One of my closest friends growing up had a tic that made him involuntarily shake his head as if a fly was buzzing around him. Those of us who knew him understood to just ignore it, but hanging out with him in public meant a never-ending stream of explaining, or people looking around for bugs that didn't exist. One woman thought he was feverishly disagreeing with her and took offense to it. For people with tics - especially facial tics - your days can sometimes be full of sending nonverbal signals that you don't mean to send, and then having to explain it over and over. One Reddit user has a tic that makes her smile when she's feeling emotional tension - and it's been seriously affecting her relationship.
Unfortunately, the girls boyfriend keeps responding to her tick as if it's something she is doing on purpose and it's causing some serious issues. Here is her original post:
I (23F) have a tic that causes me to smile during inappropriate times. This has been triggering fights with my boyfriend (24M)
I involuntarily smile during inappropriate times since I've been a teenager. It happens during very tense moments. For example, when I've been in therapy and have talked about having suicidal thoughts, I grin uncontrollably.
It's especially bad when people are angry with me, and it has caused fights to escalate in the past between me and people I am close to. I will smile when apologizing to my boyfriend of 8 months or when he is yelling at me, and I cannot stop unless I put my hands over my mouth. It makes him question my sincerity and confuses him. He will do things to antagonize me like laugh in my face when I am telling him how I feel because he thinks I am lying about not being able to help it.
I know that people misread my emotional expressions, which is why I prefer to have intense conversations over the phone, but my boyfriend wants to talk in person when he is upset. I have been in therapy for a while, but it hasn't helped with the smiling and I am at a loss for what to do.
tl;dr I smile uncontrollably when my boyfriend is angry at me, but I can't convince him that it's not intentional. How do I come off as sincere when we are having arguments?
Edit: Sorry, I don't have the time to respond to everyone's comments, but I appreciate the outpouring of support! I'm reading every one and will try and post an update in the next week or so.
Reddit didn't hold back with their responses. Here are some of the most honest reactions we found - edited for language and clarity when needed.
Like A HyenaGiphy
Laughter and smiling as a response to stress or trauma are pretty common.
I laugh like a hyena when I'm in pain. Its a thing, it is known.
Your boyfriend sounds like a jerk though, antagonizing you and making fun of you to your face, that's not a nice thing.
Change Your Boyfriend
If you can't change your behavior, you can always change your boyfriend. Your problem is pretty unusual, but it's a failure of empathy on his part that he can't get past that is a known issue you have, and even mocks and antagonizes you for it. Imagine if you had a limp, and everytime you couldn't keep up with him in public he yelled at you to go faster, caricatured how you walked, and punished you for not being capable of walking without one. Would you tolerate that? If you saw someone else doing that to someone, would you think the guy was a gigantic douchebag?
If you're doing everything in your power to correct or prevent your smiling from happening, he doesn't really get to react the way he does. As he does it anyway, I think what we have here is an implacable incompatibility between you two.
Give A Heads Up
I have this problem it's really hard to control. My mom has hit me because if it as a child, cause to her i was laughing at her while she was angry at me.
So now i cry uncontrollably or laugh when very nervous, no inbetween lol. I remember smiling like an idiot when my husband was going through a rough time but i was upset with him not laughing! He didn't notice i hid it well. Hands on face and looking away usually helps.
What i do is i preemptively say that I'm gonna smile if i feel it coming but reassure the person i am not laughing. I feel so bad when it happens that it makes it worse!!
Just A QuirkGiphy
I have a smile tic also. Funerals are the worst for me because I can't stop smiling, or if something bad is happening I will laugh. I believe it is to do with anxiety and not being sure how to react, so you smile to alleviate the stress (I read this somewhere - can't find source).
However, onto the question: I think a partner should always be on your side. My partner knows about my nervous smiling and he understands it - it's just a quirk of mine. The fact your boyfriend is shouting at you and mocking you by smiling in your face when discussing serious matters is awful and you do not have to put up with this - I would never be with someone who mocks and gets angry at things I cannot control. You deserve better.
