Author Topic: Dealing with berserk buttons  (Read 3482 times)

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Winterlight

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2013, 04:57:09 PM »
In Buzz Aldrin's case he was being physically confronted and stopped by the troll in question. And he did tell the man to leave him alone. I don't think belting him was the best choice, but I understand his feelings.

I think this question jumps from an etiquette issue to one of social responsibility.  If you see someone has inadvertently dropped a lit a match in the middle of the woods you don't sit back and watch the flames.  You extinguish the match before it creates a combustion. 

Each person will need to decide the best method for dealing with the situation. At times humor will work while other times it might fan the flames. Telling the person who set off the situation that their remark was over the line and they should leave or apologize might be the best approach.

Agreed. If I can defuse the situation, I'll do my best. Sometimes, though, you can't.

This popped up when I went to post the above...and I think requires me to elaborate a bit more.

The troll in question was joking about driving drunk.  Joe was getting annoyed and said 'knock it off, that's not funny' in a very tense voice.  The troll then made a comment of 'well if folks can't dodge cars they should stay off the sidewalk'.  Joe's son was killed a few years ago by a drunk driver, while standing on a street corner waiting for the light to change.

IMHO, the incoming thrashing was not entirely unwarranted, but...well... violence really isn't the best answer in most cases.

In my social circles, troll would be summarily hauled out by others and educated on why this is not an acceptable joke. Not violently, but it would be made clear that he should shut it. If he was disinclined to do so, he'd receive an invitation to the world.
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RingTailedLemur

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2013, 05:00:20 PM »
There was far more to the Buzz situation than that.  Bart Sibrel hadn't just been harrassing him for years.  On that occasion he got Buzz and his daughter into a room by luring them under false pretences - Buzz would never have gone there if had known it was Bart Sibrel.

Buzz, realising who he was faced with, got up to leave but found that Sibrel had barred the exits.

Sibrel followed and screamed Buzz's face "You are a fraud, a liar and a OOF".  Buzz asked several times for him and his daughter to be released before the punch.  Sibrel immediately turned to his cameraman and said "Did you get that?".  When Sibrel took it to court, before the judge laughed it out, he admitted his whole intent was to provoke a reaction from astronauts in order to make a video to discredit them.

I don't think Buzz's punch is anything like the OP.

*gets down off soapbox*

Iris

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2013, 05:51:23 PM »
There was far more to the Buzz situation than that.  Bart Sibrel hadn't just been harrassing him for years.  On that occasion he got Buzz and his daughter into a room by luring them under false pretences - Buzz would never have gone there if had known it was Bart Sibrel.

Buzz, realising who he was faced with, got up to leave but found that Sibrel had barred the exits.

Sibrel followed and screamed Buzz's face "You are a fraud, a liar and a OOF".  Buzz asked several times for him and his daughter to be released before the punch.  Sibrel immediately turned to his cameraman and said "Did you get that?".  When Sibrel took it to court, before the judge laughed it out, he admitted his whole intent was to provoke a reaction from astronauts in order to make a video to discredit them.

I don't think Buzz's punch is anything like the OP.

*gets down off soapbox*

The Buzz Aldrin situation kind of gets to the heart of why I feel ambiguous about this, though.

On the one hand, unquestionably we should all be adults and have control of ourselves and never resort to violence. OTOH I don't like that some people then use this as a license to be as offensive as they want, knowing that they have a secure "Good Guy" pass. I mean, Buzz Aldrin went to the freaking MOON for heaven's sake, at very real risk to his own life and for the glory of his country, and then has to put up with every whack-a-loon and their dog calling him a liar - and not just a normal liar but someone who lies to his *whole country*, you know, the country that he was in fact serving. Then when he (perfectly understandably imo) clocks them one they act like he's the bad guy.

So basically what I am saying is that sure, people shouldn't go beserk, but similarly people shouldn't press people's 'beserk buttons'. I would pass out equal blame in that situation. Deliberately bringing up something you know someone finds very, very upsetting for the sole purpose of making them very, very upset is just as bad as losing control, to me.

If someone pressed someone's 'beserk button' unknowingly, I would expect any adult to have the self control to say "That situation is a very upsetting one to me. I really can't discuss it and don't want to go into the reasons why" and would expect the unwitting button-pusher to immediately drop it.
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Ms_Cellany

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2013, 06:07:21 PM »
Years ago, at a lunch table at work, a co-worker went off on a monologue extolling the second amendment and gun rights.

Unfortunately, he didn't know that two people at the table were parents of childen that had been murdered by guns.

With great self-control, they explained that this was a senstive topic to them.

His response? "Well, I'm sorry for your loss, but it doesn't change my political position."
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TootsNYC

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2013, 06:13:10 PM »

His response? "Well, I'm sorry for your loss, but it doesn't change my political position."

"I don't expect it to. But I expect it to change your topic of conversation at this dining table right now."

kherbert05

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2013, 07:13:00 PM »
This came up in school today.

