Does anyone here have issues with their approach to written communication and a 'matter of fact' view of the world causing people to think they don't have feelings for other people?
The written word has always been my preferred means of communication because it's the only way in which I can 'speak' without interruption and get my message across, having first of all researched my facts, marshaled my thoughts and formulated (I hope) a cogent and coherent account or story. People have often told me, on other forums I've used over the years, that I come across as aloof and high-minded. Perhaps this is because, in writing, I have complete control. Also... importantly, I think... I can't be seen. Anonymity is crucial to me in this respect. I don't know why, exactly - but possibly because, in some ways, a 'truer' me comes out in writing; I'm always afraid that the actual flesh-and-blood me is something much less than. I don't have to wear masks to make up for my deficiencies when I'm writing. Unless you want to argue that anonymity in itself is a mask. Writing, generally, is done at a distance - as a form of communication. And it demands the total attention of the recipient. This is something I can rarely command in conversation.
Also, in writing, I can make use of rhetorical devices that most often desert me in the to and fro of actual conversation: figurative language, allusion, ambiguity, etc. People are often shocked - possibly disappointed - when they meet me after having read my writing. For a few years, I published fiction and poetry on a writers' website. The organisation which ran it used to have quarterly meetings in London, where site users could get together for readings. I went a few times. People were often, I think, surprised when they met me to find this nervous, shy, hesitant wallflower. It didn't seem to add up. And then, when I got up and read out a story or poem, things changed. The spotlight was on me and me alone. And I was delivering my words, which I'd thought long and hard about and crafted. It was like a transformation. I'd then come back to the table and I could tell sometimes that people were either puzzled or surprised. It was like they were seeing two different people: the private one and the public one. Except that the usual ideas about these things were reversed. The private one was the one that had been up at the microphone. The public one was the one hiding back in the corner.
Perhaps I do come across as... well, not so much unfeeling (I hope), but logical and matter-of-fact in writing. Perhaps, too, I come across as aloof and high-minded, as others have said. Maybe that's partly because the word is the only real weapon I have at my disposal. It isn't a bad weapon to have, really. I've spoken at great length on other posts about my relationship with my sister-in-law. She's, among other things, a narcissist. She's controlling, manipulative, devious. In conversations, she's always dominant - even in large groups. She's forthright and uncompromising in her views and ways of expressing them. A disagreement over something is never just that. If you disagree with her, you declare war on her. You attack her Achille's Heel, which is her deep-seated (obvious to everyone except her) insecurity. She always reduces me to rubble in such situations. She knows exactly how to pull my strings, to wrong-foot me, to put me - blabbering and incoherent - into submission. In our few written exchanges, though - usually following a spat which has led to a period of non-communication - I get my own back. I hold the upper hand. I have the fluency, the arguments, the facts. She has no defence that way. And she's often said, on such occasions, 'I'm never quite sure how to take your meaning.' Because I can dress up an insult as a compliment, a put-down as a plaudit, etc. In writing, she fears me greatly. In person, I'm easily bested.
Martian Tom, in my opinion you always come across as very eloquent, patient, pragmatic and with feeling.
I don't know where to hide my face! Thanks!