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Thanks for that...

I know this is me and my problem... but this is also why I have have come to hate Steve Rogers as written by most people.

TW: really bad decisions about how to help a panicking person, including coercion/threats/force. Memeories of being Sectioned.

Specific fic - you warned for Tony having nightmares and PTSD in the wake of the Chitauri and almost dying. Great. You did NOT warn for absolutely shitty treatment of someone with an anxiety disorder. Rather, you said your fic was about friendship and team-building.

Here's a hint: forcing intimacy/revelations, coercion, threats and orders? Are not being "supportive" or "helping" someone who has panic/anxiety attacks. People that the VP Character (Tony) does not yet TRUST nor count as friends - which you made VERY clear in the narrative, including the fact he feels coerced - ganging up on him and crowding round, telling him he's GOT to deal with this and GOT to share? Having Cap say, "Sit down. Let's talk.... That was an order," and stare Tony down? Having Cap threaten to tell Fury about Tony's panic attacks (he's only seen one and knows that Tony's not sleeping well) and throw him off the team?

Well, I don't know what happened after that, because I stopped reading before my OWN escalating heart-rate became a full-blown panic attack of my very own. *I* felt under attack by the team's reactions, so God knows how Tony would have felt.

Cap FORCING - by coercion and threats "to tell Fury" or put him off the team, as well as physically - Tony to do things is a recurring theme in so many fics. As though Tony does not deserve autonomy because Cap does not agree with his life style choices or because he's made bad decisions in the past. And I CANNOT deal with it. Shades of being dragged from my own home - where I should have been SAFE - by the police during my breakdown, when my parents and the paramedics agreed I needed to be hospitalised and I didn't agree. (I did need to be hospitalised. I know that now. But if you are conscious and do not agree, it's the police who have to take you to hospital, not the ambulance. Which, if you are already... not stable, only adds to the trauma.)

The first step in therapy - in my experience - for any anxiety disorder is creating a SAFE SPACE and a feeling of safety and trust. If not the therapist and the office, then you create a place you can go to in your mind where you FEEL SAFE. So you can STOP recounting/talking/whatever AT ANY TIME and go to that SAFE place.

What you had Tony's oh so helpful and supportive teammates/friends doing seems to me guaranteed to PROVOKE an anxiety attack. And I am STILL fucking shaking. I'm covered in cold sweat. I'm having palpatations. Not from your descriptions of Tony's nightmares, anxiety, negative thoughts and other symptoms - but by what you had people doing to try to HELP him. Thanks so much.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 29th, 2015 11:06 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry this hit your triggers and made you feel so awful. It sounds like this author wanted to be responsible with tags but maybe didn't really know what they were dealing with in trying to write this stuff. Let's hope that there's no one in their day-to-day life that has these issues until they've gained some more insight about it all.

*hugs* I know this would take a while to get over, but really hope you are feeling a little better, and can feel safe yourself. *hugs*
Sep. 29th, 2015 11:55 am (UTC)
Thanks. I blame the Intervention! trope for the issues in this fic (and others like it) - if it is de rigueur in popular culture for friends and family to gather round in order to say, "Look, we all know you have a drink/drugs problem and we want you to get help. Now!" then why shouldn't that work for *other* problems, too?

But it just reads (to me) like "Everybody Bully Tony!" (ironic, given that Cap is most commonly used to do it, and his canonical attitude to bullies). :(

I realised when considering whether to approach the author that I stopped reading *another* of their stories when Clint spied on Bruce and Tony (which, yeah, I can maybe see - Ceiling-Vent!Clint is a fanon trope) and then outing them and their relationship to the whole group. And the reaction was not "Privacy! you dick! It's got nothing to do with anyone else!" but a trust! honesty! team-dynamics! pile-on.

So, I am going to assume that this author is either very young or rather immature and thinks friendship equals "Tell me EVERYTHING! Now!". And "If you mean well, it cannot have bad effects!"

(Also going to assume that the author wasn't around in the early '90s with OutRage! (IMO) campaigning for equality and gay rights by *bullying* people who didn't think their sexuality was any business of the public/media by publicly outing them. (Though Tony and Bruce would have been...) I never really saw much difference between what Peter Tatchell was doing and the bullies I was dealing with in high school. YMMV.)
Sep. 29th, 2015 12:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, yikes. I'm sorry. I haven't read the story, so I don't know what my own reaction would be. I'm ignorant, so I might have gone along with the story...I don't know. But I do know that your description of what should have happened not only makes perfect sense, but would have made such a better story. I mean, that scene? Helping Tony to feel "safe"...and all that would follow--wow.

So many things get written in fandom that are appalling, yet the author doesn't know. I think it speaks volumes about our culture. There was a Pros story that was written to be a cheerful little thing, but had all the classic signs of domestic abuse in it. I know the author didn't see it, and would be appalled if she had, but...yeah.

Anyway, I hope you can compartmentalize this story and let it fade. *Hugs*
Sep. 29th, 2015 01:13 pm (UTC)
*HUGS* thanks! I always worry when I complain about a fic that I STOP reading (even if it's to do the mental-health equivalent of preventing a Hulk-out!) that I might be mis-judging.

For all I know, Tony freaks out at that point and then Bruce steps in and they work on it slowly and gradually and at Tony's pace. Not on Cap's schedule.

The safe-place/panicker-stays-in-control approach does, of course, take somewhat *longer*. Because letting Tony keep his autonomy means letting him keep saying, "Nope, not talking about this!" and run off to his workshop. (His safe place?) At least, until he trusts enough to want to *ask* for help.

But doing it without trust? Or safety measures? Or knowing what you are doing? Maybe it's in character, especially for 1940s!Man, but it... for all the things this author chose to warn for, I was expecting... better. Something more aware. :(

Though, of course, in MCU *canon* (IM3) Pepper didn't exactly deal *well* with Tony's PTSD freak-outs. You don't help him by dragging him *out* of his safe place! Mad as building Suit #XLVIII-or-whatever at god-awful o'clock *is*, if it is helping him "cope", pulling the props out was asking for trouble.

(Equally, IMO, all the fic-writers who want Tony to just *stop* drinking are ignoring how, if it is self-medicating and therefore a coping mechanism, you will have to *replace* it with something - therapy, anti-anxiety meds, an eating disorder, heavy drugs, SOMETHING - not just pull the rug from under his feet and expect him to keep standing.)

(I know many military marriages are rather strained when, after 6 months' deployment, the military partner *still* can't sleep with their spouse, but has to sleep in the spare room or sofa b/c of panic attacks, nightmares and the risk of reacting violently.)
Sep. 29th, 2015 08:30 pm (UTC)
I know this is me and my problem...

So what? You are entitled to be you and have your problems.

I don't know the fandom, or the character, but I have never agreed with forcibly outing anyone about anything. It is bullying, and it's dangerous bullying.

And I have never agreed with the 'intervention' model. Taking away from someone their feeling of safety is a stupid and sadistic thing to do.

And if this fic made you want to rant, then rant. It doesn't matter if you didn't finish it.

Some fics hit my buttons. I'm sure some of mine hit other people's. You're under no obligation to be fair to the author if that happens.

I like to think no one does it on purpose and none of us have a right to take our hurt out on the author, but ranting to a sympathetic audience, why not? It has to go somewhere.

I hope you're feeling better and much calmer now :0)

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Dee Natsuko

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