GalaGirl: Conversations Already in Progress.

GalaGirl

Well-known member
MORE WEIRD

And then two more cards/letters. Three pieces of mail in less than 2 weeks.

And here's the thing -- I'm just not interested. Unless Leaf is telling me he is in therapy again and DOING his management things rather than going/stop/going/stop... I really don't want to put much energy into that relationship. I am not his crutch.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
ON GRIEF, CIRCLES OF INTIMACY, AN RIGHT RELATIONSHIP

A dear friend passed away. I'm a bit sad and also introspective. Violet and I were not super tight, but we were really authentic. She had a charm and grace about her that I greatly admired. And we could talk about anything. LGBT stuff, poly stuff, politics, religion... conversations that I don't do with other friends because not every friend is a "heavy duty conversations" kind of friend.

Her passing makes me think about my friends and family and my relationships with them. That's part of my grief process. This one relationship has changed. Do I need to be changing any others? Am I in right relationship with my people?

  • I asked hubby out on a date. We have been too caught up in the daily grind lately and need to reconnect as a couple. We're both excited about our plans.

  • Paying my elders a visit again. I do not enjoy them because they have not accepted their various illnesses. It's still DEEP denial/anger/bargaining/drama stuff over there. I would not have minded if one of them died rather than my friend. They need the release. As do I. But it isn't their time yet, so I still go over there to see what needs doing. I don't want ALL my relationships to be like my elders. That would drag me down. But sometimes part of being in right relationship is performing acts of mercy like visiting the infirm. They didn't ask to be sick. They need help, and I've consented to help. (But only to the extent where it isn't coming out of my hide. I cannot be their whole care team!)

  • I think Leaf is done fishing. I'm still willing to relate, if Leaf is in therapy and doing things to manage his conditions. But if not, and he's going to be acting out and doing drama stuff? Go do it elsewhere. Not around me.

  • I'm growing cool with Daisy. She keeps on with her BF who runs around with a crowd that I'm not into. If she's happier then I wish her well, but I don't want to be doing things with her and this crowd. Too much drama there for me. Getting together is no longer a pleasure because all she wants to do is complain about the drama people. I don't know them, and I don't care to gossip about them. Don't like them? Stop hanging out with them then. Jeez! Daisy and I don't have many things in common any more.

  • I've been growing closer with Spark. Not super close, but closer friends than we've been in the past. That feels good. We have things in common and have had interesting conversation. Spark has "cleaned house" and gotten herself away from people who were dragging down her life. Exercising better boundaries. As a result, she's in better spirit and in better health.

  • EarthMama and I made some time to get a coffee. It was SO fun we ended up talking for four hours and closing the coffee shop. Even all the employees left and we still were hanging out on the patio. People like her are the salt of the earth. We've been commiserating together about the loss of Violet. We both feel it deeply.

  • I'm worried about Rose. She's stressed out and it's been a long while since we talked one to one. I could make some effort there to reconnect.

  • My friend Jason is in new digs and figuring out how to coparent post divorce. They spent several years getting divorced. Trying every which way to "make it work" but really in the end? It would have been better to accept the best way to return to right relationship is to end it romantically so they could return to right relationship as coparents and friends. All this volatile stuff as a result of building up resentments from dragging the process out? Could have been spared. Now I'm not sure if they can coparent/be friends. They have to heal from the volatile stuff first. Why people want to be doing "double load" laundry rather than be decisive and keep it to "single load" baffles me. But they weren't making decisions seeking to be in right relationship with each other They were seeking to "make it work" and keep the marriage going at all costs.

I care about my relationships and I'm not going to break up with people like they are used Kleenex. But I also care about ME, and I'm not going to keep on in something that doesn't feel good, I've tried to correct, and keeps on pinching. The solution is to be ok with being less close and putting some space between us so we can return to right relationship balance.

I get that it takes people time to grieve. And when you are not at final acceptance yet, you go through the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining... all of that. But I think sometimes people just get stuck waffling.

They don't want to make a decision about anything and don't seem to understand that "not making any decisions" IS a decision. It's the decision to let things unfold however they do.

Sometimes that's the best thing to do. Because you have to wait for heads to cool off first. Or you need to gather more information. Or you need to stop trying to force an outcome and just let the natural outcome emerge. Sometimes its a foolish thing to do -- especially if it prolongs pain or avoids dealing with a break up.

I don't get the unwillingness to move people OUT a few rings. Like they used to be close and really tight in your circles of intimacy, but now things have changed and you cannot continue to keep them close and be in right relationship with them. Something hurts if you do. So... be less close then. Change some things. So that you CAN be in right relationship.

And now things have changed. My friend has died. This is not about her moving to another ring. This is about Violet moving on to another plane entirely. Our relationship is now going to be one sided and largely when I visit and talk with her in my head. I have a few others who have passed on that I do that with. There are some who I just don't have that kind of post-death relationship with.

But Violet I think I will. I was lucky to have known her.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
PART 1: ON HAVING *REAL* SUPPORT SYSTEMS

Violet's funeral was lovely. She has organized a lot of it ahead of time so really people just had to find her papers. Violet had a notebook -- she always told friends where it was. So it was largely her friends who got it together. The family came, which was a bit weird, but nobody acted out or was mean or anything.

You see, Violet was a estranged from her family. While she had eventually made a sort of peace with her mother, she had problems with the siblings and father. Largely over the LGBT thing. Possibly one of the reasons she moved away to here -- a larger, more liberal kind of city.

It would be nice to think those days are past but they aren't. The days where parents disown or fight with their kids over how they want to love. As if loving is "wrong" if not done the "right" or "approved" way.

From a distance I've watched the mess one SIL and niece had to navigate over niece being a lesbian. SIL still struggles to accept but now tries. Which I suppose is better than Violet's family. So maybe it's generational progress. Just slow going progress?

It sucks that it isn't the LGBT person's problem. It's the parent's problem. SIL was more worried about what other people would think and that they would judge her for being a bad parent for "letting her be gay" than about the health and well being of the daughter. Screwy priorities. And a lesson long in coming. That lesson about learning to think for your own self instead of doing whatever other people want/think like a people pleaser is something that happens in the teens/20's. To have postponed it until the 50's? And trying to push that ideology on to the daughter? Wow. :eek:

Largely SIL's problem, but who was paying the brunt of the cost? The daughter, who was simply wanting to live her life how she wanted. Like helicopter parent gone crazy or something.

Be more decent to tell the kid "Thank you for making me aware. I cannot support that. So we have to figure out how to be in right relationship so I can be away from that and you can be in it." It may mean parting ways or not being as tight any more -- like Christmas card relatives and that is it.

Rather than step over boundaries and try to "remold" the kid and make their life hell. Impose your will on them and not respect their being their own person, their own individual. You have your own life. Why are you trying to live other people's for them also? (That could be a whole other topic!)

My eldest recently told me she's bi out of the blue. I said that was fine. Thanks for updating me. That she could love however she wanted, whoever she wanted. All I cared about is that the person or persons are not abusive. I want them treating her WELL. Then I gave her a fist bump and told her welcome to the club. She looked startled and laughed.

