Sunday, April 23, 2017

Stop trying to be a mindreader!

I really don't like it when people assign thoughts and feelings to me.  Yesterday's post about Bill's stepmother is one example of someone who assumes they know what I'm thinking and feeling.  This morning, as I was checking out Facebook's On This Day feature, I was reminded of an online altercation that got my blood pressure to rise back on April 23, 2012.  I actually wrote very briefly about this incident when it happened.  I also referred to it a couple of days ago, when I wrote about the concept of "projection".

This morning, I'm irritated anew.  Why?  Because of the aggressive way this person responded to me. I had posted that I thought it was interesting that Turkish Children's Day is celebrated on April 23 while Armenian Genocide Memorial Day is celebrated on April 24th.  I thought the timing was curious, given that other countries celebrate Children's Day at other times of the year.

I had initially mentioned it on my former friend's post, but she got really pissed off about it.  It was as if I had rained on her parade.  She was trying to show everyone how awesome Turkey is for celebrating children and I had brought up something negative.  She wasn't happy, so out of respect for her, I deleted my comment on the friend's post and made my own on my page.

In all honesty, I was not angry about Turkish Children's Day.  I was simply making an observation about the timing, which seemed rather suspicious to me.  My former friend offered these comments...

She got a little aggressive and I distinctly remember my temper flaring as I read this...  In fact, it flared again as I read this morning.  I don't like it when people tell me how I'm feeling.

I know I provided a screen shot, but now I'm going to add the comments that really set me off.  There were only a few of them... and they followed her having asked me on her original post what Armenian Genocide Memorial Day had to "do with the price of tea in China".  I guess my point went over her head.  Her comments are in italics and mine are in red.

OK there are a few things you do not know. The children's day was founded by Atta Turk like what 50 over years ago? WAY before the Armenians decided the attack (during wartime) was genocide. And before they made a "day" of it. Another thing you are not considering is that the war was with the OTTOMANS not modern day Turkey! 100 years ago! By your rationale, Jews should still be pissed off at Germans, not Nazis. Do you understand?

First off, how the hell does she know what I know?  We hadn't seen each other since our high school days.  And how does she know what I've considered?  Children's Day in Turkey was started in the late 1920s.  Armenian Genocide Memorial Day has been observed since 1915.  The date for Genocide Memorial Day was not chosen arbitrarily.  There was a verifiable historic event that preceded it.  But really, I was just very much turned off by her aggressive "tone".  People who get "in your face" really annoy me.  I generally try to avoid them.  I'm not impressed by people who try to bully others into accepting their views.  And what the fuck is up with the "Do you understand?" comment?  Is she trying to say she thinks I'm stupid?  

But what you are doing is projecting your anger for the Armenian people, that something that happened 100 years ago, on a children's international holiday that HAPPENS to be in Turkey and a day before. You are taking a good thing and turning it around. Yes, I am very aware of the conflict. And I too, feel bad for the Armenians who died. But I wouldn't bring on politics between countries for something was intended for GOOD - internationally.

Then she follows up by accusing me of "projecting" my "anger".  She is making an erroneous assumption that I'm angry.  I am not angry at Turks for the Genocide.  At this point, I believe most of the people directly involved with the Genocide are long dead.  I don't hold it against modern Turks, although I do wish more of them would acknowledge what happened and try to make peace with the Armenians.  It would be nice if Turkey and Armenia could get along.  But no, I am not angry about this...  I'd say my feelings are more of sadness than anger.  However, it did make me angry that she tried to tell me how I feel.  She doesn't know how I feel and she makes a very poor armchair psychologist.  Moreover, I was not the one typing in all caps and using exclamation points.  So who was really the angry one?

And then this...

Did you ever think that since the children's holiday was created FIRST by an old president, that maybe the Armenians chose this day was politically motivated? I mean, you have to look at both sides here.

Uh... no, because the Armenians observed their day long before the Turks started observing theirs.  This was just a really stupid comment.  I can see that I pretty much gave up at that point because it was like trying to talk to the moon.  She was completely missing my point and wasting my time.

Seriously, I wasn't trying to start an argument.  It was really just an observation, and one that I had not considered until she posted about Children's Day in Turkey.  Then she turned it into something aggressive and obnoxious.  I was actually relieved a few weeks later when she decided to unfriend me.  At the time, her comments really upset me and, I think, were most unfriendly and insulting.  Reading these comments now, I almost wish I had been more aggressive with my former friend and reminded her that she's the one who failed the fifth grade, not me.  But that would have been a very cheap shot.

This theme comes up again this weekend, as Bill grapples with his stepmother accusing him of being "angry" because he's not a mindreader and doesn't know when or how often they want him to call.  There have been times when he's called and his dad will ring off like my mom does when she's busy or not in the mood to chat.  Like, he's more interested in eating lunch than talking to his son who has called him long distance.  But when he doesn't call, they assume he's angry, accuse him of shutting them out of his life, and send hate mail.  

SMIL correctly assumes I don't like her, but doesn't consider that I don't think she likes me, either.  I'm supposed to be kissing her ass trying to win her over and, apparently, it hurts her feelings that I don't.  But she doesn't respond in kind.  She makes no attempt to get to know me or befriend me.  And she assumes I'm mad at her.  Well, I wasn't mad at her before a few days ago, but I am now.  And this kind of stuff is not what wins people over and positively influences them.  If her goal is to get to know me and be friendly, doing this kind of stuff is not the way to achieve it.

Bill and I are not mindreaders... and neither is SMIL, FIL, or my former Facebook friend.  We don't know what other people are thinking or feeling.  We can make educated or uneducated guesses, but there's no way to know what someone's thoughts are unless they tell us... and even then, we probably still won't know for sure.  And really, why does it matter?  Isn't it more important to be in charge of your own thoughts?  Why spend time and energy trying to read another person's mind?  You probably won't succeed and really, all you're doing is guessing.  

That being said, I will admit to trying to predict other people's reactions and guess what they are thinking.  I'm always a human and often a hypocrite.  But I acknowledge that I'm not a mindreader and I don't like to figuratively get in people's faces when they post something that challenges me.  That doesn't mean it doesn't happen periodically, but I mostly try to exercise self control and confine my more aggressive responses to this blog or private conversations with Bill.  *Sigh*...  Someday, I will learn to sign off of Facebook.

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