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I'll let you in a little revelation about my favorite usernames in my virtual sites. First is about my Mikimoto Angel pen name. Mikimoto is a famous brand of pearl accessories in America. I first saw that brand in Vogue Magazine. I got mesmerized by that label, and I thought of using it. I just added Angel from my name "Angela". Thus, the formation of Mikimoto Angel.

For my other pen name Mystic Nymph, the word mystic really came from the show Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog. I used to be so hooked to that show. I am also obsessed with mythologies, and nymphs are mythical creatures depicted as beautiful young women who are considered as guardians of objects and places in nature. Thus, the evolution of Mystic Nymph.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Confrontation of Mother and Daughter on a Suspicion

Photo courtesy of Look for Diagnosis

Confrontation of Mother and Daughter on a Suspicion
(An Analysis Using Interpersonal Deception Theory and Interactional View)

by Katrina Angela C. Castro
Prof. Antonio Salvador S. de Veyra
March 27, 2008

The Confrontation

The situation is about the confrontation my mother and I had. It happened last year of July when she found out something that I did which she completely disagreed on. She discovered that i joined a sorority because of some apparent evidences.

I stayed in the dorm until Sunday. I was supposed to go home on a Friday. But because our final initiation rites was scheduled on a Saturday, I decided not to go home and to stay in the dorm for two weeks. I tried so hard not to let my parents know about what I was doing.

The week before, I even lied to my parents that I would not be going home because of make-up classes on that Saturday and on Monday, the week after. That was really a hard thing to do-to lie. I was so worried that they might find out that I was just making excuses.

It was already Sunday and I knew very well that my mother got so worried about me because she kept on trying to call me through my friend's number. She wanted me to go home although I already told her that I would be having make-up classes on a Saturday and on Monday, the week after.

My fault was, I texted my mother that I was sick. That was the excuse I made so that i would not be able to go home. But because of that, my mother got even more worried about me. She decide to get me.

I was so weak then because of the bruises I got. I couldn't walk well. I didn't know how to hide my weak state. Before my mother came, I practiced to walk normally so she wouldn't notice. I struggled but I didn't mind it. I was so focused on how to hide that nervousness I was feeling then. I was afraid that it may cause the leak.

When she arrived with my sister, I had a feeling that my mother noticed something was wrong about me. She didn't even speak a word to me. I knew that she was suspicious about the red marks n my face. They were slap marks.

When we reached home, my mother brought me to her room. I was struck with her immediate question, “Nag-apil ka ug sorority noh?” I didn't know how to deny it so I answered, “Ayaw lang saba kay papa ma.”
My father noticed the tension and asked what happened. My mother cried and said, “Tan-awa unsa ilang gihimo sa imong anak!” She pulled my pants down and saw the bruises on my torso.

Everyone in the house was so emotional. I knew that I disappointed my family that much. All of us cried. My parents were mad at me for disobeying and lying to them.

The problem I made affected the whole family. Different realizations and solutions were made after what happened.

The Analysis

Disobedience was the core element why the dilemma took place between my mother as the respondent and I as the deceiver. The deception resulted to different outcomes that affected me and my whole family. The situation involves the Interpersonal Deception Theory and the Interactional View for Analysis.

In the given situation, there are many factors why the deceiver decide to use different strategies of deception. First, the deceiver used concealment by hiding the wrong acts that were actually acts of disobedience.

The moment I decided to join the sorority was the spring board for the actions that happened from the previous actions. I knew very well that my mother doesn't approve to what fraternities and sororities do. She even warned me not to join one. But because of curiosity, I disobeyed her.

It was because of the fear of suspicion why I decided to put everything deliberated. I kept that secret very carefully. I deciphered everything that might happen. Every single detail that I tell my mother was well-rehearsed.

Until instances came that my mother's instincts that there was something going on beyond her knowledge got stronger. Testimonial outside the deceptive communication gave rise to the respondent's suspicion.
In this case, the deceiver used another deception strategy by dodging the issue. This strategy is called equivocation.

