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Pages: 79— Pages: — She has a PhD from Deakin University, where she has taught and researched in literary studies and creative writing since She specializes in postcolonial and diasporic literatures, as well as literature for children and young adults. Her work has appeared in Postcolonial Text. Terms and Conditions Privacy Statement. Powered by: PubFactory. Sign in to annotate. A chameleon with a thousand faces: a mild-mannered gangster The Usual Suspects , , an eccentric moustachioed lawyer Las Vegas Parano,. They each began their road to Hollywood in Mexico with a wave of stylish and poignant movies,.

Two of them were first-time Oscar nominees that year. Now, by March 4, they could all be Oscar winners. Naomi Watts tried to keep her pregnancy a secret from the cast and crew of her new movie Eastern Promises , but couldn't hide the good news from the director's sister, who was the film's costume designer. The actress discovered she was expecting boyfriend Liev Schreiber 's child two weeks into the shoot and her happiness quickly turned into a struggle to fight tiredness and nausea - so as not to reveal her state.

Watts felt sure she was doing OK until director David Cronenberg 's sister discovered she wasn't fitting into her costumes. The 21 Grams star says, "We were shooting mostly nights. It was tough. I was not feeling my best. But in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, you like to keep it a secret, so I was tired and not feeling well and not getting enough sympathy. She said that Naomi's not fitting into her clothes anymore. Mexican director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu has criticized the current US government for creating a "very stressful moment in history.

Speaking at the film's screening Tuesday, Inarritu said, "I think what is happening in the world is perpetuated. I try to be subtle in way, to not be archetypal, and not prejudice. When I think about an Empire, it's not about nations, human beings, others. It's the way they normally try to pretend that everyone is a terrorist, anything can be held against you.

I think there is now an obsessive idea, obsessive problem with the United States, showing the power. This is a very stressful moment in history. An error has occured. Please try again. Then we alternate. We continue until we complete between three and five rounds. Hopefully three. Sometimes we feel so understood that we want to make love.

We allow that. But if we do that before we complete the process, we always return to complete the process. And that last point is crucial. When I bring up this last point in workshops, I am sometimes asked whether lovemaking should be saved until afterward, as sort of a reward. The value of being spontaneous is that it doesn't create performance pressure at the end of the process. But we don't live in an ideal world. Sometimes we feel critical about a decision that we feel has to be made right there and then.

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He feels it's more important for Alex and Erin to learn to depend on themselves, become responsible, and not be so protected. He's, worried for them, worried about the child psychologist bills he and his wife are paying to alleviate the girls' anxiety, and worried about his wife always worrying about everything Alex and Erin do. And of course, no reason for the girls to be threatened.

Because Dad has thought all this before, virtually all of this occurs to him in just a few seconds- -triggered by the hollering. He quietly tries to explain his perspective. He feels this is a big improvement over his gut instinct. Once Mom feels minimized, she's on a roll.

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Aren't you being irresponsible? Can I really trust you? Can 1 leave the house, put you in charge, and be sure Alex and Erin will both be safe? This makes me feel I don't really have a partner who can share with me the task of raising our children. It's what makes me feel like a prisoner of my home and my children. This is not a female problem—it is a two- sex problem, indigenous to anyone who does not first feel completely heard.

Because he didn't feel it had been heard before. He is right. So most of us find ourselves saying the same things over and over again to our loved ones. And that, of course, just makes our partner tune out, which just encourages more repetition. The repetition breeds angst, which further alienates our partner and, well, you've got the picture. Every ounce of him wanted to jump in to explain why Alex and Erin should be permitted to take risks.

Dad has some choices. You're wise enough to know it takes only one mistake on a dangerous road to lead to Alex's and Erin's deaths. And you know the girls will be more capable of avoiding mistakes in a year or two so why risk their lives? Dad has understood her best intent. Strongest arguments first. Most of us are afraid to articulate our partners strongest arguments out loud. Imagine it this way. Imagine our partner's energy focused on their mouth, constantly trying to explain it better and better until we understand it.

But the second we've articulated their strongest arguments back to them, the energy no longer needs to focus on the mouth. It can transfer to the ear. In this case, Dad articulated Mom's fear of the possible deaths of Alex and Erin. This, at least, was the deepest fear she expressed.

The moment the dangers are acknowledged, she becomes free to make a transition. She may reiterate another time or two, but usually the energy will be much less intense, and with patience, the transition will be enough that the ears become clear. Second, without distortion. I let them go everywhere that doesn't put their lives in danger. It is that the moment Mom feels her best intent is dismissed or belittled, there is a decrease in trust.

