Tag Archives: emotional reactivity

Social Experiments

Social Experiments

The problem with conducting social experiments is that I am playing two roles. Role A is the Experimenter who, based on need for greater insight into my own behavior patterns, has formulated a plan for testing out a hypothesis. Role B is reacting naturally to external stimuli that I have placed in front of me through a scene setup depicted by Role A.

So once I find a good enough situation (recognition of which is usually a split second “Initiate Experiment Now!” resonating in my head) to conduct my experiment in, then I am still left to pick up the post-experiment pieces. Which is fine because a major part of the experiment is to see if I can replicate a specific type of emotional reactivity which involves everything after the fact.

This experimenting stems from me seeing how well I can get specific reactions out of people. If I am able to successfully stage a reaction, then I am more aware of past situations where maybe it was simply just my behavior that ruled the whole situation. If replication is not possible then I can rule out how tightly connected my behavior is to the external world.

A difficulty is that now the experiment itself becomes part of my past and thus to an observer who is unaware of my conscious experiments, it would seems like a pattern which has yet to be stopped. When in reality, I did it on purpose this time. Which may in itself mean I have just found another way of perpetuating that same emotional reactivity…. but no problem is going to be solved until it is either no longer a problem, or is well understood enough to apply an antidote.

Emotional Reactivity

Emotional Reactivity

I was just brutally awakened 30 some odd minutes ago (at 3:30ish) by the most horrid feeling of biting my own tongue, sure it happens once in a while but not usually while I’m sleeping and dreaming. I woke up in such a panic that I had to check and make sure I didn’t bite part of it off. All that pain and it didn’t even bleed… so unable to go back to sleep I have hopped on this here clicking-ticking modern-day do-hickey machine in an attempt to bore myself back to a sleeping state.

After my panic subsided, I lay awake trying not to think of anything too attention grabbing… of course I failed because my thoughts flowed to a chain of a few events that prove to me that some things never change.

The best example that I can come up with is this:

Imagine a kid whose mom is making… lets say… brownies. The mom is really busy making other things as well and the kid, lead by the smell of food, wanders in to the kitchen from whatever had been distracting him and asks nicely and sweetly if he can eat a spoonful of brownie batter. The mom hadn’t actually gotten that far in her cooking progress to have mixed the batter fully so she tells the kid that he must wait until she is ready. Annoyed because he had remembered to ask so nicely and doesn’t see why she can’t just mix up the batter instantly instead of first cleaning up the juice he just spilled, attending to the cookies in the oven so they don’t burn, pouring the spaghetti noodles into the colander so they don’t get too soggy, and also answering the phone that has just started ringing. Finally the batter is mixed and the kid is presented with a fork, not a spoon, of delightfully dripping chocolate… and he no longer wants to eat the batter. He is so focused on the fact that he didn’t get what he wanted, when he wanted it, and in the way he wanted it, especially since he asked in the way he had been trained to, he is now just throwing a fit and storms off into the other room, denying his mom the satisfaction of giving him the batter that she put on a fork especially for him. The mom, not worrying too much about the situation, (because, after all, it is a kid throwing a fit) figures she will just explain later that she just thought he wanted the batter and didn’t realize he had put so much hope in getting the specifics fulfilled at a specific time.

So now pretend that the kid in this story is actually an adult and just watch all the ridiculous points of the situation that flow through your head. My main point in making him an adult all of a sudden is noticing that he isn’t strong in himself. He was expecting, or hoping, to get what he wanted in the way he wanted it and once he didn’t get it that way, piss off. He used the situation to trigger an emotional reaction to it… the mom has seen this program before and though his attempts are perhaps to get her attention, he won’t get it until daddy comes home from work and tells him to go in and apologize to his mother, tell her that he loves her and he is sorry,then they can move on to explaining to him that he shouldn’t treat people as objects for his emotionally reactive needs.

This note connects back into a previous one of mine where I mentioned not letting emotions be controlled by the outside world… but in this situation it is a bit different because the emotions aren’t being lead by the outside world, they are getting their fix through it. It is creating a dependency on other people by using them as emotional security blankets. For me, personally, there is only so much of this left over childish, maybe a bit adolescent of behavior that I can stand. Hence my enjoyment of solitude (a byproduct of which, makes me notice these things in life). No real, healthy, genuine companionship with another person, should rely on one person using the other to get some sort of emotional fix because the other person doesn’t want to have to clean up someone else’s messes, they just want to hang out, have a good time, express themselves, talk about misinterpretations, get support and advice, do exciting things… I don’t know….anything, except be surrogate parent for someone to blindly react to.