She's still so young... just figuring out that she likes girls too. She doesn't think about bi erasure yet. She hasn't experienced being partnered and others assuming you are now gay or straight and no longer bisexual. She's only just learning not to assume herself.

When I caught DH up later he laughed and said that apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Kid told me she's glad we're straight up in this family. It's a relief.

I know. Coming out to parents, esp when you are their dependent would SUCK if the parents take it badly and decide to make your remaining teen years hell.

When I told my mom I was bi she wigged out and told me not to tell my Dad. Which was the second time I tried to tell her important stuff as a teen but really it confirmed my belief that I could not tell parents anything because they were useless. I decided I was best off becoming financially independent ASAP so I couldn't be controlled by purse strings.

The only thing I was going to get from them was shallow relating and "correct outward appearances" -- nobody really wants to know people on the insides. It's all surface stuff. Both were visibly relieved when I got married. Like "There. She's solved. We won't have any more of this weird stuff -- she's outgrown it."

It didn't go anywhere. I just don't share myself with my family of origin any more. I quit trying years ago. It's not wanted, and I'm not going to get what I need or want there. Why bother? So it leaves us with this very shallow relationship where I show up for Sunday dinners here are there and I check on how their health is doing and do what is asked of me caregiver wise.

It's duty, it's obligation, it's acts of mercy. But in no way is it pleasure, joy, or mutual love and understanding. It's stilted. Any wonder I don't enjoy spending lots of time there?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
PART 2: ON HAVING *REAL* SUPPORT SYSTEMS

My friend Jason once told me his parents are the same. Only interested in outward appearances. But unlike Jason, I do have close friends who love and accept me as I am. He's hoeing a rough row because he wasn't out as poly, he didn't know who the reliable people were in his network. And the crazy that was their break up was made all the more crazy because he had not prepared. He assumed he had support systems. But was surprised to learn actually... he doesn't.

My friend Pepper had problems a long time ago. Their quad ended when one of the partners died suddenly. The balance was disrupted. Her GF was really grieving over the loss of her partner and leaning on her a lot. Which made Pepper's husband grumpy and Pepper stressed out. And then GF found another GF, and wanted to leave. So it was like quad to triad to married couple to maybe divorce for Pepper. A long extended break up process. It took years to complete. They made the marriage repairs they needed but it was rough going for a long while.

One time Pepper was on the verge of crying and I was comforting her. She was lamenting the lack of support from her family of origin as she struggled with her immediate family falling apart. She wanted people to recognize that a significant death had happened for her -- she was widowed. People did not recognize that.

I didn't say anything but in my head I was thinking "You are doing triple load here. Loss of dead partner. Then GF wanting to finish breaking up quad rather than reform and continue as a triad. And your family is no help because you weren't out to all of them and you assumed they would be supportive and now come to find they are not. Instead of comforting a widow they are acting out.

The first two problems could not be helped. The third could have be solved ahead of time by coming out and sorting out who is really supportive of you, ALL of you, and who is not so there's no illusions. Get that preparation work done ahead of time.

I sometimes see this lacking with poly people. I'm not saying you have to be out and shouting it from street corners to every stranger that goes by. But with "need to know" people? You need to bring them in the know so you can assess who is still going to be there for you or not should the poly dating thing end in a break up and you need support. You are in charge of your own emergency preparedness right? I don't know why people neglect that.

Fear maybe. Or the problem my SIL had -- never learning to stand on your own as an individual. Not be living to please others and what they think. Or assuming your family of origin is unconditional love and suport when really it's all conditional. I love my kids. One of them turns out to be a serial murder? I'm going to stop loving them. I have conditions.

Most of what Pepper was getting was "Of course it blew up. What do you expect doing pervy things like that?" She learned her people were not able to put compassion first. They would ADD to her pain rather then comfort and help take some of the pain away.

I think she wanted her people to be better than they were. Or maybe she wanted to believe that her people loved her no matter what and was disappointed to learn love is conditional.

I don't believe that about my people. Oh, growing up they would say things like "I love you, you can tell me anything" but in practice? Not so much.

There have been many times in my life where whatever I did was met with "OMG! You can't do that!" because it went against whatever they thought. I did it anyway. Which is liberating because at this stage of life they are all used to it.

I don't go shouting it from street corners or rubbing it in their faces. But if they learn I'm doing X they take it more like "Oh. I didn't know that." They aren't going to be supportive and I expect no help. They accept I'm gonna do it without concern over what they think so they don't waste their breath giving me grief. Their anxieties about it are not MY problem. Strong personal boundaries.

A long time ago I asked DH about coming out as poly. How he wanted to handle it. He shrugged and said "People can deal with it or not. Those who can't? Tough." And he isn't wrong.

The relatives we have on his side? We see rarely and far in between. Even less so in more recent years. It doesn't really affect us here. If we don't make trips out to other states to see relatives because they have issues -- so what? I'm not missing much.

I'll be honest -- most of the time with my in laws? I'm gathering for sake of my husband and kids. I don't have much in common. Maybe just one SIL and one nephew. The rest? It's shallow relating for me. I do it so husband can see his family of origin, and I do it so kids can know the other side of the family. But for me? I could skip it and be fine.

The only ones I would care about would be my kids. And they are raised to live and let live -- people come in all sorts of ways, and love in all sorts of ways, so really? It's not our place to judge. If some people are LGBT, or poly, or kinky, or whatever? So long as it is consenting and healthy relating? Carry on. The only concern is abuse and domestic violence issues.

I have friends who know I'm bi and poly. They love me as I am, they are genuine and supportive and I can pretty much live my life how I want knowing I have support to lean on should hard times fall on me.

I guess Violet arrived at the same conclusion. You have to make your own support systems ahead of time. Sometimes your chosen family of friends is more reliable than your family of origin. You get to pick the friends. Not the family.

She did her own funeral ahead of time, knowing she could not rely on her people to do it. She was responsible for her own emergency preparedness. And she wasn't shouting it from a street corner to all and sundry, but the people closer to her knew what she struggled with as a lesbian, as a chronic patient, and so on. In her quiet way she touched the lives of many people. Quite a lot showed up to the funeral -- from her various groups and activities.

She was a generous, friendly person even when life and the world wasn't especially generous or friendly to her. In her last words she asked us to live for her. To keep moving forward, to keep being kind, and to keep doing the work that is needed to make the world a better place.

Violet led a quiet, principled life and I admired her calm courage and inner strength. I have to review my own life and figure out if I'm living as principled a life as I could be. I can think of no higher compliment to pay her than to do that pause and check.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. We only get the one.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
ON MAKING DECISIONS

This is an except from this thread.

You sound like you are asking how I make decisions about some things.

I check the "toggles."
Some things are (important) AND (urgent.) Like the house on fire. We have to deal with it NOW and it is major. Being trapped in a burning house could kill us!
Some things are (important) but not (urgent.) Like updating my will to include a new grandkid. It doesn't have to be right now. Next week is soon enough. Not like the burning house situation.
Some things are (urgent) but not (important.) I'm out doing errands and I have to pee. But I don't like the bathroom at the gas station, so I can wait til I get to the grocery down the street. They have nicer bathrooms.
Some things are neither (urgent) nor (important.) I got a coupon in the mail for pet food and I own no pets. I can toss it here on the table til I feel like dealing with getting the trash together. Nothing will happen if it sits there for a week or even a month.

