Moodscope's blog



The Flung Gauntlet. Wednesday November 9, 2016

"Sir, you are ugly. Your breath stinks like that of a midden, and your mother clearly frolicked with a warthog nine months before your birth!"

What a wonderful challenge. Then the satisfying thump as a leather glove hits the stage.
What follows is clearly a duel. A duel to the death, or at least to the pain – and duelling scars, of course.

All this is immensely entertaining in books, in films; on the stage. But a problem arises when we try it at home.

The challenges we receive in real life are rarely as obvious as that above:

• "You're wrong."
• "You're being silly and emotional."
• "You're using your illness as an excuse."
• "Why don't you try abc/xyz? I'm sure you will find it's simply a case of too much stress/not enough sleep/a poor diet." (delete as appropriate)

Yet our emotional response is as elemental as if that leather gauntlet had indeed smacked us around the face.

We become defensive and we lash out at the challenger, who then retreats in a huff: "I was only trying to help..." Or even worse, we engage in a furious battle; words whirling, cutting and slashing like sabres, wounding and injuring our relationships and the love we share with our family and friends.

We react, we don't respond.

I know I am particularly bad at taking that couple of deep breaths first – especially when I am in my manic phase. The other day, I accused one of my dearest friends of exhibiting the emotional maturity of a tired eight-year old. It may have been a valid point, but I would never have said it – or said it in that particular way – if I had not been challenged in the first place. I don't know if that relationship will recover. I can only hope and pray that time will heal the wounds each of us has inflicted on the other. Because I miss my friend. I miss him very much.

It is a good habit to develop, that of breathing first. I won't say count to ten – because when we do that, we concentrate on just getting to the point where we can detonate – and the deferred explosion is all the more powerful for having been bottled up for those ten seconds.

My husband has the very good habit of always saying thank you for any criticism or challenge. He then takes it away and mulls over it for twenty-four hours or so, before coming back with a considered reply. This can make conversations rather fragmented and long, but it does mean we rarely row.

If we can say, "Thank you for your opinion, I will consider what you say," and take our time to respond, we are far less likely to hurt the people we love, or the ones whose opinion we value.

On the other hand, we could always consider taking a lesson from the weather: it pays no attention to criticism at all.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Permalink  |  Blog Home


DAVE Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 7:08am

Mary, Mary Mary,

I just love your heart, how expressive, and honest you are.....

1....I have a solution which I use if confronted by others whose opinion differs from mine....

2....I have a solution which I use when The have put my foot in it and when I have ruined a friendship.

3....I have a solution which I use when caught 'Off Balance by someone's offensive, insulting remarks.

4....I have a solution which allows a 'Quick' repair job....Whether Or am the instigator or not.

1...At that very moment, the 'Thin End of The Wedge'...I always respond, "OK you're entitled to your opinion of which I choose to differ.

Now if there is insult or unpleasant criticism at that instant...I take control and power from the perpetrator, by saying something like "Oh please excuse me I need the loo, don't go away, and I'll help you with your problem"...get immediately away from confrontation, sit in the logo iIF necessary, and think about hoe YOU can iron out this person and calm them down !

Contention is of the Devil so says Christ.

Using this type of approach, puts you on the road, and repeatedly guides your heart to NEVER allow yourself to EVER become OFFENDED. It takes time and practice, which we can to to any person for practice.

We are ther not to win an argument, but to win over Fruends and KEEP them.

Mary with your friend that is at odds with you, because YOU have OFFENDEDYOOFFENDED her.
YOU have created what I keep banging on about, 'Self-Inflicted Aversities'.

Get back to your friend and say these words..."I am really sorry friend for my outburst, the other day, I have no excuses, please forgive me, so that we cabin regain our friendship, of which I really miss ?

If she loves you, she'll recognise the humility in your voice, and when she responds and firgives you...Put the finishing touches and put your arms ariund her and give her a big hug....It always works, if lifts your spirit, and in so doing you have learnt how to control your powerful emotions, with an escape clause! !

Lack of confidence, a pond Self-Resoect, can ruin relationships, and if we are the instigator, the alternative is to carry someone else's 'Baggage' on our shoulders and on our subconscious for days,weeks and even years...Be FREE of contention, and STOO allowing yourself to become offended....RETAIN the powers of self control.

Love you lots, love your blogs.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 10:54am

Thank you Dave, I hope and pray my friend will accept the heartfelt apologies I have given We will see.

Christine Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 12:47pm

Dave, Dave, Dave...if you tried hugging me, Dave, you would discover your rules do not in fact always work.

Jul Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 8:55am

Hello Mary. I think because I don't experience the highs of bi polar (although I do fleetingly and for no more than one day in a blue moon) I don't get into situations where tempers flare and things are said, regretted later. I would never have the confidence to be sure that what I was saying was correct, either as a rebuff or a direct accusation to someone I didn't agree with. Call me cowardly perhaps. But I lived in a family where arguments happened and I didn't like it. Now I smooth disagreements over if I can. There is one member of my family (not my OH) who does say things to me which are hurtful and I find myself trying to be conciliatory and respecting her point of view about me! I never argue with her. I feel gutted and upset and analyse it afterwards but at the time I try to hear her out. I have very strong views on a number of issues and people I know but tend to keep them to myself and discuss them only with my OH. I don't ask for advice generally about my depression etc but I think the difference between you and me is the fact that depression rules me and that tends to make me less fiery and open to others. I do understand your bi polar however. Julxx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 11:07am

When not "up" Jul, I am just like you. I hate confrontations and find it difficult to be assertive. Maybe it goes with the territory.

