On 12/29/11 a member was suspended from our group for the first time. Many of you may be confused about the line he crossed. The last thing we need is unarticulated anxiety that inhibits members from contributing, because they're unsure what Matt Rugar did wrong.
Groups need a safe emotional environment. When a member shares a painful personal experience, doubts, fears, or other personal vulnerabilities, he/she is giving all of us a precious gift. When another member uses that information to insult, ridicule, or attack the giving member, it's not just a betrayal of trust toward the individual. It's an attack on the group itself. If such betrayal goes unanswered, security shatters in the group. Members are reduced to superficialities, with no possibility for mutual validation. It sends a painful message, "nobody is safe here."
Matt Rugar didn't just attack Joan, when he said this, he betrayed the trust of the entire group.
Joan is still whinning about some thing that happened 4 decades ago and attacks who ever does not join her in her pity party. She goes from group to group to be martyerd.
So how does one give negative feedback without betraying trust and making others feel unsafe?
1. Qualify your criticism as your opinion or perception.
Example: (where X is an offending sexist remark)
Instead of saying "You're sexist." say,
"That sounds sexist to me."
"When he said X, I heard a sexist remark."
"To my ears that smacks of sexism." or
"I perceive X as sexist."
By qualifying what we say as our judgment, we show respect for the person. We imply that he/she could do better. We present the behavior as a mistake. We imply that we too make mistakes, from time to time, that we are equal adults. This is called making the person/behavior distinction.
When we label an offender, we imply that this bad behavior is a defining trait, that he/she is not capable of doing better, and that he/she is therefore inferior.
2. Avoid "Mind Reading", i.e. claiming to know the intent of others. Nobody knows what goes on inside the head of other people. In the example above, Matt claimed to know what goes on in Joan's head. Here again, this is easily avoided by qualifying what you say as your interpretation, your reaction, your judgment. You can say you "feel as if", or "get the impression that."
Greg - Oh how I wished your posting would have been the 'first' posting. It might have set the entire tone of the discussion in a more responsive tone.
Being 'respectful' is difficult when a poster states: "I eat meat. Period. You don't like it? Take your business elsewhere."
That is purely selfish and ignorant. It does not address even one word of the original posting. Not a single word was stated about 'not liking meat' nor one word regarding 'business'. So if my postings of factual information continued to spur negative responses - that's not on me. That's for the posters to look in the mirror first. I enjoy difficult subjects such as this but I don't enjoy negative ignorant responses. The 'meat' industry along with 'animal rights' is one of the most horrific industry's in this country (USA). The simple questions asked were taken personally. Once again, why is that? If you're not guilty - why would anyone take offense? I certainly don't when asked such questions. I address them with factual information as best I can.
If I can't do that - I keep my lack of knowledge silent.
A compassionate soul tending to farm animals with a spirit of joy, gratitude and appreciation. I would love to sit down for coffee and a chat with this woman, especially about how she manages her menus. When I go vegan I get anemic and the doctors tell me to return to meat. If she had good recipes, I would become full-time vegan in a minute.
A Loving Farm
Anne Schroeder runs the Star Gazing Farm in Maryland, a sanctuary for farm animals. Here the pigs, rabbits, sheep, alpacas, cows and everyone else can live out their lives with love, health and dignity. They are all rescue animals, some arrived with all kinds of issues, and some are just older and have outlived their "function".
I posted a Google Alert about humane treatment of animals and this popped up:
Humane Treatment Of Animals
Ruth, I agree with your description of what happened and your decision. By the way, I have found a site where I can rant and my rants are mild, but at least it is rant-friendly.
I like knowing this is a place where ideas can be discussed, debated, and with civility. I feel welcome here. With respect, Joan
Thanks for all your wisdom ... and you cute smilies.
Let's have a safe and fun place to hang out and be with people of like mind, without the mind games. Keep the mind games where they belong - in the theistic memes!
The best advice is still; if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
So glad to see the mods patrolling and keeping the board safe for everyone.
Victoria, I hate to admit this, but I have written some pretty dumb things here and others don't let me get away with it. By challenging, nudging, teasing, teaching, and offering good examples, I am learning to think more clearly, write with more skill, and participate as an equal. These people are real gifts to me and I am sure you will find them true treasures.
Sometimes there are challenges and yet we thrive.
Just a note. When I looked for the offending discussions to close them (but not to delete them), I found Steven had removed all of the discussions he'd started here. Anyone who takes the initiative to start a discussion gets the option to eliminate his or her discussion. He apparently exercised that option. It was his right, but now every reply everyone else made has also been sent to the garbage bin. Oh well. We'll be fine.
I added this to the group description:
Nobody here is into mind games. A discussion started with a loaded guilt-throwing question will be deleted.
Do you think this is clear enough? I didn't want to get too technical. Suggestions for better wording are welcome.