One thing I consistently relearn in this world (especially when I attend a group psychotherapy conference) is why people respond to you the way they do.
Last week in Houston, I found that people responded to me the way they did because of
- feelings, and
- the unconscious.
Here are two examples of people responding to me the way they did:
In a very large group, a woman sitting near me responded to everything I said with hostility, aggression, and opposition. After the group session, I approached her and asked her if I had offended her in some way. She said, “Oh no! I’ve never done one of these large groups before. I just thought that was what you were supposed to do — argue with the person who had just spoken.”
In a different, much smaller group, I was the first to speak up. A man sitting across from me seemed to respond to everything I said with some mild hostility. After about an hour, I let him know, in the group, that I was experiencing some hostility from him and I wondered what that was about. At first he said he wasn’t aware of being hostile towards me. When another group member joined me by telling him she also saw the hostility towards me, he thought about it. Then he said, “I guess there is some hostility there. I saw you yesterday in another group where you spoke up first. When you spoke up first here, I thought, ‘Oh, there’s Ann, doing THAT again.’ I said, “Oh! Now I understand. Thank you!”
I respond to the world the way I do, sometimes through pictures.
I responded to my son Aaron’s news about winning the University of Edinburgh Stand Up Comedy Championship by taking a screen shot of his award (above). I responded to my wish to find his comedy routine on YouTube by searching that site by his name. YouTube responded with this video:
I respond to that video the way I do because I’m his mother.
Please respond to this post the way you do.
I respond the way I do, here and now, because I’m grateful to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.