Thursday, June 18, 2009

Loud Triggers

Ever since I was a kid, listening to people yelling, either at me or around me, kind of became the norm. Add that to the fact that I grew up in a foster home and to be sure , you know that some sort of complication would arise somewhere down the line. Being treated less than, kind of grew weary, even for me. And to make matters worse being called a, “Son of a Whore” or, “you little Bastard” became all too familiar. Just for the record, my mother was married when I was born, so that doesn't make me a “Bastard”. But in the eyes of the “Caregivers” this was what I was, and I wore that cloak of shame silently. Somewhere deep inside of me, a dark, silent rage was growing but I carefully kept it bundled tight. Years passed. I spent a very short period of my life (8 months to be exact) living with my father, his then girlfriend and her two daughters. Needless to say, things were no better there. As a matter of fact, they were a little worse. One of my father's most famous lines was, “I brought you into this world...and I can take you right back out”. Couple that with the fact that he had loaded weapons in the house, and you tend to take that a little more seriously. There were a few times I wanted to intentionally provoke him just to see if he would do it. Maybe a little irrational, but my only thought was finding a permanent escape from the only kind of life I knew. And to me, that would have been welcome at the time.

I think this was around the time I started to develop what a friend would describe as , “The Death Look”. It's kind of like a hard, icy, venomous glare. It's like all those feelings that I consumed as a child and had kept tightly wrapped would emit some kind of a dark ray from my soul and through my eyes. This was my way of letting somebody know, very quietly, that they just crossed my boundaries and it's not acceptable. This was what I resorted to instead of yelling. First off, I don't do confrontations very well. If I speak up verbally, it's probably a good thing and I only do it if I feel like my inner child is being attacked. Certain people have had an unbelievable knack of knowing just exactly what buttons to push to send me off the deep end. Then, I absolutely lose it on them. My old boss was like that. He had a way of abusing his power and constantly making people feel like dirt beneath his feet. Whenever he would attack one of the people I was responsible for, I would confront him and lash out at him with a fury. Believe me, it's not something I'm proud of but I just couldn't stand watching his behavior go unchallenged. I paid for it with my job, but to me, it was worth it.

Whenever I hear yelling or even when I feel a confrontation coming on, I tend to get really, really quiet. It's like something inside of me is preparing for a storm and barricading the windows and doors. I felt like that for most of today because of an early morning incident at work. It had nothing to do with me personally, but just because I heard them yelling on the phone in such an abusive way, it kind of shut me down. At lunch, I brought it up with the person I overheard (I'm trying to be very discreet here) and asked them whether they thought that was appropriate behaviour. Their response was, “in this business it is”. They feel that some people deserve to be yelled at like that. That they are used to doing the yelling so he feels that it is necessary for him to balance it out. Well, I can honestly say that this particular person is not used to being yelled at either and somehow, I don't think he would accept that from anybody. It amazes me what some people find as accept in today's society. You would think by now we would have tried on the other persons shoes from time to time just to feel what it is like to suffer that kind of abuse.

There are other kinds of abuse that I find equally disturbing. One of them is the fine art of the mind game. There are so many formats for this particular game it is hard to keep track of them. Suffice it to say, some of the people who play this game, know exactly what the rules are and they generally play it with a win at all cost attitude. I've had this game played on me more than I care to discuss and needless to say there have been many severed friendships and relationships because of it. It's not always out in the open so at first you don't notice the subtleties but eventually there is a slip and whammo....nailed again. Of course there are innocent formats of the mind game and people tend to play that like a game of chess. But then there are the malicious versions whereby somebody is trying to gain the upper hand on an emotional level, playing a card that is downright mean. These are definitely people I could do very well to stay away from. I've done my damnedest to treat people the best way I know how . And that is how I too would like to be treated.

Personally, I don't think it is asking for too much, but in a society bent on preying on those who's defenses have been weakened by life, where do we draw the line in the sand? I can't understand why the fine art of honest, respectable communication has become a thing of the past. Why can't people just tell it like it is and be done with it? What has happened to the respect we should be showing each other whether in business or otherwise. Why must communication be performed at the decibel level of a Rock Concert? I know one thing, there are games that I have outgrown as a child and there are games I can do without as an adult.


lakeviewer said...

Isn't it sad to know that humans can be so hurtful, especially those who abuse their power with children.

Natalie said...

Sigh......Sounds like you have had a less than wonderful day, Bogey.Hugs to you.x

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of that old song, "People are strange." I agree - there is no excuse for hurtful, disrespectufl behavior. It seems to have reached an all time high but I see hope on the horizon - our city police chief has issued a ban on swear words in his dept - he has done so to begin the process of speaking in more repsectful manner. Several other businesses/organizations are now following suit. I think that communication will change considerably as a result of it - usually, with the F bomb, comes yelling. If you can't say the word, tone of voice changes, etc. I hope that it changes how we speak to each other as a society - at least it is an attempt to get there.
Hope today is a better day for you.

smiles4u said...

