I think I’ve figured something out.
I think I’ve seen the underbelly of the diatribe. You know when you tell someone something or bring up a topic and they get irritated and just “go off” on you?
It’s interesting. We’re remodeling our bathroom, work is really busy, the kids have lots of needs, and the Bush Administration is making decisions we don’t agree with. All these things don’t have anything external in common. However, they are crucially linked because they are internal to me or someone in my family. They are common internally in that each one causes irritation or displeasure.
The interesting part is that a comment on either one of these topics causes the emotions to fire and each topic can bring out the other. If you are on the listening end of this (and the expression is verbal and no hammers are used) it can seem quite unrelated.
So, imagine you are on the listening end of someone going on a rant and they are bringing up things left and right. None of these things have related and it appears the speaker is shifting context left and right. If they seem unrelated, just remember the common link is the person experiencing them all.
I’ve often stopped people from pouring their emotional content all over me because it seemed disconnected. Now, since I understand this emotional “bubble”, I believe it’s best for the person doing the diatribe to just let it out.
I wonder if there’s a psychological term for this. Seems the effect is really social. Is there a sociological term?