Author Topic: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?  (Read 6383 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

CakeEater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2668
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #45 on: February 16, 2013, 06:43:03 AM »
Conversation really can be a minefield. Between this thread, the count your blessings one, and whether or not to comfort someone crying, I am feeling a little overwhelmed!

I know that intent is not magical, but in some cases, I really think it has to count for something. A person's words are not always going to be the perfect thing, but perhaps we can give a little consideration to someone well meant?

To answer the question posed: no, I don't think blind (unconditional?) support is rude.

I don't think we need to dwell on it. No-one is obsesed about the nuances of these things as we are, I'm sure.

OP, I get what you're saying. As some others have said, it sounds to me like your dad isn't hearing what you're saying. You're saying that this is a really difficult competition and that you're doing it for practice. Someone who was really interested might ask what particular things you're practising, or if you'd do the competition again next year and if you expect to be able to do better then after having had experience this year etc.

But your dad is giving a platitude he thinks will make you happy so the conversation can move on to something else. It probably feels like he's not interested in hearing about your life.

My DD has autism and at almost 4 years old, isn't talking very well. She is, however, really good at letters, and numbers, and recognising words. A friend of mine, whenever we talk about her, says, "That girl will be a genius!" Well, she can't talk - there's a pretty goood chance that she'll struggle a lot with school and academics. I get that my friend is trying to be reassuring, but just stating something as fact, that is likely not to turn out that way actually causes me more upset.

It feels like she's saying, 'I don't actually want to hear about your worries or fears regarding this child, because I have no answers or desire to try to be sypathetic, so we'll just give an empty platitude and move on.'


Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1186
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #46 on: February 16, 2013, 08:44:32 AM »
or how about: "Well, *I* think you're amazing. And I will love you no matter what happens with this job/test/whatever."

Those of us who are reading this thread can tink about our encouragement techniques.

My own mom was great. She'd point out, "well, you do this really well; remember this other time you did great, and I see similarities now; I'm sure you'll do your best."

But mostly she'd listen: "Is this normal nerves, or are you really worried?"

Sigh...missing her a lot lately. There is nothing that has affected my life as powerfully s the rock-solid belief that my mother would love me and admire me no matter WHAT tests I failed, or no matter how badly I messed up.

No amount of blind encouragement could ever have provided the strength that this did.

Yes, this. It's about listening. It's about hearing the other person's concerns and responding to them in a way that's helpful. I can understand why the OP feels dismissed by her dad's responses. They don't reflect that he hears her. Maybe it isn't rude, but it also isn't helpful to her.

I had similar problems with my dad. When I finished my bachelor's degree in the late '80s, I had a very hard time finding a job. The field I was in was very competitive, and there just weren't a lot of jobs available. My dad, in a misguided quest to be helpful, would offer suggestions that were not helpful at all. To give an example, my goal was a job in TV production. My dad thought it would be a great idea if I made my own music videos and sent them to MTV. Because, you know, they just play whatever anyone sends them. My dad had no knowledge of the production process, quality equipment (which I did not own or have access to), or how the music industry works. To him, all anyone needed to get a music video on MTV was a camcorder, some envelopes, and postage. He thought it was that simple. If I didn't act on his suggestions, he nagged at me about them. Why hadn't I sent videos to MTV yet? When was I going to make videos and send them to MTV? My choice was to make excuses or to be honest: Because MTV doesn't play music videos from random people for bands from MyTown that nobody has ever heard of.

And that's where unhelpful becomes even more unhelpful: But how did I know that MTV wouldn't take them? By gosh, everyone gets started in business somewhere, and if you don't try then you aren't ever going to succeed! Have confidence! You can do this! He believed I was being unnecessarily pessimistic, but I was actually being realistic. Confidence in my skills was not the problem. The problem was that many people with great skills were competing for few jobs, and also MTV doesn't accept random videos. That's not how it works.

It is frustrating when people give advice or vague suggestions of affirmation when they don't understand the process. They might mean well, and that can be respected. But when you try to inject reality because you understand the process, it adds to the frustration when that knowledge goes unheard. Being realistic is not the same as being negative.

