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Hi all,

 

It has been a while since I posted on these fantastic forums that have helped me get over three breakups, but I have spent a couple of years being single since my last relationship ended, and I have been trying to work on issues that I undoubtedly have/have had.

 

One thing that I am struggling with is how I react to a perceived wrongdoing by someone, however minor it might be.

 

I'm sure everyone reacts differently to such scenarios, but what I do is go extremely quiet, ignore the perceived offender for hours, build and build this negative image of the person in my head, get in a bad mood which will continue until I can escape the situation and spend some time on my own.

 

Today's example:

 

I am originally from the UK, but have lived and worked in Japan for 7 years. I am now on a 6 month sabbatical studying Japanese in Kyoto as I needed a boost to my language skills. It is very intensive with so much information each day, writing, speaking, homework, tests, the lot. I am just about coping, but anyway, there is one teacher at the academy I attend who I have taken a dislike to. Blown out of proportion, I'm sure, but I tend to always get in a bad mood on her days (Wednesday and Friday). Today, we had a Kanji Test (Japanese characters) which is something that I really struggle with, but she was talking during the test, and I couldn't concentrate. I asked her quite sternly to be quiet, in Japanese, and then was passive aggressive for the next two hours and didn't really contribute to her lesson. I answered if she asked me a question, but I didn't raise a smile or be the jokey person I usually am in class with other teachers.

 

This kind of thing happens a lot with me, I have noticed. I am a very independent person, with few real friends, and I absolutely prefer my own company. I recharge by being on my own and would definitely say I am an introvert, although in other things I am adventurous, e.g. travelled all over independently, lived in New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, etc.

 

So, the point is: how can I change my behaviour pattern?

 

My Dad and older brother are the same, actually worse than me in my Dad's case. He would literally disappear for days after an argument with my Mum. Not sure if that is a feasible excuse for me to rely upon, and maybe it is irrelevant.

 

I am always looking inwardly to try and improve, be it through meditation, mindfulness, or whatever. But situations arise, I react negatively, and then later in the day wonder why I was such an idiot to make a big deal out of it (although I always maintain I had legitimate reasons for being upset, initially at least).

 

I will stop here, but if anyone can relate or advise, then please respond - I would be delighted to hear your feedback/impressions.

 

Thanks,

 

Rich

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Hi Rich,

 

I found your post really interesting as I can get like this with someone, especially if their being inconsiderate as does seem to be the case with your situation here.

 

I'm 32 so we're a similar age and we've both lived a bit and travelled

 

In situations such as these I find a slight change of mindset helps me. So for example, my flatmate keeps turning the heating on full after we've agreed to have it on somewhere in the middle. Yes I'm totally frustrated and her consistent inconsiderate behaviour so what I do now is to attempt to diffuse the situation as soon as I am able so in my head I know I've done my best to resolve things without being aggressive and also so that once I've done/said whatever I need to I can shift my focus onto something else so last night for example I sent her a message then straight afterwards I played badminton for 2 hours with friends. By the time badminton was through she'd replied (and all was ok - well much better than before) and I'd distracted myself with something I enjoy doing and it totally took my mind of what was bothering me.

 

In your particular situation I would say you might have gone to speak with the teacher at the end of the session and explain how you're really struggling with some of the work - I wouldn't bring up being pissed with her 'directly' over talking over the test as such but if you have to bring it up you could say something like 'I found/finding Kanji really difficult and whilst we're being tested I find it helps me to concentrate better when it's quiet as it helps me to think' this was she'll likely comprehend your meaning and would be more likely to be obliging to you either to support you better with that part of the course (which might help you bond better) or else ensuring a quieter environment when your in test mode. Does that make sense?

 

I avoid confrontation and confronting people when I'm annoyed and hope it goes away but lately I've found if I engineer the circumstances in such a way that I diplomatically approach a situation then I've found the response from whomever it is I'm dealing with is usually not even half as bad as I think it's going to be. I guess that's why I've typically avoided confronting people as personally I was afraid of their reaction more than anything else.

