Social Question

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What, of all that you've been conditioned to do, do you still do?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38975points) February 15th, 2010

All of us have been socially conditioned in one way or another and all of us have de-conditioned ourselves as we learned what works and what doesn’t, in our lives, for our personalities…Some socialization is hard to break, though and out of needing to fit in or to be left alone or to be safe, we perform, act, think in ways that we’ve been conditioned to because of our religions, childhoods, pains and aches and experiences…

What are some of your knee jerk reactions even though you know better? Some examples for me include

1. Shaving my legs when I know I don’t need to or want to because I don’t want ignorant people or patients of mine to make comments at work or on my way to work – this shouldn’t be the focus of anyone’s but I’ve experienced these responses before and so I shave, sometimes, in order to get through the summer.

2. I get angry at my mother after over 10 years of tension even though I know it’s futile and same shit different day – she still gets to me and the logical side of me can’t understand why but the emotional side of me wins out on this one because I don’t understand how she still dares to criticize me after all that I’ve been through, after becoming a mother twice, etc.

3. Qualifying certain things about my sexuality or feeling about gender in terms of my relationship – how can you be queer, Simone, when you’re married? so you can’t cook at all? how do you people eat? what do you mean your husband stays at home – you must have been really desperate?...and since I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with these people who aren’t important to me, then I do the giggle and the whole ‘ works for us and x, y, z..’ when really I should just not entertain their crap but sometimes (well, all the time, this is what society is about) you want to just get through the evening and your ‘weird’ relationship is not the focus and you don’t need everyone in the room to stop talking and turn their heads (subtle much?!) to listen to yourself explain things…I just hate that sometimes I give in…

4. Sometimes dumb people yell ‘faggot’ at people on the train and I don’t say anything because I don’t feel safe enough to do that and even though I know better, I stay quiet because I don’t want to ‘get into it’. I need to be more outspoken, more than I am already and I fail myself every time I do this…I am conditioned to sometimes think of myself first and my comfort…

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46 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

shower, shave, brush my teeth, work… off the top of my head..

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@RandomMrdan…but are these things things you’d rather not do, though?

ChaosCross's avatar

I, from chilhood, now shower, shave, brush my teeth, don’t scream in public, poop in public, pee in public, control verbal outbursts, not use stupid dance moves and parties, etc.

There are lots of things we are “re-conditioned” to do…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

maybe, I didn’t word this properly – I am talking about things that you wouldn’t want to do otherwise but have been conditioned to do and despite your best intentions, you do them anyway and berate yourself later

Jude's avatar

Thinking (and having high hopes) that my Dad will change his ways. What, at 73?

Deep down, I know that it’ll never happen.

I always end up feeling let down.

casheroo's avatar

I’d say shaving is the same thing with me. I want to shave my armpits, but think shaving legs is quite silly..but I also feel like it’s so ingrained into me to do so, and I’d feel weird if I didn’t.

I also feel like part of my parenting is conditioned. I’m not sure how to explain it. I know you live with your parents as well. Living with my parents stresses me out, because my parenting is critiqued constantly. Some days I can’t stand just being in a common area, because if I don’t parent the way my mother thinks is the correct way (and she gives me “advice” pretty much any time she sees me, and no..I never do anything right) I get extremely stressed and find myself losing my patience with my son easily, and resorting to parenting techniques I normally would avoid. I’ll start yelling when I think yelling is detrimental to such a young child. I don’t know why I feel so pressured to do it.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

There are a couple things that come to mind, but I would rather not discuss them (another example?).

But I do notice when I try to dress up, wear makeup, wear heels; generally be girly in any way, it feels wrong, even though I want to do it, I feel like I don’t deserve it. I don’t know why this is, maybe from being ridiculed for being fat/ugly as a kid (and even by my own father)?

I also have problems in public. I hate going out in public for fear someone will see me, judge me, think things about me, look at me, etc. I probably conditioned myself in that respect.

efritz's avatar

I think I’m a product of over-conditioning – when I am in public, or society, I do nothing. I don’t speak, don’t move, don’t do anything that would draw attention to myself in any way. So most people think I’m a snob, or autistic. When really I’m just terrified someone will notice I exist.

Also I wear a minimal amount of make-up, even though I feel like I should be opposed to it – why should I paint my face just so other people can bear to look at me? But I feel like people will think I’m a slob if I don’t.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@casheroo it’s the same way with my mother – she is incapable of seeing the positives in anything, only her imagined ‘negatives’ because something isn’t done ‘her way’ – the situation really does stress me out but what can we do? I will not leave them to fend for themselves

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@efritz so eloquently put, so genuine – thank you for that

Oxymoron's avatar

Saying please and thank you.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I apologize constantly and I hate that I do it. However, I can’t seem to stop. I always catch myself just after but I can’t exactly take back an apology, even if it’s for a little thing like bumping into somebody or braking a little too hard when someone else is in the car.

I am also conditioned to cater to the needs of those people who are neat people, even though I am a messy person. I am trying to work on that because a neat person can be just as destructive to me, a messy person, as I can be to a neat person. However, when I hear the keys turn in the door lock and my neat freak roommate comes into the apartment, I feel sick to my stomach and get a little panicky if I have left dishes in the sink or my books are in the living room instead of my room.

