Sunday, August 19, 2012

Arguing gives me a stomach ache.

I would've made a dreadful Yentl. My understanding is that there is a strong culture and tradition of debate within the Jewish religion. It is exactly the thing that ties my stomach in knots.

Yesterday, my husband posted the following on Facebook.

This kind of rhetoric is troll-food: it draws out people who take everything seriously and insist on commenting on it. Someone did. A long comment, in fact. Steve returned the salvo, and the game was afoot.

With a chuckle, Steve told me about the exchange, and I made the mistake of reading it. The comments got longer and longer with neither side listening or budging (as is usually the case).

I, however, started having an anxiety attack. Truly; my chest felt tight, my stomach felt troubled, I wanted to yell or cry and run away. I wanted sugar. [Well, the sugar may have had nothing to do with anxiety. I always want sugar.]

Steve, on the other hand, was enjoying the mental stimulation of every exchange, as a cat takes pleasure in the hunt, not the capture.

I asked Steve to take the discussion with his friend "offline" into messages. He said that others were following the discussion, so he would keep it open; I did not have to read it.

He's right, I guess, though I can't imagine anyone wanting to observe someone else's disagreement, let alone participate in it.

I don't know why I have such a low tolerance for this kind of discourse. Possibly because in my childhood home such discussions frequently degraded into thrown object, slammed doors, and someone storming off. I suppose that makes me "conflict avoidant," which is dysfunctional in its own way (can you say "passive aggressive"?). All I can say is you'll never find me on a debate team or on political hustings.

Now, off I go to think of unicorns, rainbows, and butterflies; babies and summer dresses; and sunsets and floral bouquets. Ah, much, much better.
And kitties. Kitties always help me calm down.


  1. I too, have an issue with debate. In high school, I could never understand taking sides and having a debate on a topic in class. It made me upset and anxious and also wondering why people couldnt agree with each other and get along. Further, from what I see or understand, a debate never changes the other person's mind. It just reinforces their own beliefs (religion, politics). Maybe that's a good thing?

  2. I agree with your observations, and I don't know that it's a good thing. Steve says that although the debate never changes his mind, he still enjoys the parrying. I'll skip it.


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