Making a bad situation worse

Why do people have a tendency to sulk?  Have you ever been really mad at someone, and just held a grudge? Too stubborn to back down when you know you were wrong?  Have problems apologizing? Purposely use body language to let your girlfriend know you are pissed off at her, but never actually say anything about it? Roommates having a party you don’t feel like participating in, and instead of just sucking it up and having fun, you isolate yourself from the group?  I hate all of these things, and yet, I also do them on a regular basis, but why?

Boo-Hoo.

I really don’t know, to be honest.  If i did, I would probably be a much happier person.  Sometimes it is easier to just stomp off in a 5-year-old huff then it is to just accept a situation for what it is.  I have always been semi anti-social, not really in a bad way, more that I just do not want to deal with people and situations when I am not in the mood to deal with them.  I especially hate forced interactions.

Grudges

Grudges are shitty.  We have all held them.  I am a particular master of grudges, in fact, I have held some grudges for so long that I forgot why I was even holding the grudge.  I feel that sucking up and apologizing to someone when you feel they are wrong is like admitting they are right.  Is that bad though?  Is letting someone think they are right about something better then not having any interactions with said person?  When is it better to just forgive someone for something and put your pride aside then it is to hold out hoping that some day they will admit they are wrong?

What if you were wrong?  What if you realized you were wrong so far after the fact that you feel like an ass admitting that all the arguing you did was for naut?  Is it easier to just hold up your end of the argument forever rather then to admit defeat?

I think grudges are the result of hubris.  I am certainly not innocent in this aspect but as I grow older I recognize my faults more often than not, and admit I am wrong, on occasion.  Accepting someone’s apology can almost be as hard as being the one to apologize.  I think it is best to simply put your pride on the shelf sometimes, and if you feel the friendship or relationship is worth keeping, just apologize yourself even if you are wrong, and let things heal.

This is of course, much easier said than done, but it is something I work on in my personal life on an ongoing basis.

Body Language

Body language can say a lot, and it can often make more problems then you ever intended.  I feel that most body language is completely purposeful in most cases, and generally used to convey the feelings you do not wish to express in words.  I believe this is most commonly used between couples in a relationship, but also pretty often in a professional atmosphere as well.

Some body language is blatant, rolling of the eyes, loud sighs, hand gestures, but the most harmful body language is very subtle.  Pissed off at your girlfriend and you just sit on the couch with your arms folded and don’t utter a single word for a few hours?  Not helpful.  Get up from the couch to go sit in your bedroom by yourself without saying anything as you leave?  Not helpful.

In many cases it is just as easy to get a point across using these types of movements, but I find it is often less helpful then good.  When you air a grievance using words in the format of civil adult conversation you usually make a lot more progress then you would by walking away and conveying your anger through gestures.

I am especially vulnerable to this tactic, I will get much more angry then I normally would have been if during any sort of disagreement I am treated to the silent treatment, the arm folding, or the eye roll.  I think much like any other situation this is best talked out.

I am not really one to use much body language but having been a victim of it so many times, it often amplifies my frustration and makes things much worse then they needed to be.  Again, changing how you handle situations is much easier said than done, but the least we can do is recognize what we do, and try to deal with it differently.

Isolation

This is a particularly tricky situation to handle, one which I tend to perform much more often then I should.  A good situation to use as an example is if your roommates are having a party for some reason, but you are not in the mood to party, so instead of leaving, or just going down to have fun, you sit in your room or wherever, and isolate yourself.  Everyone knows you are there, and wonders what is wrong, and you get labelled as some sort of emo bastard.  I do this all the time.  I hate doing stuff when I don’t feel like doing it.

The thing is though, it’s not that I am upset or angry, or sad, I simply do not feel like partying.  I am not trying to sulk or make it obvious that I am upset about what is going on, I am just relaxing in my own space.  Problem is, it is never seen that way from the outside.  If you don’t want to participate in a party something must be wrong with you, right?

I tend to think not.  I think isolating yourself can be a totally innocent act, or, it can also definitely be a major passive-aggressive motion.  For me it has likely been both.  Lets say you are away visiting some friends in a far away from home location for a week, and at some point a fight occurs, so for the rest of the week you just sit in your hotel room…No one wants to be on vacation to sit in their room, but you simply do it to prove some sort of point about how upset you are.  Thing is, no one gives a shit.  And, if they do, and they knock on your door to try to lure you out, you sit there and sulk, glad that they recognized you were upset, but still do not budge.

I have found that if you just join, or re-join the party, in 99% of cases, you have a great time and you are glad you did.  Sucking up your pride and just going with the flow is the hard part.

I guess basically my point is, even though I do not by any means exemplify what I am saying, that its usually better to just swallow your pride for the sake of a happier environment around you.  None of the things outlined above ever help anything, they never make you feel better, and they never resolve a conflict.  So why do them?  I wish I had the key, because I am more guilty of these behaviors then most people are, but at least I recognize them and make a diligent effort toward being a better person.

2 thoughts on “Making a bad situation worse

  1. I’m terrible about most of these things. I hold grudges for so long (at our age, think 15 + years) that I have no idea why I hate someone, I just do, and they suck, and that’s that. And it’s absurd. I don’t even think it’s hubris, though. I think it’s a lot of times (in my case, especially) something really hurtful at the time that went unresolved that most people would let time wash away; but I will be angry about until the end of forever. It’s not healthy.
    I think, like most things in life, most of this can be fixed by more openness and honesty. (bring on the hippie juice!)

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