UPDATE: Some Examples
I have said that, but he has done things like laugh at me or make a hand motion to signal that he's not listening to me.
And when I say "can you not interrupt me when I'm talking to mock me? It hurts my feelings and makes me feel disrespected."
He said "I can't help it"
And then I said "really? You can't help interrupting me to laugh?"
And he said, "Your viewpoint is so ridiculous that it's impossible not to laugh. You're being hypocritical for mocking me for something I can't control."
Ok, your boyfriend straight up doesn't trust you. If someone tells you they have an uncontrollable tic, and then demonstrates that tic repeatedly you have 2 options: Believe them or decide that they are super manipulative and lying so they have an excuse to be a sarcastic asshole to your face and not suffer consequences. Your bf chose #2. That, him laughing at you when you're vulnerable, and the fact you've had enough screaming matches in 8 months for this to be an issue all tells me this is a toxic relationship.
Have More Respect For YourselfGiphy
Dude, and it's only been 8 months? This guy is a douche to the tenth degree. I have been with my husband for 11 years and he has never treated me this way. You guys are supposed to be in your early young love phase and he already treats you with such disdain and resentment? Please have more respect for yourself. There are guys out there who aren't complete self centered douches to their girlfriends. A partner who loves you would see you as a partner, not as somebody to compete with or tear down. The fact that he seems to relish in mocking you is so concerning. He lacks empathy. Omg. You are breaking my heart over here. You could do so much better. :(
He Thinks You're A Liar
I do the same thing. It's actually not uncommon. It often makes people angrier and they'll sometimes ask, "Do you think it's funny? Do you?" and it makes them escalate.
I don't think it's funny at all. In fact, sometimes I'm fucking terrified. But I can't control that stupid, smirking grin. Neither can my brother. We both have it, and when we'd get in trouble simultaneously as kids, mom would be furious because we're grinning at her when she's trying to discipline us. It's a really shitty deal.
A major issue here is that people feel disrespected by our facial expressions when it's something we can't really control. I have to focus on controlling my face when I should be listening to the other person. Your boyfriend feels disrespected when you do this, so he thinks the appropriate response is to disrespect you. He also thinks you're a liar.
That's something you should look at here. Even when my mom felt disrespected by my brother and I, because we're smiling, she didn't respond by disrespecting us. And even though she still finds it upsetting or unnerving when it happens, we've had enough talks that she believes me when I say that it's not a reflection of my feelings or opinion on the situation.
You still have a problem because of that tic, but your boyfriend is also an actual problem here: because he thinks you're a liar, and because he thinks an appropriate response to feeling disrespected is to antagonize and mock you. That's not how a loving partner behaves. So... I really think you should dump him.
Something I do sometimes is, when I'm dating someone, if I'm nervous or scared in a situation but I'm smiling, I'll admit out loud to how I feel-- and sometimes, that opens the conversation to the fact that my smiling doesn't mean I'm happy or flippant. But that's something to consider for future dating experience. I really think your current boyfriend is just a legitimate as$hole.
I have Tourette's, which comes with lots of involuntary tics, some of which are inappropriate facial expressions. I used to have the grinning tic you have.
Your boyfriend is ignorant, and he has to learn the hard way that you're not joking about your condition. I've dealt with assholes like him before - people who think it's all in your head and you can control it if you just have more willpower. I got a cashier fired years ago for cornering me and lecturing me about how I just had a "lazy mind" for not "controlling" my tics. I'm telling you now, he will never just come around and start believing you.
Also, talk therapy won't ever make a tic go away. I'd recommend talking to either a psychiatrist or a neurologist to get some more solid answers, you may have a tic disorder. Even if you don't, you shouldn't apologize for it, it's nothing you can control.
Not What Love Looks LikeGiphy
My wife has a really hard time talking during arguments and while it really upsets me I always tel her it makes me angry she isn't saying anything but that I love her and need for her to try to talk to me. And even though it's hard she tries and talks and I wait and stop talking until she's ready. That's what love looks like, not what you're doing with this fella.
History is full of infamous disasters one can't imagine experiencing in their lifetimes.