In my situation, I would have found it much more helpful if my dad had just listened to my worries and told me he supported me in the job search rather than dispensing unrealistic advice and affirmation. In essence, his unrealistic advice and platitudes created unrealistic expectations. That wasn't helpful.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 08:47:05 AM by Coley »

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5564
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #47 on: February 16, 2013, 11:13:29 AM »
My DD has autism and at almost 4 years old, isn't talking very well. She is, however, really good at letters, and numbers, and recognising words. A friend of mine, whenever we talk about her, says, "That girl will be a genius!" Well, she can't talk - there's a pretty goood chance that she'll struggle a lot with school and academics. I get that my friend is trying to be reassuring, but just stating something as fact, that is likely not to turn out that way actually causes me more upset.

I remember at one point years and years ago, I was asking after the child of a co-worker. She said that he was doing well but hadn't talked yet at age two. I told her that some kids just hold off and start talking in complete sentences. She smiled and said everyone said that and she hoped it was true.
I finished my student term at the company, left and then returned later, but wasn't working with her. However, she gave a speech at a company fundraising event about how a support group/charity had helped  her so much with the autism diagnosis for her son.

I remember feeling like a complete jerk at that moment because I had been so dismissive of her concerns earlier. I also felt like I helped delay diagnosis with my attitude. I mean, I didn't feel responsible per se, just like part of a sea of indifference.

I don't do that anymore. For a while, I had a really good handle on developmental benchmarks and the acceptable range as there were some issues with my daughter's birth. If someone expressed concern, I could give a reasonable opinion. (If no concern was expressed, my mouth was completely sealed on that subject)

laud_shy_girl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 445
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #48 on: February 16, 2013, 11:41:41 AM »
Some times you just need some one to acknowledge your concern.

Having some one tell you that you will succeed, when you know you won't can be just as damaging as some one telling you, you are going to fail. They are not just saying "I know more about the situation than you" they are saying "I know more about you than you." That is part of why I find statements like the OPs dads so frustrating.

OP I don't think you can change some one who truly believes they know you better than you know yourself. I would stop sharing with him.
“For too long, we've assumed that there is a single template for human nature, which is why we diagnose most deviations as disorders. But the reality is that there are many different kinds of minds. And that's a very good thing.” - Jonah Lehrer

Giggity

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8622
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #49 on: February 16, 2013, 12:20:08 PM »
I have some experience with this as I was in competition for a fantastic opportunity and everytime someone told me I "would get it" or they "were sure I would get it", I wanted to slap them. Because, I understood the stakes and my own abilities and I knew it was not a sure thing. Everytime they said "You will get it", I heard "You would have to mess up to fail this one".

Point of order: it's not the speaker's fault that you "hear" something he did not say.
Words mean things.

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4049
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #50 on: February 16, 2013, 12:52:57 PM »
OP, I guess this is the minority view, but I completely understand your frustration. My brother is like this.

And my suggestion is to do what I did with my bro:  alter my expectations.  If I mention something to him now, I know going in I'm going to hear unconditional support, but with no interest in hearing about the statistical probability I may not prevail!  Also, he has a competitive approach to things, and I don't think he sees beyond "you'll win". 

If I want a more nuanced convo about it, I've found others who can provide it. 

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5564
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #51 on: February 16, 2013, 01:30:50 PM »
I have some experience with this as I was in competition for a fantastic opportunity and everytime someone told me I "would get it" or they "were sure I would get it", I wanted to slap them. Because, I understood the stakes and my own abilities and I knew it was not a sure thing. Everytime they said "You will get it", I heard "You would have to mess up to fail this one".

Point of order: it's not the speaker's fault that you "hear" something he did not say.

My point isn't that they mean that and I think if you re-read my entire post

But I think my point has merit. If you tell someone "I know you will get it" or "I know you will win" (as opposed to the supportive "I know you will do great") and then they don't get it, what does that mean? That they weren't as good as you thought they were? That you overestimated their abilities?

When someone has said "You will get it" it is both dismissive of the concerns of the person going into the event/competition and it also leaves no room to impress them or celebrate with them after. "I won!" should be followed with an "excellent" or "congratulations" not afurther "I knew you would".