At this time? You feeling excited or anxious and it making a sense of urgency? That's urgent but not important. Or at least not as important as maintaining good relationships with your people. So sit with it/on it and don't rush. There's no "fire" here. It's ok to wait.

Or I check the values.
Right now it sounds like you place "remain in good relationship with my people" as a higher value than "get something going here fast."
When you cannot have two values at the same time? You could answer to the higher value. Which is remaining in right relationship with your people.

So you end up at the same conclusion using that method -- have to sit with the feelings of urgency and not rush.

That's two ways I use.

HTH!
Galagirl

I think I've written before about making decisions based on "joyous yes." Like anything less than "joyous yes" is a working no.

I also make decisions like triage. Some things you have to cut something out. With regrets maybe. But cut out all the same because time is a factor, and being indecisive could cost you another thing. We were trying to get out the door for the funeral and a kid was farting around looking for the perfect shoes. I said enough, use these black flats by the door, forget the fancy ones and let's get going. Better single load disappointment -- not having the ideal shoes. Than double load -- no shoes AND being tardy to the funeral.

This is two other ways I use to make decisions. According to toggles and according to values.

Another way is to do a SWOT analysis.

I have to pick the right method for the job at hand. Just like I'm not going to fire up the laptop to take down a message when pencil or even crayon will do.

If you aren't good at deciding things or making up your mind -- I think I would grow those skills to put in the poly toolbox. It's an intense relating style. More stimulus, more decisions, more pressure sometimes.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
HOUSE COOLING + SUPPORTING THE MOURNERS

I was one of the group of friends who deal with Violet's "house cooling." Sharing some of the things with friends and then packing up all the remaining stuff and carting it off to donate. It was hot, sweaty, tiring work. But we got it done.

Not all the friends could take time off work like that. People give where they can.

A few are taking her passing super hard. So now that the house cooling is over, my thoughts turn to how to best support the mourners.

Then I read a few posts on here and I started thinking about how to best support poly mourners after a break up. I didn't want to forget about that topic, so I'm writing down so I remember.

Galagirl
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
ON "BASICS BEFORE BONUS"

This is an excerpt from this thread:


I'm sorry that over the years you lost touch with who you are at core, how to do your own self care, and that you chose to do for everyone else at your expense. Not balanced living.

It's also not a good model for your kids to grow up to emulate. I can imagine you don't want them growing up doing same and burning themselves out.

You could start with saying "No, not yet" more around the house.

I'll give you an example. Mornings here are NUTS. Everyone wants mom for something. Braid my hair, where is my breakfast, where are my socks.

I say no.

"Nope. Willing, but not able yet. I have to do MY basics first and attend to my teeth, my potty, my coffee. Your stuff? That is BONUS stuff to me. They are YOUR basics... so you attend to it first. See how far you can get with it on your own. I believe you can handle it. Maybe think about putting your stuff out the night before.

I am going to do my basics and you do yours as far as you can. THEN I will come see what I can help you with if there's stuff left still."

You put your OWN oxygen mask on first before you try to help other people. It is NECESSARY.

One of the kids recently told me someone asked kid for math help. Kid replied "I see you want my help. Math class is time for me to do MY work. So no. Not right now. I have to do my own work first. I can help you at lunch. See me then if you still want my help. Or if you need it now, ask someone else who can do it now."

I told kid I was proud of them for knowing how to do "basics before bonus." Kid wasn't mean about it or anything. Just stating kid's "willing and able."

You could start there. Do less stuff for people. Not because you don't love them or don't care about them. But because you have to care about you too. Do stuff in ORDER rather than cart before horse. If everyone did "Basics before bonus" then EVERYONE gets seen to. Rather than everything coming out of your hide all the time.

As for the marriage... wife wants to be with you both. So she's willing. She's got some ABLE stuff to clean up on her end. Like not making agreements she cannot keep and becoming more a person of her Word.

Are you willing to local poly? Because if you just don't want to be doing it? Not a joyous yes? Stop participating. You are in charge of your consent to participate in things.

If you ARE willing... are you also able or can become able with some work? Because if you are just not able, accept it. Spare yourself the grief. I might be willing to fly, but I know am not able. So I don't go jumping off my roof flapping my arms. YKWIM?

If you are not used to thinking about yourself? Not used to doing introspection? Don't really know yourself or your current values? Have a hard time articulating? You might want to see a counselor to help you learn to articulate/communicate and sort your thoughts out.

In the meanwhile at home? Basics before bonus. Start there.

Galagirl

My friend Spark and I were both invited to a birthday. I did not want to go. I have a "dying on the vine" friendship with the person. So why would I go?

I sent a card to observe social niceties but didn't worry about it much or care. What I needed more was REST and to be free from having to socialize with these people and their family/friends that I don't care for. In time, the friendship will finish fading and I won't get these sorts of invites any more. I'm ok with that.

Not everyone that enters my life is there for the entirety of my life.

Other than my parents and siblings? I have two FB friends still. They go back to us being 6 year old in 1st grade together. Are we as tight now? Of course not. But over the ebb and flow of the years, we liked each other enough to stay in sporadic touch. If one of them invited me to something and they lived close enough to make it doable? I would go gladly.

This one? Was local and I just don't care to attend. I'm starting to not like the person I used to be friends with. For many reasons I shan't list. But why bother to go the party of someone I feel meh about? It's bonus stuff, and my basics were lacking. I opted to REST, which I thoroughly enjoyed without reservation. I spent this weekend doing the things I wanted to be doing!

Spark is struggling. She also did not go but it cost her a lot more to make the choice and not feel guilty about it. Her family culture is such that you do stuff even if you don't want to, even if you are dog tired, even if...

I can only wonder why self punish like that? Who is measuring? The bday person doesn't care -- they have enough other guests attending. The judgy people giving her a hard time? Once this party is past they won't care any more either. (I wonder if it is more about misery loving company -- they don't really want to go but feel obligated so dislike it when someone is breaking the party line? Like some weird envy thing?)

I see hinges burn themselves out sometimes not doing "basics before bonus."

Like they don't make any time on the calendar for REST or time ALONE. They only split their time between Partner A and Partner B and figure whatever can come out of their hide because they "get" to have two partners. So they SHOULD be the ones doing extra.

I disagree with that. I think each person? Could attend to their basics first, but on their own oxygen mask, do their self care. THEN they can share whatever time is left with whoever.

Not be going at things cart before horse.

An ex-bf and I had a fight about that once. I wanted time on my own. I needed to rest and do other things. He was all grumpy because he saw it as me having "free" time so we should be doing stuff together. I said no. We could do stuff together at a later date. I needed to rest, and then I needed to be doing other things at home. The time was not "free." It was already assigned to "self care."

