Author Topic: Pyscho-analyzing in threads  (Read 15488 times)

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gollymolly2

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2011, 02:42:29 PM »
People come to Ehell with their own backgrounds.  Someone with a toxic mother in law or a controlling husband is more likely to read a post and identify the person in question as "Toxic" or "controlling."  I think this is good and bad - on the one hand, it's good to have people with a variety of experiences weighing in on your problem; on the other hand, people can get too invested in their assessments.  It's one thing to say you think someone is toxic or controlling, it's another to continue to insist upon it after the OP has assured you this is an out-of-character situation.


To the general question of psychoanalysis - because it certainly happens on a much wider level than just labeling people controlling - I think we get to a point here where we don't actually know each other, but we do spend years (in some cases) hearing each other discuss their problems.  It does get to a point where you can tell that Poster A has a hard time reading social cues, and Poster B hates her MIL so much that she is offended by even innocent actions by her MIL, and Poster C is a super negative person, and Poster D gets caught up in lies all the time.  I don't think it's appropriate for us to come in and analyze them - "You may be autistic" or "You are a pathological liar" - but I don't really see an issue with calling a spade a spade and saying things like "I think your relationship with your MIL clouds your ability to see clearly in this situation" or "Have you considered that this group of friends may not be a good fit for you?"

jpcher

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2011, 02:51:14 PM »
I often think that posting the opposite side of the coin is healthful for a thread and the OP. It makes for interesting reading and conversation. Pyscho-analyzing is just that. It throws out a different opinion . . . more food for thought for the OP and other readers.

What I do, when seeking advice, is to take everyone's pov and take only what applies to my situation.  Sometimes, posters do make me see things in a new way and sometimes, no matter how much I try to clarify, they are set in their own mindset in which case, I feel free to ignore the advice.  It's really up to the OP's of threads to decide what applies to them and what doesn't.

It's the posters that insist that they are right and take offense because people don't agree with them that bugs me.

It's also the posters that argue with the "offending" viewpoint, tooth and nail, telling the "offending" poster that they are wrong! that bugs me.

Pyscho-analyzing in threads can be helpful. It's when people bring up other examples that don't have anything to do with the opening post just to defend their stance, which totally takes the topic off-subject, and then other posters get snarky in return . . . really bugs me.

All in all, this is an open forum. I feel that I have a right to read or not to read. Just like anybody has a right to post their own viewpoint.

I believe that the mods are doing a great job controlling any offensive situation.

shhh its me

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2011, 03:03:17 PM »
I think in moderate doses, it can be very helpful.  I have seen threads where someone suggests, for example, that this is a control issue.  Sometimes, the OP comes back and says, "Yeah, maybe there is something going on there, because other things also happen."  Or the OP comes back and points out several things that show it probably isn't a control issue.  But even then, the OP is thinking about it, comes to rational decision and the question served a real purpose.

The ones that really bother me are the ones who specifically diagnose.  Slightly understandable if the OP is asking, "Why is this person doing this?"  But totally unhelpful if the OP is asking, "How do I respond?"

Even then I think it can be useful. If it's part of the answer , "If your BF is being controlling , then respond this way" "if it is just about period movies , then respond this way"

I think it might also be valuable to note that everyone has issues and "he is being controlling" doesn't mean poster are saying he has a mental illness that controlling is a symptom of.  You can really like attention when your sick without have Munchhausen, like your books just so without being OCD etc. 

Twik

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2011, 05:03:48 PM »
There is a level of controlling that is just "being bossy". That's not abusive or a mental illness, it's just an approach to dealing with other people.
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Celany

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2011, 05:40:26 PM »
I also agree that it's a turn-off when people start completely psychoanalyzing someone based off of one post. And there are some posters who's responses I skim over when I read a thread, because it seems like they nearly always turn something into a specific interpretation of events. That is frustrating.


