Posts Tagged ‘Response’

Are They Mad at Me?

Monday, July 18th, 2022

Moving away from romantic relationships, these next couple of chapters strive to discuss the trauma-related thoughts that stem from familial relationships. The question of “are they mad at me?” can be attached to familial or parental relations but may also seep into friendships and romantic endeavors, thus serving as a culmination of the last few posts written. 

I aim to discuss this lingering, anxiety-driven thought that appears in an individual’s mind when they are constantly assuming people are mad at them. Maybe the silence sits differently between them, their footsteps sound harder on the floor, or they close the door louder than before. Naturally, the assumption is made that there is an unspoken anger in the air. 

Personally, I find myself asking this question because growing up, when my parents were mad, they would become reclusive and silent with slight aggressions showing in their routine. In those moments, I knew not to bother them. When discussing trauma that comes from parents, I often like to remind myself that they do not really mean to cause harm. Instead, this was the way they were raised by their parents. It is not an excuse for their behavior, but it is an explanation because generational trauma is a difficult battle to overcome. I recognize the way my parents have changed from how they were raised, and I still see the trauma they project on me because they haven’t healed fully. And now, I can see how this anxiety extends into most aspects of my life, especially with my partner. When he is being a little too quiet, I feel the ever-present need to ask him if he is mad at me or if I did something wrong that made him grow reclusive. 

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The anxious questioning can be linked to a trauma response. As Sam Dylan Finch writes in, “7 Subtle Signs Your Trauma Response Is People-Pleasing” for, people-pleasing is a lesser known trauma response that is often coupled with a fight or flight response. Essentially, when we ask ourselves if someone is mad at us, we make ourselves responsible for what they feel and how they may react to a situation. So, when we pose the question “are they mad at me?” we are trying to control the outcome of a situation because we feel this overbearing responsibility for others’ emotions. We do not know how an individual will react, so we try to manage or please them to result in a better reaction that saves us from confrontation. 

It is moments when these thoughts are running rampant in my mind when I must remind myself that it is just my own anxiety begging these questions. For me, it is easier to go to the person I believe is mad at me and ask them if I have done something wrong, whether it be my parents or my partner. Yet, as stated in the aforementioned articles, reassurance must also come from myself, which will in turn calm some anxiety driven thoughts. 

By: Ashley Geiser 

Ashley Geiser is a Junior studying English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Pace University. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and Co-President for Her Campus at Pace. She loves reading and editing. And when she is not reading or editing, she can be found baking in her kitchen.

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You not only have to be there, you have to act there.

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The idea of participation comes to us at an interesting time, especially since the idea of individuation seems to have flooded the mindsets of all college students. And that’s just the thing; college discounts and college savings won’t just come to you. Participation is required.

When thinking of the readers of a text, there are two discernable readers; the ideal reader that the author conceived of while writing the text, and the plurality of actual readers that encounter the text. However, neither one of these actually exist in a single construction. The ideal reader does not exist outside the mind of the author, and is, in a certain sense, useless. The ideal reader would have the exact same understanding as the author, “and identical code to that of the author”,[1] and would share the intentions of the author as well. If this were the case, the act of reading would be superfluous because any meaning or idea to be conveyed would already exist in the mind of the reader[2]. There would be nothing gained or changed by the act of reading. The other reader that exists is the actual reader of a text, and the experience of this reader is specific to that one reader. One may attempt to generalize texts in regard to how they affect readers, but every reader reads a text at a time, state, and mentality that cannot be replicated, not even within the reader himself. The response and construction of the text that is produced is based not only on the text itself and its possible constructions, but also the different values and moods of the reader. This is why readers can describe two entirely opposing constructions of the same text. Because of this, the phenomenology of reading can only be described by an individual, most often in regards to a specific text; it is much harder to generalize.

It is also in this way that it is somewhat superfluous to try to grasp what the objective world is, behind the veil of sight. If one saw the world as it were, so to say, intended, there would be no point in participating in the world; you’d already know everything. Instead, it seems to be more useful to focus on the relationships created by the participation, just as a text is only as much as a reader constructs it to be. Participation and action are the most important parts of the formula, because if one chooses to exist solely in the world of thought, he/she essentially wants to obtain all the knowledge without the actual action of obtaining. He/she wants to be a god; to pick up a book and know what it is about without going through the actual process of reading it and putting all those letters and words together through one’s own lens.

One’s entire life can be boiled down to the importance of participation. Certainly, if you are spending time with your friends, it is easy to sit back and watch the conversation and exchanges happen around you. You’re there, but you’re more of a spectator than an actor—a spectator in a play that you should be playing in. The best reality is one that is created by you, and creation can only happen through your own actions. One cannot dwell in the realm of thought forever. Otherwise you’ll end up like Hamlet.

[1] Iser, Wolfgang. The Act of Reading. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978. 29. Print.
[2] The Act of Reading, 29



Marina Manoukian, Sarah Lawrence College

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