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Gender: Female
Hometown: South East Michigan
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Jul 27, 2004, 01:19 PM
Number of posts: 10,559

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How do you respond to stress? (Introspective.)

I have been watching a silly television show I am too embarrassed to name as it is a "reality dating show". (Yes, I admit it - sometimes I like "mindless" entertainment.) Last week one of the "experts" dissected a situation that really struck home for me and I've been chewing on it ever since.

One of the women was "uncomfortable" in a challenging social situation (completely reasonably, I believe), and she reacted by distancing herself, being a tad snippy/rude, then made obnoxious comments about the other people in the situation who were handling things a little more gracefully.

The expert called her out on her not-so-impressive behavior; she defended herself by saying she was *really* uncomfortable, at which point the expert pointed out we *ALL* get uncomfortable/unhappy at times, and it is our *DEFAULT* reaction that really shows the type of people we truly *are* - and hers was apparently "if I'm unhappy, I'm going for obnoxious/not going to suffer in silence." (I automatically went sympathetic - I am not big on suffering in silence myself! Lol!) He pointed out this should be a "red flag" for a potential mate (dating show!), because we all have tough times in life, and instead of instinctively trying to make things "better" for everyone/be supportive to the other participants in an awkward situation, she went straight to pouty/pissy, and who wants to be married to THAT when times get tough (which, life being life, is bound to happen)?

Ouch. Especially when you find yourself being "sympathetic" to someone!

So now fast forward to "real life" - I have a niece who has been going through a very challenging pregnancy, and her "default" is to be Obnoxious and Nasty to the people who love and care about her the most. As her stress levels have ratcheted up, her behavior has gotten worse, and she has sent vicious text messages to her mother and grandmother saying horrible things to them (completely unprovoked). Both of them will forgive her, which is part of why she has felt 'safe' to treat them so badly, but at the end of the day, their behavior had nothing to do with hers; they have just become her whipping boys, and the less they tried to react (out of concern for her health), the worse she got.

Well, her baby came yesterday - a little boy, two pounds, ten ounces - and the road ahead is going to get worse before things get better; as any parent can tell you, a "problem pregnancy" is stressful, but the NICU changes the entire definition of "stressful" (at least for myself, and every parent I have ever known who lived through a visit there!). And that means my niece is probably going to become Even Worse for a while - which is sad, but really makes me think the "expert" from the show was incredibly insightful.

It is always easy to see things in other people (and my niece and her son are on my mind at the moment), but as I said, I have been chewing introspectively; I am *amazing* in a crisis. I go all "calm" on the outside, and default to my Red Cross training, "order" people to do stuff ("call 911!", and then completely fall apart later. With long term crisis (illness), I am the "practical one" who makes sure there is food and people eat. My tendency is to go "logical" on a situation, and "problem solve" it. I am certainly not EMT/Police/Fire/Military/Medical "crisis" trained, but I do have "basic first aid" training, and I mentally kind of go there/hide my panic and shock. In hindsight, probably why I was an early fan of (Dr.) Howard Dean - he seemed completely "trustworthy" in a crisis, if you know what I mean? Also, I "worry" over things a lot, including things I really can't control (like my niece - sigh).

I look for these things - the "how do you respond in a crisis?" - in my leaders: I was able to support John Kerry for President because, frankly, his military experience told me he knew how to react "calmly" in a crisis. Junior, on the other hand, just looks panicked on the videos of him on 9/11, and luckily nuclear warheads weren't raining down on us, because he didn't know how to respond to "Mr. President, the country is under attack!" Cheney was just a freaking moron, along with most of the rest of the idiots-in-charge in that administration. Their version of a "crisis" was all about money, instead of lives, and how they could get richer, instead of how they could save people (see "New Orleans". And a bunch of the Republicans seem to immediately default to "LIE LIKE CRAZY" even when lies aren't necessary; "I didn't say that!" when the video is pretty obvious.

It might seem rude to some folks, but yes, I do judge the political 'multiple (three or more) divorce/marrieds' somewhat harshly when it comes to leadership roles; if they aren't able to deal with "normal life crisis" (Gingrich and his first wife's cancer) without "running away!" when it comes to "leadership" - if the people who know you best can't trust you to be there for them through good times and bad, or to work things out when things are "tough" and everyone disagrees about seemingly everything, odds are good I can't either. (No, I do not apply this same standard to my friends, but I am also not trusting my friends with millions of tax dollars, the codes for the nuclear arsenal or with the lives of the men/women in my military; my social circle is not in the "political elite" circle.)

