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Dealing with negative stuff from others...

DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe DiemRecidivist Samsarist Veteran

We all know that anecdote of the Buddha comparing anger to a gift.
There is the fake, airbrushed version, and the real quote.
I transcribe the fake version because it reads better as a tale, and provide the link for comparison with the original.

http://fakebuddhaquotes.com/fake-but-not-fake-the-art-of-storytelling/

'It is said that one day the Buddha was walking through a village.
A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him.
“You have no right teaching others,” he shouted.
“You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake!”

The Buddha was not upset by these insults.
Instead he asked the young man,
“Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?”

The young man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered,
“It would belong to me, because I bought the gift.”

The Buddha smiled and said,
“That is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger.
If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you.
You are then the only one who becomes unhappy, not me.
All you have done is hurt yourself.”'

My point is: how do you better deal with negative stuff from others?
Anger, jealousy, envy, sarcasm?
Are you able to send back the negative stuff with a Buddhalike attitude / repartee?

HozanNirvanashadowleaver

Comments

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    I have taken some time to learn to deal with others anger efficiently but after much practice and patience (and trial and error) I have found a balance.
    It finally struck home when a wise woman told me to face anothers rage like a sailor on a boat facing a storm. If the sailor goes too hard into the storm (aggression) or retreats ( passivity) they will get blown away by the storm. Only by mindfully navigating the situation (assertive) will the sailor pass through the storm. Strength, assertiveness, kindness,space....these qualities have served me well in the face of anothers anger and sometimes extreme anger. I sail my ship through the storm. I remain calm. I remain assertive. I allow the others space. I no longer feel any fear in these situations.

    DhammaDragonlobsterFosdick
  • ShakShak Veteran

    Anyone who has worked with the public in a sales/retail type of job has had to deal with an upset, disgruntled or angry customer at one point or another. I find being empathetic to the other persons feelings can often be the most help full. I will usually let that person vent for a moment, then reply with something like "Yeah, I'd be pissed off too." Be quiet and let the other person digest that for a minute. Typically, another angry response will follow and I will respond with another empathetic statement followed up with something like "What do we need to do to fix this situation?" The emphasis on "we". It's difficult for most people to stay angry with you when you are remaining calm and trying to help them.

    DhammaDragonlobsterHozanVastmind
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    Dealing with anger is an issue that comes up often in our threads, but I was texting this morning about it with a friend and well, I thought it could provide some food for discussion.

    I often mentioned psychologist Paul Ekman's allusion to the refractory period between someone's behaviour and the emotion this behaviour triggers in us.
    If the behaviour is negative, only negative thoughts flood to us and they block any good comments we could be trying to tell ourselves about the situation.
    Blood floods to hands and feet as the body locks into fight-or-flight mode.
    Remaining logical with nature working against us is quite an altruistic effort.

    Paul Ekman's mentor in his student days had told him that if he could help his patients weather that refractory period by not acting on it, he would have helped them a lot.

    But how do you deal with a chronic situation?
    A meaningful one in your life tends to indulge in moody or negative behaviour now and then, and you are facing this situation repeatedly?

    Hozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    I have experience of a chronic situation and my experience has been that with consistent use of the same approach above it actually had the effect of lessening the problem. I changed myself ( as we can only change our own behaviour) and the knock on effect is a lessening of the anger in the other person. I think assertiveness, calmness, strength and kindness have a calming effect on anothers anger.

    lobsterDhammaDragon
  • mosquitomosquito Explorer
    edited May 9

    The thing that can always be done is - working on ourselves (and non-acting), up to the point we can be non-personal about someones emotional stuff, and only then - with compassion in our hearts, keeping on deescalating what we notice (spontaneously).

    And doing it again and again. And again.

    -

    But I'm not sure which phase your question is about.

    If it's about working on ourselves - we all know that mindfulness, without giving up, even if it means endurance through very difficult times - is something that eventually brings what we aim for.

    And the rest - we will probably know, then. (Oh, but if it's about doing it again and again - I refer to chronicity here - it's the hard thing, but, somehow comes down to patience, and faith that we are on best possible path anyway...)

    -

    One more thing that comes to my mind now is - if it's about "not taking the gift of anger" when the influx is high... is the method Ajahn Amaro writes about (beautifully!) in his book "I'm right you're wrong".

    It's the Buddha's method actually, based on six-sense spheres meditation.

    So, how I understood it, is... when we are given this "gift", it's good to come back to the initial perception (a sound for example), and see how the mind actually runs with it adding more and more to it. Ajahn Amaro writes about staying with the simplicity of that source of individual perception until we see, it's actually just what it is, nothing else.