But there are also a number of posters here who do a great job of saying something like "OP, I remember you describing several situations like this with Aunt Edna before. Given that Aunt Edna keeps doing things like this, it may be that she is controlling/PA/needy/whatever, so you may want to think about tailoring all your future interactions with her with that in mind". I love reading those people.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2011, 05:54:41 PM »
Throw me in with the "okay in moderation" crowd. One thing I really like about this forum is the wide variety of perspectives and experiences it represents, and often people will think of an aspect I hadn't and never would have, which might legitimately be coming into play in a situation.

I also think it's a fairly common experience that people who are in the midst of a situation sometimes lose perspective on it--things seem normal to them that an objective observer finds unreasonable, or they don't see patterns that outside observers do. I think Dindrane gave a great example--on the surface the person thinks it's just about movies, but after eliciting further information, outside observers see a larger pattern or problem going on. I think suggestions of that nature can be extremely enlightening to the OP, if they're willing to consider them.

However, I admit I do think some people are sometimes too quick to say "dump your SO!" or "cut off contact with your mother!" as if that were a simple, easy thing for a person to do. Situations are complex and we have very little information about them; and we're usually only hearing the 10% bad stuff about someone, not the 90% good stuff, because the good stuff isn't what the OP has a problem with.
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lollylegs

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2011, 12:22:22 AM »
However, I admit I do think some people are sometimes too quick to say "dump your SO!" or "cut off contact with your mother!" as if that were a simple, easy thing for a person to do. Situations are complex and we have very little information about them; and we're usually only hearing the 10% bad stuff about someone, not the 90% good stuff, because the good stuff isn't what the OP has a problem with.

Yes, this one annoys me because, like you say, situations are complex. A post might state, say, "I'm a single mother and I can't afford childcare so my mother watches my child when I work. Lately she's been giving him chocolate. How do I politely ask her not to?" and instead of giving advice, sometimes people are quick to say, "Your mother isn't going to stop, either put him in proper daycare or put up with your mother giving him chocolate, those are your only two options."

On the other hand... If a poster has grown up with a toxic relative, they might not realise that their behaviour is not normal until they hear other peoples feedback. So sometimes it is valid.

Dindrane

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2011, 12:33:56 AM »
However, I admit I do think some people are sometimes too quick to say "dump your SO!" or "cut off contact with your mother!" as if that were a simple, easy thing for a person to do. Situations are complex and we have very little information about them; and we're usually only hearing the 10% bad stuff about someone, not the 90% good stuff, because the good stuff isn't what the OP has a problem with.

Yes, this one annoys me because, like you say, situations are complex. A post might state, say, "I'm a single mother and I can't afford childcare so my mother watches my child when I work. Lately she's been giving him chocolate. How do I politely ask her not to?" and instead of giving advice, sometimes people are quick to say, "Your mother isn't going to stop, either put him in proper daycare or put up with your mother giving him chocolate, those are your only two options."

On the other hand... If a poster has grown up with a toxic relative, they might not realise that their behaviour is not normal until they hear other peoples feedback. So sometimes it is valid.

To the bolded, that isn't the same thing as saying, "You need to cut your mother off!  She's too disrespectful to maintain a relationship with!"

Seriously, there are a ton of situations where there are things a person might be able to try to convince her mother to stop feeding the child chocolate, but the reality of the situation is that as long as that poster needs her mother to babysit, she has no way of forcing the issue.  So if it's not just a misunderstanding, and the mother doesn't voluntarily comply with the poster's requests, the only realistic choices are "live with it as is" or "change the situation so you don't rely on your mother for childcare."


lollylegs

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2011, 01:07:23 AM »
However, I admit I do think some people are sometimes too quick to say "dump your SO!" or "cut off contact with your mother!" as if that were a simple, easy thing for a person to do. Situations are complex and we have very little information about them; and we're usually only hearing the 10% bad stuff about someone, not the 90% good stuff, because the good stuff isn't what the OP has a problem with.