Our family friend saw me going with my masters. She told my mother about this. But when she asked me about the matter, I denied everything. I told my mother that they were just merely my friends and I don't have plans of entering their organization.

This could also mean the the deceiver is actually denying. Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud wherein an individual is encountered with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that the given fact is not true despite of what may be overwhelming evidences.

Denial of fact is a form of denial is where someone avoids a fact by lying. This lying can take the form of an outright falsehood (commission), leaving out certain details in order to tailor a story (omission), or by falsely agreeing to something (assent, also referred to as "yesing" behavior). Someone who is in denial of fact is typically using lies in order to avoid facts that they think may be potentially painful to themselves or others (Wikipedia Free Dictionary).

I had been talking a lot about sororities then. That could be an evidence that I was interested with them. My mother could have noticed that. Maybe she knows about it. She just wanted to prove everything herself.
When the deceiver denied the information, she was actually using defense mechanism. This was used to resolve the conflict between its demands for reality. According to Sigmund Freud, the ego uses this method to distort reality and protect itself from anxiety (Santrock, Adolescence 8th Edition).

When somebody outside the deceptive communication brought information to the respondent, the deceiver tried to sustain her image by denying. The deceiver maintained a relationship with the respondent.
It was not easy for the deceiver to manipulate an information successfully. The deceiver must adjust her behavior in response to feedback from the respondent. Characteristics that reflect strategic intent should be prevented.
Strategic deception demands mental effort. The deceiver consciously deals with the multiple complex tasks. Cognitive overload could cause a deceiver to exhibit a nonstrategic display. It is usually in the form of nonverbal behavior.

When dealing with the questions constantly asked by my mother about her acquired knowledge on the matter, I tried to control the bodily cues that might reveal my lies. If not done carefully, the nonverbal signals might cause leakage.

Nonverbal behavior communicates deception. Some of these nonverbal behavior indicate lying. Research shows that deception is communicated by fairly idiosyncratic behaviors and probably as much as verbal communication. Each person may have his own way of communicating deception which depends on personality, motivation, planning and age (Wilson, Hantz, Hanna. Interpersonal Growth Through Communication).

Nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, pupil dilation, blinking and silence are often related to deception. These behaviors are also the acts that I couldn't control whenever I lie to my mother.

If I were my mother, I could have been doubting my daughter's statement because of her unusual behavior. I could have noticed that she was just trying to appear natural. But maybe, I just didn't know that my mother actually thought that way. The most evident act that could tell I was lying was my eye contact. Deceivers have less eye contact because it is an involuntary act caused by consciousness and nervousness.

Eye contact communicates meanings. It regulates interpersonal distance as well. Direct eye contact shortens the distance between two people, while less eye contact increases the distance (Wilson, Hantz, Hanna. Interpersonal Growth Through Communication).

Even eye direction communicates. People who tend to look to the right tend to project and turn against others as a defense mechanism. Those who tend to look left tend to repress and deny things as defense mechanism (Wilson, Hantz, Hanna. Interpersonal Growth Through Communication).

In my case, there may be some instances when my mother doubted my words because I found it hard to look her in the eye. I could even be silent for a moment before I answer her questions. It just goes to show that I was not sure with what to say. Truth-tellers say something right away since they don't have something to hide. But because my mother lacked sufficient information or evidence about the matter, she couldn't point out that my behavior was a sign of deception. It could just strengthen her suspicion.

Another strategy that the deceiver used was the act of falsification. It is done by making the respondent believe that something is going on right even though it is not. It is actually creating a fiction. The deceiver makes up a story to cover a certain act of deception.

When I told my mother that we would be having make-up classes, it is falsification. I said that because I wanted to have her permission not to go home for the whole week. But actually I was just trying to mislead her. I made up a story to gain her consent. I knew then that she would not doubt me because it was a class that I would attending and my presence was supposed to be necessary.