When her best intent is heard, there is an increase in trust and a deepening of love. Dad didn't feel there was a need for Mom to holler at Alex and Erin, or to threaten the girls with not being able to use their bikes. Had Dad not looked past Mom's less-than-perfect style, chances are that Mom and Dad would never have discussed the issues—of safety and risk taking.

It is, of course, fine to discuss the style, but if Dad's goal is to address the issue, he'd better start out by looking past the imperfections in the style. In other words, choose your battle. If all this sounds overwhelming, remember that most of it boils down to attitude.

If our binoculars search for our partner's best intent, it will usually be found. And if we miss it, we'll be close enough to the bull's-eye to maintain trust. In the extreme, that's true. But as a starter, it does the opposite. Mom now feels she has a partner to help share the burden. She feels lighter, more secure, more capable of handling the burden. It helps Mom to transfer her energy away from a focus on her struggles, to get on with it. In this situation, he. Here's why. That means figuring out their way of looking at the situation.

He does, this by focusing on their perspective—by walking a mile in their moccasins. When he does this well, we call him a good competitor. Now he just has to apply them to his partner, and to remember, it's only getting out there and doing it that develops confidence. With confidence comes articulateness. Being a good competitor, then, involves empathy. Empathy for women is an attribute of masculinity. When men play the protector role they are trying to save a woman from grief or pain.

If they had no glimpse of her grief or pain, they wouldn't know when to protect. When we do this for our partner, we give them one of the greatest gifts. Suppose Dad is wrong? Suppose he's identifying feelings she doesn't feel? And that feeling creates strength. And remember, few people protest empathy, even misplaced empathy. It turns every disagreement into a potential gift of love. Because it is a gift so few people give, it is precious.

When Dad made it clear he saw her strength of character in her willingness to incur her daughters' disapproval, Mom could release yet another layer of defensiveness. Dad's trust in Mom allowed Mom to see Dad did understand the strength it took to restrict and protect. And that freed Mom to trust Dad. When we give trust, we receive trust. And people who trust us pay attention to us.

Would you mind someone bringing up something that happened a week ago and acknowledging the positive character traits they felt your perspective reflected—a perspective with which they had disagreed? Would you mind if it was a year ago? Instead, he added, "And I admire your courage in deviating from the other parents to do what you think is right for Alex and Erin without regard for whether or not you've won a popularity contest.

And to what end? Step 4: Identify the positive character traits your partner exhibited in her or his handling of this situation. Step 5: Recall relevant past conversations and use them to make your partner feel more understood. You're not alone. Start with the Plan Ahead Method. And don't expect to do it alone. Get the support of a professional to work with you. Before school age. The best teacher? If you wish to give a gift to the next generation that was not available to us, help bring this into local school systems—once you've become reasonably proficient yourself.

How would relationship language change the priorities in our schools? What's wrong with that? Uncovering our partner's faulty analyses is to a relationship what a termite is to wood: a little adds to the character; a lot, well, you know. There is. Listening skills should not replace debating skills, they should add to them.

It is preparing our children for out-of-wedlock children and drugs. It is child abuse. Why were both sexes poor listeners? In Stage I families defined as families in which survival was the primary focus , a parent needed to be a problem solver. Since I they were a prerequisite For all his relationships, these skills were his relationship language. How likely is it that we can teach ourselves a new relationship language? Well, our grammar schools are teaching a whole generation computer language to adjust to the technological needs of a Stage II society.

The next step is teaching a whole generation relationship language to address the social and psychological needs of a Stage II society. Should we teach this just to our children? Is it too late for adults? Close to half of senior citizens are now learning computer language. And relationship language requires parental involvement even more than computer language. Since then, couples have been able to afford divorce, so marriage has become a choice.

In marriage and love, we have upped the ante from desiring to be understood to requiring to be understood. Without relationship language, technology will destabilize marriage or make us desire to return to the old days of maximum security-prison marriages. In brief, relationship language stabilizes the family that technology destabilized. The hard part is hearing criticism so it can he easily given. Imagine being able to share criticism with your partner or your parents and knowing they will respond by providing a supportive and safe environment for you doing that and that they will genuinely appreciate your efforts to be closer to them.

It would probably revolutionize your relationship. Normally, though, we neither receive that nor give that. Don't answer what you'd like to do, but what you actually do most of the time, lake a 'tough love'' approach to yourself. It's the first step in the process of turning the criticism we hear into the love we desire. Not a good trade-off.