Yes, this one annoys me because, like you say, situations are complex. A post might state, say, "I'm a single mother and I can't afford childcare so my mother watches my child when I work. Lately she's been giving him chocolate. How do I politely ask her not to?" and instead of giving advice, sometimes people are quick to say, "Your mother isn't going to stop, either put him in proper daycare or put up with your mother giving him chocolate, those are your only two options."

On the other hand... If a poster has grown up with a toxic relative, they might not realise that their behaviour is not normal until they hear other peoples feedback. So sometimes it is valid.

To the bolded, that isn't the same thing as saying, "You need to cut your mother off!  She's too disrespectful to maintain a relationship with!"

Seriously, there are a ton of situations where there are things a person might be able to try to convince her mother to stop feeding the child chocolate, but the reality of the situation is that as long as that poster needs her mother to babysit, she has no way of forcing the issue.  So if it's not just a misunderstanding, and the mother doesn't voluntarily comply with the poster's requests, the only realistic choices are "live with it as is" or "change the situation so you don't rely on your mother for childcare."

Sorry, I wasn't very clear and it wasn't the best example either. Forget the daycare part, let's just pretend the OP's talking about a normal visit.  Instead of saying, "Why don't you ask her nicely?", sometimes posters go straight to, for example, "She's doing this because she wants to be your childs mother, she's controlling, don't let her see your child anymore."  And sometimes, the end result is that the OP doesn't get the advice that they were asking for.

kingsrings

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2011, 11:54:25 AM »
I don't mind some analysing, because it really can be helpful if someone says, "Well, I was in a similar situation with my sister, so maybe your cousin would respond well to X.." But like MsJWine and others have said, it can get out of hand when it's just *announced* what it's about.

The control thing comes up a lot, also implying posters' relationships are unhealthy/abusive. Things like, 'you should reevaluate your relationship' based on one side comment. For example, something like this I think would be jumping to conclusions:

Poster: My boyfriend really gets irritated when I hang out with a particular friend--he's never told me not to, but he rolls his eyes and is obviously aggravated. He never does this with any other friend, though.
Response: He's manipulating you to isolate you from your friends! This is a classic sign of an abusive relationship, and you should leave the jerk!

But, this would be more OK;

Response: Sounds pretty passive-aggressive; have you asked him straight out why he doesn't like that particular friend? Maybe he thinks you spend too much time with them at the expense of the relationship, or maybe something about them rubs him the wrong way. He could be trying to manipulate you to avoid that friend, or maybe he just can't keep his aggravation to himself even though he knows he doesn't have the right to tell you not to.

or;

Response: My ex-boyfriend started doing that with one particular friend; in his case it was definitely a manipulation technique--does he also cut down other activities you do without him? Or do you think it's more that he really dislikes that friend?

And if the OP responds that, no, her boyfriend is perfectly fine when she goes out for various things without him, the response isn't to keep hammering on the topic but to go, 'oh, looks like it's not the same situation'. I think it's natural to assume that a situation that looks the same might have the same causes, but insisting it must be is frustrating.

I agree with this summary. To me, it’s being careful not to get too “deep” with other posters and situations on this forum. Remember, we really don’t know the whole story or everything about the poster’s life and relationships, so it’s not wise to jump to deep psychological conclusions on this forum. It’s not a good idea to pop off with, “He’s controlling you!!” or “I’ve noticed a pattern of …… you need to get deep therapy immediately”. Because we don’t know the whole story or the people involved, keep those comments to yourself.

But remember, there is a forum rule against “armchair psychology”, so any post that delves into that territory can be reported.

jimithing

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2011, 12:44:40 PM »
I don't mind some analysing, because it really can be helpful if someone says, "Well, I was in a similar situation with my sister, so maybe your cousin would respond well to X.." But like MsJWine and others have said, it can get out of hand when it's just *announced* what it's about.

