Sotto's mixed messages are sowing confusion
A mixed message is one that frequently occurs in relationships and can cause much pain and strife. A dictionary meaning defines this type of message as one “in which a person is receiving verbal or nonverbal cues that seem to contradict each other.”
In my clinical practice, I often hear mixed messages that include:
A wife who has been caught cheating online, apologizes profusely, swears she will never do it again and will be open about everyone she chats with online. Yet she refuses to give her husband her password.
Another is a suitor telling the woman he’s pursuing: “I love it when you call me. Please feel free to do so anytime – the more often, the better.” She believes him but when she does call, he accuses her of being “ too needy.”
Mixed messages can also be delivered by people you do not know personally, but read about in the papers. A recent example was when Fr Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family Life, announced a truce in the fight against the RH Bill in the light of massive floods and rains. That was Message 1.
But he added Message 2: “Nothing happens by accident. Di ko alam bakit ganito, wala namang bagyo (I don’t know why it’s like this when there’s no storm).”
A cynic might say calling a truce on discussing the RH Bill then blaming the heavy rain on the decision of Congress to end debates on it is just another example of the contradictions the CBCP lives and works by.
While not everyone may agree with the above, surely anyone, whether pro- or anti-RH, will realize that Castro’s words are not those of a consistent thinker.
One response to a mixed message is calling it for what it is. Another is to answer one absurdity with another like, “Perhaps the heavy rain was God shedding tears of joy that the vote was so decisively pro-RH.”
Perhaps a good reaction to the claim that God shows displeasure via bad weather is to remind people that the rains were still heavy enough to cancel Senator Tito Sotto’s planned contra en punto last Wednesday, August 8.
Speaking of which, Sotto’s continuation of his contra en punto on Wednesday, August 15, also had several mixed messages. I will focus on just 4 of the most obvious ones:
First, Sotto started his speech by criticizing former Health Secretary Dr Esperanza Cabral’s statements on the death of his son, claiming that it was unfortunate that the RH debate had come to this.
But the only reason the RH debate included comments about his son’s death is that he brought it up in the first place.
If Sotto’s speech were not subjective, illogical, and in parts untrue, then respected scientists like Cabral would not have needed to present his comments with a clear, scientific perspective it needed, and in such a way our people deserved.
Second, Sotto further stated that foreigners have different cultures, experiences and traditions, and needs. Who are they to dictate to us?
But later in his speech he quotes foreign authors to “prove” his points. In his previous speech on August 13, Sotto again used an American as his major source. This was a US-based blogger called Sarah, the healthy home economist. I am unsure if her status as economist is accurate or mere wishful thinking.
Third, he challenged critics to answer him, point by point, and yet, when they did, he criticized them for doing so on Facebook and Twitter.
Since ordinary Filipinos do not have the same opportunity to make privilege speeches covered by the press, Twitter and Facebook are two of the most immediate ways to comment on his points.
Fourth, he questioned the credibility and trustworthiness of the sources used by the sponsors of the bill.
It thus beggars belief that one of the first sources he used to bolster his arguments was his own wife and his mother.
But that is what users of mixed messages can do. At the very least, they confuse their listeners. But they can also betray those to whom these messages are directed.
Such betrayal can only occur if the listeners are unaware of the inconsistencies inherent in messages. Sadly, the messengers themselves may be unaware of their own inconsistencies.
But if the messenger knows what he’s doing, he is most likely a manipulative and untrustworthy cad. If the messenger does not, then maybe he should be discouraged -- even stopped -- from making decisions that affect the lives of millions of people. – Rappler.com
Dr Margarita Holmes is a psychologist, author and educator. She served as consultant in government and non-government organizations like the Population Center Foundation and the Department of Health. She maintains a website at margaritaholmes.com.