Insights for the deeply romantic and deeply skeptical

Why Won’t They Listen To Reason?

Are they ignoring you because they can't understand, don't want to understand, or shouldn't have to understand? Each of these three points to an opposite response, leaving us confused about what to do. Read More

Haha :)

I get that a lot too - fortunately I've developed an ability to 'read' people - so I know when to stop wasting my energy very quickly - however there are certain situations where it is necessary to use my energy, even when it is falling on 'deaf ears.'
You've said 'big-picture soft-consequence fields' - I would propose that those 'soft-consequences' are not as soft as we've been lead to or would like to believe.
My experiences of the way that the unemployed, the physically and mentally 'differentiated' people are treated in the UK, via the 'soft' govt policies, has been appalling. To my knowledge, over 10,600 people over a 12 month period have died after being subjected to the UK govt's work capability assessment. Some dying via the terminal illness they've had, others taking matters into their own hands due to stress/debt/even starvation. The govt has now stopped releasing these figures, so we are unable to ascertain how many people are continuing to die via their 'soft' policies - and this is only one group of people. So how are the other 'soft-consequences' hitting others, how are they affecting their lives?
Sorry to get political on you, but I felt that the use of the term 'soft-consequences' can culturally let us off the hook. Now if we were to replace that with 'fatal-consequences' would we be quite so quick to implement things that we do?
Anyway, back to your blog - in my experience all of these responses boil down to deeply ingrained belief systems, learnt in early childhood, that remain fixed and rigid for many years, even an entire lifetime. The belief system remains invisible to us until we search for it, and even then it appears we are looking for a needle in a haystack, until one day we 'see' it or 'real'ise it - then it smacks us in the face very literally. The needle we thought we were looking for turns out to be an enormous shiny pole that we deliberately and continuously ignore - but becomes totally apparent once we 'see' it. I've found what Jung called the 'shadow' actually has a massive impact upon our life and the way we perceive our 'reality' - without this awareness we are permanently limited to a type of tunnel vision. If what somebody tells us is outside the boundaries of our own personal tunnel then those words will just bounce back off the external tunnel walls and it's rare, in many cases impossible to break through the tunnel from the outside. The person living inside the tunnel has to want to break out of it, has to posess enough will to grapple with these constraints and overcome the 'fear' of what lies on the outside of the tunnel. It's essentially a journey into the unknown and most people refuse to 'go there' because we don't like the uncertainty, the unknown, the insecurity that we perceive this place, this 'out there' to be. It's very easy to spot the 'tunnel dwellers' - sometimes you can feel it, other times they give themselves away in a sentence or two, they're usually way up the scale of cognitive dissonance and reveal this in their words and actions - which are entirely contradictory. And unfortunately there are an awful lot of them living in this world at the current time.

I misspoke about

I misspoke about low-consequence. Obviously the consequences are high. You describe the consequences for the unemployed, I had mentioned the consequences of killing ourselves through global warming, nuclear war, etc. What I meant by low consequence is that the individual who voices an opinion doesn't get very direct pushback from reality. If you're a misguided retailer, your business goes under. When your political views are misguided, even popularly misguided, you can get away with it a lot longer.

There's a psych joke about this:

A guy is boasting about his marriage, and a friend asks why it works so well.
"Simple division of labor; I make all the big decisions she makes all the small ones"
For example? asks the friend.
My wife decides where we live, work vacation, school the kids etc. And I decide whether the US should invade Iraq.

His big decision has no traction you see?

Ah ha - I'm with you now :)

Ah ha - I'm with you now :)

Reply to comment | Psychology Today

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I most certainly will recommend this blog!

won't listen-EVER!

It's not that my spouse doesn't listen, it's that he can't hear me. No matter how I approach the subject. Up until now I thought maybe he really couldn't hear me. That he is truly unable to get what I'm talking about due to his childhood and life's experiences. But I've come to realize that I think he actually CHOOSES not to hear me so that he can put his own spin on it. Just last night I was trying to talk to him about something that triggers me (after discovery of an affair, that he basically denies happened) even though I have forgiven him for the past. It's the present/future I worry about because he doesn't want to take any measures(counseling, workshop, ANYTHING that would help) towards prevention or improvement, even though he says he wants to stay together. And he immediately turned around to say things that I hadn't done yet (areas of self -improvement etc./relationship) even though I have done and made MOST of the changes he cited for me. Yes I haven't done all of them (ONE in particular) but I have done most! To steer conversation away from my needs not being met either. I tried to say I have no problem discussing that issue at a different time because this conversation is the one I started about my concerns. Then when I get upset because "here we go again" (he'll use 10 or more of the things listed in article "19 ways to peeve your lover") he'll call me overemotional, crazy, uncontrollable etc. And he's right at this point -I'm fed up with this bullshit! He hasn't made one single effort on any of the items on my list and yet REFUSES to see it from my side of the couch. I think I've had it- but I don't know how to make it any different. I probably should just leave this 20year poor excuse for a marriage. But I don't know if I have the strength. I've come to think he ENJOYS tormenting me. AUUGGHHHH!!!!

P.S. Jeremy - I love reading all your articles! It makes me realize i'm not crazy! You have tremendous insight into how disordered individuals tick. I can be guilty of some of it myself the difference is I can see when I do which makes it possible for me to snap out of that behavior because that's not me, I have empathy. He has NONE.

The family have grave

The family have grave concerns for our sister. She has taken up with a friend who makes demands of her, to spend money she hasn't got, to neglect her health, turn on her husband.
The thing is, this isn't a young person, my sister is 70yrs and the friend is mid 60's. The woman is an acquaintance from a long time ago.
Our sister didn't even like this person. Now she runs up huge phone bills talking to this woman every night, goes away 2 or 3 times a year on holiday with this person, having to borrow money to do it.
The other person uses a wheelchair although she's capable of walking unaided. She weighs about 15 stone and expects our sister, who isn't very big and not in great health to wheel her about.
No matter how much we have all tried to get our sister to see this isn't healthy for her, she complains about her aches and pains, complains it's tough caring for the friend but the moment we agree and say stop then, she turns on us.
I have got to the end of my patience with my sister. She hasn't spoken to me for almost 4 months because I won't agree to say I like this friend. I have some very good reasons for not liking which my sister knows about.
Myself and our other sister have decided to leave well alone. It seems nothing or no one can change this situation.

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Jeremy Sherman is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making.


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