Any type of screaming or yelling, whether it's at me or not, causes me to shut down. It causes me to want to run and hide under my bed. Seriously. I also grew up being screamed and swore at A every single day. I have experienced being abused in most ways and verbal is the worst. I would rather be hit that screamed at. I grew up hiding under my bed or in my was my refuge. While I no longer have to do this because I no longer live in a screaming home, when I am away from home and hear screaming it is what I want to do instantly.

This internal reaction I have to meaness whether it be the form of screaming or abusive behavior, is something I battle to this day. I have learned to breathe through my feelings. But honestly, there are times I am frozen in fear.

I have also known a good share of people that played the mind games. These kinds of things really fuck up your mind over time when you live with a person like this. They make you feel like your insane when your not.

I have written on my own blog in the past about mean people. I just don't get them. I cannot comprehend being mean to anyone. I don't understand screaming or hitting or treating someone like they are less then human.

Many people don't understand what it's like growing up this way. It is good to find someone that understands. I am sorry that you had to endure this pain growing up. I am glad though that you learned from it and are open and honest about it. Thank you!

Hilary said...

Communication sure can be a difficult thing. Our past will always skew how we interpret the world. I'm so sorry you had such a difficult childhood. Sadly, that might also be part of what's behind someones need to turn up the volume, play mind games and need control. We all muddle through as best we can with the tools we're given. I hope today is a much better day for you. :)

James said...

Reading this makes me so glad that I've been out of the "work place" for over a decade. I had a boss just like the one you described, it turns out he was the last boss I had. It was a very mentally unhealthy place to work on many levels. I'm so sorry that you have to endure the yelling and mind games especially after what you've gone through in the past. I guess this blog world is sort of a friendly safe zone. I wish you the very best and you will be in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

aackkk. I hear you on this one!

Rinkly Rimes said...

I'm sure you're childhood was hard to bear, but I hate confrontations too, and I had a pleasant childhood, apart from being evacuated in the second world war. I'm sure people like you because you have a lovely blunt, comfortable face.

Lover of Life said...

Eckhart Tolle says it is one person's "pain body" running into another persons. It makes sense, actually. That's why certain people just set us off. The know how, because their ego is in total control, and they are easily set off themselves.

Hope you have a better day tomorrow, Bogie, no work!

Ai Shiang said...

Sometime I do feel that, with that "death look" and walk away but do it in front of the person who crossed the line, that somehow (to me) speak louder than any yells. After that give silent treatment, ever do that? That works quite well for me :o)

I don't normally shout at people at work but I do say sarcastic things sometime that really make that person think hard. I think yelling is unnecessary - yell too much will only get sore throat *hahaha!

Have a nice weekend Bogey!

Lisa said...

i grew up with parents who roared at each other, regularly. it has turned me off loud noise for life and yes, i once had a friend who was a master of the mind games and manipulation, so i know where you are coming from dear friend xx

Lisa said...

btw......i loved your ten things on my blog the other day- it made my day xx

Lori ann said...

Hi Bogey,

yes for much of what smiles4you said goes for me too. i am sorry for your work episode yesterday.
i am also so impressed that you have grown so far above your upbringing, into a lovely compassionate, kind,funny man.
i believe that living the example of what you would like to see is always the best way. and i wouldnt give any energy or thought to the negative(yelling,games,agression...)but i'm glad you talked about it so you can see we all understand how you feel.

have a great weekend,

Bogey said...

Rosaria, it happens. Kids just don't know the difference of what is normal.

Thanks Natalie....I could use a good hug!

Audrey it sounds like somebody in your community is trying to make a difference. I hope it works out. Often it is the ego's of the individuals themselves that feel they have the right to treat peoople like that.

Lori (Smiles4U) I had a feeling that you may have had some experience with this and I am sorry that it causes you this kind of anguish. But I for one understand.

Thanks Hilary. And muddle thru we must. Some days are just easier than others and some attitudes just rub me the wrong way.

You are lucky man to be out James. Thanks for your prayers and support. I neve turn them away.

Loud and clear eh Queen!

A blunt face hmmmm! Never heard that one before but I'm sure it's nice. Thanks RR.

Thanks LOL, I did have a good day today. And I agree with Tolle. When you know the person doing the yelling you know that there is something deeper than just the screaming. It doesn't make it right, just more understandable.

Hi Ai Shiang, the look and silent treatment are just other ways of playing mind games. I try not to do either intentionally but sometimes find myself doing one or the other in order to not exacerbate the situations. It is difficult sometimes.

I'm glad you liked them Lisa and I hope you are feeling better. Mind games and manipulation are just as painful as a slap in the face. It is just rude.

Thank you for all of the kind and wonderful compliments Lori Ann. I hope my ego can handle all that. Thanks you for your ongoing and encouraging support. And I hope you are recovering from whatever little bug was bugging you!