensitive and tend to get defensive. Sometimes it's simply the other party who needs to work on their attitude and be more considered and open if they want to interact productively and get any help. Again, I can only judge based on SR and what you share, but even about your interactions with your kids that you discuss here... I always feel you have a talent for good communications and are really reasonably objective. I never ever think and talk so much about my interpersonal world and interactions and I know I'm sometimes on the dismissive side, and part of the reason I like to read these threads is because I learn from them about managing interpersonal relationships differently. I've seen earlier that you have an interest in becoming a counselor - by all means, go for it, I think you would likely be better than many I've met! With the critical thinking included, IMO it's an asset and can help people improve whatever ails them. I think the fact that these threads stay alive and draw in both regular posters and occasional visitors like myself demonstrates the communication is working pretty well. Of course we can always improve and it's a good idea, but maybe not so much in the direction of self-suppression for you?

Fini - I also like your style a lot. Usually concise and to the point (not like the rambles I tend to post), I've gotten a lot of great pieces of advice from you as well over the years.

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Old 02-19-2021, 01:51 PM
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Well, first off, Aellyce - how kind of you to share those observations. Work has been avalanching today, but in the midst of all that, I was trying really hard to get to this thread for some unknown reason. It guess I was in need of some fortification and you'd delivered it. Thank you very much for taking the time to say all of those really nice things. It means a lot to me.

In regard to the sentiments about advice and criticism - they're just things to think about. Some AAs would have you believe there is "a way we think," but by no means is that a requirement. Sometimes people say things that strike me and I find exploring them here in writing (and in between in other ways) helps me to sort out what rings true and what does not. I no longer take what people say in meetings (even if everyone seems to say them) as some sort of gospel, an understanding I need to grasp. Most people don't take it all that deep anyway.

So, yeah, it all depends, right? My oldest friend on the planet has no trouble giving me unsolicited advice and making well-intentioned but incorrect assumptions or judgements about me. That's ok. Usually. And if it's not ok, I just bite her head off and we move along. But if a person at work who's been there for like 2 minutes tries to tell me how to best handle help desk tickets when I've been doing it well for over 20 years now... I don't tend to cotton well to that. Nowadays, I can keep that scream internal, or even sometimes when I'm doing very well, the internal feeling is more one of indulgent amusement. LOL. Would you look at that young pup who just discovered the sky is blue and figures I couldn't possibly know that because after all, he just discovered it? lol

But back to the topic at hand. Advice, criticism, opinion, input - call it what you will. I think what you're saying and what I'm agreeing with is that nothing is that cut n dry. It depends on my relationship with you, my relationship with people within earshot, how I am feeling about myself today, how you are feeling today and might be inadvertently conveying with your tone of voice or shortness of words or whathaveyou. The best you or I can do is to try to be kind and pay attention. Even if my words were delivered from a heart of gold, that is meaningless if a person is hurt by them.

My execution of the program isn't unique, but it's also far from what people see on the surface of things coming in. And that's a shame. It really got in my way for awhile. So please don't take anything I have to say as "the truth" from anywhere aside from my own insides. Today.

You might enjoy reading this pamphlet: https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-41...yeviewofaa.pdf
linked by permission of AAWS - admin.

It was written by an academic and presented to a group of people in helping professions in 1960-something. Here's a teaser for you:
There is no official interpretation which I can blithely pass along to you. There is no “party line,” no official body of dogma or doctrine to which the members subscribe, no creed that we recite. Even if the surviving co-founder of A.A. himself were standing before you tonight, he could tell you only how it all appears to him.
That big book is chock full of suggestions. I don't take those as throwaways delivered with a wink. I take them as suggestions, and I like it much better that way. Shoot, I never read the bible as the bible truth - it's not likely I'd take any other tome that way.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:55 PM
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Tats, I've been thinking about you all day.
Good things, good vibes and mojo.
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:46 PM
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thank you, Aellyce, for the appreciation. it came as a welcome surprise. and i enjoy your ramblings also

Why is advice and constructive criticism so bad though?

