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25 May 2008 @ 01:02 pm
What do you do when you hear too much of an unpleasant rumor?  I guess I've been going out of my way to not hear about this particular ugliness (which I am not going to describe).  But I got bombarded with a bit more of it than I wanted this week, and now have had enough more to actually make me angry.  I'm a bit annoyed by the person who gave me the latest load, but said person is a close friend, and we do talk about a lot of stuff.  So mostly, I'm not blaming zir for telling me.  I just really didn't want to know, and that's more my issue than zirs. 

The rumor (or fact, or whatever) isn't any of my business (or anyone else's except the immediate parties concerned).  Wouldn't it be nice if I could somehow avoid it wholesale?  Wishful thinking.  Why do people spread squicky garbage around, anyway? 

And here I thought I was difficult to squick.  Guess not. 

I've tried distracting myself by wasting time online, which hasn't really worked.  I took some eleuthro as a de-stressor, with perhaps minor results.  I poured out my new bounty of yarns obtained at Webb's yesterday, and have thought about the various combinations that could become the next scarf.  But knitting doesn't prevent one from thinking.  I might read a book.  I could work on the stack of Things I Should Have Done Yesterday, but again, that won't prevent me from thinking.  Working in the yard might help - I'll still be able to mull over squickdom, but the grass and trees and weeds and chickens and ducks and things would eventually shift my brain to more universal, more important things. 

What do the rest of you do to stop your brain from dwelling on useless unpleasantness?
The Beat: unityironzapatista on May 25th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
When I'm in Boston, I really love just jumping on the T and riding the rails all over the city, not paying attention, getting off at random stops and then back on again... seeing where the chaotic order of the subway system takes me. It really cleanses my mind.

Going out for long, aimless drives with good friends and good music is another good method.

I guess change of location in general, if only for a little while. A hike out somewhere nice (or new), a friend's house, a cafe... outside of your own head, as it were.
betonicabetonica on May 26th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
city tours
I'm not a city person, but that is one definite appeal to cities. I like wandering and seeing where I accidentally end up, and what I see along the way.

A walk is a good suggestion - thanks! If there's some way I can manage to keep the fifty billion blackflies at bay (another advantage to cities), I may try that. Perhaps after it gets dark this evening, and they go to sleep.

Mostly, though, time has worked its wonders, and I'm only very slightly irritated, now.

Edited at 2008-05-26 02:06 pm (UTC)
Jakefallingsilver on May 25th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
Oh how I wish I could offer you suggestions that work! I've been watching far too many mindless TV shows online and making lists of all the things I should/want to do before I move. Neither of those keeps me from thinking, though, and they aren't productive. I've tried reading, but then I'll realise that I've read a page and have only thought of other things. Really, the only vaguely helpful thing I've done is play with my cat. He makes me happy and I can focus on him for ages.

I hope you find something that helps!
betonicabetonica on May 26th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
Cats are great!

My best thing was just waiting. It's still a minor discomfort when I happen to think about it, but my brain has moved on to other things. I don't have a tv to watch, but I did watch to dvds last night. Not that they were necessarily better for the brain: teenage angst from 1980, and young foolish men killing each other during the Irish revolution. Nice music, though.

I also baked a chocolate cake, and now, having decided that it isn't sweet enough, I'm melting very dark and white chocolate bars to pour over the top :)

Edited at 2008-05-26 02:05 pm (UTC)
A Sterrdasbrose on May 25th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
I usually find that if I'm trying to avoid thinking of something, it sticks around at the back of my head and haunts me, even if I manage to chase/distract it away from the surface. If, however, I let myself think on it, process it, and deal with it (if necessary) but not dwell on it, it goes away.
betonicabetonica on May 26th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
Hm. I've gotten rid of much of the muck just with time, but some of it is, still, at the back of my head there, haunting me, as you say. Thinking on it and processing it will probably help.

I think I need to go back to my source, though. I should point out my displeasure with hearing the garbage (though, to be fair, said person was also keeping me informed, in a way, with something related that I needed to know). But I also need to talk to that person about why the issue bugs me - I think there's a misconception about *why* I'm irritated. (Sorry - I'm still not describing the actual situation - probably mystifying my readers to no good effect.)

So, I guess I'm more irritated because someone has a misconception of me than because of the actual mucky rumor. Interesting.

Yes, you're right. Thinking on it really helps. (As does ranting to my friends;)
Steffirecat on May 25th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
One way I use to prevent people from telling me things I don't want to hear is to give them negative feedback when they do. If it's gossip I might say, e.g., "I didn't need to hear that" or "That's none of my business, so I don't care." That's no fun for the person telling me so they eventually stop.