The same can probably be said of our ancestors if they became privy to some of the horrific events that have occurred in our modern era.
Which are the most frightening?
That is exactly what Redditor dat_b_o_i asked strangers on the internet in the subReddit titled:
"What is an terrifying historical fact that you know?"
Remnants from the past still pose risks.
"There is a missing hydrogen bomb somewhere off the beach where my family vacations..."
"Tybee Island AKA Savannah Beach"
'The Tybee Island mid-air collision was an incident on February 5, 1958, in which the United States Air Force lost a 7,600-pound (3,400 kg) Mark 15 nuclear bomb in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia, United States. During a practice exercise, an F-86 fighter plane collided with the B-47 bomber carrying the bomb. To protect the aircrew from a possible detonation in the event of a crash, the bomb was jettisoned. Following several unsuccessful searches, the bomb was presumed lost somewhere in Wassaw Sound off the shores of Tybee Island.'
"when the USSR collapsed, multiple nuclear weapons and boxes full of vials of smallpox were lost."
– User Deleted
Nuclear Weapons Gaffe
"Since 1950, there have been 32 'Broken Arrow' incidents, out of which 6 of these warheads were not recovered or accounted for. It remains unknown how many such incidents the Soviet Union had."
"Sleep well tonight, my friends."
These fascinating historical facts might be unfamiliar to most people.
"The dancing plague of 1518, or dance epidemic of 1518, was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (modern-day France), in the Holy Roman Empire from July 1518 to September 1518. Somewhere between 50 and 400 people took to dancing for weeks."
Kids In Battle
"during the paraguayan war, paraguay sent 3500 poorly armed children between 9 to 15 yo, wounded soldiers and old men to face brazilian army (20 thousand men), because most of paraguayan combatants were killed. the date of this battle is now children's day in Paraguay."
The Next Step Could Be Your Last
"Near Mt St Helens, in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and before the volcano erupted in 1980, there were areas where you were not allowed off the footpaths. This was because Douglas Firs, which can reach 200ft, were buried in ash in prior eruptions, then rotted away. So you could step on a relatively thin layer of old ash, break through, and fall any number of feet into what amounted to a crevasse or a well."
The following examples depicted some of the most disturbing ways people have perished.
"A lot of sailors survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but were trapped in their sunken ships. There was no way to rescue them. People had to listen helplessly to the men banging on the inside of the hulls for days until they gradually went quiet."
"Humanity's Greatest Horrors"
"I went to the Killing Fields and was depressed beyond belief but also became intensely aware of the significance of being at the site of one of humanity's greatest horrors."
Ominously Beautiful Locale
"This reminds me very much of the suicide cliffs in Saipan. Wild story. Basically during World War Two, Saipan was occupied by the Japanese. When word got out that the United States army was coming to the island the Japanese soldiers began telling everyone that Americans will come eat them."
"The people of Saipan and Japanese living there started to throw themselves off these cliffs with their children and families. I forget the exact number but it was a massive amount of people."
"Here is a link"
"While I was working in Saipan it was a crazy place to be. There is a wall with a ton of names on it as a memorial to those who died. Incredibly beautiful scenery with just a horrible past."
"in the warsaw ghettos they would pile up body’s of people that might have not even been dead. someone who collapsed could have been tossed to the side and be covered with other bodies, slowly crushing them and suffocating them. until they did actually die."
The thread was full of some of the most frightening events in history that still haunts many people today.
These appalling and horrific events reinforce the significance of why we should learn from our past so as to never experience what previous generations have suffered.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
Fame is one of those things people tend to want until they have it - or that people shy away from entirely because they understand how sideways it tends to go.
But what about people who end up famous after their deaths? Or who managed to get more famous from the afterlife?
Reddit user GCanuck asked:
"Which historically famous person do you think would be most surprised to learn they are famous?"
If your mind immediately went to that Vincent Van Gogh scene from Dr. Who then 1. you're a nerd (me too!) and 2. you're not alone.
Here's what Reddit had to say.
The Little Painter FellowVan Gogh Reaction GIF by GIF IT UPGiphy
"Vincent van Gogh."