i didn’t understand O or me to be saying anything like that. i understood us to be talking about unsolicited advice which then often comes across as judgmental criticism. not the constructive kind, nor invited.

oof, thinking of this morning, when i gave totally unsolicited advice to a woman who was deliberately hurting her adolescent pup until it screamed several times, hoping to “teach” it that what it did was “baaaad!!!”.
i knew i was judging, and knew i was right in the concerns i expressed to her, and in the options i suggested she could use instead of hurting her pup so much that everyone on the trail came towards her to see what had happened to the dog.
rambling now here, too
recognized myself in a lot of what you say about yourself, O, with regards to self-righteousness.
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Old 02-20-2021, 06:07 AM
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I did also mean sharing observations, opinions and suggestions that others did not necessarily ask for. After all, if we never hear and consider unsolicited feedback and are open only to what we are prepared for, how can we get insight, learn new things and find solutions to problems we perhaps never thought of? I also often find that sometimes the best observations and feedback comes from people who are new to a situation, field of knowledge, problem or environment. Like you guys said, I think the "magic" is probably more about how it's presented - for me, that's a big part of what can make it constructive or not. Of course also the content, most of us are not into listening to BS.

I also find that people often make an assumption that someone else may not want or welcome opinions and advice - sometimes I think it's more the projection of the person thinking about it. For example, I've seen many people here on SR assumed that I was afraid of or did not welcome critical feedback and suggestions (or lied about my drinking out of fear of judgment), which could not be further from the truth. And sometimes people reflect on things and find them very helpful with some delay, but not in the moment (sometimes straight reject it in the moment). Anyhow, how my views . Of course people with certain mental health problems and personal histories can be more sensitive to all this than others, and there are indeed many people, situations and moods where advice is not welcomed, at least in a certain moment or period.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Aellyce2 View Post
Of course people with certain mental health problems and personal histories can be more sensitive to all this than others, and there are indeed many people, situations and moods where advice is not welcomed, at least in a certain moment or period.
Hey, I recognize that person!
I used to play her in real life.

Still do, actually. But here's what I'm learning: I can be sensitive and maintain my personal space/security/authenticity at the same time. Who knew? Even when the words or sentiment seem critical or belittling or belie a gross lack of understanding, I can take a step back and take a look at that. What inside of me is threatened/hurt/frightened by what you are saying to me? Does it seem true or useful in any way? If not, I am getting wayyyyy better at (sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly) sloughing it off.

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Old 02-20-2021, 09:12 AM
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yeah...and my take on advice and suggestions and feedback in places like SR is that it is implied in the fact of it being presented as a forum. a forum is all about exchange of ideas, pov's, questions, offerings of other perspectives.
so the very setting is quite different and geared that way.
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Old 02-20-2021, 05:11 PM
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O, we really are the same person.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:15 AM
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https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-41...yeviewofaa.pdf
linked by permission of AAWS - admin.

want to thank you, O, for posting this link.
i had never read that pamphlet, and found it very refreshing to do so now.

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Old 02-22-2021, 12:40 PM
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I'm glad you enjoyed it, fini. I thought it was quite a gem.

Dropsie, let's go walk the Appalachian Trail.
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:55 PM
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I'm scheming again about how soon I can retire. I think I need to pay off the house first, so that's the first thing I need to research. If I can get it paid off in 6 years, I think I could easily scrape by on the Social Security I'd get by retiring at 62. But I don't think I'd be able to pull pension until 65, and I think I have to keep working to do that. Or maybe not. Things to dream about. But first I need to get the house paid off.

Look, dudes!
I'm daydreaming!

I had a disturbing actual dream this morning. Youngest was hospitalized or away somewhere and my Mom told me, "She says the only reason that she's trying to get better is so she can get out of the place and make your life a living hell."

So that's disturbing.
Probably because I texted the kid awhile back just to say, "How are you" and I got zero response.
Guilt, you know.
In my dream, my thoughts were not really thoughts at all - more like the general feeling, "Well, that's gonna suck but I can't blame her."

I think it's time to really start thinking about making verbal amends to her.
Sponsor, anyone?
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