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Why do people get sad instead of angry when people are mean or nasty?

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Dark111

The Hated One
SF Supporter
#1
I struggle to understand the sadness response people experience when someone does or says something nasty to them. My natural response is anger, which makes perfect sense to me. I mean essentially you've been threatened on some level, right? Why shrivel and crumble and make yourself even weaker? Is it the 'play dead' defense? So yeah, that's my random thought for the day.
 

Gonz

sick and tired of being sick and tired
#2
I struggle to understand the sadness response people experience when someone does or says something nasty to them. My natural response is anger, which makes perfect sense to me. I mean essentially you've been threatened on some level, right? Why shrivel and crumble and make yourself even weaker? Is it the 'play dead' defense? So yeah, that's my random thought for the day.
For me, it depends on both the person doing or saying the thing, and the nature of what they say or do. A significant percentage of the time, yeah, it will just trigger an angry response. But if the person doing it is someone I normally feel affection for or think highly of, or if they happen to touch on something I am particularly sensitive about, then that'll trigger a certain amount of sadness as well.
 

Dark111

The Hated One
SF Supporter
#3
For me, it depends on both the person doing or saying the thing, and the nature of what they say or do. A significant percentage of the time, yeah, it will just trigger an angry response. But if the person doing it is someone I normally feel affection for or think highly of, or if they happen to touch on something I am particularly sensitive about, then that'll trigger a certain amount of sadness as well.
What do you mean it depends on the person? If they're being a d*ck does it matter who it is?
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#4
I struggle to understand the sadness response people experience when someone does or says something nasty to them. My natural response is anger, which makes perfect sense to me. I mean essentially you've been threatened on some level, right? Why shrivel and crumble and make yourself even weaker? Is it the 'play dead' defense? So yeah, that's my random thought for the day.
I think a lot of it comes from the idea that this abusive behaviour is sort of a two-party thing. Like naturally, the person doing or saying the nasty thing is attributed as the major reason for that thing occurring, but i suspect the sadness comes from an awareness that on some level, we have also contributed to that nasty thing by being the kind of person who gets nasty things done or said to them. Either because we see it as an indicator that there's something wrong with us that incites nastiness in others or because we lack the character that enables us to either stand against that nastiness or cut that person out of our lives. I suspect more the former than the latter, and that can become unrealistic and unhealthy, and that can often be the basis for depression. "People bully me because i'm a bad person. My wife hates me because i'm a terrible husband. This guy doesn't love me because i'm ugly and stupid."
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#5
Oh, actually, i suppose there's also just the general sadness that we live in a world where this kind of nastiness exists, and that human nature doesn't incline us to be kinder and more accepting of each other, see a certain racial discussion a few posts above.
 

Gonz

sick and tired of being sick and tired
#6
What do you mean it depends on the person? If they're being a d*ck does it matter who it is?
It does, yeah. I guess when it comes from someone I feel close to, or whose opinion matters to me, it's more likely to trigger the thought or feeling that I deserve such treatment, and thus the sadness response rather than ager or defensiveness.

Just one of those "humans are irrational creatures" things.
 

Dark111

The Hated One
SF Supporter
#7
I think a lot of it comes from the idea that this abusive behaviour is sort of a two-party thing. Like naturally, the person doing or saying the nasty thing is attributed as the major reason for that thing occurring, but i suspect the sadness comes from an awareness that on some level, we have also contributed to that nasty thing by being the kind of person who gets nasty things done or said to them. Either because we see it as an indicator that there's something wrong with us that incites nastiness in others or because we lack the character that enables us to either stand against that nastiness or cut that person out of our lives. I suspect more the former than the latter, and that can become unrealistic and unhealthy, and that can often be the basis for depression. "People bully me because i'm a bad person. My wife hates me because i'm a terrible husband. This guy doesn't love me because i'm ugly and stupid."
I hear what you're saying. Kind of. That people are thinking they deserve it & so don't feel they have a right to get angry? Yeah maybe that's the crux of it alright. It's just not something that's instinctual to me. I just perceive it as an attack, whatever the context.
 

Aurelia

πŸ”ΆπŸ”Έβœ΄ πŸ‘‘ βœ΄πŸ”ΈπŸ”Ά
#8
I struggle to understand the sadness response people experience when someone does or says something nasty to them. My natural response is anger, which makes perfect sense to me. I mean essentially you've been threatened on some level, right? Why shrivel and crumble and make yourself even weaker? Is it the 'play dead' defense? So yeah, that's my random thought for the day.
Anger is a secondary emotion, though, which means there is always another emotion behind it. For example, people may react angrily because, in reality, they're scared. Fear is common when one feels threatened.
 

Freya

Loves SF
Forum Owner
ADMIN
SF Author
#10
I struggle to understand the sadness response people experience when someone does or says something nasty to them. My natural response is anger, which makes perfect sense to me. I mean essentially you've been threatened on some level, right? Why shrivel and crumble and make yourself even weaker? Is it the 'play dead' defense? So yeah, that's my random thought for the day.
What does give you a sadness response? What would be understandable to be sad about? (not confrontational, just curious to understand your thinking on this)

I don't think that sadness makes you any weaker than anger does. I can be sad and still be strong, capable and articulate. I have seen people be angry and have it debilitate them in that they are no longer in control of what they do or say, seen it take away their ability to make rational choices. I know that sadness does that to some people too but I don't think that sad is inherently weaker than angry.