    It's also good to meditate this way afterwards, about past events, if they keep coming to our minds (often with some feeling of guilt).

    The more practice, the more fluency, of course.

    (Reading the Ajahn Amaro's stuff helped me substantially with dealing with people's anger that so often immediately started becoming my own:) so if it's what you were writing about - you'll probably like it too: https://www.abhayagiri.org/media/books/imrightpdf.pdf )

    All the best, @DhammaDragon !

    DhammaDragonHozanlobster
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    Well, @mosquito, I had a couple situations in mind when I opend this thread.

    For example, when affliction strikes, either you choose a skilful response of acceptance at the fact that "dukkha happens" -in case there is nothing you can do about it- or you unskilfully lash out in impotence and anger, so as to make everybody around you partake in your misery.
    I have people in my life who have the tendency to choose the latter option as a way to react to life's petty frustrations and obstacles, but since they are relevant in my life, I have had to develop a stock response to their recurrent behaviour.

    But then, what about the case of people who are toxic and negative?
    Acquaintances who do not have one's best interests in mind and pepper one's lives with sarcastic innuendos?
    Especially people one does not necessarily need to put up with because they are not family members or work colleagues?
    Some people tell me there is a lesson to be derived from their presence in our lives.
    I simply prefer to sever ties.

    Hozan
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I have been dealing with a lot of physical and verbal aggression from my daughter over the last week or so.

    I don't think I have I've handled it too well. I have either returned fire or passively accepted it.

    Need to try and find that middle way.

    I wonder if the fact that it's coming from someone I have such close attachment too has an affect?

    The other thing I struggle with is the way I was raised. If I had of displayed the behavior toward my parents that she has toward me I would've copped it physically I.e. been hit by my mum or dad. I chose not to hit my kids so don't see that as an option.

    I try and explain to her that hitting me, her mum or her brother is unacceptable but I'm not sure it's sinking in. She is just so damn angry and the tiniest thing can set it off.

    I feel guilty when I get angry and shout at her but feel equally guilty when I take it due to my upbringing and the fact I'm supposed to be able to control her.

    The joys of parenthood!

    DhammaDragonHozanShoshin
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    People who are angry and raging are scared and hurt people. I heard a big fight the other day and the young man who was screaming was in a fit of violent rage, and you could literally hear the hurt pouring out of him in those moments. It was palpable. He is now in jail in a system that is completely incapable of helping him, unfortunately.

    Anyhow, it's interesting to see this come up. I am dealing with this issue with my teenager (the initial post, not rage). He has a teacher who is disrespectful and condescending to him, and even at 14, he will not take it. But, in his attempts to punish his teacher for her poor treatment of him, he only punishes himself. Both emotionally/mentally, and in school as he gets punished for his actions where he thinks he is teaching her some cosmic lesson yet she just goes on with her life oblivious and doesn't care. Trying to teach him that his better revenge would be to prove her wrong by being the best version of him he has to put out there. Not prove her right by falling into her trap of behaving the way she thinks he behaves. It's made for some interesting discussions lately. Hard to teach to a teen with roiling feelings and puberty going on. He's very headstrong, as are most that age.

    Sometimes I am good about leaving their anger with them, other times not as much. Yesterday I got my undies all in a bunch over something my dad said. It's his life and decision to hold grudges, but I don't understand it. It bothered me for half the day.

    BunksDhammaDragonHozan
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    My point is: how do you better deal with negative stuff from others?
    Anger, jealousy, envy, sarcasm?
    Are you able to send back the negative stuff with a Buddhalike attitude / repartee?

    For me as practice calms and dissipates my fear, hurt, anger, jealousy, envy, sarcasm, conflicted emotive states, etc, however gross or subtle the more irrelevant the need for Buddha like behavour or repartee. It comes down to practice as usual.
    Become a/an Buddha/awakened Being. Iz plan, as you know ...

    Meanwhile ... today I was in a 'bad part of town'. I had to ask someone directions and they were fearful of being scammed, harrassed etc. Poor thing had to remove the earphones that protected them (yep that is sarcasm). :p However they helped me and will benefit from that option more than avoidance. So it is possible to generate momentary negativity that if done openly and kindly can provide resolution. <3

    In other words the occasional skilful use of direct intercession, the kind but wrathful faces in vajrayana, can be utilised BUT for most of us the kinder gentler faces are more appropriate ...

