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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Pulling Pigtails"
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silver_gull From: silver_gull Date: April 2nd, 2014 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember being told as a child that a boy (and his posse) teased me because he liked me. I never understood how knowing that was supposed to make a difference. Congratulations, you got my attention: as my enemy, who kept getting me in trouble because as an undiagnosed autism spectrum child with ADHD I could not fail to react to a sustained campaign of verbal and emotional abuse. And somehow I was supposed to LIKE them for it?

Plucky Girl seems to have had a positive response, though. Is this common? Is it something that people with romantic orientations other than 'nil' actually understand? You seem like the person to ask about insight into other mindsets. I had never thought of pigtail pulling as a strategy that might work for some kids, though as you mentioned, the resulting dynamic is unlikely to be healthy. But the whole idea of bullying leading to something other than scorn from the victim... In retrospect, this must be true for some people, as it's the logical precursor to hopping from one poisonous relationship to another. And most people probably grow out of it, as they mature and realise that some people really won't tolerate it, and that relationships without abuse are better - perhaps learning from the experience without taking or leaving noticeable scars. Still. The tendency of adults to dismiss or encourage such behaviour in kids is worrying, and the idea that it's actually effective is even more so.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 2nd, 2014 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Okay...

>> I remember being told as a child that a boy (and his posse) teased me because he liked me. <<

It's often said. It is not often true; usually what happens is a bully picking on a disliked victim.

>> I never understood how knowing that was supposed to make a difference. Congratulations, you got my attention: as my enemy, who kept getting me in trouble because as an undiagnosed autism spectrum child with ADHD I could not fail to react to a sustained campaign of verbal and emotional abuse. And somehow I was supposed to LIKE them for it? <<

Adults frequently fail to distinguish between affectionate teasing, roughhousing meant to be affectionate that is too rough, and abuse. This is a problem. It is especially a problem in that middle ground where someone is fond, but does not understand what to do with that emotion or how to express it appropriately, so does inappropriate things instead.

>> Plucky Girl seems to have had a positive response, though. <<

Well, sort of. It's not what I'd call healthy. At first, she puts up with it because she has been told it's affection. It isn't, at that stage. Later on, after more exposure and explanation from a saner adult, she pities him. The really awkward thing is that Bully Boy, who started out hating Plucky Girl, begins to know her better and feel some sense of connection or even indebtedness. This is a fucked up mess in his head. They are not likely to straighten it out on their own, but if older soups continue to give them better advice than their teachers and parents have been, the situation may improve.

>> Is this common? <<

No. Most people hate being teased.

>> Is it something that people with romantic orientations other than 'nil' actually understand? <<

Sometimes. The part that makes sense to me is this: Some people are very socially influenced, which means if you tell them social things, they are likely to behave as if that is true even if it's baloney. And some people crave attention to the point that they prefer even negative attention to being ignored. I suspect that's the how the teasing thing sometimes works as an expression of interest.

I still don't think it's a good idea.

>> You seem like the person to ask about insight into other mindsets. <<

Thanks.

>> I had never thought of pigtail pulling as a strategy that might work for some kids, though as you mentioned, the resulting dynamic is unlikely to be healthy. <<

It took me a long time to build up enough data to see that, because most of it points elsewhere.

>> But the whole idea of bullying leading to something other than scorn from the victim... <<

Stockholm Syndrome, for one thing. But another is simply that people who interact frequently will tend to become part of each other's lives. It's not healthy, but it's human nature to bond. People who are social teflon like me won't give a fuck, but most people are more responsive. Then too, sometimes the aggressor changes, and affection grows where none was before, and the tembre of the teasing changes, so the result may change. People aren't static.

It's still a crummy strategy.

>> In retrospect, this must be true for some people, as it's the logical precursor to hopping from one poisonous relationship to another. <<

That is exactly the kind of problem I meant to highlight with this poem: if you teach people that abuse is affection, it primes them for abusive relationships.

>> And most people probably grow out of it, as they mature and realise that some people really won't tolerate it, and that relationships without abuse are better - perhaps learning from the experience without taking or leaving noticeable scars. <<

Exactly. It's better to grow out of it.

>> Still. The tendency of adults to dismiss or encourage such behaviour in kids is worrying, and the idea that it's actually effective is even more so. <<

Sooth.
silver_gull From: silver_gull Date: April 2nd, 2014 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay...

>> It's often said. It is not often true; usually what happens is a bully picking on a disliked victim.<<

This time it did turn out to be true. He eventually asked me out, and then asked why I said no. One really has to wonder what he'd been told at the start of it, and all through the years we knew each other.

When I called Plucky Girl's response "positive," I only meant it in the sense of being the one it seemed Bully Boy wanted. In no way do I think it was a good one; more like testing positive for, as you said, the early stages of Stockholm Syndrome. Her motive for acting as if the adults were right makes sense, as does the way the relationship is set to change. I hope things wind up working out for them, whether together or separately.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 12th, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay...

>> This time it did turn out to be true. He eventually asked me out, and then asked why I said no. One really has to wonder what he'd been told at the start of it, and all through the years we knew each other. <<

0_o Yeah, that's creepy. Sometimes people get bad advice. Other times they just make shit up.

>> When I called Plucky Girl's response "positive," I only meant it in the sense of being the one it seemed Bully Boy wanted. <<

It is that. But it's personally complicated too, because of what she has been told, which leads to ...

>> In no way do I think it was a good one; more like testing positive for, as you said, the early stages of Stockholm Syndrome. <<

... this mess.

>> Her motive for acting as if the adults were right makes sense, as does the way the relationship is set to change. I hope things wind up working out for them, whether together or separately. <<

Feel free to ask for more about them in any relevant prompt call. Next up is the crowdfunding Creative Jam running April 19-20 with a theme of "characterization."
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