ColorsWolf, that was a good post. It makes me feel more hopeful about the promise of the future (and the chance to be real friends).
And I agree that half (or most) of the battle WRT improving cultural relations is to get to know people not even just as "a culture," but as individual, unique people. No two white persons are alike; no two black persons are alike; etc. etc.
As for stereotyping, I just think it's a tool that the mind uses. Sometimes it's a good tool for the job (e.g. "most rocks are hard"), other times it's like trying to use a wrench to do brain surgery (e.g. "most blacks are criminals"). It behooves all humans to observe themselves carefully when they stereotype someone or something, and reason through whether that stereotype is likely to be useful or rather than that, if it's likely to be in need of correction.
I appreciate your apology, I think it's sincere, and I honor you for the courage it takes to publicly admit that "sometimes I need help."
There's no shame in needing meds and/or counseling. I take a shitload of meds and while counseling has historically been less than stellar at helping me, the meds are almost as necessary to my survival (and vaguely normal functioning) as air and water. I've been diagnosed with a shitload of disorders: BPD, PTSD, bi-polar, Asperger's, schizophrenia (a "mild" version lacking split personalities and voices from the Mothership in my head, but a version that causes much fear, paranoia, and hyperbole in how I interpret things emotionally), OCD, ADD, general depression, and on and on. No diagnosis seems to be quite it; I almost seem to have some sort of as-yet-unnamed disorder that is something of a hybrid of all those other things.
And it's been decades of Hell, for my doctors and especially for me, trying to figure out which meds will help me. They're too activating (ramping up my anxiety), they're too sedating (depressing me and putting a damper on my sexual functions), they directly dampen my sexual functions which really fires up the anxiety, a few have made me downright freak out and had to be discontinued immediately. My latest doctor, when I first met him, looked at the list of meds I'd taken so far and basically remarked (with eyes widened), "My God, you've tried everything!"
What's working right now, for the most part, is Zyprexa. But the drawback there is that Zyprexa has a penchant for causing weight gain and diabetes. If I get diabetes, that could be a disaster, since diabetes is infamous for causing people to have wild mood swings and mindless freak-outs ... just the type of thing that my poly companions can't stand. The "cure" could end up indirectly becoming the very reason why I'll someday be kicked to the curb. Add to that the tendency to gain weight (yeah like I needed to gain weight anyway), and that's just likely to make the diabetes worse. So I hope like hell that I'll somehow dodge the Zyprexa bullets, because so far Zyprexa is indeed the only drug with a history of calming me down without making me droop into a lifeless state of depression.
My point is, it's not easy to work through having a mental and/or emotional disorder, and I can say that to you level and eye-to-eye because I'm definitely no better off than you in that sense. I definitely need help. I'm lucky to have a woman in my life who's downright obsessive about studying every psychological drug on the market. She knows her prescription drugs so well that my current doctor has asked her: "Are you a nurse? Well, you sure could be." Hell, she's actually told him stuff about this or that drug, getting the reaction, "Oh yes, yes, that's right, I remember now." So she's helping the doctor! He respects her opinions, I'll say that much.
Well, I've talked to her about the "Zyprexa --> diabetes --> wild mood swings and freak-outs --> the end of our poly relationship" concerns I have. She seems sympathetic but remains desperate enough to keep me on Zyprexa anyway, at least for now. I suppose it does buy us some time if nothing else.
So I won't kid you. If you're serious about getting the help you need, you'll probably find that it's a long, tedious, frustrating process. It could take years (or decades if you're like me) before you (and loved ones on your team) finally work out a combination of things that at least prove to be adequate for you.
In the meantime, yes, put lots of effort into thinking a lot about what you're going to say before say it. Ask yourself: "If I say this, in the way I'm considering saying it, using the words I'm planning to use, will I more likely get what I want from my audience, or will I be more likely to alienate and drive them away?" You need to develop a system of communication that helps people feel better about themselves even while getting you what you yourself want, rather than a system of communication that tends to make other people feel crappy about themselves, and maybe even becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if all the denigrating labels start to stick to them. Make a goal to always communicate with a positive spirit! Avoid negativity! Seek common ground, no matter how different another person's perspective may seem to be from your own. There's always common ground out there somewhere if you look hard enough. And once you find it, that's what you can build on.
And finally, aside perhaps Jesus Christ, no one I know of will ever stop needing to learn to understand themselves and others better, and to improve themselves as a person and a human being. There's no shame in having faults and vices to overcome. We're all riddled with faults and vices, some big, some little, all counterproductive and hurtful to ourselves and others.
Remember again Stephen R. Covey's philosophy: Look for a win-win in every situation. An outcome in which you and the person you're addressing will both end up feeling better about yourselves, and becoming better people as well. That's what life's all about. Americans are very competitive and tend to think that "I can only win if someone else loses." But Stephen R. Covey teaches us that if one person loses, everyone will lose. There is no such thing as a win-lose situation. It's either win-win, lose-lose, or "no deal" (no deal meaning that both parties agree to part amicably having found that they just can't help each other). It's a principle that works both in business matters and in relationship matters.
I will do my best to help you with your goals in any way I can. All's I ask is that you do the same for me in return.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
Last edited by kdt26417; 11-30-2013 at 05:15 PM.