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View Full Version : Am I just a bad person? Or does everyone think like this?



Trebuchet
2013-May-22, 02:47 PM
During the TV coverage of the Moore, OK, tornado, it suddenly occurred to me that there was now "less of Moore". And that it was divine retribution for their having stolen our basketball team. So here are people, including young children, dying and my brain is thinking up stupid jokes. What the heck is wrong with me? Why does my brain work like that? Do other people do that kind of thing?

Sorry if that's offensive to you. It's offensive to me and I don't understand why I thought that way. Perhaps a defense mechanism to lighten the horror?

Noclevername
2013-May-22, 02:52 PM
The fact that it's offensive to you means you're probably not a bad person, just a good person with a subconscious.

The impact of real-life disasters often takes time to sink in beyond a superficial level unless you are experiencing it personally. Hearing or seeing it secondhand means it only gets into the brain "buffer" at first, it takes time to process. That's why when you see a TV report on something terrible it often doesn't "feel real".

Buttercup
2013-May-22, 03:09 PM
My mind doesn't work that way, but the fact that you question it and feel guilty proves you're not a bad person.

Likely it's a mechanism of the mind, as you suggest, to deflect the horror.

It's called "gallows humor"?

PetersCreek
2013-May-22, 03:14 PM
Gallows, dark, or black humor...it's also a defense/coping mechanism. If you voiced such a thought directly to a victim, I'd say you have a serious problem. Otherwise, I think you're pretty normal...or as normal as a gourd hurler can be. ;)

Perikles
2013-May-22, 03:42 PM
Yes, I think it's a coping mechanism for dealing with something which is so awful that it takes take to assimilate. At least I hope it is, because I experience the same tasteless preoccupation with something utterly purile when confronted with a disaster occurring to somebody else. Last time I shocked myself like that was some time ago when a typhoon hit India and a report came in later that "they had found 600 bodies on an uninhabited island". My instant reaction was to wonder how it was uninhabited when it obviously was not. Then I felt disgusted with myself. It seems that the greater the disaster the more likely it is that I get this reaction.

SeanF
2013-May-22, 03:42 PM
I think it's pretty normal, Treb. I was once driving with a coworker, and there was a radio news report that a couple of people had drowned when a pickup truck went into a river. I thought - and actually said out loud - "What, couldn't they get the tailgate open?"

Then I felt bad about it.

But I agree with the others - it's a normal coping mechanism. Gallows humor.

Gillianren
2013-May-22, 03:44 PM
It's perfectly normal, especially if it's followed by a shame/guilt reaction. It's when you don't recognize that it's awful in the face of the loss of actual humans that you have problems.

Trebuchet
2013-May-22, 04:37 PM
Thank you all. I feel a touch better about it now.

HenrikOlsen
2013-May-22, 04:55 PM
Last time I shocked myself like that was some time ago when a typhoon hit India and a report came in later that "they had found 600 bodies on an uninhabited island". My instant reaction was to wonder how it was uninhabited when it obviously was not.
It is now.

Sorry.

Swift
2013-May-22, 05:39 PM
it suddenly occurred to me that there was now "less of Moore"
I also made some internal puns in my head about "Moore / more".

Tog
2013-May-22, 06:01 PM
Horrible jokes are very common among rescue workers and police officers. As others have said, it's part of the defense system that keeps the bad stuff from getting to you.

Hlafordlaes
2013-May-22, 09:53 PM
I think Tog's signature is about right.

ipsniffer
2013-May-22, 10:03 PM
So here are people, including young children, dying and my brain is thinking up stupid jokes.

People, including young children, all dying every hour of every day of your entire life - thousands a day succumb to malnutrition. They just aren't in the newspaper.

slang
2013-May-22, 10:13 PM
Do other people do that kind of thing?

All the time, especially at work.

Solfe
2013-May-23, 12:40 AM
All the time, especially at work.

Pfft. I have permanent teeth marks from where they rest on my tongue. It is sort of my neutral position.