I guess that's a related topic to this "basics before bonus" thing. People feeling entitled to your time and not recognizing that actually, YOU decide where you spend your time. It's not like they get "dibs" on all your free time just because they date you. They do not own your "time wallet." You do. And you choose to spend your "time dollars" they way you want.

Or thinking that "self care" is not necessary or it's some optional thing. Because if it is like "work" where you get a paycheck they are all... "Oh, you have to work, no problem" And they let you be. But if it is like "I have to do self care" they think it is "free time" and you should just skip doing that. When it's pretty vital.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
ON OVERSHARING TMI

I wrote this recently on a thread about oversharing.

I think every couple figures our for themselves where the TMI line is for the topic at hand. WHO needs to know WHAT.

I wish I could think of a better "neutral" example.

But take diarrhea. I can tell my kids that I have the runs, and my stomach feels bad, so no. We are not going theme parking. That's enough info for them to understand why the weekend plans have changed and have to reschedule.

My spouse would get that level plus a bit more -- like add extra TP to the shopping list or pick up easy to eat food like crackers or get meds or whatever since he's the one who does the house shopping. He needs more data than the children.

But kids and spouse don't need to hear me describe each trip to the bathroom in detail as to color, consistency, frequency, etc. That's TMI for them. Only my doc would need to know that information at that level of detail so they can figure out what to do for me or what might be causing it if it persists.

Telling my kids and spouse that stuff would be oversharing data.

Each person? There's a difference between the amount of data they need to know, amount of data they want to know, and amount of data they have to know (whether they want to know it or not) to be able to do a job.

So... I think each couple that is having a conversation needs to figure out their TMI lines. Each couple having the conversation may draw the line in different spots depending on the topic.

This may also include WHERE the data is shared (in private vs in public), WHEN it is shared (How often? What is checking in too much or too little?), HOW it is shared (verbally, over text, email, etc) and other communication related bits.

Galagirl

I noticed the date I wrote it. I found it ironic that it was the day before an important appointment for eldest DD. She's having medical stuff that I won't share all over the internet. Because it is her health biz, not mine, and because I need a break from thinking about medical stuff. (I will say we're still in it, there is still a ways to go, it's been a ton of labs and appointments, and I'm exhausted. )

Spouse and I were talking about TMI levels. I've kept my sister and a few close friends up to date. He's handling the info for his side of the family. And I tell my parents the bare minimum. Because they wig out and then make a situation WORSE rather than better. Past experience with health issues has taught me that.

And I just don't want to deal with them. It's not that I want to spare them feelings. I just don't want to deal with them.


Sometimes in poly, there's the need to have a talk about info management and who has to know what and how and all that.

Sometimes I see people not telling X people things and explaining that they don't want to hurt X's feelings. I think that's excuses. It is because the person does not want to deal with the X's reaction or response. It has nothing to do with sparing feelings to me.

Not that I go around being rude or mean to people.

But I think every person is responsible for handling their emotional management. Each person is responsible for handling their reactions to things so they are appropriate. Each person is responsible for figuring out their responses to things so they too are appropriate.

If people who receive some news go around like a powder keg blowing up at others or become the anxiety witter pest at others? It's the same thing to me. It's not asking for help. It's just blurting, emotional dumping -- just PLOP on the messenger and expecting the messenger to do their emotional management FOR them.

Then of course the messenger doesn't want to interact with them too much because these people have poor personal boundaries, and who wants to be doing extra emotional labor after being dumpstered?

So when later on the messenger does not want to tell X stuff? It is not to spare X feeling yucky feelings. Feeling's aren't special. They just are. They come and they go. Good ones or bad ones -- eventually they come and go.

Though it might be framed that way? Like "Oh, I don't want to hurt their feelings?"

I think it is to to spare the person having to DEAL with X from past personal experience or an attempt to avoid forthright conversation/authentic conversation.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
ON APOLOGIES

Sometimes one must apologize to just de-escalate a situation and bow out. Not because you did anything horribly wrong, but just to bow out. People looking for a fight don't expect that move.

I had to comfort a friend (call her Anna) who was having a hard time apologizing to another person. Call them Bob.

There was some ego involved. Long story short, Bob was all in a huff because Anna did X with good intentions. Even though Bob would have preferred Anna do Y even though Bob never told Anna that.

Long version?

Bob spends a week wittering aimlessly at Anna. About the situation being horrible. How Bob doesn't know what to do. Basically, dumping on Anna.

Anna starts out suggesting X things that Bob could do. Bob won't do them. Just witters.

Bob ALSO does not come right out to ask if Anna could be willing to do Y. Just witters some more. (I suppose in an attempt to get Anna to mind reader what Bob REALLY wants without Bob actually having to say.)

Anna gets tired of the witter, sees that Bob is not doing anything, so takes matters into her own hands and does X. Cue Bob getting all upset that Anna oversteps by doing this, Anna SHOULD have done Y or minded her own business.

Cue Anna upset because Bob is MAKING it her business by dumping on her.

Really?

Anna could have done zero. Has not been asked to do anything. If Bob witter bugs her? Anna could have said "Bob, I have listened X times and offered X solutions. They don't seem to work for you. I have nothing else. So I cannot talk about this any more. Find someone else to talk to." And held her boundary.

There. Anna's problems solved. She can stop listening to Bob witter.

If Bob wanted his problems solved by doing Y? Rather than all the passive communication, wittering, "hinting" and all that? He could have just made a proper "Anna, could you please be willing to do Y?" Solved his problems that way and not gotten all huffy pants that Anna cannot mind reader him. But he doesn't want to do direct communication, so ends up harassing Anna with his annoying going nowhere wittter and hand wringing.

Anna allowed herself to be sucked in, and chose to do something which ended up upsetting Bob. So Anna could apologize. "I'm sorry, Bob. I see that my just up and doing X upset you. I had good intentions but I guessed wrong. In future, I will let you handle it."

It acknowledges Bob's upset. And it states the boundary. Anna will let Bob handle Bob problems next time.

Anna was having a hard time apologizing to Bob though. Because she felt she was owed an apology too. Bob kept dumping on her, ignoring her solutions, etc. Seeing her signs of discomfort even though SHE didn't out and say "Bob, this is too much for me." And it's true. Bob's behavior was overstepping/not seeing her upset. But she was doing same.

As hard as it might be for Anna to hear? That is also her doing. For not simply checking out sooner and not calling Bob out on the crap sooner.

She tried to AVOID direct communication and AVOID calling Bob on the crap by solving Bob's problem for him. Then if the problem was solved, Bob would stop dumping on her because he has nothing left to witter about. Kinda of like solving her problem from the back door.

Rather than (letting the original problem remain Bob's to solve) and solving (HER problem of Bob dumping on her inappropriately) more directly.

Anna was upset and wanted to be heard. So I heard her.

Then I told her to apologize. Which she bristled at.

I asked her what is the goal?

  • To be "right?"
  • To get Bob to apologize?
  • Or to get Anna out of the wacky faster and disengage?

Because to get Anna out fastest? Anna could apologize and check out. Leaving the original problem to Bob.