The control thing comes up a lot, also implying posters' relationships are unhealthy/abusive. Things like, 'you should reevaluate your relationship' based on one side comment. For example, something like this I think would be jumping to conclusions:

Poster: My boyfriend really gets irritated when I hang out with a particular friend--he's never told me not to, but he rolls his eyes and is obviously aggravated. He never does this with any other friend, though.
Response: He's manipulating you to isolate you from your friends! This is a classic sign of an abusive relationship, and you should leave the jerk!

But, this would be more OK;

Response: Sounds pretty passive-aggressive; have you asked him straight out why he doesn't like that particular friend? Maybe he thinks you spend too much time with them at the expense of the relationship, or maybe something about them rubs him the wrong way. He could be trying to manipulate you to avoid that friend, or maybe he just can't keep his aggravation to himself even though he knows he doesn't have the right to tell you not to.

or;

Response: My ex-boyfriend started doing that with one particular friend; in his case it was definitely a manipulation technique--does he also cut down other activities you do without him? Or do you think it's more that he really dislikes that friend?

And if the OP responds that, no, her boyfriend is perfectly fine when she goes out for various things without him, the response isn't to keep hammering on the topic but to go, 'oh, looks like it's not the same situation'. I think it's natural to assume that a situation that looks the same might have the same causes, but insisting it must be is frustrating.

I agree with this summary. To me, it’s being careful not to get too “deep” with other posters and situations on this forum. Remember, we really don’t know the whole story or everything about the poster’s life and relationships, so it’s not wise to jump to deep psychological conclusions on this forum. It’s not a good idea to pop off with, “He’s controlling you!!” or “I’ve noticed a pattern of …… you need to get deep therapy immediately”. Because we don’t know the whole story or the people involved, keep those comments to yourself.

But remember, there is a forum rule against “armchair psychology”, so any post that delves into that territory can be reported.

But it also seems that people don't always know the definition of armchair psychology. It's not just asking questions about the situation or offering a different perspective or point of view. It's telling posters than there is clearly a mental illness going on, or maybe they are autistic, or they are clearly abusive, etc. I agree that those things shouldn't be going on. But just recommending that maybe a therapist can help with the situation,  because of what they have posted, doesn't automatically mean they are playing armchair psychologist.

And while we don't have the entire story, all we have to go on is what the poster posts here. So if the poster is only posting really negative things, and then gets upset because posters are responding to those issues, and we are accused of not knowing the entire story, that's not really helpful either.

My coworker started dating a girl recently. The first things he told us about her was all this crazy stuff. And then he gets defensive when we say something about it. Yet *he's* the one who provided that information right off the bat. Red flags when the first thing you tell us about someone you are dating is that she punched out the car window in her ex-BF's car.

hobish

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2011, 01:03:42 PM »

I am really tired of hearing that all thin people are shallow manipulative frenemies with body issues. Seriously. Enough already. And people who don't think pregnancy is amazing are jealous and, of course, have body issues. And every fourth person is toxic, controlling, abusive, and they probably have body issues, too  :P

Yes, this is a forum and people are entitled to their opinions. That does not mean everyone is entitled to post every last opinion they have. There is a difference. There are lots of things that are not appropriate here, and although armchair psychology may be low on the list it is in fact part of the forum rules.

Does this apply only with the remark "it's a control issue"? *Some* very prudent psychologizing is helpful in that it tries to understand where the other person is coming from, hence empathize at least minimally, which goes a long way in being able to be polite.

While that is certainly true, psychoanalysis performed by (probably) unlicensed strangers on the interweb is likely the least effective way to go about it.

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kingsrings

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2011, 01:10:56 PM »
I don't mind some analysing, because it really can be helpful if someone says, "Well, I was in a similar situation with my sister, so maybe your cousin would respond well to X.." But like MsJWine and others have said, it can get out of hand when it's just *announced* what it's about.

The control thing comes up a lot, also implying posters' relationships are unhealthy/abusive. Things like, 'you should reevaluate your relationship' based on one side comment. For example, something like this I think would be jumping to conclusions:

Poster: My boyfriend really gets irritated when I hang out with a particular friend--he's never told me not to, but he rolls his eyes and is obviously aggravated. He never does this with any other friend, though.
Response: He's manipulating you to isolate you from your friends! This is a classic sign of an abusive relationship, and you should leave the jerk!