"His paintings made billions of dollars for rich people, but couldn't trade a painting for a meal during his lifetime. Had to be supported by his brother."
"It’s amazing how many pieces he created in such a short time considering how unsuccessful he was in selling them while alive. He kept banging them out despite his 'failure'.”
"He was encouraged to paint as part of his therapy/rehabilitation. He was a pretty disturbed guy, and not in a romantic way."
"Have you ever seen the Doctor Who episode about him?"
"This is what actually prompted this question for me."
"Most of the world has read your diary."
"Wait...All of my diary?"
"Her Father censored some of it because she talks about her body and other things, I can't really blame him for that. Modern prints are uncensored."
"She’d have been thrilled, but I don’t think surprised is the right word. She dreamed of being a published author. She knew that she was creating something valuable and important with her diary, and she wanted it to be published."
"I wonder what she'd think of her diary being turned into a stage play including a Broadway run and thousands of young girls doing their best to recreate all the different facets both good and bad of how she acted during her time in the Annex."
Herman The Whalebart simpson episode 3 GIFGiphy
"He had a few early successes with seafaring books, but Moby-Dick was a total flop that got bad reviews, and he spent the final decades of his life working in the customs department."
"He would be shocked to hear he wrote the Great American Novel."
"My boyfriend is from New Bedford, MA. Apparently the local high schools there had big murals depicting scenes from Moby Dick." "
*That* would have amazed Melville."
"Dude, that's the best part. You never know what's coming next. It's like:"
"45 pages of unintentionally hilarious interactions between Ishmael and Queequeg."
"30 pages of incredible, brooding drama written in stage play format for some reason."
"100 page essay about some minor technical details about whaling and how some village built their chieftain's hall out of a whale's ribcage."
"Another 20 pages of Ahab chewing the scenery and embodying mankind's self-destructive obsessions"
"Then Queequeg speaking his last words but then deciding he doesn't want to die yet and miraculously springing back to life."
"Like the ocean itself, you have to accept that Moby Dick moves at its own pace lol"
We, In Fact, Did Not Forget
"Hegelochus, an actor who mispronounced a word in a play in the year 408 BC and was mocked so thoroughly for it, his mistake has made it into the collective ledger of things historians know about and generally agree upon having happened… and we're still aware of it over 2,400 years later."
"Imagine making a meme today with a word misspelled, and others found that misspelling so egregiously mockable that you are still known for it in the year 4422."
" 'Oh come on get over it. No one will remember about that by tomorrow' -Hehelochus’ mom probably"
"He must have went to sleep running the moment in his head over and over again, but he probably tried to comfort himself by thinking, 'well, at least it's not like some space-age hyper-futuristic society is going to be discussing this thousands of years from now on their magic boxes powered by lightning in some language that doesn't even exist yet'."
"This is the worst nightmare of everyone that has been told to stop worrying because no one will pay as much attention to what you're doing as you."
"Counter point: Hegelochus."
"Kafka. Rarely published in his lifetime, and when he did it was in obscure magazines which nobody read."
"Explicitly asked that his works be destroyed after his death. It's only because his executor disregarded his wishes and published his unfinished works (which comprise the majority of his oeuvre) that he is famous today."
"Kafka is a good example of how much can anxiety ruin a person's life"
"Kafka wrote his stories to be shared with a group of friends like story-telling at a campfire"
"Blind Willie Johnson."
"He passed away blind, poor and sick, lying in the ruins of his house after it was burnt down."
"And his song 'Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground' left our solar system not too long ago aboard the Voyager to be listened to by life among the stars."
"I really like to think one day-thousands and thousands of years in the future, an alien race will find that golden disk and hear his voice."
"I think the fact he had such a poor life but could one day live eternally amongst the stars is so beautiful."
"Found out about him through a VSauce video."
"I listened to a couple songs and really liked them, he had a great voice and had a great talent for playing guitar despite being blind. Such a humbling and inspiring story he had"
"I remember learning about this in a Vsauce video and crying profusely afterwards, but not only from sadness, also from hope, and some other emotions I can’t possibly describe."
