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Context is Everything

Posted by CB on May 16, 2006 at 16:06:43

In Reply to: Re: I agree but disagree posted by moonshiner on May 16, 2006 at 13:00:41:

Well now, you raise a complicated issue. First, I'll admit openly (once again) that I have a bias toward younger people, if by the term "young person" we mean someone who is relatively immature. I have adult children of my own, and I shrug off a lot of the things they say, chalking it up to where they're at in life. I've been where they are; they've never been where I am.

Nevertheless, there are some young people whose behavior & comments put them over the top. Deb's flippancy just about crossed the line with me, but I didn't believe she'd listen to anything I had to say if I got confrontative. My strategy was essentially "catch more flies with honey than vinegar" because I was interested in engaging Deb, and not particularly put off by her snottiness. It seems to me Deb is a lot like her father--the more you confront her, the more she gets her hackles up and digs her feet in.

I hadn't really thought about Buckley's post as the explosive outburst of someone with untreated PTSD, but it's certainly possible. While we're at it, let's hypothesize that untreated PTSD involves the self-medicating behavior of alcohol abuse. I would definitely agree that Buckley's post sounded a like an unhibited man in his cups.

So why not cut Buckley some slack? Well, I did. I didn't respond to him directly. The coordinator's response seemed sufficient.

When it comes to responsibility for dealing with the symptoms of mental illness, I'm a bit of a hard-ass. I can understand the "why" underlying a person's symptomatic behavior, but I'm going to ignore or dismiss it as harmless just because I understand it. This might be because I've had the crap beat out of me by an unhinged man with PTSD. So what if he's sick? He still crossed the line by assaulting me. As far as I'm concerned, any assaultive threat also crosses the line. I realize that guys may interpret this sort blustering & threatening between each other differently than I do. It just doesn't seem like a good idea to threaten a woman, tell her to shut up, and call her a bitch. That seems a lot more dangerous to me than the rudeness of a snotty brat.

OK, so I have all kinds of double standards. I intended to title my original post to you "Context is Everything." I have a low tolerance for verbally violent brutes. You apparently experienced Deb as verbally violent, while I experienced her as little more than a snarky, mouthy brat. I would assume you feel less threatened by the verbal violence of men with PTSD than I do, because you didn't discern a qualitative difference between Deb's threats and Buckley's threats. Well, everything is filtered through a contextual lens, and I hope I've explained enough about mine that you can understand my responses better.