    Understand yourself first or 'know thyself' as the Gnostics say ... o:)

    DhammaDragonHozanShoshin
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    @karasti said:
    Sometimes I am good about leaving their anger with them, other times not as much. Yesterday I got my undies all in a bunch over something my dad said. It's his life and decision to hold grudges, but I don't understand it. It bothered me for half the day.

    Me too.
    Some days my dragons are more easily muzzled than others...
    I guess I am too old to put up with unnecessary bs...

    Hozankarastidhammachick
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    @Bunks: I hear you.
    That has to be a really awful situation to test one's buddhahood.
    One of the mothers in Nico's kinder told me she had problems with her eldest daughter.
    She had four kids in total, and the eldest would beat the other three, even raise her hand to any elder that attempted to set boundaries to her.
    Her favourite passtime was pestering everyone in the household.

    This mom was ashamed to confess that she lost it sometimes and punished her physically, also to no avail.
    This was long ago, so I don't know the outcome of the situation, but at the time we had contact, her child was undergoing several psychological tests to determine if she suffered from hyperactivity or some other pathology.

    BunksHozan
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Thanks @DhammaDragon. It is a challenge for sure.
    She seemed to have overcome it but has regressed.
    Her cousins stayed with her for a little bit and my ex told me she struggled as they were very loud.

    DhammaDragon
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    ""He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,"— in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease. "He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me," — in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by "love", this is an old rule."

    ~Dhammapada~

    DhammaDragonlobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Thanks @Hozan

    DhammaDragonHozan
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Bunks with my son when he was younger, those outburst periods were usually about him having intense emotions he was not capable of properly expressing or explaining. As he got older, it got much better as he learned slowly how to name emotions and express what he was feeling. He is a very physical person, so he had to learn appropriate channels to express that energy. When he was younger (young teen) he used to beat the tar out of our boxing bag. Now that he's an adult, he swims, runs and lifts weights. he is better about naming the feelings and he will talk about them, but expending the energy he builds up associated with them is still something he needs to do. I was the same when I was young whereas most of the time now I can sit with them rather than feel a need to spend them in some way. Offering your daughter an acceptable outlet for the intense emotions she feels might help. Give her permission to beat up a pillow. Sometimes it's easy to think "But I don't want her to hit anything!" but when they are that young, those feelings have to come out and she's not old enough yet to identify and appropriately express them. So if they don't come out in a way that doesn't hurt her or others, then they are going to build up and explode at whoever is in range. A lot of people (not saying you do this but perhaps others in her life that don't understand as well) think that Aspie or other AS kids don't feel as much because they don't do well expressing themselves. But just like other sensory issues they often have (can't handle loud noises, crowded rooms, seams or tags on clothing etc) their feelings are much the same. They feel them far more intensely than most of us do. They just lack the resources to express them.

    BunksDhammaDragon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    There I was [this is a true story] early morning on a wetland board walk admiring the local fauna.

    It is clearly marked no cycles.
    Who should come zooming by but the local biped lycra king on a bike convinced it does not mean him. I blocked his path reminding him 'What part of no bikes don't you understand?'. 👮🏽‍♀️He apologised slowing but carried on. I am not going to completey impede the heedless. Ducklings were unharmed ...💗🙏🏽

    [note to self] Be careful with wrathful ...🤓

    DhammaDragonsilver
  • mosquitomosquito Explorer

    After reading your comments one more thing came to my mind.

    I think what we are talking about is much about the difference between being critical (fault-finding) and being fully accepting.

    While being critical is not-all-accepting (always excluding something to be able to "fully accept"), being fully accepting... well, embraces all that is noticed.

    So it seems to come down to accepting others exactly as they are, where they actually are in their lives, embracing the whole of them with metta, as they are. Because they aren't different at the moment anyway, and because they won't stay like this forever anyway.

    When we are like this, others can change in our presence, or at least it's made easier for them (and - the good always "sinks in"). Deeper connection seems to be established too (for example between us and our kids).

    When we are critical, so we are accepting people with some exclusions, our behaviours are divisive and create resistance.

    It's true even if we are saying the right thing, but with the critical mind.

    But we often are afraid of not being critical, because we confuse it with turning the blind eye (the passive way), so we are afraid we won't influence others as we'd like to. But firstly - turning the blind eye is something completely different than full acceptance of people where they actually are, if we think about it. It's (as even the name suggests) not all embracing, is it?

    Secondly, awareness (with kindness) does more - in terms of influencing of what we are aware - than we sometimes assume.

    (And there's also such a factor as setting an example, what in the long run, is so powerful, but doesn't need of us any criticism towards others.)