What is your Safe Environment Quotient? You might call it your Safe Environment Quotient. If you've got guts, do a reality check. For an even deeper reality check, discuss those points in which your partner evaluated you less positively than you evaluated yourself. By the way, during that discussion, did you respond receptively or defensively? Should We really Be Fooling with Nature? In nature, killing leads to survival of the fittest. Simi- larly, in the past, when criticism could lead to ostracism, which could lead to poverty and therefore death, killing the criticizer was a natural survival skill.

But we are discovering it is more functional to communicate than to kill. Shouting back at someone who is criticizing us is natural, but dysfunctional. Listening is self-empowerment via the empowerment of others. The more it is mastered, the more it plays music to the souls of all who experience it. It begins by looking at criticism in a different way. Obviously I share the ideal of giving criticism well.

That is what the previous chapter is about, and that leaves fewer people hurt and leaves everyone happier because the criticism is more easily received. In reality, though, even the best of us has been verbally abusive via shouting, put-downs, name calling, and lying.

We can read the biography of almost anyone we wish our children to have as a role model and be astonished at the amount of criticism they endured in their time. Learning to handle criticism is a prerequisite to success. While these pioneers all endured criticism that would have defeated most of their colleagues, still others endured childhoods that were textbook examples of abuse and neglect. What allowed these leaders to succeed while others with similarly abusive backgrounds sank? They learned to use criticism, abuse, neglect, and rejection to create fires they controlled rather than be consumed by the fire in their soul.

I'd go so far as to say that the commerce of male adolescence is the trading of wit-covered put- downs. That's the upside of knowing how to endure criticism. But it left two crucial unresolved problems. First, notice that most people who endure public criticism are men. Or, perhaps even worse, becoming so proficient with their defenses, in the form of wit, social criticism, or leadership skills, that sometimes unhealthy defenses evolved into a primary source of praise.

And this left many of these men ineffective in their love relationships. The qualities it takes to succeed are often inversely related to the qualities it takes to love. How, then, do we create the ability to endure criticism, even use it as the fuel for success, and at the same time prepare our children to fully love and be in touch with their feelings? Again, if this feels overwhelming, remember, even a little listening, like a little smile, is better than none. Toward the end of the chapter, I provide a Starter Kit with the essentials, but it's best to have the larger picture in mind first.

You can probably recall watching a film in which your gut was in turmoil. I felt this watching Saving Private Ryan. Think of criticism as the sun and our ego as a magnifying glass. When the sun is directed through the magnifying glass it burns, it doesn't nourish. Begin by renting a video of a murder mystery; when you get to a scene you can't handle, keep replaying it until you can choose at will to alternate between full-ego involvement and cinematic- witness-type ego involvement.

By story, I don't mean fiction. I mean their version, their mini-bio if you will. Most people, when confronted by criticism, self-listen rather than listen to their partner. The self-listening is pretty all-consuming because the self-listener not only has to prepare defenses in response to everything their partner is saying, but modify the defenses to adjust to each new criticism. If someone is busy ducking bullets, they are not going to be looking at the point of the bullet.

If you'd wait till I finish, or just give me a half hour of peace and quiet after I come home, I'd be ready to pay attention. But you never give me that. Note that what Jim said might be true, and that his solution might be valid. But everything has its season. A peach picked before it is ripe is a stone. Jim's primary job is to focus on Janets version of herself.

When Jim wants to hear Janet like a child wants to hear the next sentence in a bedtime story, then Janet will want to share her feelings like a parent wants to tell a bedtime story. We love telling bedtime stories to our children as much as children love to hear them in part because the child is not building defenses as the bedtime story is being told. The child's energy is with the story. The child is not looking for flaws in the story. Jim's job is to get into Janet's story.

He can do this because his ego is not involved with himself. And once, of course, he can do it with Janet, he can do it with his parents, children, employer. She felt heard. She became loving. She stopped repeating her story. Jim no longer saw Janet as a nag. Janet no longer saw Jim as a. In every good story there is a villain —a devil, if you will. It is the Great Temptation—tempting us to lose our ability to search out our partner's best intent,, and if it has its way, tempting us to lose focus on our partner's story altogether.

Each time you hear your loved one distort your perspective, think of it as a challenge to leap over, duck under, or dance around. So step aside. It's almost impossible to think of someone as caring when they are lashing out at us. So I'll ask you to reverse roles, but with your partner. Think of the last time you felt critical of your partner.