For whatever reason, this tornado thing made me really mad instead of my dark humored self. I don't know why exactly it makes me mad, it just does.

publiusr
2013-May-24, 09:01 PM
I have an evil sense of humor at times myself. I was pleased the death toll went down. Moore 1999 really prepared these poor folks. Joplin was sadder. The damage track wasn't as long, but the death toll higher.

As for me having a reaction that surprised even me, the deal with the young man beheading the soldier didn't make me angry. If anything the young man didn't olok like a bad dude. Maybe watching Cass Pennant talk about football hooliganism on C-SPAN made me more sympathetic http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/OneE

On that tragedy, I was just sad for all concerned. All the ugly news has me worn. What was it that Bilbo said about wearing a bit...thin?

Watching the news makes me begin to feel as if I have worn the One Ring for many years.

starcanuck64
2013-May-24, 09:12 PM
It's hard to conceive of a two kilometer wide tornado, I'm still trying to get my head around what it must have been like for the people caught in its path.

My niece lives near Fort Worth Texas and they had a twister pass a few miles away last year, she wants her husband to build a shelter from scratch, not buy a pre-made one.

Buttercup
2013-May-24, 09:15 PM
The closest I get to "an evil sense of humor" occurred yesterday; wondering why a suicidal patient tried to overdose on a bunch of pills, alcohol...and Pepto-Bismol. :confused: I actually gave a short laugh on hearing "Pepto-Bismol" in the list, despite it NOT being funny. I've never heard of anyone including that in a suicide attempt. I presume in the hope of preventing vomiting up the other stuff?

The patient survived, thankfully. Hopefully can turn his life around.

Swift
2013-May-24, 09:38 PM
The closest I get to "an evil sense of humor" occurred yesterday; wondering why a suicidal patient tried to overdose on a bunch of pills, alcohol...and Pepto-Bismol. :confused: I actually gave a short laugh on hearing "Pepto-Bismol" in the list, despite it NOT being funny. I've never heard of anyone including that in a suicide attempt. I presume in the hope of preventing vomiting up the other stuff?

The patient survived, thankfully. Hopefully can turn his life around.
Back in my EMT days I had a couple of suicide attempt patients who used rather non-lethal over-the-counter drugs, or non-toxic prescription drugs for their attempts. Though such attempts may not be physical hazards (particularly for immediately life-threatening problems), they are treated very seriously as mental health problems.

Paul Beardsley
2013-May-24, 11:19 PM
I think we find humour in everything. There is no particular reason why terrible events should be exempt - although obviously one should exercise tact. Sometimes we laugh simply because things are funny, and not because we take delight in someone else's suffering, even if that happens to be involved.

starcanuck64
2013-May-25, 07:39 PM
Not that up on current psychology, but isn't the use of humor as a displaced defense mechanism in this kind of situation referred to as sublimation and is the sign of maturity?

vonmazur
2013-May-25, 11:54 PM
Don't get too excited about this, it is common in stressful situations...We all indulged in this in combat in Nam, and I am sure it is a way of coping with such horrible things....

I wondered why this place was hit by three devastating tornadoes in the past 15 years and I think it is just random, not some kind of "message"....

Dale

Under the Rose
2013-May-26, 12:23 AM
When we are confronted by circumstances entirely beyond our control, what coping mechanisms has nature endowed us with?

Like any other species, we basically have two, fight or flight. Neither one has a snowball's chance if you are in the path of a tornado with a two kilometer wide base.

Might just as well stand your ground and give the middle finger salute as you await the outcome. Laughter relieves tension and the human body has incredible resilience to natural forces when there is no resistance. Maybe that is one part of the answer. We can endure far more physically and we can think more clearly if we can reduce tension. Laughter, especially at inappropriate times, may be one of the ways that we prepare ourselves for challenges.

Even when we experience those challenges peripherally, we are cognizant of the fact that it could as easily be ourselves or our loved ones in that circumstance and our brain attempts to model potential solutions to potential challenges, meanwhile experiencing real anxiety and the need for release from it.

That's my pet hypothesis.

Hlafordlaes
2013-May-26, 12:25 AM
Not that up on current psychology, but isn't the use of humor as a displaced defense mechanism in this kind of situation referred to as sublimation and is the sign of maturity?

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