I am also trying to break myself of having a hard time stretching in public. In high school, I would be very embarrassed to stretch the way I wanted to in public because I am female and have breasts. When I stretch the way I want to back bent almost backwards over the back of a chair it thrusts my breasts in the air and, as we all know, any kind of public display of breasts is forbidden.~

dutchbrossis's avatar

Think for myself. Other than that I don’t know what else, i am such a rebel.

gggritso's avatar

I’m 6’5”. Often, people on the street or in the elevator will say something like “Wow, you’re so tall, do you play basketball?” Usually, I just say “Yes”. I could say “No, I have no interest in basketball or volleyball,” to which they say “Well, that’s a waste!” At this point I’d be tempted to say “I don’t see it as a waste of my height, and the fact that I’m tall doesn’t mean I should or should not be doing something; now please fuck off” but I choose not to crap on their opinion. They’re just being friendly.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@KatawaGrey I do the same thing when I know my dad/mom/aunt is about to come into the house in a few minutes/moments. Especially my aunt – she has always had a tendancy to tell me how to act and what to do. On occasion she has does the dishes because she thinks they’re messy. I usually do the dishes before she visits because it makes me feel so uneasy that she does that. My dad likes to yell at me for anything he deems a “mess”. His definition of a mess is pretty ridiculous and unfounded; like a glass sitting on a table that I just finished with and haven’t brought into the kitchen. Or two or more spice bottles sitting on the kitchen counter that I haven’t put away yet. I hate when he mentions it so I ignore him or pretend to not care, when the truth is I care very much because it makes me feel, essentially, like I’m a bad person.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@KatawaGrey I hear you on the stretching thing – sometimes I collapse my body just to feel safe and get angry that I have to do that.

tinyfaery's avatar

My curse words include god, Jesus christ, god damn, I swear, etc. I don’t believe in god, or Jesus, or anyone that I would swear to. It’s so dumb, but I cannot stop.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@gggritso ugh, it’s like people have these books of cliches memorized in the heads

gggritso's avatar

I also smile a lot; even when there’s nothing to smile about. I think this is a cultural thing… If I’m talking to someone I don’t know I throw up a smile whenever I agree with them, or I’m making a point passionately. I don’t think this is a terrible thing per se, but my face gets tired after a while, and I’m sure it comes off as forced anyway.

liminal's avatar

I really see this in my parenting. I will find myself getting impatient with my kids in similar ways as my parents did with me. It really drives me crazy when I am impatient over things that are normal “kid” things. (i.e. making mouth noises when eating or picking their nose up to their elbows) I think it is okay to correct these things and encourage different behavior, I just don’t like when my ire stirs over trivial things.

susanc's avatar

When people come over, I have to feed them a full meal. This is a lot of work so I don’t invite people over as much as I might like.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@gggritso: I’m really little and I get the same reactions, just in the opposite direction. People like to pick me up sometimes and if I get freaked out and angry, I’m the bad guy…

@tragiclikebowie: Well, then you can come over to my house any day. My mother and I are the biggest damn slobs on the planet. You can leave dishes in the sink and spices on the counter. You can even put your feet up on the coffee table. :)

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: It is just awful. Even if I am in my winter coat, I feel like my boobs triple in size and everyone is looking at me. When I’m wearing something form-fitting and I’m in class or playing Magic? Forget about it! I love my breasts, but, damn, sometimes I need a good stretch instead!

TexasDude's avatar

I have a nervous response whenever I feel my cellphone vibrating in my pocket. It doesn’t matter who is calling. I was conditioned to have this response because I used to be terrified of having certain abusive people in my life call me and emotionally abuse me over the phone.

Berserker's avatar

Hm. Whatever I do that is the result of conditioned behaviour or thought process is most likely done on a subconscious level, and any awareness of it on my part I most likely attribute to define my individuality. Since everyone wants to be unique and amplify their most monotonous traits to do so.

That said, I brush my teeth and lock the door whenever I leave like anybody, but in a more deep rooted personal set of factors, I’m thinking that my ways to approach and interact with people, both known and strangers, is highly influenced indoctrinated by how my mother, to me, was always more like a teacher that you hoped you were saying the right answer to rather than anything else.

I don’t think I ever quite got over it, so I appear wary of everyone in order not to get to know anyone too much so that I don’t displease them in the long run.

Or not. I don’t know, but there’s gotta be some Freudian thing in there somewhere.

YARNLADY's avatar

Always believing the best of people and taking them at their word.

SuperMouse's avatar

I need to dip my finger in holy water and cross myself every time I enter a church. I have not been a practicing Catholic for over 25 years, but there is no way I could walk in a church without doing that.

I was also conditioned to help in the kitchen whenever I eat at someone else’s house. It took me years of cleaning my sister-in-law’s entire kitchen after a meal at her house and watching her plant herself in front of the tv after a meal at mine, before I was finally able to stop.

