Social Question

rebbel's avatar

A question on how to word an emotion and how one wants the message to be perceived?

Asked by rebbel (31549points) January 6th, 2012

In a television program I just saw an interviewer asked a woman the following:
“Are you afraid for the moment that he (the ex husband of the interviewee) comes free from jail?”
She answered:
“I don’t want to say that I am afraid because that would mean he still controls me and I don’t want that.”

I interpret that as follows: She is still afraid of him and she tries to say that she isn’t but the wording of her answer is implying that she is.
Could it be that she worded it a bit strange but in fact really be not afraid?
Now I always have (had) difficulty with sentences with double denials in it, or with (possible) double meanings, so it could be that I am totally wrong.
Or am I?
How do you read (hear) this answer?

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6 Answers

MilkyWay's avatar

She’s defiant. And trying to make it seem as if she is strong and not really that bothered, but her just saying that she doesn’t want him to control her contradicts her in the sense that she is bothered by it.

Seelix's avatar

She’s trying to use the power of positive thinking. If she doesn’t say she’s afraid, maybe, eventually, she won’t be.

Jeruba's avatar

She’s echoing someone else’s words. People have been telling her that as long as she is still afraid of him, he has power over her; that’s common self-help wisdom of the sort that people love to repeat She has not yet succeeded in defeating the fear, but at least she is working on denying him the power.

So you are right, I think, in inferring that she’s still afraid of him; but there’s also the implication that she is trying to overcome her fear.

CWOTUS's avatar

Well… the previous respondents may be entirely correct, and I’m wrong, but I read this a bit differently. She’s properly ‘respectful’ and ‘alert’ and ‘concerned’ about what the guy may do, and though she may simply be covering up a fear, if I take her at her word she’s not ‘really’ feeling fear, but she knows that she could be.

Fear is a debilitating emotion. Defiance (I liked that one) and the attitudes I mentioned are more ‘enabling’, helping her to improve her situation in whatever way she can.

bkcunningham's avatar

She knows how dangerous he can be and is concerned for her safety but isn’t going to allow her fears and concerns to control her life. ”...and I don’t want that.” To me she is admitting she is afraid but knows she is stronger than him. To me, she is clarifying instead of just answering yes or no.

rebbel's avatar

Thanks to all of you!
Interesting to see different observations.

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