What is Bob gonna say? That she's MEAN for apologizing? That she is WRONG for saying Bob is right that Anna could leave solving this problem up to Bob?

What's it cost her? Nothing. A few words and it is over.

What's it get Anna? Freedom from all this Bob stupid.

But the ego thing was in her way. Anna agreed that it was the most efficient way to extricate herself from the mess. But she was having a hard time apologizing. Anna didn't want to apologize for her share of the situation making. Because Bob wasn't apologizing for his.

I told her that was true. But she could attend to HER business and HER behaviors. Which includes apologizing for her share. Let Bob deal with HIS problem, HIS share of behaviors, and HIS share of the apologies. She doesn't need to wait on Bob to go first to clean up her side of the street.

Really though?

I was thinking "Anna, you don't want to apologize to Bob (even though he's done his own share of crap) because YOU don't want to own it. You are an avoidy person. And you are trying to avoid THIS now. When had you been direct from the TOP? Could have told Bob you have no more ideas and to stop talking to you about his problem. Then TRULY have avoided the domino effect of the rest.

It reminded me of this article.

http://www.polyamorousmisanthrope.com/2008/11/03/am-i-ready-for-polyamory/

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
ON RELATIONSHIP LANDMARKS

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/eb/6...Mgy6EVZC2BeyTecRgyjA8NIx58StU5jQnsh8wiZNAiPmY

Just wanted to remember that infographic.

A friend was struggling to articulate what he wanted in a relationship. I sent it to him and it was helpful. He's widowed and doesn't want marriage again. Another friend is long divorced and she also doesn't want marriage again. I think what both of them want is "a steady partner who maintains their own home and comes over for sleepovers sometimes, a lover and companion but not as many entanglements as a spouse."

That's what I would want if something happened and I was divorced or widowed. There's a point in life where I think going back to solo-poly is better.

One of my mom's friend's remarried and then was widowed again after long illness. They didn't have much time together in good health. My mom was trying to be supportive but to me she was all "Oy! WHY would she do that? Get tangled up in all that again being some old man's caregiver? Don't you have better things to do in your OWN aging time than be dealing in that? It's one thing for a husband but to just adopt another one from nowhere? Can't she date a HEALTHY senior?"

I hate to say it but I think I'm with my mom on that one. If I was 70 something? The LAST thing I want to be doing is caregiver work. I'm so burnt out on that NOW. When all this is over and the last elder dies? The only other person I'd do it for is my spouse and that's it. I've done my quota.

Nowhere on that infographic is that on there. Eldercare or caregiver/illness/next of kin kind of issues.

So I'm curious as to the average age of the group that made it. Maybe they haven't had that on the horizon yet?

Still. Useful graphic.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
ON MENTAL ILLNESS

My spidey senses were tingling and I looked up the last time I heard from Leaf. It's been 2 years since i wrote about him.

I got 3 facebook links last year and a happy bday message. I did "boring" responses. "Cool" to the links and "Thanks" to the bday. Acknowledge, but nothing deep. Leaf gets bored then and flits away to bug someone else.

Leaf won't go seek professional care for his bipolar stuff, and it makes him hard to be around when he's unmanaged. This is how I deal with Leaf until he decides to take care of himself better.

Anyway, this is not about Leaf.

This is about my poly friend Eeyore. He's got a different mental illness -- depression. He's doing his usual cycle of "doom, woe is me" + "I'm giving up on dating" circle. Like with Leaf, I say nothing. I try to encourage him to go back to his therapist, and then leave him be. He's gotta figure out when he's ready to make real changes. Nobody can do that for him.

But it led me to reading this series of posts about poly and mental illness. There's not tons out there written about that intersection but there some and this series was interesting to read.

http://jessmahler.com/polyamory-and-mental-illness-blog-series/

Other reading

https://www.askpolyamory.com/mentalhealth

http://www.don-elium-psychotherapy.com/anxiety-and-depression-quick-assessment-charts


Eeyore is happiest PARTNERED. He so much wants to be one of those white knights in shining armor to rescue the princess. When he picks out dating partners who are only mildly in distress, it works out for a while.

Maybe the distress is temporary and small like having to move apartments and struggling to arrange the movers or friends to help move. Or some sort of car repair trouble. He can help solve those. Then he can feel like a knight because the problems get solved pretty fast and then they date for a while fairly happy.

Until the NRE wears off and the partner wants something more, and realizes that Eeyore has a bucket of unsolved baggage, and he doesn't want to face or solve it... even though it bleeds over into their relationship together.

So then she ends it. Usually from frustration. She realizes it was a good start, but no deep compatibility because he fronts great, but not really all in. He's got some sort of Bluebeard closet. And he won't clean it out no matter how much she asks him to. So she gets frustrated and leaves. Cuz "same old song, different day" gets boring.

Or he ends it because she's poking in his Bluebeard closet and it's getting TOO REAL and he doesn't want to allow himself to be vulnerable in front of her or clean that darn closet. So he bails. And that he did this? He stuffs it under the closet door -- that he came so close to the Real Relationship he secretly wants but then he sabotaged it.

If the thing is a bigger or longer distress like chronic illness? Or struggles with an ex and child custody problems or battles? When goes on and on like that? He doesn't get the high of getting to be the white knight "solver" to buoy him up? And he doesn't have the emotional resilience to go for a long run of up and down uncertainty? He starts to get in a funk, blames the relationship, and dumps the person.

Sometimes they don't even know him long enough to realize that he has a Bluebeard closet. They didn't get that far. It's just that the Bluebeard closet was pressing on him, and he wasn't getting the offset from getting to be the white knight fast enough to buoy him.

So that too gets slipped under the closet door -- that he bails rather than stop to LEARN emotional resilience. And this might have been the Real Relationship he wants, but the Bluebeard closet demands got the best of him.

So he ends up alone. Which also doesn't make him happy. Cuz the stuff in the Bluebeard closet? Groaning and straining at him and he doesn't have the relationship high to distract him from it.

So here's the newer problems to this Bluebeard Closet Circle Thing.

He's getting older. Women his own age can usually smell the Bluebeard a mile off and don't even want to deal in that. They get suspicious as to what he might be avoiding because he tries too hard to be The Perfect Boyfriend from the get go. Most of them have already clocked at least one marriage, are done raising kids, and want to have FUN living through their retirement without obligations or just latching on to some dude with health issues to play nurse.

Younger women in their 20's that might have been attracted to an older man in his 30's? And maybe young enough not to notice the Bluebeard closet right away because of their inexperience and because back then it was smaller and easier to hide? Well, he's not in his 30s any more. The 20's women aren't gonna be into a dude approaching 60. Watching him try to hit on women in their 20s is hella awkward. We feel embarrassed for him. And he's not stupid. He feels embarrassed too. The 20's might flirt with him but when he walks away they giggle at the Old Man trying to flirt with them. Like he's the butt of a joke.

So... those experience also get slipped under the door.

And that Bluebeard closet is HUGE now.