I have an ADHD student, who might have an underlying mental illness, but because he is only 8 and his brain is physically immature further diagnoses is not possible at this time. He was exposed to drugs before birth, and adopted by a wonderful family. His Mom and adult sister are working hard to make sure he grows up to be able to function in society. He is super smart.

One of his triggers is pain and he has a low threshold. He also doesn't like physical contact when he is hurt (gas to the fire). Today in PE he got hit by the volleyball it obviously hurt. A child from another class rushed up to help him. She was blocked by kids from my class and told NO you have to give (ADHD Child) space to calm down.

The child that "hit" him apologized right away. And showing progress ADHD child "accepted" the apology (Coach said he shouted I know it was an accident while "huffing/snorting" which is a step up from from you hurt me on purpose so I'm going to hurt you). He was allowed to go off from the group until he regained his composure.

I agree with people should be able to control themselves - but sometimes the other person doesn't let them cope. Instead they keep pushing "why are you upset, It was nothing, I didn't mean anything by it" and not allowing the person with the button to retreat and regain control. That is when someone needs to step in and tell people to leave the hot button people alone.

Jayne was just an idiot. It is Mel's ship he is the captain. Seeing as Jayne nearly got himself spaced for trying to turn in two of the crew into the feds for the bounty he needs to get some common sense to fit under that hat of his.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2013, 07:13:27 PM »
There was far more to the Buzz situation than that.  Bart Sibrel hadn't just been harrassing him for years.  On that occasion he got Buzz and his daughter into a room by luring them under false pretences - Buzz would never have gone there if had known it was Bart Sibrel.

Buzz, realising who he was faced with, got up to leave but found that Sibrel had barred the exits.

Sibrel followed and screamed Buzz's face "You are a fraud, a liar and a OOF".  Buzz asked several times for him and his daughter to be released before the punch.  Sibrel immediately turned to his cameraman and said "Did you get that?".  When Sibrel took it to court, before the judge laughed it out, he admitted his whole intent was to provoke a reaction from astronauts in order to make a video to discredit them.

I don't think Buzz's punch is anything like the OP.

*gets down off soapbox*

The Buzz Aldrin situation kind of gets to the heart of why I feel ambiguous about this, though.

On the one hand, unquestionably we should all be adults and have control of ourselves and never resort to violence. OTOH I don't like that some people then use this as a license to be as offensive as they want, knowing that they have a secure "Good Guy" pass. I mean, Buzz Aldrin went to the freaking MOON for heaven's sake, at very real risk to his own life and for the glory of his country, and then has to put up with every whack-a-loon and their dog calling him a liar - and not just a normal liar but someone who lies to his *whole country*, you know, the country that he was in fact serving. Then when he (perfectly understandably imo) clocks them one they act like he's the bad guy.

So basically what I am saying is that sure, people shouldn't go beserk, but similarly people shouldn't press people's 'beserk buttons'. I would pass out equal blame in that situation. Deliberately bringing up something you know someone finds very, very upsetting for the sole purpose of making them very, very upset is just as bad as losing control, to me.

If someone pressed someone's 'beserk button' unknowingly, I would expect any adult to have the self control to say "That situation is a very upsetting one to me. I really can't discuss it and don't want to go into the reasons why" and would expect the unwitting button-pusher to immediately drop it.

I agree with RingTail.  The Buzz situation wasn't about pushing beserk buttons.  It was far beyond making a statement to push a button.  In the video I saw, Mr. Aldrin tried to get away from the reporter and his very large entourage of camera and sound people for more than a minute and a half and also engaged a hotel employee for assistance  before he socked the reporter a good one.  While I'm sure many people would be able to sit there and be called "a liar, a coward, and a thief" repeatedly without resorting to violence, I do not believe I am one of them.   
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 07:15:02 PM by Hmmmmm »

Lynn2000

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2013, 10:49:25 AM »
Interesting thread. I was thinking less of a situation that could turn violent, and more of a situation like I often see at my workplace. My boss has a number of "hot button topics" that will trigger a rant from her for several minutes if they're brought up. Her opinions are often ill-informed and based more on paranoia than facts, and because she's the boss we kind of have to just sit there and listen instead of debating.

For example, she's paranoid about Internet/computer security--thinks everyone "out there" is out to get the "good people," yet at the same time doesn't like/trust/want to deal with things like reputable security programs, keeping programs updated, etc.. We have a lot of computers at work so this comes up fairly often. I have sometimes warned new people not to make jokes about computer hackers, viruses, etc. because she'll start ranting about it. But, should a joke be made, I would love to have a polite and effective way to cut off the rant before it really gets going!
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artk2002

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2013, 11:04:15 AM »
But, should a joke be made, I would love to have a polite and effective way to cut off the rant before it really gets going!

Sadly, there isn't. You're dealing with an irrational person and "polite and effective" only work on rational people. At worst, nothing will work, at best you're left with the choice of polite *or* effective.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2013, 11:13:14 AM »
But, should a joke be made, I would love to have a polite and effective way to cut off the rant before it really gets going!

