You know when you tell someone something and they get mad, but they’re really mad at something else?

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?

One thought on “You know when you tell someone something and they get mad, but they’re really mad at something else?

  1. Anonymous Reply

    “Two things happened when I turned 12, my Father who used to beat the hell out of us left home and the other thing that happened is I started using drugs… One of my friends said ‘Here try this it will make you feel better’, and it did.

    When I turned 13, my Mum found a new partner who lived at home with us. He raped me regularly and abused my younger sisters as well. I was only 13.” from:
    http://www.homeless.org.au/people/rebecca.htm
    My inexpert opinion is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. The above is one human being, that may have, under the influence, pooped on a city sidewalk. As a man, perhaps you can take some personal responsibilty to rid society of men like that. Expert opinion on how to do that? Could start by getting people like Howard Stern off the airwaves, Hooters closed down, Larry Flynt & Hustler magazine..

    You might also get the USA to stop sending young boys off to foreign lands to kill or be killed, how many Vet’s are there on the streets? 300,000? It’s too late for the ones that are there, so might prevent “vagrancy” by educating young boys, that girls are to be respected (and boys) not raped and molested. Something like that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's all prevent spam. *