He thinks he wants to be a secondary in a polyship. Not be the nesting partner. Ok, but what about the Bluebeard Closet, straining and bulging? If he cleaned that out, he'd have a better time waiting to find the right person to be secondary partner to. It's not like poly is gonna solve family of origin issues (he has some), or self-esteem issues (he has some), or the social skills issues (he has some), or... the unmanaged depression. Dude has a laundry list of stuff in that Closet.

Then he thinks he just wants to be alone. Not deal with dating. Ok, but what about the Bluebeard Closet, straining and bulging? if he cleaned that out, he'd have a better time being on his own.

As his friends? We're kinda tired. We've done The Circle Thing with him many times over the years. We're all older. To us it is getting to be "Same old song, different decade." We encourage him to make positive changes and go see a doc.

But for me at least? Because he nods and then never really DOES anything to help himself? It's like the Grey Rock of Friendship.

Make some non-comittal noises at him when he's in a funk, expecting nothing really to change. And just wait until he somewhat un-funks.

Here's the kicker. All of his women friends like me? Ranging in age from 40-60 yrs old? Have at one point or another found him attractive, kind, generous, giving, etc. This includes two women friends who used to date in in the past in poly V's.

He's just super stingy with loving himself and being kind to himself because he's got this core belief in there somewhere in there that he sucks and nobody likes him. Which is a huge turn off. And he won't follow treatment for his depression. Which is a turn off.

Like there's no shame in having an illness, dude. We all have things. Just do your patient care plan -- see your therapist, do your meds, whatever it is your doc says to DO.

Until he figures that out and cleans out that Bluebeard Closet he has? Nobody wants to date him. Being his friend is hard enough.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
On Communication Styles

I have had the strangest month at work. Without revealing too much, what I do involves a sort of HR component to it. I have to help place people, help train them, make sure they have everything they need to do their jobs, etc.

So there's been this big organizational reordering. People moving here and there on the org chart. People have their normal boss and dotted line boss and whatever. Dust has to settle down again after all these swaps and changes . The newbies are all "aaaahhh!" and the oldies are all "Eh. We do this every few years, no big. Just get on with it."

Newbies and oldies alike?

People telling me all the positive things I'm doing -- there's a lot of those and it is nice to be appreciated. I hope I can gain trust from those who haven't worked with me before.

People telling me their bizarro. There's enough of those that makes me think "And WHY weren't you telling your old boss this? Why were you holding it in? How long were you holding it in? How has this affected your work ability or the work climate around you?"

People getting grumpy and not telling me, but telling someone else, who then tells me. And I'm not offended but I do wonder "WHY are the people not comfortable with direct communication here? Are they conflict avoidant? Is it something the old boss did? Something else going on? It can't be me -- I've been here just a hot minute. Is this person just passive aggressive and likes "from the side" stuff? "

I also have some whooshers sending me emails and calls to be sure I got the email they just sent. I get that changes are hard for people and some need more reassuring than others. I see the anxiety popping out.

Others are acting out their anxieties in other ways. Boss called me about person X driving them crazy and to get them to chill. Then Big Boss called me about the same thing.

X would just NOT follow directions to sit tight and stay in their lane while the reorg people visited each department in turn. Like wait your turn, X. It will come. CHILL!

Before I could have a word with X?

The big boss called me in to a meeting and lo! X was there. It was the wake up call like "If you don't cut this behavior out, we WILL be having a disciplinary meeting next. So cut it out!" He didn't say it that way but you'd have to be pretty stupid not to get it.

I rarely have this feeling but at that meeting I did.... I thought "OMG, I am so embarrassed for you. And even then he's giving you a chance with a heads up."

X could not take their fences clean though and say something like "Thank you for making me aware. I apologize for my behavior. I'll try to tone it down and wait our turn." Short and sweet, yo?

But X kept not wanting to own the poor behavior and going "what about A? They are doing... What about B?They are doing...." Like getting the spotlight off themselves.

Just OWN it, ok? Take your fence clean. Don't song and dance. Or is this your blind spot? You cannot see where your own behavior pisses people off at work? But you are good at spotting other people behavior pissing off other people? I'm still figuring X out.

I also had to "wow!" some things.

I wanted a staff meeting before event Y because I could see the writing on the wall. People didn't want to have it to do the SWOT. Times passes. Then the thing I predicted might happen? It happened causing a minor tizzy.

SUDDENLY they are all "We should have had a staff meeting!" at me. And I have to go "Yes, I will note that for next year. Wow, good idea."

While ACTUALLY thinking "Did I not SAY that a few months back? But y'all didn't want to SWOT then. There you go then. Natural consequences ensued."

Because there's no point in doing "I TOLD you guys this before!" conversation.
It doesn't move anything forward. So... "wow! Great idea!" maybe helps stick in their heads for the next year when the cycle comes back again. I can hope.

I like the challenge of this new post, and I am up for it. But MAN. I haven't dealt in newbies for so long I forgot how some can get... and it makes me appreciate my old team.

Because as annoying as some of the small things about my old team are? By and large they were solid, knew what they were doing, were super reliable, didn't hold grudges, and could roll with the punches without making fuss. They've all lived through org changes before and are the people who go "Meh. It will pass" and do what is asked without fussing too much because they want to get on with their REAL work.

I think they succeed more because they are authentic and communicate directly.

  • If they are happy about something? They speak up
  • If something bugs them, they speak up.
  • If something confuses them, they speak up.

It just goes easier with direct communicators. Nobody has a cow if the answer is "no" and nobody freaks out.

This team has gotten compliments in the past for working well as a team, not having drama, having a collective group maturity that other groups don't have yet.

So then I started thinking about newbies doing poly. And how communication styles matter and play into how well that will go or not. I think "communication compatibility" plays a bigger role than most people think. Like you have to have things in common, sure. You have to have work schedules that align so you can see each other. But communication is a big part too.

But I don't know that people know their communications styles.

Passive, aggressive, passive-agressive, assertive?

Analytical, intuitive, function, personal?

How about dominant, influencer, conscientious, steady?

What about conflict resolution style?

Esp that last one.

Plus having some self awareness, the ability to takes fences clean when you have to, the ability to apologize well, the ability to just let some things GO without any "I told you so's."

Anita Wagner writes about skills like that in "Avoid the pitfalls and reap the rewards of polyamorous relationships." And it's what my "Bluebeard Closet" friend struggles with.

Listening and communication skills, people skills. They matter.

Galagirl
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
On Breaking Up

So X left. I'm not surprised. They were just NOT working out all year. And they left in a huffy puffy way. So now everything at work has to reorganize AGAIN. Oy.

Over in my volunteer work, I'm also struggling in some ways and not in others.

I'll limit it to two stories.

HIGHLIGHT

I was working on recording a song with a guy old enough to be my father via computer. Former military, attractive. We are both married. And the recording session was so fun, we laughed and flirted, and basically enjoyed each other's company. (I have NO desire to date this guy. But that doesn't mean I'm blind to his being attractive and fun to be around. Or that I'm not going to enjoy harmless flirting. )

Neither spouse had a problem with it. They thought it was hilarious that we were getting so into our music work and getting ourselves all giggly about the project. In this pandemic quarantine, it was just SO nice to cut loose, and NOT have to deal in stupid later because of insecurity or ego or whatever. I've had BFs like that. Just ugh.