Sadly, there isn't. You're dealing with an irrational person and "polite and effective" only work on rational people. At worst, nothing will work, at best you're left with the choice of polite *or* effective.

Yeah, that's kinda what I figured, sadly. I've tried some different things over the years and none that I'm willing to use are actually that effective, but I keep hoping. :)
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Allyson

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2013, 11:23:13 AM »
I think it depends on whether or not the button-pusher is really deliberately trying to hurt and offend the person in question. If they are, then I think other people should jump in and basically give a "Hey, that's not cool, you need to be back off!" If they don't know, then I'm sorry, but I think it's up to the sensitive person to either back away from the situation or control themself. Absolutely they can later explain they are really set off by joking about X topic. Or if they can't bring themself to talk about it, then they could get someone else to explain it to them.

I don't believe that a physical response to having your berserk button pushed is truly uncontrollable in most cases. When I hear about these things happening, often there's a tone of 'and good for him!', because these stories are typically about someone 'going off' on someone of somewhat equal physical capabilities. Would the person who 'went off' have been able to control themself if the person who'd pushed their button had been a six year old boy or an 80 year old woman? If so, then there was a choice in what they did, it wasn't an involuntary response. Same as how most of these people would probably not go rage-punching 12 trained martial arts experts.

I am not talking about people here who have something like PTSD set off, but just people who 'just get so angry' at an insult they need to respond violently.

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2013, 11:45:36 AM »
Well, I've never seen Firefly (I know, don't throw things!), but the OP gave an example of someone asking a person "how many of your comrades did you bring to safety during the war?" Assuming that the speaker knew that some of the comrades did *not* reach safety, I would consider this to be, as they say, "fighting words". Such a provoking comment is not acceptable in civilized conversation, and not even likely to be a sad, but innocent, mistake. In such a case, I would consider getting the offender away from someone to whom they are causing great pain a very good idea, if it can be done.
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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2013, 12:02:17 PM »
Well, I've never seen Firefly (I know, don't throw things!), but the OP gave an example of someone asking a person "how many of your comrades did you bring to safety during the war?" Assuming that the speaker knew that some of the comrades did *not* reach safety, I would consider this to be, as they say, "fighting words". Such a provoking comment is not acceptable in civilized conversation, and not even likely to be a sad, but innocent, mistake. In such a case, I would consider getting the offender away from someone to whom they are causing great pain a very good idea, if it can be done.

"Fighting words" is what I was thinking of bringing up too.

In certain instances, the rules of etiquette have already gone out the window because the words being said aren't merely rude, they're beyond the bounds of good taste.  I know that there are some things that, if said, if I did NOT react in an 'extreme' manner, I would feel I hadn't done what was right.

MommyPenguin

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2013, 12:16:14 PM »
Well, I've never seen Firefly (I know, don't throw things!), but the OP gave an example of someone asking a person "how many of your comrades did you bring to safety during the war?" Assuming that the speaker knew that some of the comrades did *not* reach safety, I would consider this to be, as they say, "fighting words". Such a provoking comment is not acceptable in civilized conversation, and not even likely to be a sad, but innocent, mistake. In such a case, I would consider getting the offender away from someone to whom they are causing great pain a very good idea, if it can be done.

The backstory is that Mal commanded a large number of people (150?), including Zoe.  There was a fight against the Alliance (bad guys) and many of his men died.  Then his men were left, wounded, suffering, maybe starving and freezing, while the rebels and the Alliance negotiated a ceasefire.  During this time, *all* of his men, except himself and Zoe, died.  So we're talking something like 148 of 150 died, leaving only himself and Zoe alive.  He felt responsible for his men, but could do nothing as his men slowly died of his wounds while the administrative details of the surrender were worked out.  (I've seen the show recently but it was only for the second time, so others can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)  So you can imagine how this would be an incredibly sore spot and how Jayne, who knew the whole story, was not only deliberately pushing a hot button *but* was also doing so in order to tell Mal that he was a bad captain who didn't know what he was doing in leadership roles (when really the situation was not Mal's fault and he already felt responsible for failing those men).  And as for Zoe telling Jayne to leave... Mal is captain and she's first mate.  It was appropriate in context for her to step in and tell Jayne to basically take a time out.  Jayne was more brawn than brains... useful, along with his grenades, but not really somebody you want when you're making plans.  :)

Sharnita

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Re: Dealing with berserk buttons
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2013, 12:31:55 PM »
In that show his forces were greatly outnumbered and outgunned so I think it was not so much taht he was a bad Captain (they should have won) but that he was unwise to have tried to fight that fight to begin with.  ANd when she spoke up I think it was as much on her behalf as Mal's because she suffered and lost friends.  I think he was questioning the wisdom of their cause and decision making more than anything else. And of course, on the show they are constantly being hinted by various entities, including the same government that took out Mal's browncoats. I think that the idea of danger and judgement is kind of a hot button issue both ways.