Did you fear bringing it up? Did you feel you were walking on eggshells? If you believe that's true for you, could it also be true for your partner? Okay, so exactly what is the best way to give supportive eye contact while our partner appears to be engaging in unilateral guerrilla warfare? Give Your Partner Supportive Eye Contact You are free to give your partner supportive eye contact that's genuine because your ego is not in fear of being sliced and diced, and you know your partner cares. That's what your supportive eye contact is supporting—being cared for.

They signal your willingness to provide a safe environment for your partner's criticism or anger. With that safety signal comes a responsibility to keep your partner safe. You lose your supportive eye contact. But no more than a few words. Never transfer the energy from your partner to yourself. Do not offer assurances, but describe the specific feeling your partner said it created.

When your partner has described a feeling, do a best guess. Since you've searched out your partner's best intent, this is the time to let your partner know your understanding of his or her best intent. Whatever you do, do not problem solve. That's for the end, and only if asked. Quick problem solving is usually premature problem solving.

It is only telling your partner you are smarter than she or he is—you can figure out in a minute what your partner couldn't figure out at all. Liz had two children and ran a small public relations business out of her home. We had spent the morning on criticizing and listening skills, when Liz said she'd been trying to share something with her husband, Bob, and she felt he had tried to help but she didn't feel satisfied.


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I promise myself I'll fix something healthy for them before they get home, but I don't usually get around to it. Then I feel guilty if I let them have junk food and guilty if I don't. I really appreciated that, so I'm mad at myself for not feeling, well, satisfied with the conversation. Is something wrong with me or does it have to do with what you're calling premature problem solving? Pretend he didn't. She and Bob sat across from each other. God, Bob, that made me feel like a fraud—trying to compete with the big guys out of my home.

Bob complained, "I can't seem to please her. And I'm sure Liz feels your love. She wants to know you understand her journey, not just where she ended up. This is what makes her feel understood. He said he was a construction contractor. I saw the lightbulb go off in the form of a Cheshire cat's grin. That's the first time it's become really clear. Ten minutes. Forget the question. I'll repeat it when we return.

No one who is interrupted feels satisfied she or he is really being heard. I wonder what makes me object sometimes, but not others. By the time we tucked them in, I had no time to prepare adequately for a presentation to obtain a new client. Well, 1 was so tired last night, and when I felt pressure from you to make love, then anger and rejection when 1 felt too tired, that turned me off even more. Lmotionally 1 felt 1 had another kid on my hands. He acknowledged that all these responses crossed his mind no, they actively tempted him but he was clear that none of these responses left Liz feeling understood.

I can't remember when I've felt closer to you, Bob. Liz and Bob took a longer one. Ironically, when you're so generous, it makes me leel loved, and that makes me not even want to think about an affair. That's the way my drifting off feels at those moments, yes? He smiled, took Janet's hand, and pulled her toward him for a long hug. Janet seemed pretty focused.

Repeat the process until your partner feels completely beard. Hold each other. I emphasize this because as a rule women are more likely to register complaints and men are more likely to want sex and, if a man thinks listening without giving his response won t get her upset and, therefore, will lead to sex, then not responding is a big temptation. Since most women don't like to listen to men complaining or expressing anger, its tempting to strike a nonverbal, perhaps even unconscious, bargain of his listening to her but not responding with his perspective.

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Eventually there is less intimacy and less sex. Respond by Reversing Roi.


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Do not, though, bring up new issues. Bring up only the issues that are directly related to the ones already brought up by your partner. That is, your partner reflects back to you what you say, asks you if there are any distortions, and you both continue until you feel well represented and understood. In the process of becoming proficient, though, pay attention to these four caveats. Four Caveats The first two of these areas—the way we offer physical support and the tendency to make promises to change our behavior—can undermine our effectiveness as we execute the Eight Steps; the second two- rising expectations and self- righteousness—can undermine our effectiveness even when weve done virtually everything right.

Physical Support The best way to support your partner by physical touch is to ask your partner what feels most supportive. He experienced the touch not as an act of intimacy, but as an act of control. Ilien holding your partner is more likely to signal acceptance and support. Hold each other in silence for ten to twenty seconds.

Spend part of it giving each other appreciative eye contact. Therefore, when this process is finished, he's likely to be tempted to be spontaneously generous, promising a change in his behavior, or to rescue her in some other way get married, have a child, get a new home. On the other hand, if the behavior change is simple, inexpensive, and can be done quickly, go for it. Rising Expectations Every change comes with shadow sides -that is, a cost, downside, trade-off, or a more selfish motive than has been openly acknowledged.