Hopeful One Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 9:19am

Hi Mary- enjoyed reading your blog with your illuminating observations. Yes we always have that choice- to react or to respond. Respond is, I feel, always better option as a reaction is liable to result in some unintended consequences. The thing to appreciate is that our'flight fright and freeze'(FFF) centre is always 'on'. So statements like
"You're wrong."
• "You're being silly and emotional."
• "You're using your illness as an excuse."
• "Why don't you try abc/xyz? I'm sure you will find it's simply a case of too much stress/not enough sleep/a poor diet." (delete as appropriate)

are seen as a threat to the'self'. The FFF is a 'one gear' system and and always reacts to the threat with a burst of cortisol. To respond needs the contribution of the higher centres in the brain.This needs mind training which allows us to ignore the FFF. Meditation is one way to achieve this.

Today's laugh...

A young boy passed his driving test. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You improve your grades at school, study your bible and get your haircut and we'll talk about it." After about a month the boy came back and asked again. They again went to the father's study where his father said, "Son, I am proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your bible , but, you didn't get your haircut!" The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair............ " To which his father replied....... "Yes, and they walked every where"

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 11:08am

Yes - meditation is great. I do mine in the pool as you know....

Tutti Frutti Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 9:29am

As you say Mary the insult above is truly splendid as are things like Shakespeare's "cream faced loons" and Jane Austen's "Are the shades of Pemberly to be thus polluted?" But real life is very different. We are mostly nowhere near so witty and, even if we do stumble on something witty, saying this stuff tends to have consequences. I am aware that I tend to say some pretty I'll judged things when very tired when I am not manic but getting to a point where I need to be more careful about sleep and stress so goodness only knows what I have said when actually manic. Things tend to escalate quite quickly in my house so remembering to breathe and take a moment to make a more considered response would be very helpful. A hard ask but I will try. Love TF x

Tutti Frutti Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 9:33am

Got by the curse of auto correct. I'll should be ill above! TF x

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 11:09am

It's a hard ask indeed. When I'm in the "up" stage the insults and cruel witticisms fly round my head like demented hornets (see last week's blog) and yes - the consequences are horrid. Sleep is essential - but sadly it seems to elude many of us when we need it most.

Sheena Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 9:35am

I enjoyed your blog Mary and your husband is a star! If only it was more common for people to 'go away and think' rather than flare and express whatever comes into their heads!. The other comments I must make are that friendships are individual and not all of them are destined to be for ever and of course that 'taking everything personally' is the route to misery. Why in an era where it is apparently ok to divorce should every friedship be regarded as permanent? It is sad to part on bad terms but allowing a drift if the friendship has not matured is inevitable, isn't it? Believe that you really do know yourself better than anyone else can, and that it's a given that people who are close to you respect you. Sheena

Sophie Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 10:18am

Well said Sheena. And thank you Mary for a great blog yet again!

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 11:13am

Thank you for your wise words Sheena. I know I am bad at letting people go. Tom, my son, says "Move on, Mum," but I hate parting on bad terms - I want to make things right again. But - it takes two to make and mend a relationship and if my friend doesn't want to repair things I have to respect his decision, even though it grieves me immensely. And Sophie - thank you for your kind words.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 11:14am

Oh - and yes, my DH is a complete star. He's a real love to put up with me and love me through all of this.

The Gardener Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 5:01pm

Telling the truth. My father was a member of a rather esoteric association and the annual 'hooley' was held at the spectacular mansion of one of the directors of Shell. Clothes to match the occasion. We took a couple in our car and the lady asked my pa 'do you like my hat?' My pa had never heard of tact. He said 'It looks like a frying pan'. It did. She insisted in stopping in the nearest town, on a Saturday, and acquiring a less monstrous one. We were late.One of the awful 'thorns' in our marriage, which I've coped with most of the time, is that because I was classified 'manic depressive' for several years Mr G presumes that whenever I am sad or angry I'm ill. It means that we have NEVER faced problems that ought to have been faced - I seethe, try and discuss things (but that has always been put down to my quarrelsome nature) and calm down till the next time. Blaming 'real' problems on 'depression' is the biggest cop-out ever.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 9:49pm

Agreed. One of the amusing things, yet rather trying too, is that most people, when I tell them I have bipolar disorder, assume that I am in my mania state because I am friendly, bouncy and quite high-energy. That is normal. Mania is positively unpleasant. And they just won't see me in the depressive state.But yes - the label is positively unhelpful when you are just trying to sort out problems. But - I can just see the incident in the car with the frying pan hat!

DAVE Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 6:33pm

Hi Christine,
I love your comment, and you may well be correct, but because I do not know you, or you me either, hugging could not possibly come into the equasion unless we were familiar, and by your words I feel that you're probably forgive me for any indiscretion which may have taken place, as to give you a cuddle, You would have had to know me very well if you were my true friend, and if so, we'de both enjoy the cuddle I'm sure !
Love Dave X

Richard Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 6:41pm

One final absolutely the last post I shall post. Honest. Cross my heart etc.
You are a wonderful, sensitive, talented writer. Thank you for your inspiring worlds.
Give Peace a Chance, brothers and sisters.
Richard Harrison, Singer Songwriter.
P.S. I grew up in the Eighties. They won't win.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 9:50pm

Ah Richard, my dear - never say never and all that. I hope very much to see you back here. And thank you so much for your kind words - they are much appreciated.

You must login to leave a comment.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2018. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.