Which leads to...

LOWLIGHT

Insecurity and ego and ugh in one of my volunteer committees. I believe in the charity, but OMG. I'm too tired to deal in personality conflicts and ego stuff happening any more. These 3 people go at it. Then everyone else on the board has to wait while those three hash it out. That gets ugh. I served on a board years ago where two of the trustees hated each others guts and the chair had a time of it trying to keep order. So I'm not excited about personalities again on some other board.

I called my friend Priestess. She serves on the board of her club thing. And she listened and comforted me and then I traded and comforted her. Because she is also having HER board go bananas. Is this a pandemic thing? :confused: People are tense, stressed, and cooped up, so they get snippy with each other on their boards? Like they can't control the pandemic stuff. So they are gonna get REALLY stubborn about some things they think they CAN control?

Between X at work, and family life, and pandemic... this is volunteering is the thing that I find most draining. It's a good time to leave this group, so I'm gonna. I just decided yesterday, so I need a bit to settle into that decision and then put in my quiet resignation with the chair. I think I have something to offer, but I'm not gonna offer it if being here is sucking me dry, you know? The climate on this committee is not stable or pleasant.

ASSESEMENT TOOL

Just to be sure about my choice, I pulled up Scarleteen's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" as a tool. I have teens. I point them there as a sane sex ed source.

I did the tool with that charity committee break up in mind. Is it time for me to leave?

But someone could easily adapt the tool to be for considering a poly break up.

Here's the main excerpts below.

Galagirl

Should you stay…
  • You and the other person very much want to be in the relationship you're in together
  • Most of the relationship makes everyone in it happy most of the time
  • You and the other person are getting most of what each of you wants and needs
  • You look forward to seeing each other, share a lot of laughter and joy, and find the relationship makes you feel good about yourself
  • Both of you feel the give-and-take is mutual
  • Communication is open and works well
  • The relationship is and has been physically and emotionally healthy and safe for everyone
  • Everyone in the relationship is, or at least seems, very invested in it
  • You and the other person have more good things to say about each other, and things you like about each other, than criticisms or things you dislike
  • You resolve conflict well together
  • The relationship feels like a place where everyone can be themselves, be challenged and grow in positive ways, and is accepted, cared for and supported
  • You or the other person don't feel done

…or should you go?

  • You or the other person don't really want to be in the relationship anymore or feel apathetic about it
  • The relationship makes anyone in it unhappy a lot of the time
  • You or the other person are not getting most of what you want or need
  • Seeing each other isn't something one or both of you looks forward to anymore, there's little laughter or joy, and one or both of you finds the relationship makes you feel bad about yourself
  • You or the other person feels like they give way more than they get
  • Communication has broken down, stopped or feels impossible
  • The relationship is or has been physically or emotionally unhealthy or unsafe for anyone in it
  • Anyone in the relationship isn't or doesn't seem invested in it
  • You and the other person have more bad things to say about each other, and things you dislike about each other, than good things or things you like
  • You don't resolve conflict well together or feel only one of you is trying to fix things
  • The relationship feels like a place where someone wants to change the other, where positive challenges and growth have stopped happening or never happened, and/or one or both people aren't being accepting, caring or supportive
  • You're only or mostly staying in it out of guilt
  • You or the other person feels done

Still not sure if you should stay or go?

  • Is this the right relationship for you in your life now, or was it only right in the past?
  • Are you staying in because this feels good, or because this feels familiar?
  • Are you afraid of change in your life or of being alone or single? Is this relationship keeping you from needed change or growth?
  • Do you feel like letting go means you failed? Are you staying to try and prove something to yourself or someone else?
  • Are you staying because you feel guilty about having been sexual in something other than a lifelong relationship?
  • Are you choosing to stay because you've become a partner's caretaker or counselor rather than their partner?
  • Are you staying because any relationship seems better than no relationship, or because you're afraid this is the only chance you'll have for this kind of relationship?
  • Are you staying because it's what the other person wants or says they need, even if it's not what you want and need?
  • Are you staying because you made some kind of promise that you know you can't keep or don't want to, but feel guilty about breaking?
  • Are you staying in figuring you'll just wait and see if something better comes along, and stay if it doesn't?
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
On Healing from Abuse

OMG. I was at my women's group and I just about fell out of my chair.

Daisy (who is in the same group) quite frankly and plainly stated that her 30s sucked because she spent them married to her abuser. It was not a pleasant time, and she used to live in terror. She prefers being where she is now. She wishes it had not happened, and she wishes nobody had to go through something like that.

She has come a LONG way since the days of her escape from her Crazy Ex. A long way in her healing. And enough years have passed and enough "normal life" has been lived for her to be able to see how damn crazy that marriage was. Even to outsiders.

She was living in this strange space of "I love him, how could he hurt me so?" and "How can I admit to myself, much less other people, that this is happening to me? and " Am I stupid to let this happen?" and all sorts of other stuff.

He was pushing her to do all sorts of things she did not want. Open, poly, hot wifing, hitting her, keeping her on a short digital leash, tracking her movements, no money, the list goes on and on.

She's in a healthier space and I am so glad.

And at the same time every night I pray for people in COVID-19 quanratine, trapped with people who might not be safe. Children no longer able to spend hours at school away from an unsafe home. Adults no longer able to spend time away at work away from an unsafe home.

Some of my nurse friends tell me the side cases going up -- like yeah, COVID 19. But also the kids and adults coming in for domestic violence has increased due to the people all cooped up in pandemic with no place to go and the pressure cooker just boiling away... tick tick tick.

Sigh.

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
Ethics Again

I'm just gonna post this again.

Highlighting the ones that burn me from this volunteer group I'm leaving.

INTERPERSONAL ETHICS FOR INDIVIDUALS
  • Address issue(s) right away so they do not continue to build and result in problems in other areas.
  • Issues between two people should be handled directly and privately first and not in group. (aka: sucking others into the drama-fest)
  • Trust in the process that addressing conflict can result in strengthening relationships. (And agree on conflict resolution method.)
  • Be willing to address conflict even though it is difficult.
  • Identify a mutually agreed upon time and place to meet.
  • Find a private setting that is not likely to be interrupted.
  • Offer and receive feedback from a professional/situational perspective to avoid making the conversation personal.
  • Express oneself genuinely.
  • Allow others to finish before speaking.
  • Stay on track with the issue at hand and do not sidetrack into other issues.
  • Focus on behaviors and concrete situations.
  • Avoid terms such as “always” or “never.”
  • Be respectful of others’ ideas and opinions even though we may not agree with them.
  • Be willing to be vulnerable and accept feedback about our behavior.
  • Be willing to examine “what’s me?” and “what’s you?”
  • Recognize the way we impact others even if it does not match our intent.
  • Ask directly about others’ intent rather than making assumptions.
  • Make requests rather than demands.
  • Have ideas about how to make things better or move forward rather than offering criticism and remaining stuck.
  • Be responsible and accountable for the changes you agree to make.
  • Set a time to check in to see how the agreed upon change(s) are or are not working.
  • Agree to re-negotiate a solution.
  • Speak for yourself (“I statements”) and your experience and avoid representing the perspectives of others; avoid stating that “others share my concern” as it creates paranoia and mistrust.
  • Invite a third party like a counselor to consult or facilitate if required.

