11 August, 2008

Is there anything more irritating .......

.......than an indifferent shrug of the shoulders ?

The Wikipedia defines a Shrug as a form of nonverbal communication that is performed by lifting both shoulders up, and is an indication of an individual either not knowing an answer to a question, or not caring about a result. It may be accentuated with raised eyebrows and/or an exaggerated frown.

Well, throw in a twisted mouth too – twisted into inordinately difficult expressions that convey that the “expression bearer” thinks that you’re making a mountain out of a molehill !!

That combination is very difficult to beat.

That combination is an instant success story for the perpetrator.

That combination is extremely difficult to ignore.

That combination chafes and grates on the nerves.

That combination evokes a surefire reaction of irritation.

And somewhere along the way, the elder sibling has indeed figured that out.

And of late, this combination is being used to the fullest and it unfailingly evokes a response.

To her credit, I have to say that she is a very sensible kid and it is not often that I see this happening. For the most part, she is a very nice kid and a very well mannered and well behaved one at that. But those “once in a while” times when she really wants to get on my nerves, when she’s hell bent on irritating the living daylights out of me, she knows that she has an extremely dependable weapon in her armory.

I’ve been wondering, of late, as to why this gets to me so ?

What is it about that indifferent shrug of the shoulder that makes me abandon what little zen I’ve managed to muster in about 8 years of parenting ?

What is it about that shrug that riles me so ?

I honestly have no idea. Maybe that “Shrug n Mouth Twist” combo is indeed my Achilles Heel. But I do know that it does make me sharpen just about all the available pencils in the house.
(For people who are wondering what the connection is between me getting irritated and me sharpening pencils – well, it is a quirk of mine. I sharpen pencils to destress.)

I wonder if this is an inkling of a “generation gap”. What is considered a perfectly natural response by the kids of today is something that the previous generation may find irritating.

Or is it the basic message that a shrug sends out – in saying “I don’t care what you think”.

Or is it the fact that any action feels as if it is being bestowed upon the parent as an act of goodwill or a favor when it is accompanied by the said “Shrug and Twisted Mouth”.

I honestly don’t know.

This is something I am yet to figure out. Or maybe it is just another quirk of mine. Getting irritated by something as simple as an “indifferent shrug of the shoulder”.

Has it ever happened with any of you ? Are there any particular actions or words or habits or types of behavior that really irritate and ire you ?

Carl Gustav Jung once said

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

Well, the "understanding oneself" bit sure has not happened with me. Not yet !!

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6 voice(s) said so:

mummyjaan said...
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mummyjaan said...

My older one hasn't got to the shrug stage yet, Gauri.

But she sure as hell has it figured out, at the age of nearly-5, that "If I do x, y, or z, it annoys Mum, and that's FUN".

I have fallen into her traps a number of times: she does something forbidden deliberately to irk me, and I obediently get irritated. I think perhaps I should use more presence of mind and NOT show her my annoyance when she acts up. Dunno. Just learning a little bit every day. 'Parenting' is a big muddle for me. Some days I think I get it right, some days I don't.
Oh well. *shrugs

Altoid said...

There are certain mannerisms, phrases that rile me as well. One of them was "Its your problem, not mine" and that used to get me all worked up cos I felt it was such an insensitive way of fobbing off responsibility. And the other is the rolling eyes and indicating one is cuckoo in the middle of a conversation or trying to make a point.

And I have realised now that the first one makes me angry, because I feel very left out when someone says that. That I am on my own in solving the said problem. I've learnt to let it affect me less, these days. The second one, it is my understanding, I feel riled up about it because while the person doing it is trying the dismiss the issue probably because what I am saying is right and s/he doesnt want to accept it.

G, sometimes, growing up, its inherent in kids wanting to establish their ways and they find ways to make you react(sometimes negatively so). Its quite natural, and its definitely not with ill intention. So learn to ignore it when you know it isnt harmless.


Gauri said...

Mummyjaan : Oh Yes ! Parenting is such a pendulum, isn't it ?

Altoid : It is not as much as the "learning to ignore" part that bothers me. It's just that when I can ignore a lot of other mannerisms, why is it that "the shrug" gets to me so much. That's the mystery for me :)

Suma said...

i have 11 yr old and i so know hat you are talking about...:(

and then i feel bad after i've lost my temper that why did i not just ignore it? in my case, i think he uses it as a weapon esp when things are not his liking, because he knows it annoys me...

B o o said...

A post after my own heart, G! If Zen people like you can lose it, think about us mere mortals!! I really have to get some pencil sharpeners pronto! Ashu is not there yet but shes surely getting there. she has this ANNOYING way of saying No. A "no" as if I was an idiot to have asked that question! Mostly when I ask her if she wants to eat this or that! I dont care if she eats or not but dont give me that attitude you little brat! Grrr....