Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Emotional Hearing and the Telephone Game

First the concept of the Telephone Game, simply because it's the easiest to get across. We all know how it goes. One person says something to the next person, who says it to the next person... and before you know it, "Pick up some milk and bread from the store." turns into "Bring home some tiramisu or you're dead."

Next what I call Emotional Hearing. This is, as far as I know, my own terminology, so let me have a moment to explain what I mean.

My husband says, "That girl is pretty."

If all is right in the world, the stars are aligned and I'm feeling loved and pretty, I'll hear: "That girl is pretty."

If I'm upset in any way, depending on how badly emotionally upset I am, whether it be at my husband or because of work or my parents or my job or my dogs or my internal chemistry, what I hear can be quite different.

"That girl is pretty." becomes:
- "That girl is prettier than you are."
- "I wish you looked like that."
- "I think you're ugly."
- "You're fat."
- "I don't love you any more."
- "I want to have sex with her."
- And anything else my emotions change that simple sentence into. In reality, what my husband means is... "That girl is pretty." in the same way he'd say, "That flower is pretty."

That is emotional hearing. I hear the words he says and like every other person in the world, the way I interpret it is based on a whole slew of things. We'd like to think that we're an intelligent people (or just an intelligent person), but I can almost guarantee that for MOST people, we're really emotional first and then intelligent second.

For example. I'm grumpy. I know I'm grumpy. "That girl is pretty." becomes:

"That girl is prettier than you are."... which then gets filtered through my intelligence, which says, "Now K, you know he doesn't think that. Maybe you're just a little grumpy today."

And the end result is: "That girl is pretty." with the rejoiner of: "Do you think I'm pretty? Am I as pretty as she is?" or if I'm really grumpy, "Why are you looking at other women!"

Now, keep these two things in mind. The telephone game and emotional hearing, both bear heavily on my next thoughts.

K says to A: "I feel bad because I had a fight with Kael'thas."
A says to B: "K feels bad because she's fighting with Kael'thas."
B says to C: "Kael'thas is fighting with K and making her feel bad."
C says to D: "Kael'thas is making K feel bad."
D says: "Wow, Kael'thas is a real jerk."

K's original words came from her fighting with Kael'thas. She and he likely had a fight and during a fight, intellect gets subdued under flaring emotions.

A through D played the telephone game.

Now, Kael'thas enters the picture when D says to him, "You're a real jerk, you know! You made K feel bad."

And Kael'thas is sitting over there going, "Huh? We had a fight about what color to paint the kitchen walls."

Obviously, this is an oversimplification of how real life works, but such is the manner of all such things. We explain ourselves through the simplest form... because the simplest form has the hardest time being misunderstood.

However, I always think I'm getting it as simple as I can, and I usually get an answer of, "What are you talking about?"

Everyone needs to vent, and get hurt feelings off their chest. They often do it to their friends, the ones they aren't currently upset with.

A good friend will listen, will sympathize, will hopefully get them to feel better. Hopefully they'll do this by listening and trying to soothe the hurt by trying to explain that maybe it isn't the way it seems, because misunderstandings happen. As that's the best way to get friendships back on the road they were on.

That doesn't always work, because people with hurt feelings don't want to be told that, they want to be told that it's okay to feel upset, and yes gosh, how could Kael'thas want sunflower yellow in the kitchen, it's so obvious that cranberry is a much better color. The unfeeling clod!

Eventually, the hurt soothes itself out, as intellect reasserts itself. Hopefully the venting to friends made that happen faster. Sometimes unfortunately, the wrong type of friend fuels the fire.

We've had it happen to us, unfortunately. Where a misunderstanding turned a good friend into one that isn't, where the friend tells us we weren't worth the air we breath, in part because the people that friend surrounded himself with told him that we weren't worth the air we breath. And eventually, with his feelings hurt, the emotional feeling became the intellectual feeling. And to them, has become truth. Warped, but truth to them. Untruth to everyone else. But truth to them.

The problem comes in when it spreads. Because it flares out of all proportion and reality. And soon the other letters of the alphabet are mad at Kael'thas, when he really just wanted sunflower yellow. :( Poor Kael'thas.

(In the case listed above, ex-friend and ex-friend's friends told everyone that they (and we) knew that we weren't worth the air we breath, said it more frequently and vehemently than we were defending ourselves, in which case now none of them have anything to do with us, even though we haven't done anything to them at all. It's very sad. :( )

And Kael'thas, not being perfect either, gets upset because he feels that people are mad at him and starts his own cycle.

When this is happens, you don't always know it's happening. Remember, emotions are often > > intellect.

However, if you can catch this happening, and take a step back, and take a few deep breaths, and tuck your emotions behind your intellect... things work out.

Because intellectually, I know that my husband thinks I'm pretty and that he loves me. Emotionally, when all is right in the world, I know that too. But if I'm unbalanced, my emotions can cause a lot of problems if I let them have free reign with my heart, my head and my tongue.

Friends, if you find yourself playing the telephone game... remember it's your job to console your friend, but don't play the telephone game. We're people. We do it. We aren't perfect. But it can cause such big problems because it spirals out of control.

So, if you find yourself getting upset, over what someone said, what you think someone said, what you think that they think that you think you said... take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember what I said here.

I don't want tiramisu, I want bread and milk. And cranberry kitchen walls. And Kael'thas's love. He's so pretty. And I know that my husband loves me and thinks I'm the most beautiful person in the world, regardless of what my emotions sometimes think he's thinking.

No comments:

Post a Comment