It’s a well known psychological theory that when faced with something scary or that could harm us (physically, emotionally etc) the human nervous system kicks into an ancient instinctual fight or flight mode.
You have the choice whether to stand your ground and fight your opponent, with your fists or your words, or to run away (literally or figuratively). Id also like to add “freeze” into the mix as sometimes you can’t process quickly enough to make a decision.
In person I’m usually very much non confrontational, like to avoid drama as much as possible and would prefer to sit down and have a good old chat about problems rather than ‘fight’ about it. I’m not good at thinking on my feet. Same goes for quick responses. It takes me a while to process what is happening, what has been said, how I feel about that and then to formulate an appropriate response.
What usually happens if I find myself in that situation is that I cry. I cry my eyes out and I become unable to string a coherent sentence together, all my eloquence and articulateness disappears. Most often I feel like I’m being attacked and what I really feel is angry but for some reason my brain expresses it with tears rendering me unable to stand up for myself in the way I’d like to.
Don’t get me wrong, I can and will stand up for myself and there have been occasions where I have been able to retain my ability to speak without crying but those times are few and far between.
Non direct confrontation is different though. If it comes via text or social media, you have that precious barrier of extra time in which to process what is going on. You can take a more measured approach to your responses, you can more soundly analyse what the other person is saying. And of course you can do it from the safety of your comfort zone.
I’m more likely to ‘fight’ when online. My reaction times are quicker and it is easy to type that it is to speak when I’m in that mode.
I do however consider myself to be a reasonable and open minded person. I read a lot of tweets by people coming from different points of view. Some things I am willing to change my mind on. Some things I am adamantly black or white with.
I’ve discovered recently that it all depends on how the other person approaches it. If I feel that they are purposely winding me up, digging for a reaction or being deliberately antagonising, I put my armour on and prepare for war. It’s easy to stand up for myself. But I also get angrier and more frustrated when I feel I’m being attacked and not listened to. I have a short fuse that would be a lot longer in person/real life.
I get shout and sweary and “loud”. I don’t like being like that. I get myself in those situations because sometimes I can’t self regulate enough to avoid it or be passive about it, especially if it’s something I’m passionate about, or if I feel the attack is completely unnecessary or irrelevant.
But then I always worry about how I’ve come across. I worry that I’ve upset that person even though they were being a dick. I need reassurance that I wasn’t bullying them. I also ruminate on WHY that person chose me to pick a fight with. What did I do to deserve it?
My actions may have lost me a few followers. That bothers me more than it should. As I get older I give less of a shit what people think of me but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care at all.
Especially when you’re part of a community like the #actuallyautistic one on twitter.
The Aspie Mermaid x