I am *exceedingly* pleased with Obama's "crisis" leadership thus far (not saying I am happy with him 100%, of course - I want my pony!). I trust he is NOT going to blow up the planet, and frankly, the last morons with their hands on the buttons scared me senseless (especially after *edit: Rumsfield! went on the television talk shows shortly after 9/11 and was discussing justification for nuclear weapons use - shudder!).

In the end, it always comes down to the personal relationships, even the "imaginary" ones I have with my leaders. Who do I trust? Who *don't* I trust? Can my family trust me? How do I handle life's little crisis? Will my children grow up feeling secure and safe? Will they *know* I love them, even when I am stressed out? Do I support my spouse, my children, and my friends in ways that make all of our lives better during times of extraordinary stress?

My mother (in her 70s) told me today she loves and appreciates me; then she listed several of my character traits she says make her incredibly proud of me. It was an unexpected gift, and it meant a lot, especially as I know she is doing her best to keep an even keel emotionally with the niece/her granddaughter situation. In times of stress, she is a "giver". I told her I love her, too.

Life is short and naturally stressful (at least for me). I hope my default is "kind".

Easter is hard on me. (Not April Fools)

Reason #212 why I can never run for political office.

I am not a Christian, although I respect the teachings of Jesus. With that being said, I was at church with my family yesterday (long story), and it was HARD.


At which point they nailed his ass to a cross because he was "dangerous" -- !!!

The story of the "sacrificial king" goes back thousands of years, and honestly, I have a problem with it. Anytime someone says "let us kill your kid, and good things will happen" I like to think my bologna meter would be going off big time.

I am a Mom. I don't want TO sacrifice my children. I want to sacrifice FOR my children.

But here is the reality: parents have been sacrificing their children for the "good of the community" for thousands of years (and I'm not just talking the Aztecs). The big "not secret" that has killed millions involves sending our children to war. It is considered a valuable career choice, and a necessary, honorable profession.

- Napoleonic Wars: Three and a Half Million Dead.
- American Civil War: Half a Million DEAD.
- World War II: Sixty Million People DEAD.

Let me repeat that: we, the human race, willing send our children into the armed serves where they will be trained in how to KILL EACH OTHER, while other people try to KILL THEM.

To, you know, PROTECT US from the other people who are doing the same crazy thing.

We dress it up with "patriotism" and appreciate their sacrifice - their lives, their bodies and their souls for our "safety" and "protection" - and we particularly ask/demand that they put their opinions aside politically because they need to "trust" that the leaders we elect - both Democrat and Republican - will guard and value their lives, and use the coin of their blood sparingly.

And here we get to the rub of it, don't we? For whatever reason, we have children - OUR CHILDREN - sacrificing their lives. We don't know their names (be honest: name the last ten soldiers who died in Iraq or Afghanistan - can't do it, can you?) and I am *NOT* convinced the world is better off without them growing up, getting married, and eventually dying of old age after long and happy lives. I find it impossible to believe any women who risked her life to give life to a child - "walking through the valley of the shadow" - would believe that them dying of anything other than old age is a good thing.

I wonder *if* we quit thinking of "human sacrifice" as an honorable profession, or simply the price of doing business, whether or not we would be better off as a species. I wonder, if instead of arguing about the right to "keep and bear arms" we spent the same amount of ink discussing how to make sure everyone on the planet was able to to exercise their right to "eat" and "drink clean water", whether or not we could turn our "swords" into "plowshares." I wonder if we trained our armies to build instead of destroy, and spent those funds feeding, clothing, educating and creating, whether we would get closer to having "heaven on earth" instead of hell?

I think of Mary, mother of Jesus, and every mother who has grieved the death of a child, and I do not find myself willing to join their ranks.

I am a mother. I don't want to sacrifice my children's lives, or their health, or their happiness, for any reason, especially for rich old men to get richer.

And I don't think any other mother should have to, either.

I do not accept the necessity of sacrificial killing. There are better ways.

I don't want your children dying for me. I sure as hell don't want mine dying for you.

There has got to be a way to problem solve on this planet that doesn't involve killing each other.

I think we should start with that age old advice: "BE NICE TO EACH OTHER."

It seems like reasonably good advice, doesn't it?

Then again, they nailed that guy to a cross.

I hate Easter.
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