Friday, February 12, 2010


The following does not apply the same way to stalkers and maniacs, of course, who have out-sized expectations and screwed-up emotional radar. But in general, (my husband told me this from one of his many shrink classes);

If you like somebody, they probably like you too.
Maybe not quite as much. Maybe a little more. Maybe they want more, or less, than what you offer.

And then there's the other kinds of reciprocity.
If, when you talk to someone, they make you feel helpless, that is how you learn how helpless they feel themselves.
If someone makes you angry, they are showing you how angry they are.

It explains so much of the emotional landscape. I think knowing this is a way to feel reassured, (of course they like me) or a way to resume control of one's own reaction (that's their anger, not mine), or a way into greater involvement or compassion (this is how helpless they feel; that has to be dealt with first).


Unknown said...

making me think so late. pshhhhhhh.

Christopher said...

I have a screwed up emotional radar, when one takes into account my life-long inability to know when a girl has been interested in me. Probably saved me some trouble, though.

Bob G. said...

Some very sage advice, and it's advice that never stops giving back.

Your radar's not "screwed up"...just needs some fine tuning, that's all.
And that comes with life.

Thing is, you might not stop making mistakes, but at least you LEARN to not make the SAME ones over and over (hopefully).
Therein lies the lesson.

Have a great weekend, folks.

Ann T. said...

Dear Christopher,
Maybe there's exceptions to the rule on reciprocity. I thought of the stalkers already. Not all of them are after movie stars, or so I've learned.

So predation would change the character of this. Or maybe not. Maybe a stalker seeks to communicate the depth of their obsession, which transforms their quarry with obsessive fear or uncertainty. I don't know.

The other thing, many people who are talented don't find their talents remarkable. They find them normal, and (I was once warned) don't realize that it's a special gift. So I guess the virtue of modesty can also cause a blindness to the power and good in the self.

As always, a great comment makes me think more. Thank you very much.

And of course I don't know you super well, but your emotional radar seems good to me.

Very sincerely,
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Peedee,
You are such a scam artist, but I am on to you, girlfriend. Your wide interests and wit prove that thinking thing is humming all the time--even late at night.

Yuh just can't kid a kidder,
Ann T.

Dear Bob G.,
Something tells me you're a big softy in there, full of encouragement as well as principle. Thanks for reaching out.

I'm on to you too,
Ann T.

The Observer said...

Ann T.

This is the emotional radar I often lack. I can't always tell if someone likes me or not. There is always a degree of discomfort with every new encounter. I hate to say it, but at this point in life, my default position is to assume that, best case, people are neutral about me. If the emotional discomfort is high, worse case, I assume dislike on the part of the other person.

Wow, maybe TMI for a blog comment? Does it creep you out?

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
I'm not freaked out at all.

I don't want to sound like Dear Abby, but probably if it's neutral, then I guess you have a choice! You can do something that turns their view (?) Does that sound crazy? I guess the first decision would be who goes first.

The way I know you is through your blog, and I was always drawn to your kitchen table idea about discussions--and the thought you put into your posts!

Not to worry!
Ann T.

The Observer said...

Ann T

Thanks for not being freaked out. After I wrote that, and posted it, it dawned on me that much of this comes from generally having a low image of myself, of not feeling very likable. This makes for a vicious circle that is hard to break.

I would refer back to my post about the research on social skills in kids. Nip it in the bud!

The Observer