    I write with the concrete example from my own life in mind, but as it's rather complex - it would make the post much longer and would probably distract too much. But, you've got an idea... Sorry if I made it too abstract or too chaotic;)

    lobsterkarastiDhammaDragon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited May 11

    Well said @mosquito
    'Awareness with kindness' - exactly so <3

    I would use the ideal word 'discernment' rather than critical.
    (even though I can turn trump-orange with ranting critical rage).

    Being critical has an element of judgement (something we can reserve rather than wallow in, for ourselves). In other words sometimes being right/critical/judging is not helpful. Sometimes [spoiler alert] we have to agree 'Father Christmas' does exist, when toddlers are insistent, political or religious debate is sometimes not required and fish theorists suggest they may be be more than a food source (mmm ... having great difficulties with that non-lobsterian hypothesis) :p

    DhammaDragon
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    I have been dealing with a lot of physical and verbal aggression from my daughter over the last week or so.

    I don't think I have I've handled it too well. I have either returned fire or passively accepted it.

    Need to try and find that middle way.

    I wonder if the fact that it's coming from someone I have such close attachment too has an affect?

    The other thing I struggle with is the way I was raised. If I had of displayed the behavior toward my parents that she has toward me I would've copped it physically I.e. been hit by my mum or dad. I chose not to hit my kids so don't see that as an option.

    I try and explain to her that hitting me, her mum or her brother is unacceptable but I'm not sure it's sinking in. She is just so damn angry and the tiniest thing can set it off.

    I feel guilty when I get angry and shout at her but feel equally guilty when I take it due to my upbringing and the fact I'm supposed to be able to control her.

    The joys of parenthood!

    Hey @Bunks I have 2 young boys who are all action and can be hot headed at times. Ive received kicks and hits at times too. Every person is an individual and my 2 boys are feisty but forgive and forget quick. I am lucky in that I can often diffuse their little bursts of anger by redirecting them to laughter. I always explain to them that its ok to be angry and thats perfectly normal but its not ok to hit or hurt others. You're a great Dad and your kids are lucky to have you. With consistency and patience and teaching they will learn. My youngest boy is 3. He is a charming little boy, full of fun and very loving and affectionate. He has a feisty temper too at times. Sometimes if he gets in a temper and goes to hit out at me ( not often he does it but sometimes) I intercept his hand, catch it and rub it against my face gently and say that hes being very gentle even though hes cross. He breaks down laughing. I know I can do this because I know his personality well and I know hes so easily redirected towards humour. Obviously thats not the answer to every individual case, but its something that works well for me. I have read though that if you can stop or redirect the hitting before it happens ( not always possible) it helps the child as well as the adult, as they dont then feel the negative emotions associated with lashing out. Its a huge learning curve for me as my boys are so like me in some ways and so different in other ways. Dealing with feisty behaviour is a new skill I am learning. I wouldnt have my boys amy other way. They are beautiful and perfect just as they are. I love their personalities and their feisty spirits. They are learning how to be feisty without hurting others and thats great. The world needs feisty people

    BunksDhammaDragonsilver
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    When my son was younger, he loved to come up to our bed and play wrestling matches with his father.
    Never mind I was there.
    I got kicked all over by him.
    One day, as I went for my waxing, the young new beautician looked at my legs in horror and said:
    "You're black and blue all over."

    "Don't worry," I said nonplussed, "It was not my husband. It was my son."

    HozankarastiFosdick
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    When my son was younger, he loved to come up to our bed and play wrestling matches with his father.
    Never mind I was there.
    I got kicked all over by him.
    One day, as I went for my waxing, the young new beautician looked at my legs in horror and said:
    "You're black and blue all over."

    "Don't worry," I said nonplussed, "It was not my husband. It was my son."

    My 2 boys love wrestling too. Its not unusual to arrive at our house to see 2 boys literally hanging off me as I stomp around like a bear or sometimes a T-Rex

    DhammaDragonsilver
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Thats awesome @shadowleaver . Much appreciated

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @DhammaDragon. I like to think of it as just dealing with stuff. Today it appears as negative. Wait awhile and it may seem not as we first thought it to be. Hopefully the path called "resolve to evolve" should give us new and fresh vision as well as ways of acting.

    DhammaDragonHozan
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well said @shadowleaver
    the conflicted become the means to practice

    DhammaDragon
  • IronRabbitIronRabbit Veteran

    SpinyNormanDhammaDragonHozandhammachick
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran

    There are times when we might not have an answer, and not know what to do or think. That could be the time when we have to just accept and move on. There might not be an answer for everything. Just letting go of it is all that is needed.

    DhammaDragon
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