With this deception strategy, I tried to accomplish a specific task. It did work well because my mother believed that I would really have make-up classes. She didn't know that I was just making her believe about something unreal.

Eventually, if not right away, the truth will definitely come out no matter how hard one tries to hide it. What deceivers didn't know is that doubters tend to favor indirect methods to gain more information. If the respondent is uncertain about a fact or an action done, he or she might as well initiate some methods that could be used in pointing out that the suspicion he or she has is actually real.

Humans have a persistent expectation that every individual must tell the truth. This is known as “truth bias”. This means that there is an implied social contract that people will be honest with each other. This expectation on honesty is a cognitive heuristic.

The basic tenet that lying is wrong seems to be universal to all cultures, probably because humans are social animals. To live together in a society one must tell the truth to each other. Since even liars agree that lying is wrong, to the extent that they do not wish to be lied to and to lose their way, there are some remarkable special cases in our society: we justify some lies and are resigned to others.

Since truth always prevails, people can come to doubt the honesty of another's words especially is the instincts get even more stronger. My mother is an example of those who are good at sensing deception. She just worked secretly in finding out about the real thing. Bit by bit, even though she didn't ask for them, signs that something was wrong came.

Maybe I wasn't really meant to join a society that my mother have always disapproved of. I disobeyed her so I must face the consequences of leakage. The truth came out because of a simple statement which made my mother get even more bothered about me. Because of that worry, she decided to get me from the dorm and take me home. The leakage started there.

She noticed the slap marks on my face. She also noticed that I couldn't walk well. Her silence made me feel that her suspicion got higher. That made me reciprocate the mood by asking a lot of questions and cracking up some jokes to mislead her suspicion.

It is true that deceivers are usually the ones who are more successful at sensing suspicion than respondents are at spotting deception. This makes the deceivers think of some strategies to eradicate that suspicion. But usually deceivers fail especially if the respondent insists that something is really wrong. The dilemma causes the deceiver's overall performance to decline. The deceiver might as well pull off the deception.

When my mother confronted me with the question, “Nag-apil ka'g sorority noh?” The truth came out immediately even though I didn't even say a single word. The behavior I exhibited outside my conscious control signaled my dishonesty.

Silence is also an indicator that something is true. The physiological form of silence can be identified through momentary silences in communicative interaction like hesitation, stutters, self-correction, deliberate slowing of speech for the purpose of clarification or mental processing of ideas to elaborate on topics of discussion. This silence type is short and combines internal or mental (psychological) factors in to a physical form of external expression. You couldn't do something else to dodge the issue other than to remain silent.

The intense attempt to control that information my mother wanted to confirm can produce too-slick performances if I still lied. Lying causes psychological arousal that include complex cognitive factors that can tax the brain. It often leads to unintentional nonverbal behaviors.

The tension I felt made me numb. I couldn't do anything but to lower my head and not to speak a word. But later on, I cried and told my mother not to tell my father about what I did. This implied something. My mother's instincts were true. I disappointed her and the whole family.

The predominate emotions that accompanied the deceit I did were guilt and anxiety. I destroyed the expectation my family had for me. I exploited the freedom my parents gave me. Realizations occurred to me and my family after the disaster I brought.

This situation gave rise to a new communication theory called The Interactional View. The trouble I did affected my family. This shows that individuals must be understood within the context of family system.

Adolescents like me make a strong push for independence. As the adolescent pursues autonomy, the wise parent relinquishes control in the areas in which the adolescent makes competent decisions and continues to monitor and guide the adolescent in those areas in which the adolescent is not making mature choices.

It is true that parents should neither be punitive nor aloof from their children, but rather should develop rules and be affectionate be them. An important aspect of a parent's role is to monitor the children. This includes supervising their child's choice of social settings, activities and friends.