A couple of other things I was trained to do (along with the whole shaving thing that others have mentioned): being very impatient with children making too much noise in public (this sounds logical, but what constituted too much noise to my father was a couple of kids carrying on any kind of conversation in anything above a whisper), be suspicious of anyone who is too nice to me, think I am screwing up whenever I try anything and don’t master it immediately, and say “Lord please help that person who is sick” every time I hear a siren (but that one isn’t so bad).

KatawaGrey's avatar

@SuperMouse: Do you live in the northeastern United States by any chance? My mother and I used to live out west where everyone helped everyone else with no expectations of some kind of reward and when we moved to Connecticut, we found that people are profoundly suspicious of someone helping them.

jerv's avatar

@KatawaGrey Actually, that is more of a Connecticut thing. Being from NH/VT, there is less of an element of that since anybody who does you a favor knows that there will be a time when you will return it without anything needing to be asked. It’s not so much an expectation of reward as one of reciprocity and manners.

There are certain sounds that will stop me dead in my tracks to listen, most of them similar to either the shipboard signals for some sort of casualty (fire, flooding, “Man Down”, etcetera) or a sound that resulted in bad things happening one time.

I also cannot sleep without a cigarette within 10 minutes of bed time. If something keeps me up after my “last” smoke of the night, like forgetting to set up the coffee pot, or the wife wanting to talk before I get flat, I have to start all over again with another smoke. Unhealthy ritual, but also the only way I can sleep.

Aethelwine's avatar

@YARNLADY me too.

I say sorry for every stupid little thing that I do. If I step on the dogs paw I’ll say “sorry Spot”. Does Spot really care? No.

I bump into my husband and I’ll say sorry, when all is needed is an “oops”.

I could go on and on with all the silly things that I say sorry for. Sorry should be reserved for the major things that I truly regret.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jerv: I knew it! Of all the states on the East coast and my mom had to pick this one… /grumble/grumble/

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Apologizing for silly things as @jonsblond mentions. I’ll walk into my boss’ office and say, “sorry, may I have a word… blah blah blah” and he’ll ask me, “why are you sorry? Stop doing that”. My partner says I am very sensitive as if I’m being criticized for every move, I annoy myself with this.

talljasperman's avatar

I have a nasty habit that comes and goes… I wake up after a 16 hour nap and go to sleep after a pizza…Like this week I’ve slept most of it away and I’ve had two pizza’s

stemnyjones's avatar

1.) I say please, thank you, ma’am, etc, when someone who is being rude and doesn’t deserve it starts to complain that I’m not saying it. I’ve been conditioned to do this because of my job in the Customer Service industry, and I still sometimes do it in my personal life.

2.) Shave. As a stay-at-home mom of a 4 month old baby, I barely have time to shave unless my partner is home, but I’ll bring my baby into the bathroom with me and try to entertain her while I’m in the bath, just so that I won’t be as hairy, in case my sleeve slips down and my armpit is exposed, etc.

mammal's avatar

i wouldn’t wont you getting involved with every person that uses abusive behaviour around you during the course of your day, that is too idealistic. You know you have to let nature take it’s course. Besides, that kind of intervention is dangerous even though it shouldn’t be. No one is getting raped here. When that happens feel free to intervene. Save the edification of ignorant people for the classroom or work enviroment or such like.

VohuManah's avatar

I have never been conditioned because that would mea- War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. I have been known to spurt out quotes from Orwell though.

jerv's avatar

@VohuManah That is double-plus-ungood.

Sophief's avatar

I have been conditioned to trust no one, and something which I hate, I allow people to treat me really horrible and I say nothing back to them, I just take it in person anyway.

OpryLeigh's avatar

There are lots of things that I do because have been conditioned to do so but for the most part, I can’t really say I am bothered by them and wish I didn’t do them. Like you I shave my legs even though I know that I shouldn’t have to. It doesn’t bother me though. I don’t begrudge doing it. This is the same with a lot of things that I am conditioned to do.

The only things I can think of that I really hate but can’t help doing is, again like you, not always speaking my mind in certain situations allowing the other peron/people to think I agree with them. A lot of the time I do this for an easy life more than anything, I just can’t be bothered to get into an arguement about it. That’s why I love Fluther so much because everyone is expected to speak their minds here!

I am also very paranoid all of the time and, for example, if I hear that there has been an accident in the area that anyone I love lives in, I automatically assume that they are involved. I hate this because I get myself in such a state when, chances are, I am panicking or nothing. Does that count?

SuperMouse's avatar

I just realized this morning that whenever something goes wrong – especially in my relationships – I automatically assume I am the one at fault.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@SuperMouse: You still get credit for all the good relationships!

Nullo's avatar

The lunch busybodies monitors trained us to eat our lunches sandwich-side-drink-dessert, and I still do that.

peridot's avatar

I’m still a gullible schmuck, more often than not. If you have evil intentions, but wear a convincing smile and sweet manner, I tend to assume you’re on my side. Stoopidstoopidstoopid!!

MadMadMax's avatar

I don’t have to eat creamed corn and I do not.

talljasperman's avatar

I bush my teeth with a beach towel and pick my fingernails.

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