INTERPERSONAL ETHICS FOR GROUPS

  • Commitment that all persons will communicate in a way so that everyone can be a part of the conversation and this is seen as a priority. (Avoids triangulation, exclusion, people not having a voice in things that affect them)
  • Let go of the way things used to be and look for solutions to make things better.
  • Take responsibility for oneself to actively care about colleagues regardless of what is interpreted as their own agendas.
  • Desire to share perspectives about other areas of practice without feeling like those in that area of practice will be resentful.
  • Notify people ahead of time if difficult issues will be discussed; time is needed to prepare thoughts. (No "bombs from the sky")
  • Engage in small group discussions that lead to larger group sharing so opportunities exist to know others on a more personal level.
  • Everyone in the room needs an equal voice no matter what role they play.
  • Focus on what we have in common rather than what is different between us
  • Avoid “us versus them” perspective
  • Regulate the flow of conversation so the same people are not the only ones talking and being heard.
  • Allow people to comment once on an issue so a few people are not monopolizing.
  • Allow time for those who take longer to process to have time to speak.
  • Recognize when people hold up their hand for a turn to talk.
  • Everyone has the right to remain silent if needed.
  • If a comment is made in meeting and others disagree, the disagreement needs to be stated directly to the person in the meeting or after; fear that others will talk about you behind your back makes it feel unsafe.
  • Leave the debate in the room when it is over and pick it up next time. (some problems are not solved in one sitting)
  • Express thoughts and feelings without fear of criticism.
  • Speak honestly without fear of either direct or indirect punishment.
  • Speak honestly without fear of being "told on"
  • Need to be acknowledged for our input, especially when we take risks to share honestly.
  • If we address an issue, it does not get to be brought up and re-hashed over and over again.

It's been a pain in the ass volunteer group for this charity. Largely because of personalities struggling for power/control of the group rather than focussing on the charity work and the good of the group overall. Like Star Trek advice.

With the Enterprise in imminent danger of destruction, Spock enters a highly radioactive chamber in order to fix the ship’s drive so the crew can escape danger. Spock quickly perishes, and, with his final breaths, says to Kirk, “Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . .” Kirk finishes for him, “The needs of the few.” Spock replies, “Or the one.”

I'm mid 40s Gen X. There's certain key things to my age group. Just as there's certain key things to other generations. The personalities going at it? Gen Y vs Boomer. Sigh. And I can totally tell that neither side has ever looked up a generation chart to figure out how to better deal with the other.

There are days where I just feel as ancient as the hills when I watch stupid happening around me and I just watch the clock. Just willing the minutes to move faster so the meeting can be done because it ran out of time. I called up some of the people I know better in the group and they confirmed it is WEIRD there. And they too have been thinking "Well, end of year. Maybe I bow out."
So I'm not the only one.

I have a medium volunteer group -- where they try to get things done, and people get on ok enough. The problem is recruitment. Not enough people yet for the jobs. So I'll prob keep a finger in that volunteer pie because I like the cause and because they haven't pissed me off. All volunteer things have to happen in stages. I get that.

A friend of mine, Angel, is doing well in his new volunteer group. He's really excited and motivated so I'm excited for him. I think his charity is worthwhile. Not my gig, but glad it's out there for others who need it. (Just like fuzzy pets aren't my gig because of my allergies to many fuzzy pets, but I'm glad people are out there doing pet rescues.)

I'm having a GREAT time serving on the board of another group. This group is older, needs some cleanings up of records, but it HAS its book -- bylaws, code of conduct, etc. But seems dedicated and no drama and I like the other new board person I've been chatting with. I could see becoming friends with her maybe.

I have one last meeting to my term in PITA Group. Hooray. My exit interview and was firm but kind about the problems I see in the org and why it affects my role and why I'm leaving the post. And advice for the next person in the role. I told my Chair there the things I thought she did great in. I told her the areas I think she could improve in her leadership -- mainly become more confident FIRING the PITA people sooner! It affects the org when there's bad chemistry between volunteers or volunteers can't learn to put the good of the group first. I sent her a thank you note for the phone interview and thanked her for her time.

Like a PROFESSIONAL, people. Just because it's unpaid volunteering doesn't mean you get to behave like an asshole.

And one can give feedback like critique. Notes to help the person get to where they want to be. She says she wants to build an org that does X? Alright, then I think Y takes away from that vision. And Z helps her get it there. I'm not telling her she sucks as a person or criticizing her character or personhood. I can tell her where her skills as a chair could grow next year without being mean to her. Or tearing her down to make myself feel more "up" in comparison. And to her credit, she can take notes.

I see that stuff play out in personal relationships, in polyships. Not just in committee work. Useless circle conversation because one person wants to express needs not met or something unhappy. And the listener makes it be about them or dog piles or dumps out their gunnysack. And then it becomes crazy town.

Like OMG, just learn to take some notes! Learn to LISTEN! Learn to take TURNS in communication! I had to take notes from my new Chair in Sane Group. I didn't make a big fuss about it or whine. I said "Ok, thanks for the notes!" and I went to the project I was doing and did whatever it was from the notes. No ego, no drama. Just do the work for the good of the org.

I hope PITA group gets better even though I'll be gone. I don't want to watch another round of Crazy Town. Like "Is this family of origin crap leaking out? Something else? Why is this HERE? I thought we were talking about ____! I just made suggestion, dude. You do NOT have to take it. Jeez!"

Where every little thing has to be SO wearying... meh. Who wants to be there?

I don't want it in my volunteer time. I don't want it in my friendships. I don't want it in my marriage. I would not want in in future polyships. I am mid-life ancient now and it's just going to slide more and more into "crone" as I advance in age.

So I can't be having with that behavior around me.

I really do not have the spoons for Muppet Show any more.

GG
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
COVID 19 Check In

I heard from M. We are not close and we do not talk often. Only "major events." It has been a few years. He and his family are all hanging in there. Asked about mine. We exchanged a few pleasant lines and that's probably about it til the next "big deal thing" happens to one of us.

We are both on each other's fringe edges -- living in different states, leading different lives, email only. Can't remember when I last heard his voice on the phone. Yet there's still caring and concern there even after so many years. Both of us thinking about the other, wanted to reach out during pandemic to check on the other one.

There are reasons he's my fav ex.

I see so much shit show with poly break ups in my other friends. I think about how M and I broke up and years later there's still caring and respect there. We did it really well. I really couldn't have asked for a better break up.

And now knowing he and his family are doing ok over there far away I can rest in my mind a little easier.

I'm tense with this pandemic stuff, and the increasing protests, and eldercare, and my chronic patient stuff, and the kids, and a friend dealing with a pandemic funeral by herself, and....

Sigh. Everyone has stressy stuff going on. Not just me. All one can do is just keep on going.

One day at a time.

One task at a time.

Now I have go figure out dinner for the people.

Galagirl
 
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