I am sad when someone is nasty to me if I agree in some way with their negative sentiment or if their opinion is meaningful to me (I respect them or care about them etc.) I have people here be excessively unpleasant on a semi-regular basis (I won't go into details but genuinely quite foul) and they do not know me and their opinion is irrelevant to me so it doesn't matter.

I don't see someone saying something mean or nasty as a threat. I don't see someone's opinion as a threat. It is an opinion and either it matters to me or it doesn't. That is my thinking anyway. I am not sure if I explained it well.
 

Aurelia

πŸ”ΆπŸ”Έβœ΄ πŸ‘‘ βœ΄πŸ”ΈπŸ”Ά
#11
What does give you a sadness response? What would be understandable to be sad about? (not confrontational, just curious to understand your thinking on this)

I don't think that sadness makes you any weaker than anger does. I can be sad and still be strong, capable and articulate. I have seen people be angry and have it debilitate them in that they are no longer in control of what they do or say, seen it take away their ability to make rational choices. I know that sadness does that to some people too but I don't think that sad is inherently weaker than angry.

I am sad when someone is nasty to me if I agree in some way with their negative sentiment or if their opinion is meaningful to me (I respect them or care about them etc.) I have people here be excessively unpleasant on a semi-regular basis (I won't go into details but genuinely quite foul) and they do not know me and their opinion is irrelevant to me so it doesn't matter.

I don't see someone saying something mean or nasty as a threat. I don't see someone's opinion as a threat. It is an opinion and either it matters to me or it doesn't. That is my thinking anyway. I am not sure if I explained it well.
You explained it quite well. As you may already have suspected, Nick's typical reaction to things is anger as well, whether it be a threat or just anything that causes him any form of discomfort or displeasure. And with him, there is definitely always another emotion behind the anger. However, he claims that he "simply" chooses not to feel it (because it's uncomfortable; and because he, too, feels that it would make him a weaker person if he were to choose to react differently), and so reacts with anger instead, which he feels enables him to show his self-perceived superiority. However (and I don't think that the same is necessarily true for psychopaths, who were born with these types of traits rather than developing them over time, as is in the case of sociopaths), he has confirmed to me that certain things do make him sad (definitely only practical things, though, not emotional -- i.e. illness or death) and he does care a lot about a few particular individuals. But again, this is sociopathy we're talking about, which is probably different from psychopathy even though both fit under the ASPD diagnosis.
 

Dark111

The Hated One
SF Supporter
#12
What does give you a sadness response? What would be understandable to be sad about? (not confrontational, just curious to understand your thinking on this)

I don't think that sadness makes you any weaker than anger does. I can be sad and still be strong, capable and articulate. I have seen people be angry and have it debilitate them in that they are no longer in control of what they do or say, seen it take away their ability to make rational choices. I know that sadness does that to some people too but I don't think that sad is inherently weaker than angry.

I am sad when someone is nasty to me if I agree in some way with their negative sentiment or if their opinion is meaningful to me (I respect them or care about them etc.) I have people here be excessively unpleasant on a semi-regular basis (I won't go into details but genuinely quite foul) and they do not know me and their opinion is irrelevant to me so it doesn't matter.

I don't see someone saying something mean or nasty as a threat. I don't see someone's opinion as a threat. It is an opinion and either it matters to me or it doesn't. That is my thinking anyway. I am not sure if I explained it well.
I wasn't talking about things people say online. Of course those are irrelevant. I meant in real life.

In real life people say things all the time that are meant to undermine you in some way, or portray you to others in a negative light for some personal gain. I would consider that a threat. Clearly someone doing that is on the attack & their motive is to harm me.

But maybe what I meant to say is more situational. Consider one kid confronting another child, pushing her to the ground and stealing her skateboard. The fallen kid can of course stay down there and cry and watch the thief have fun with their skateboard. Or they can get straight back up, grab the skateboard back and whack their enemy over the head with it. Do you think anyone tried to steal her skateboard again?
 

Dark111

The Hated One
SF Supporter
#13
Anger is a secondary emotion, though, which means there is always another emotion behind it. For example, people may react angrily because, in reality, they're scared. Fear is common when one feels threatened.
I don't get scared. What else do think could be behind this reactive anger? Thrill me with your acumen.
 

Aurelia

πŸ”ΆπŸ”Έβœ΄ πŸ‘‘ βœ΄πŸ”ΈπŸ”Ά
#14
I don't get scared. What else do think could be behind this reactive anger? Thrill me with your acumen.
I would consider that a threat. Clearly someone doing that is on the attack & their motive is to harm me.
Just based on that quote, alone, I'm still going with fear/anxiety. What you're describing is called the "fight or flight" response, which is the direct response humans give to anxiety-provoking situations.
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#20
I used to play it a lot but not as much now. I had a great opponent but he moved away a few years ago & playing the computer is not the same. Part of the fun is analyzing your opponent's last move and seeing that he made an error you can exploit.
I agree so much with this, it's just not the same when you know the computer is intentionally making mistakes for you to capitalise on. It's like when you're three and your dad challenges you to a race to see who get to the end of the street first, then runs at half the speed of your average glacier.
 
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