 

Re having a distraction, there are many ways we can do this as as most of us have busy lives, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to confront, after thinking about what you might say, always have a plan for something you can do after the situation has past whether it's a job or buying a treat snack or doing some sport, that was you have something your mind will busy itself with and it'll help you from not ruminating or having negative feelings develop.

 

I hope this helps you. I'm in a waffling mood this morning but your post did resonate with me so I felt compelled almost to answer

 

Best wishes

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I can relate to you! It has taken a lot of therapy and group therapy for me to actually understand why I'm like that.

 

Have you considered therapy or group therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy)? Cognitive therapy is great for twisting your negative thoughts to a more positive one.

 

That said, what are some examples of how you feel you react negatively? I mean while writing a test, it's pretty normal to be irritated by someone talking all the time, especially if you asked them to keep quiet. I'm pretty sure, a lot of people would get annoyed. Maybe there is something about this teacher that is just not meshing with you? Know that you are not wrong for how you feel. I think it's the questioning "why" is the problem. Sometimes, it's just the way it is. Keep in mind and this is the main thing I've keep getting told in all therapies I've been too. It's simple but keep telling yourself: "the only human behavior you can control is your own" You can not control how others behave.

 

Maybe you are so afraid you are going to over react like you dad? I'm only guessing here because I found a lot of my problems stems from childhood and with my parents... etc.. Yes, how your dad over reacted after an argument with your mom is passive aggressive! It's very complicated to explain but I think part of you is catching yourself acting somewhat like that (which probably bothered you as a child) and it's getting to you now. That's why you feel it's getting worst because you are more aware of it now. I say try getting some therapy and you will get what I mean and understand this better but it will take time as well.

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In situations such as these I find a slight change of mindset helps me. So for example, my flatmate keeps turning the heating on full after we've agreed to have it on somewhere in the middle. Yes I'm totally frustrated and her consistent inconsiderate behaviour so what I do now is to attempt to diffuse the situation as soon as I am able so in my head I know I've done my best to resolve things without being aggressive and also so that once I've done/said whatever I need to I can shift my focus onto something else so last night for example I sent her a message then straight afterwards I played badminton for 2 hours with friends. By the time badminton was through she'd replied (and all was ok - well much better than before) and I'd distracted myself with something I enjoy doing and it totally took my mind of what was bothering me.

 

In your particular situation I would say you might have gone to speak with the teacher at the end of the session and explain how you're really struggling with some of the work - I wouldn't bring up being pissed with her 'directly' over talking over the test as such but if you have to bring it up you could say something like 'I found/finding Kanji really difficult and whilst we're being tested I find it helps me to concentrate better when it's quiet as it helps me to think' this was she'll likely comprehend your meaning and would be more likely to be obliging to you either to support you better with that part of the course (which might help you bond better) or else ensuring a quieter environment when your in test mode. Does that make sense?

 

I avoid confrontation and confronting people when I'm annoyed and hope it goes away but lately I've found if I engineer the circumstances in such a way that I diplomatically approach a situation then I've found the response from whomever it is I'm dealing with is usually not even half as bad as I think it's going to be. I guess that's why I've typically avoided confronting people as personally I was afraid of their reaction more than anything else.

Hi there, and thank you for taking the time to respond.

 

Yes, what you say makes a lot of sense re: confronting the situation rather than letting it fester in your mind. Like you, my natural inclination is to run away from conflict of any kind in the hope that it will dissipate, but all that happens is that it grows inside my mind into an irrationally big deal, bringing me down and into an unstoppable torrent of ruminating thoughts! It can be the smallest thing like the test issue yesterday. I said what was on my mind rather abruptly, but that should have been the end of it. Instead, it ruined the rest of the class for me, probably every other student there was wondering why the hell I was sulking, and I didn't get the best night sleep as a result.