"The fact that he died at the lowest of lows, blind, sick, poor, and alone, yet he very well could be the man that teaches the stars about the very essence of humanity… there’s just something so intrinsically beautiful about that."
"Humanity, flawed as it is, is as intrinsically kind and beautiful as it is evil. The world forgets that sometimes."
Other Madonnamona lisa oh no you didnt GIFGiphy
"Lisa Gherardini, the Mona Lisa model."
"She was just some unremarkable random wife. Fast forward a few hundred years and she ended up as one of the most recognizable faces in history."
"HER NAMES NOT EVEN MONA LISA?!"
" 'Monna' was a shortening of the Italian word 'madonna', which was the equivalent of the English 'Madam'."
Honor Well Pass Death
"This is the dead body they used in Operation Mincemeat."
"The man basically consumed rat poison to commit suicide."
"His corpse was then used for a British secret operation to carry fake documents for the Nazis to find in order to make them think they were invading Greece and not Sicily."
"This man died in a alleyway and went on the become a dedicated Major in the British military buried with full military rites - under his fake name, but still him in physical form."
"He was originally buried under his covert identity (in Spain where his body washed ashore after being deposited in the sea nearby by a Royal Navy submarine), Major William Martin of the Royal Marines."
"In 2009 or thereabouts his real name (Glyndwr Michael) was added to his gravestone."
"I thought he died of tuberculosis so it’d be more convincing he was a British serviceman who drowned? Or maybe that was the guy used to make the Nazis think the Allies were invading Calais instead of Normandy."
"It was rat poison but it's not clear if it was a suicide."
"The poison was in the form of a paste that would be smeared on pieces of bread; rodents eat the bread, rodents die. Or in this case; poor Welshman eats the bread, poor Welshman dies."
"It's not clear whether he knew the paste was poison, or whether he was just hungry and thought he genuinely found some bread lying around."
"Where the confusion comes in is that the guy in charge of Mincemeat claimed the body was that of a young man who died of pneumonia, and that the parents had given permission for his body to be used as it was."
A Real Hero
"A literal hero of humanity who in some ways is still alive."
"Her family deserved so much better though."
"Can I get a short version? I don't think I've heard of her before"
"Her contribution to science is and continues to be gigantic"
Laws Of Inheritance
"Gregor Mendel, the monk and scientist who experimented with pea plant traits to describe what we today literally call Mendelian inheritance."
"The significance of Mendel's findings, which he published in 1866, went almost completely unrecognized during his life and after his death. His work was only rediscovered in the early 1900s when modern ideas about inheritance and selection started taking hold."
"I can differ there. When he first stated his theory, he was sure it was correct (as it was) but was rejected. I can imagine him not being surprised at the fact that his work was re recognised as right later down the line"
"It's entirely possible you're correct and Mendel suspected that someday he'd be proved right. At the same time, however, he spent decades after his discovery trying and failing to elicit interest from the academic public or individual biologists, and retired from science to become a monastery administrator, which looks a lot like 'giving up'."
Okay, so we learned some interesting history today. How about you?
Don't you love a good myth?
Let's put some of NSFW ones to the test.
RedditorWizzlyG33wanted to hear about what lies need to be exposed when it comes to sex, death and all things over the top in life. They asked:
"If MythBusters had a NSFW episode, what would you want to see on it?"
Oh JamieSeason 1 Love GIF by OutlanderGiphy
"A five second segment where Jamie points at a diagram and says, in complete deadpan, 'This is where the clitoris is.'"
"If they did such an episode, I could see this being in it for sure."
"I want them to purchase every pill they see on the internet that would make their penis bigger and see what happens."
"I think we can call that one BUSTED already. In what version of any world can you imagine there is a simple pill to make your junk more impressive and every dude you know doesn't already have a case of 10000 pills stashed under the bed?"
"Can you actually get an STD from a toilet seat?"
"This is an interesting thing actually. It was a myth deliberately perpetuated to make people less ashamed of asking for STD tests."