So if someone states your success is a forgone conclusion, the only options are to maintain the status quo (with success) or fail them.  Success doesn't feel like success. It just feels like an avoidance of failure. And failure is double failure.

delabela

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 588
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #52 on: February 16, 2013, 03:41:43 PM »
Trust me, I totally get the truly special brand of irritation that can only be inspired by family members.  But, I can't say he's rude for being, I guess, generically supportive.  Maybe he doesn't really understand how else to voice support, or maybe this is how he would want to be supported in a similar situation.  Whatever it is, you have to take him where he's at - and it would probably help if you could re-train yourself to see it as the best he can do.  Then turn to the other people in your life who can support you in the way you feel supported.  I struggled for a long time with parents who were unable to express care in a way I could hear (and who seemed oblivious to it), and I now wish I had been able to come to peace with it earlier.

June24

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 821
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #53 on: February 16, 2013, 04:24:20 PM »
Well, OP, did you get called back? And if you don't mind sharing, how did your dad react?

PeterM

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3321
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #54 on: February 16, 2013, 05:55:39 PM »
I don't know OP's father, but that's how his comments come across to me - like he doesn't really want to think about the issue or provide any useful advice, and so comes up with an empty platitude. It would annoy me, too, but there's probably not much OP can do about it apart from lowering her expectations of her father and finding a friend or someone to talk to who will really listen.

That's how I'm reading the situation, too. Especially since he continues to do this after the OP has explained her feelings to him.

LifeOnPluto

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6543
    • Blog
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2013, 12:30:50 AM »
OP, I would find your dad's platitudes annoying too. I'd be tempted to point out other instances where he's been certain you'd win, but didn't.

mmswm

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2168
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2013, 01:14:45 AM »
I completely understand the OP's feelings.  Being told "you'll get it for sure", or "I'll know you'll win" seems both dismissive and pressure building at the same time. 

When I was 16 I went to New York to audition for Julliard.  I was a huge ball of nerves.  Everybody kept saying how wonderful I was and how I was sure to be accepted.  I wanted to scream from the rooftop that it was NOT a sure thing, and that there were thousands of insanely talented oboists out there and only a handful of spots open for the upcoming freshman class.  All I wanted to hear was "you've worked hard, you're well prepared and you'll pull off an amazing audition, and if that's not good enough for Julliard, then well, they don't know what they're missing."  Turns out I didn't get to go to Julliard, but not because I wasn't accepted, but because I destroyed my hands and wrists in a hiking accident a few weeks after the audition. Funny how cruel life can be.  That letter was waiting in the mail when I got home from the hospital.

To the OP, it sounds like your father simply doesn't know how to be supportive.  He's your dad so he does think you're simply amazing, and when things don't go your way he has no idea how to comfort you.  Even though it's hard to hear those blind platitudes, take it in the spirit it's meant, and cut him a little slack when he has no clue how to comfort you if you don't win. 
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

cicero

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17619
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2013, 06:47:50 AM »
OP i totally understand you and where you are coming from.

It's like when i was a gawky, awkward, overweight, dorky looking girl and my grandmother or mother would say "you're the most beautiful girl in the world!" "you will be the best dressed /looking girl at the party!" even back when i was 14, it felt fake to me because i *knew* that i wasn't. 

of course there is the flip side to that - the parent (yes, dad - i mean you) who cannot perceive of their child doing well, who complains if you got a 98 ("what, they teacher doesn't give out 100s?"), for whom everyone else's child is better, more likely to succeed, etc.

<le sigh>


            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5861
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #58 on: February 17, 2013, 07:43:34 AM »

Point of order: it's not the speaker's fault that you "hear" something he did not say.

Agreed.  To me, the OP and many of the responses come across as looking for offense.  I am not sure what kind of response from the dad would be deemed okay, and I am absolutely certain there would not be 100% or even 50% agreement from the board on that.  I think it's best to assume those offering encouragement mean well, and if it's not want you want to hear, change your behavior (talk to someone else who gives you want you want) rather than expect the person trying to encourage you to change theirs.  Unless there is some reason to believe the encourager is trying to hurt you, assume they are doing their best to help you.

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5861
Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #59 on: February 17, 2013, 07:48:59 AM »

So if someone states your success is a forgone conclusion, the only options are to maintain the status quo (with success) or fail them.  Success doesn't feel like success. It just feels like an avoidance of failure. And failure is double failure.

I think this is a personal belief rather than a cause and effect from what someone else says to you.  No one else can make you feel any particular way.  You are in control of that.