 

Another example:

 

I spent a couple of months back in England over the summer, waiting for my Japan work visa to be changed to a student visa. I lived back with my parents during that time (not my moody Dad - my parents divorced a long time ago, and I no longer keep in touch with him - that could be for another thread haha). Anyway, on my mother's birthday, she said something really insensitive which really shocked me. My mum is amazing and we have barely ever had any crossed word, but she stepped over the line here, although she did apologise for upsetting me. What followed was about 24 hours where I could barely look at her, and I hate the fact that I spoiled her birthday, probably the first birthday I have spent with her for 8 years due to living away from home. I really try to force myself to get over it, but when in the moment, I just can't do it.

 

Maybe in that instance, I should have sat down and talked with her, got things off my chest, and then everything would have been ok.

 

Kind of difficult to do that with this teacher situation due to the language barrier, but it is a more general issue in any case.

 

Hmmm now I am waffling haha!

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I can relate to you! It has taken a lot of therapy and group therapy for me to actually understand why I'm like that.

 

Have you considered therapy or group therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy)? Cognitive therapy is great for twisting your negative thoughts to a more positive one.

 

That said, what are some examples of how you feel you react negatively? I mean while writing a test, it's pretty normal to be irritated by someone talking all the time, especially if you asked them to keep quiet. I'm pretty sure, a lot of people would get annoyed. Maybe there is something about this teacher that is just not meshing with you? Know that you are not wrong for how you feel. I think it's the questioning "why" is the problem. Sometimes, it's just the way it is. Keep in mind and this is the main thing I've keep getting told in all therapies I've been too. It's simple but keep telling yourself: "the only human behavior you can control is your own" You can not control how others behave.

 

Maybe you are so afraid you are going to over react like you dad? I'm only guessing here because I found a lot of my problems stems from childhood and with my parents... etc.. Yes, how your dad over reacted after an argument with your mom is passive aggressive! It's very complicated to explain but I think part of you is catching yourself acting somewhat like that (which probably bothered you as a child) and it's getting to you now. That's why you feel it's getting worst because you are more aware of it now. I say try getting some therapy and you will get what I mean and understand this better but it will take time as well.

Hi, thank you for your reply

 

Yeah I have considered therapy but as I am not in work at the moment and supporting myself while I study in Japan, money is kind of tight. There are some foreign therapists here in Japan, and I did go to one after a difficult break up two years ago, and I am thinking about it again. I feel like I need some kind of mentor, especially being so far away from my family support network as I am.

 

How do I react negatively? Well, broadening it out from the test/teacher example, I feel like I set impossibly high standards for people/friends and even family to live up to. I would say I have strong ethics and treat people with respect, but when I feel like someone falls below how I think they should be acting, then either:

 

a) I get in a bad mood with them, get moody, spend some time apart, and eventually get over it. This is especially true if the person in question is a close friend or family member. If they are merely an acquaintance or a not-so close-friend, then I will.....

 

b) Possibly drop them from my life altogether. Sounds very drastic, doesn't it? Hence why I have few friends and I am more comfortable on my own. I think this must stem from being let down in the past, possibly starting from my father's cheating and subsequent divorce when I was 10 years old, but also from a build up of three long term relationship failures, including a really harsh and brutal end to what i thought was a happy 3 year relationship a couple of years ago. Feels like previous experiences have built up, scarred me, and now I have developed a defense mechanism whereby I put up the shutters at the first sign of someone not meeting my (impossibly high) expectations for fear of being hurt down the road.

 

All makes sense to me when I write it down, and posting here is a therapy in itself, but it is the HOW TO CHANGE that I don't know the answer to.

 

I feel glad to have the awareness to reflect, self-analyse, and identify my issues, but maybe professional guidance is the only way to get to the root of it all and change things for the future, otherwise I will still be getting moody when I am in my 80s, and will probably only have a cat or a dog to actually be moody with!

 

Does that all make sense? Any feedback would be most welcome. Thanks!

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