"Fun fact: There are multiple STDs that can be dormant (like inactive) for years. Like several years."
"You’d never know you had gotten it. Then something triggers it, maybe an infection or something, and then you start showing symptoms/Can now test positive. So technically a partner from years before could have given it to you and you either think your SO is cheating or haven’t been with anybody in a long time. Either way it’s scary when you think about it."
"Does a person really stay conscious for a few moments after beheading?"
"There was a French physician who tested this in the early 1900s. After a criminal was beheaded he picked up the head and shouted the criminal's name. The guy opened his eyes and made eye contact with the physician over a period of 30 seconds whenever his name was called. Edit: I provided the source in other comments but here it is on the original comment."
Theorieslooking down homer simpson GIFGiphy
"Size correlates to what? Feet? Nose? So many theories."
"I have size 12 feet and a massive nose and huge hands and the little guy is small."
Oh the lies and the rumors and the shade.
More is MoreSeth Meyers Dancing GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"They did prove that women with larger breasts will get more tips. Which isn’t really not safe for work, because Kari literally was working at a coffee shop."
"If breast enlargements will help your job would you be able to write them off on your taxes?"
"How deep underwater are you still able to orgasm?"
"Pretty sure there's no lower limit. When you're underwater, your body is under pressure, but for the most part doesn't actually get compressed. Only your air spaces (lungs, sinuses, inner ears) are really subject to compression from ambient water pressure. There can be painful exceptions like air pockets inside a tooth filling, which I do not recommend experiencing."
"Most of your body is water or various solids, which push back on the ambient water pressure. You prostate shouldn't be blocked by water pressure any more than your bladder is. Source: am old scuba diver, I've done all kinds of things a hundred feet underwater. At that depth the ambient pressure is 4 bar, which in olden-tymes units is nearly 60 pounds per square inch. Also: fish do it underwater, doesn't seem to stop them."
"Does pineapple make your semen taste better?"
"Post orgasm clarity: How much better can you solve puzzles or remember something?"
"Well, recently I did a lot of reaction time tests on humanbenchmark.com and while normally I get average of around 140-145, after a good O I consistently got around 130-135, very often getting single clicks close to 120 which almost never happens in other cases. And it's weird because I feel more tired but apparently my reaction time improves for some reason."
Safety FirstSafety Helmet GIF by Just SecondsGiphy
"A take on the top ten OSHA violations list to see if they are as dangerous as they say."
"Safety regulations are written in blood."
Well that is a ton of great suggestions. Let's work on it.
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Many people value solitude, and having time to themselves.
For others though, loneliness can be a crippling feeling.
Having no one to talk to or spend time with can get wearying after an extended amount of time.
Something many people know more than ever after the global pandemic hit in spring of 2020.
But while some people simply succumb to being lonely, others will find ways to help them cope with, if not completely forget, being all alone.
Redditor No_Blackberry_6286 was curious to hear the different ways people have of coping with their loneliness, leading them to ask:
"Reddit, how do you cope with loneliness?"
Make the most with what makes you happy
"I've learned to enjoy my own company and focus on my hobbies."
"Funny enough, this gives me stuff to talk about when I am around people."
Voices in the background
"Listening to people talk on YouTube so I feel less alone in my house."
Millions of friends, just one click away.
"Chat with random people on Reddit."internet computer GIFGiphy
Still figuring it out
"I don't I'm f*cking miserable."- Savathunh
"I don't :("- __MashedPotatoes__·
Get my body movin'
"It makes me feel better about myself and I have something to do alone."- DerpBread69Gym Working Out GIF by Chance The RapperGiphy
Who says I need to?
"I love solitude."- Befuddled_GenXer
"I become one with loneliness."- thenewyorkofficesolitude GIFGiphy
Hit the snooze button
"Sleep 12+ hours a day."- RockandRoll682
Instant tension and relief
"Lots of arguing online about sh*t I don't care about at all, just to have some form of social interaction, and get off at least 3 times a day."-
There are very few worse feelings than that of being alone.
But it's also quite remarkable how much doing something that makes you happy, be it ever so simple, can elevate your feelings.