There is actually a time when parent-adolescent conflict escalates. This is usually because of distanced values and attitudes. Common conflicts are caused by generation gap. But in my case, it was because of disobedience why the conflict between me and my mother builds. I focused myself on searching for independence and identity. I violated the expectations she had for me.

Viewing the family as a system helps us discern the unique aspects of family relationships that dictate which kinds of communication activities are important in a family.

Just as other systems have interdependent parts, so do families. Interdependence suggests that family members affect and are affected by the actions of other members.

I did a dilemma which affected my family. A lot of dominating emotions rose when they found out what happened to me. The moment they saw the physical injury I had, they cried showing that they were all affected. They were even the ones who were so mad to those who did that to me. What one family member says or does affects what another family member may say or do.

That trial we had made us realize many things. We felt that we really need intimate communication within our family to maintain a healthy relationship.

Each family establishes rules and procedures so that the system can maintain balance. The rules may work well as long as the system is relatively stable. Family emergencies as well as other new situations and challenges push the family out of stability and into situations where procedures and rules may no longer fit. The family may then modify goals and change procedures and rules in order to attain balance.

The quality of information taken from outside the family can have a dramatic effect on how family members communicate and relate.

After the confrontation I had with my parents, everything went to a cooler level. They gave me enough support to make me feel better. The took good care of me. That showed my importance to them no matter how drastic the dilemma brought to them.

Family members are sources of support for each other. They help one another feel important and cared for and to get through times of difficulty.

Support messages lead to higher self-esteem, more conformity to the wishes of their parents, higher moral standards and less aggression and antisocial behavior.

Meaningful communication in family relationships requires family members to develop a deeper understanding of each other than they might normally attain in other types of relationship. This kind of understanding is often referred to as empathy. Empathy means seeing a person's world from his or her point of view. It means attempting to understand the person's emotions, too.

Unconditional positive regard is valuing a person for who they are regardless of what they do. It is a powerful tool for promoting self-esteem within a family.

Every individual is stuck with his family for the rest of his life. That was what I felt the moment I had the confrontation with my parents. Even though I felt a little bit mad at them for giving me punishments, I still thought that if I leave them I will be lost. I'm trapped in a no-place-to-go situation. They are the ones who will take me no matter what.

Openness to change is an essential quality of effective family communication.


Santrock, John. Adolescence 8th Edition. New York: Mc Graw Hill Companies Inc., 2001

Martin, Judith. Nakayama, Thomas. Intercultural Communication in Contexts. California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1997

Wilson, Hantz, Hanna. Interpersonal Growth Through Communication. USA: WM.C Brown Communications Inc., 1985

“Denial”. ONLINE, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial. March 26, 2008

“Interpersonal Deception Theory”. ONLINE, http://afirstlook.com. March 19, 2008

“The Interactional View”.ONLINE, http://afirstlook.com. March 19, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Fact of the Matter and the Matter of the Fact

What is the difference between the fact of the matter and the matter of the fact?

That question puzzled the minds of everyone who attended Professor Emeritus Gemino H. Abad's Centennial lecture about sense for language last Friday, February 29, 2008. I would have to agree that it was definitely a mind-boggling one.

To further explain it, let us first define fact and matter. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that fact is something that exists or simply, a piece of information while matter is a subject of interest or concern.

We could say that both really have a difference when their order in the sentence structure is interchanged.

The noun fact functions often as an inexact name for an idea, a hope, a wish, or some other vaguely conceived “thing” and often simply as a grammatical placeholder stuck into the sentence until the speaker or writer can figure out a destination and a way to approach it. The fact of the matter means the truth about something that is talked about. It is the actual existence of something of great significance. The main concern of this phrase is the real proposition on a controversial issue. We dig deeper on the fact, not on the matter.

The matter of the fact means the controversies behind the existing knowledge. We delve deeper on the issues a fact is raising. We talk about the circumstances a particular issue has.

Both phrases have their own functions even though they have exactly the same word. But if you change their structure, their meanings will definitely be changed.
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