But, this would be more OK;

Response: Sounds pretty passive-aggressive; have you asked him straight out why he doesn't like that particular friend? Maybe he thinks you spend too much time with them at the expense of the relationship, or maybe something about them rubs him the wrong way. He could be trying to manipulate you to avoid that friend, or maybe he just can't keep his aggravation to himself even though he knows he doesn't have the right to tell you not to.

or;

Response: My ex-boyfriend started doing that with one particular friend; in his case it was definitely a manipulation technique--does he also cut down other activities you do without him? Or do you think it's more that he really dislikes that friend?

And if the OP responds that, no, her boyfriend is perfectly fine when she goes out for various things without him, the response isn't to keep hammering on the topic but to go, 'oh, looks like it's not the same situation'. I think it's natural to assume that a situation that looks the same might have the same causes, but insisting it must be is frustrating.

I agree with this summary. To me, it’s being careful not to get too “deep” with other posters and situations on this forum. Remember, we really don’t know the whole story or everything about the poster’s life and relationships, so it’s not wise to jump to deep psychological conclusions on this forum. It’s not a good idea to pop off with, “He’s controlling you!!” or “I’ve noticed a pattern of …… you need to get deep therapy immediately”. Because we don’t know the whole story or the people involved, keep those comments to yourself.

But remember, there is a forum rule against “armchair psychology”, so any post that delves into that territory can be reported.

But it also seems that people don't always know the definition of armchair psychology. It's not just asking questions about the situation or offering a different perspective or point of view. It's telling posters than there is clearly a mental illness going on, or maybe they are autistic, or they are clearly abusive, etc. I agree that those things shouldn't be going on. But just recommending that maybe a therapist can help with the situation,  because of what they have posted, doesn't automatically mean they are playing armchair psychologist.

And while we don't have the entire story, all we have to go on is what the poster posts here. So if the poster is only posting really negative things, and then gets upset because posters are responding to those issues, and we are accused of not knowing the entire story, that's not really helpful either.

My coworker started dating a girl recently. The first things he told us about her was all this crazy stuff. And then he gets defensive when we say something about it. Yet *he's* the one who provided that information right off the bat. Red flags when the first thing you tell us about someone you are dating is that she punched out the car window in her ex-BF's car.

It is true that this is a hard thing to find one good definition on. Which is why it’s probably best to just report any instance of armchair-psychoanalysis that one sees, and let the mods decide. And engage Scritzy’s Coke Rule, although that sometimes results in posters complaining that their post isn’t being replied to, unfortunately.

Moray

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2011, 02:09:07 PM »

I am really tired of hearing that all thin people are shallow manipulative frenemies with body issues. Seriously. Enough already. And people who don't think pregnancy is amazing are jealous and, of course, have body issues. And every fourth person is toxic, controlling, abusive, and they probably have body issues, too  :P

Yes, this is a forum and people are entitled to their opinions. That does not mean everyone is entitled to post every last opinion they have. There is a difference. There are lots of things that are not appropriate here, and although armchair psychology may be low on the list it is in fact part of the forum rules.

Does this apply only with the remark "it's a control issue"? *Some* very prudent psychologizing is helpful in that it tries to understand where the other person is coming from, hence empathize at least minimally, which goes a long way in being able to be polite.

While that is certainly true, psychoanalysis performed by (probably) unlicensed strangers on the interweb is likely the least effective way to go about it.

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Peggy Gus

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Re: Pyscho-analyzing in threads
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2011, 02:25:50 PM »
I see the "armchair psychoanalysis" thrown out whenever someone tells a poster to look at their past behavior or to look at the fact that this is a repeated issue for them. I think it is used mostly as a diversionary tactic by posters to keep the heat off of them.