nancylebov: blue moon (Default)
[personal profile] nancylebov



I mean, it seems pretty obvious when you put it like that.

But how many families, when an introvert sibling or child makes an effort to socialize, snarklily say, so you've decided to join us"?

Or when someone does something they've had trouble doing, say "Why can't you do that all the time"? (Happened to me, all too often.)

Or any sentence containing the word "finally".

If someone makes a step, a small step, in a direction you want to encourage, encourage it. Don't complain about how it's not enough. Don't bring up previous stuff. Encourage it.

Because I swear to fucking God there is nothing more soul-killing, more motivation-crushing, than struggling to succeed and finding that success and failure are both punished.


Here's my comment: So, why do people do this?

Two theories: One is that they're still angry about the past lack of accomplishment. The other theory is that they just want to claw at the person.

Date: 2018-02-03 04:29 pm (UTC)
malkingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] malkingrey
It's along the same lines as "Why should [X] deserve a cookie for doing [what any decent person would have done in the first place]?"

Which always makes me want to snarl, "Just give them the [expletive deleted] cookie, dammit . . . it's no skin off of your nose."

(All I can figure is that those people live in a world where metaphorical cookies are the precise equivalent of physical cookies, and therefore exist in a finite supply, such that any cookie bestowed upon the undeserving diminishes the number of cookies left available for the speaker.)
Edited (punctuation) Date: 2018-02-03 08:40 pm (UTC)

Date: 2018-08-04 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] mental_mouse
See also stroke theory and the "Warm fuzzies" story from Rogerian psych.

Date: 2018-02-03 08:42 pm (UTC)
siderea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siderea
Those are good theories and I like them. Here's another: they've been rewarded for doing it, so they do it again.

Look at this from the perp's perspective: Somebody never does the thing you think they should, and you're constantly pressuring them – nagging them, teasing them, expressing contempt directly to them – to do what you want. Then, finally, they do do what you want! It worked! The behavior – your behavior, of belittling them or nagging them or whatever – worked: the stimulus you provided eventually was followed by the subject behavior you wanted. (Never mind that the behavior you wanted might have been despite your pressuring; you might never notice or admit that cognitively, but it doesn't matter because you're being conditioned – the technical term from Behaviorism – which happens below consciousness.) If the use of social-psychological pressure is vindicated (or appears vindicated), then of course the person using pressure, when they get a little of what they want, will use it more.

ETA: I think this is a key reason teenagers become mulishly stubborn about trivial things, hence absurd power battles: an intuitive, largely unconscious sense that if they capitulate to their parents' or other authorities' pressuring, those authorities will be rewarded, in the behavioral sense, for behaving that way and only do it more and worse.
Edited Date: 2018-02-03 08:46 pm (UTC)

Date: 2018-02-03 09:07 pm (UTC)
conuly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] conuly
1. They don't just do this with people either. How many times have I heard somebody calling their dog, screaming after their dog - only to hit that dog when it comes back? Yeah, teach your pet that their name means "I'm gonna smack you", see how that works out.

2. However, snottily declaring that NOW you won't act like a good person because THOSE PEOPLE were so superior is still a dick move, see: all those Trump voters who claim they just wanted to stick it to those of us who don't hate transfolk or whatever. "I was going to take out the garbage until you nagged me to do it!" Look, either take it out or not, but don't pretend that choosing not to out of pique is some moral high ground. I sympathize with the fact that some people can make doing basic things harder by their rude attitudes, but that doesn't help.
Edited Date: 2018-02-03 09:10 pm (UTC)

Date: 2018-02-03 09:30 pm (UTC)
boxofdelights: (Default)
From: [personal profile] boxofdelights
Yes. Yes. Or -- this is not as bad, because it isn't meant to be unkind, but it has a similar effect -- when my husband's family had something festive going on, and I would spend the whole day smiling, talking, working very hard not to spoil anyone else's good time, and at the end of it, when I was exhausted, my mother-in-law would pat me approvingly and exclaim, "You see? You do enjoy it if you try!"

No. That is not what happened. And also, I love you, but right now I really hate you.

Date: 2018-02-04 11:59 am (UTC)
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
From: [personal profile] madfilkentist
These people may take the progress as evidence that the person doesn't really have trouble with the issue, and the previous pattern was just maliciousness or perversity.

"You've decided to join us? (/sarcasm)" may mean "You've been snubbing us for ages; what are you after by making an exception now?" They may recognize intellectually that that's not fair, but their emotional reaction is that they had been snubbed.

Date: 2018-02-04 12:40 pm (UTC)
tagryn: Owl icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] tagryn
I also think there's a certain amount of "You did X, so you're the kind of person who would do X. No amount of doing Y instead will change that you are someone who did X." Its slotting, which we all do to a certain extent - same vein as with stereotyping - but some folks are more prone than others to shoving someone into a box, and once they're in there (i.e. "Tim is a Bad Person") they're done with them, no updating or forgiveness possible.

And along with that is the suspicion "OK, you're doing Y instead now, but it could all be a trick and a deception, because after all, you *are* someone who did X before, aren't you? And that's just the kind of person who would lie and deceive, isn't it?"
Edited Date: 2018-02-04 12:42 pm (UTC)

Date: 2018-02-05 11:19 am (UTC)
osewalrus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] osewalrus
I talk about this a lot in the context of public policy. I see several reasons why good behavior is not rewarded when it should be -- which causes the problem with incentives.

1. People are emotional. Several of the comments above rely on this analysis. The individual who sets the goals and the rewards/punishments is rarely a logical, rational actor. So the person acts irrationally but emotionally -- punishing because they are still angry, refusing to forgive because they do not want to forgive, or other reasons why the emotional reward of punishment or withholding the reward is more powerful than rational actor theory.

2. People often have difficulty evaluating results, particularly complex results. "Come here," is a fairly simply command. Most actions (particularly in the realm of policy) are much more difficult to judge and evaluate. Indeed, for any complex action we can see a range of compliance behaviors from wholehearted and willing compliance to reluctant compliance to "passive aggressive" compliance to non-compliance. People providing reward/punishment often have difficulty evaluation response.

This is especially true in an iterative game and/or where the actor changes behavior after a long period of non-compliance. People expect pattern repetition. They are slow to recognize a change. Even when they do, they are skeptical of change. Which brings me to the next issue.

3. People often insist on proof of sincerity/emotional compliance. This is particularly true in human relationships, but is true in policy as well. "X didn't really *mean* it." "X is only pretending." This is related to the problem of perceiving a defect in compliance (e.g., "too late").

These feed into each other. Nor are they always wrong. Evaluating behavior is complicated for all involved. But the difficulty occurs most frequently with repeat players over time. Then all these factors come into play, creating a dysfunctional dynamic that can be extremely difficult to disengage.

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