One shadow side is common to every positive change in human behavior: rising expectations. Our partner changes, but we want even more, faster. It grows out of our belief that we have changed more than our partner. Their efforts are usually invisible. The problem is, our partner sees all of his or her efforts and only your outcome. And angry at not being acknowledged for our efforts. Moreover, self- righteousness is worse than the problem it replaces. Even defensiveness is not as ugly as self-righteousness.

Because self righteousness makes us both angrier and uglier, thus defeating our efforts to be happier and more loving, having a way to avoid it is important. The first way is to be aware that the real issue we are dealing with is feeling unloved. It makes me afraid of rejection. It makes me scared. I feel like a little child. First, just share that; share your fear of not being loved. Second, search for the efforts.

A woman friend of mine had a habit of being late. When I told her she had kept me waiting and the sacrifices I had made to get there on time myself, her natural response was defensiveness. When I spent just. You must have had a load on your hands finishing your workday, getting dinner ready for the children, and dealing with their complaints about being left alone for the evening. The result was appreciation from her, a hug, and me experiencing her love.

And that was what I wanted. Imagine the criticizer being on a movie screen. Avoid the great temptation of distortion. Do this by recalling how much you care when you criticize your partner. This can only be genuine if it emanates from all four constants. These eyes of love are your partners greatest incentive to open up.

Repeat this process until your partner agrees that you both share the same perception of the complaint. Men: Beware of the Faustian deal of silence for sex. In the long run it means less intimacy and less sex. Time for your perspective, but not your own issues yet. Stick with the issues your partner presented. Your partner follows the steps to providing a safe environment. And when we re hurt so much, we don't even want to do that. This can be genuine if it emanates from the Constants.

With them comes a responsibility to keep your partner safe. SI How To Hear Criticism So It Can Easily Bs Given W hen a friend of mine read the title of this chapter, she asked, "If men want help expressing feelings, why don't they just get help—go to a therapist, form a support group, talk with each other—do what women do when they need help? In this deeper respect, neither men nor women have changed: Men are still playing protector of women's transitions, and both sexes expect only men to make transitions on their own. Do we give lip service to wanting men to express feelings and reward men for repressing feelings?

The family, the workplace, the church, the government, the education system. Here's how. But working together is communicating about performing, not communicating about feelings. Sharing instructions about how to perform better for others is very different than sharing feelings about life experiences that make us happy or sad.

Men's pay paid women to love and nurture, to connect and feel. To be nurturer- connectors. In contrast, men received their pay by being some form of killer- protector. By becoming a human doing a captain or a coal miner , not a human being a person who feels happy or sad. Societies in which men are unwilling to dispose of themselves in war were societies that usually got disposed of. Killers, like people who got killed, could not be in touch with their feelings.

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Killers could not be nurturer-connectors. Both sexes had an unconscious investment in keeping men from expressing feelings of fear and vulnerability. Historically, then, a man being a human being was dysfunctional. A human being in touch with his feelings would value himself too much to want a bullet to go through his head in war or to be coughing up coal dust deep in a mine. If we taught men to repress feelings and rewarded him instead for being a captain he might be willing to die to protect us; if we paid him enough to feed his family if he worked in a coal mine, he might be willing to die sooner to keep us warm.

Becoming a human doing was exactly what society needed. However, man's genetic heritage is in conflict with his genetic future. And in the future, women will increasingly want men who can nurture them and connect with them. In the future, women will increasingly want nurturer- connectors, since part of what he will be nurturing is her ability to protect herself. In order to connect and nurture, it is not just helpful to be in touch with feelings, it is necessary.

Because both sexes have an investment in this type of man, the path to changing this is difficult for both sexes. Both sexes became passive-aggressive in different ways. Men got drunk and women got headaches. However, during the past thirty years, the womens movement has supported women to express virtually every feeling women felt.

To other women. To men. To society. Women's feelings were called both education and entertainment. Mens were repressed until they were called ulcers. The truth is that virtually everything conspires against men expressing their feelings. Each internal and external influence tightens the grip of the vise, keeping him emotionally constipated. After the industrial revolution, this intensified: The better a man was at supporting his wife and children, the more disconnected he was from the support of his wife and children.

That was the Fathers Catch The opposite was true of a mother. A mothers role prepared her to love her family by being with the family she loved. We think of the division of labor as befng outdated, but in fact it has reemerged. In the early '80s, a mother was 43 times more likely than the father to leave the workplace for family responsibilities; 2 more recently, a mom is times more likely to leave the workplace for family responsibilities.