I know of two ways to deal with an emotional stress. One is to distract myself until it fades naturally. The other is to sit quietly and notice the quality of my emotions. (But not so much the contents of the thoughts, since that spirals into obsession for me.)
piranha @ dreamwidthpir_anha on May 26th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
dealing with gossip
yup, that's what i do when i don't want to hear it. well, in general i am a "don't want to hear negative gossip" person, and anyone who becomes a friend finds out about that, usually before they're actually telling me any gossip. i used to just be quiet and cringe inside, but these days i'm upfront about how much i dislike it.

if you're not in the habit of telling even close friends that you're not into bad gossip, it probably requires a talk with them at a time when it's not coming across as a direct rejection. if you're generally not averse to gossipping, but it's just the occasional thing that squicks you, you just gotta stop it right then and there.

trying not to think about it never works for me, it has a pink elephant effect instead; distracting sometimes works for me, but it's got to be the right kind of distraction; sitting and mulling over the emotion also rarely works for me. two things that tend to reliably work for me:

physical activity, possibly accomanied by loud (or muttered) kvetching about the stressful thing. i dig in the garden, or i walk and kick stones -- anything that lets me push the stress out of my body and into something else. oh, it needs to be physical activity of a more destructive than creative type; i can't build anything when i am in this mood, but i can take things apart, sand them down, strip paint, hammer nails out of old boards... vigorous cleaning is also good. with loud music.

and often writing helps. either writing out what happened (sort of like you did here, though i'd do more detail, just for myself), which gets it out of my system, or making a story out of it (this re-channels the emotions).
betonicabetonica on May 26th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Re: dealing with gossip
The physical activity idea would definitely be good for me. I've been very impressed with your walk log. There's lots of gardening to be done, and a chicken pen to be built. Damn the blackflies here - I don't think I'll get out until after dark. But vigorous cleaning would be good!
betonicabetonica on May 26th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Well, I hate to admit it, but I actually am one of those people who *likes* gossip. Usually. Though to be fair to myself, it often isn't damaging or derogatory gossip. (Is it still "gossip" then?) So I'm not likely to tell people I don't need to hear something - doing so is likely to cut off some of the stuff I do want to know, along with the sludge I'm better off without. But it's worth pondering. There must be some way to set up a good filter for the kind of "gossip" I consider acceptable.

The fading naturally bit for the emotional stress is just what I've done (sort of by default) and it's worked pretty well. As soon as all of the chocolate has melted for my chocolate cake glaze, life will be even better:)

As to examining quality of emotions - yes. I do this whenever I feel guilty. Because I have *never* found that feeling guilty is actually of any benefit to me or anyone else - it's just yucky. So I sit down and carefully consider the guilt, picking it apart. And I usually discover that the unpleasant thoughts I was spiraling on were not, in fact, the source of my guilty feeling. Some other, sometimes trivially small thing I'd done wrong and not corrected was. Once I've done what I can to fix it, I can move on and the guilt goes away.

I sure am self-noodling a lot today!
Elissa: Reginaelissaann on May 26th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
Re: gossip
Damaging or derogatory gossip is considered slander, by Jewish law, and there are whole books written on how to deal with it. By Jewish law, the only time it's appropriate to pass it on is to prevent someone from being hurt.

Steffirecat on May 26th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
Re: gossip
I like non-derogatory gossip (or "finding out what's going on with people I know"), too. But if it's derogatory sometimes I still reply in a way that's no fun for the gossip-passer-on.

You're so right about feeling guilty not being of benefit. I wish my guilt feelings were as easily traced to a trivial source. (For me they have to do with stress, but sometimes the stress can't be fixed so easily.)
Elissa: Reginaelissaann on May 26th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
I do dwell on unpleasantness when I hear it. Fortunately, I don't hear a lot of it. I like to hear news, but I don't want to hear slander.

You can avoid gossip wholesale. When someone starts telling you something inappropriate, you can change the subject.

What I'm wondering is, who is being hurt by this rumor? It sounds like you are. Maybe there's a useful reason to dwell on it.

I'm being nudged by a furry paw. (What's that? Ah.) As always, Regina recommends a nap.
betonicabetonica on May 26th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
Interesting - I hadn't thought of the idea that I was being hurt by the gossip. It's actually a few other people. But by extension, the rest of us that are in the vicinity get splattered with it. Ew.

Cat nap. Good solution. I'll try one later today.

Edited at 2008-05-26 02:35 pm (UTC)
ghostrider157 on May 26th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
Are people spreading new rumors. I wish they would just grow up. Go have some tea and forget about it. If you need to talk aenohe and I will be back tomorrow, and we would love to have tea and to commiserate.
betonicabetonica on May 26th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Rumors
Thanks! Glad you're coming home. I'm pretty much over the annoyance, and would like nothing better than to *not* think about it. Tea would be good. Keeperofmadness and Ziggy_man_will are creating new goodness in the shed and have cleared (!) the woodpile. So life is pretty good. You can help feed them chocolate (er - ziggy_man_will doesn't like chocolate??) when you get back.
Bryon Kershaw: Reynardinekeeperofmadness on May 26th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
I find a good mental change of subject button is to find a task or a project and completely throw yourself into it. Maybe write something or knit something more complicated than usual, and really just kind of mentally and physically invest yourself in the task.

~ Bryon ~
betonicabetonica on May 26th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks (to you and everyone) for helping me rant. That worked reasonably well. I'll find several things to do today that distract me, as you say, and I'm pretty much on the way to eradicating the garbage fairly completely from my mind. Do come inside for chocolate soon;)
Biston Betularia: bookpepperedmoth on May 27th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
I suggest some 15 year Laphroaig, and a whole stack of trashy romance novels.

Good luck!
(Anonymous) on May 28th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
mmmm - Laphroaig. If I didn't know that I have an 8 am Important Emergency Drill tomorrow morning, that would be the perfect thing to finish off this 14-hr day of rescue-related meetings. I can't quite believe how much time I've spent on it. On the other hand, I didn't spend a *single minute* thinking about stupid ugly rumors :)