Communication Clashes

Week of:
Aug 17, 2018

Crying when talking to authority

Dear Alice,

I would like to know why I feel like crying when I speak to figures of authority. It happens most often when there is a serious subject to discuss; however, it has happened when talking about good things, too. It has happened when talking to my parents, grandparents, boss, and teachers. The common factor is that I see them as figures of authority and we are discussing me. I can talk with these people about anything else, but if we are talking about me, I begin feeling the urge to cry. I bite my tongue to distract myself. It is very embarrassing and uncontrollable. The most recent outburst happened when I was asked to describe my strengths and what I need to improve. I could feel myself wanting to cry, but it was still controllable by biting my tongue and speaking in short sentences. However, the teacher began using a soothing tone, asking what I thought because I wasn't saying very much. I was no longer able to control myself and cried. How do I stop this from happening and why does it happen? I am otherwise a very outspoken person and have no issues with public speaking.

Excuses, excuses

Dear Alice,

I am a parent who needs help guiding a teen. My son is an excuse maker! He never admits that he could be the cause of anything negative in his life. If he strikes out in baseball, it was the sun's fault for shining in his eyes; if he gets in trouble at school, it is ALWAYS the teacher's fault. No matter the problem, big or small, it is an excuse! We want to help him take responsibility for himself because the future can be difficult for him if he never accepts responsibility for anything. Help... what should we do for our excuse maker? He makes good grades, is popular, and is a very good kid. WE NEED HELP.

Liar, liar, pants on fire: Am I a pathological liar?

Dear Alice,

I AM A LIAR... I lie to my friends, I lie to my family, I lie to people I don't even know, but most of all, I lie to myself. Sometimes I catch myself telling a story to someone and actually believing myself when I made the whole ordeal up. Do I have a problem? Am I a pathological liar? How can I reverse my lies and come clean without hurting the people I love?

I'm insecure so I lie — but I want to stop!

Dear Alice,

I'm so insecure that my first reaction when I'm asked a question about myself is to lie and make myself seem like I'm more than I am. It's not even with questions, I've made up stories, and taken other people's stories as my own and I can't seem to stop. What can I do?

How to talk about ableism, without losing friends?

Dear Alice,

I have an invisible disability and I'm really getting into disabilities activism. Even in liberal circles ableism is still pretty accepted and this upsets me. However, when I try to educate people around me, it sometimes goes awry. I had one friend get upset when I called her out for using the word "retard." Another got upset when I pointed out that her Facebook post of inspirational people with disabilities (that just showed people with disabilities doing normal things) was a little offensive and tried to tell her about "inspiration porn." I get that using the word "retard" is normal as is "inspiration porn." I just don't think it should be.

I know my friends are caring, socially conscious people. I expect people to be a little upset, but ultimately I would also expect them respect the fact that it's really not OK to objectify people with disabilities in the way that inspiration porn and the use of words like "retard" do. What I want to know is how do I point out that people are expressing a harmful social bias, without having them get so upset that they write me off as an over sensitive concern troll?


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