I was never much of a fan of George W. Bush’s. On the other hand, I’d love to have him back in the White House over Donald Trump. Back when Bush Jr. was in office, people thought he was the antichrist. I can remember my sister actually calling him that. At the time she used that term, Bill and I were kind of appalled. We were more conservative then, and still had basic respect for Presidents, no matter who they were. Donald Trump has kind of ruined that mystique for us. He made a joke of the US Presidency.
Anyway… W is on my mind this morning, not because I want to write about his time as POTUS, nor because I want to bash Donald Trump. I’m thinking about Bush II because of his famous gaffes. One in particular is sticking out to me today. On November 6, 2000– almost 23 years ago to the day– Bush was in Bentonville, Arkansas, no doubt on the campaign trail. And he said, “They misunderestimated me.”
I’m assuming Bush II meant that people “underestimated” him and his ability to take care of himself or, perhaps, cause issues for other people. It’s usually a mistake to sell anyone short, especially when you don’t know them very well. People do it all the time, though. I suppose it makes things easier for them in the short term. Someone pops up as a “problem” and the person looks at them, gauges the threat, and blows them off, only to have that person later hand them their ass.
Bill and I are both the type of people who get “misunderestimated” a lot. People make assumptions about the type of people we are based only on what they see and perceive. They don’t take the time to get to know us, and assume we’re weak. It doesn’t occur to them to look at history, or consider things that aren’t immediately obvious to them. They underestimate everything from our maturity levels to our cognitive abilities to our level of fear of the unknown. They bluster at, threaten, or ridicule us, thinking that will get us under control. Then they’re surprised when we pull the rug out from under them and they land on their asses.
I am reminded of this phenomenon this morning as I was looking at my Facebook memories from 2017. That was one of the more challenging times in our marriage, as we were dealing with a truly terrible living situation. At the time, I was part of a Facebook group that, frankly, I never should have been in. It was aimed at making fun of people. The group had started off fun and lighthearted, but then the original creator of the group later decided he didn’t want to lead it anymore. He was a pretty healthy person who didn’t encourage anything dark or cruel, so it was kind of a sad day when he decided he didn’t want to run the group. I’m still “friends” with him, although we don’t interact much.
The formerly fun group was later taken over by a couple of folks who were also fun, at least on the surface. One of them is a person that I once admired a great deal. But then she showed me her true colors. I decided maybe she wasn’t as honorable as I thought she was, and disassociated from her. In retrospect, that was the right thing to do, as she later proved to me that my initial impressions of her were correct. The other is a person that I used to think was funny and basically an okay guy. He, too, showed me who he really was… It wasn’t a pretty sight. But, for awhile, it was still a fun group. We had barbecues that were a blast, and that convinced me that these were good people who were just having fun.
Anyway, in 2017, things had gotten pretty stressful for Bill and me, mainly due to our awful living situation at the time. Our landlady was being very abusive, and it was having a bad effect on both of us– but, especially me, as I had to deal with her more often. I was still in the Facebook group that was once fun, but had turned kind of sinister and mean spirited. There was a guy in that group who had oozed toxins to me. I had him blocked, because I could tell by his antisocial comments and behaviors that he wasn’t a good person. He used to laugh and brag about deliberately upsetting people and causing problems for them, plus he had a lot of misogynistic crap openly visible on his profile.
The group leader for whom I had once had respect found out I had blocked the toxic guy. For some reason, she shamed me for it. She made it seem like I was being unfair and judgmental. I respected her opinion, so, I unblocked him, and he later picked an online fight with me that showed me that my initial impressions of him were correct. He was the kind of person who would go way below the belt just to “win” fights with people. Looking back on it now, I can only assume that he had a really shitty childhood, and that’s what had turned him into someone who gets off on being mean to other people. I don’t know, nor do I care. He can rot in Hell.
Because I was in kind of a weak place back in 2017, I lost my resolve to protect myself. I let other people gaslight me into doubting what I knew to be true. I went along with the group… until I wised up and got away from them. I won’t say it wasn’t painful. I thought I’d liked these people. I found them entertaining and they rescued me from loneliness and boredom. Then they showed me who they were, and what they actually thought of me. It stung, but once I came to terms with it, I was fine. I was moving on with life and we were handling ex landlady with a well-deserved lawsuit that she ultimately lost.
In 2019, someone from the toxic Facebook group sent me a private message and suggested that I rejoin. She claimed that the group members had been reminiscing and remembered how entertaining I was. They supposedly “missed” me. I decided to respectfully decline, which I’m sure pissed her off… because they were hoping I’d either respond in a dramatic way, or eagerly accept, so I could be the butt of their jokes. In retrospect, I probably should have ignored her completely, but at that time, I still thought she was someone friendly. I now know otherwise, and she’s not in my life anymore. I noticed that she didn’t respond when I declined… That pretty much says it all. Especially since the so-called good leader wasn’t the one who asked me to come back to the group. She’d used a flying monkey to do her dirty work. How typical… and childish.
The 2017 era Facebook post that reminded me of all of this stupid drama was from someone else who turned out to be a fake friend. She’d tagged me in a picture of a shirt she’d seen at Target that read “I can’t adult today”. I’m not really sure why she tagged me. It could have been because I hate the trend of people using the word “adult” as a verb. Or maybe she was trying to say I was a childish person (and she’d be very wrong about that).
I noticed that she got a response from the Facebook group leader for whom I’d lost respect. She wrote something along the lines of “I can’t see her response because I’m blocked. But that shirt seems about right for her.”
I saw her response some time later, when I unblocked the former group leader. I thought nothing of it at the time. Now I realize she was trying to say she thought I was a childish person… which is an interesting observation from someone who was running a Facebook group expressly for making fun of people and didn’t even have the spine to speak to me directly. I’m ashamed I was ever in that group. I should have left it a long time ago, and trusted myself when I disassociated from her the first time. But, like a lot of people with dysfunctional backgrounds, I was carefully trained to doubt myself.
I also distinctly remember seeing her scathing comment about me in her group, as Bill was still a member at the time. She left her scathing comment about me about something that actually had nothing to do with her. I’d had a fight with the toxic, misogynistic guy, and had left the group because of him, and because I didn’t want to be around someone who was that hateful toward women. She wasn’t part of that fight, as she was living in a different time zone and it was long over by the time she was even aware of it. It had nothing to do with her at all. But she took the misogynist’s side, and was pretty mean to me when I was feeling legitimately hurt. And part of the reason I was feeling hurt had to do with something that had nothing to do with that toxic asshole guy OR her stupid Facebook group. She didn’t care enough about me to ask about it. She just denounced me publicly and showed me that she’s a fake bitch.
I guess that was what was especially hurtful to me. I once truly thought she was a good leader. I thought she had character and depth, and was a lot smarter than she gave herself credit for being. I never thought of myself as smarter or better than she was; on the contrary, I think I was just fortunate enough to have grown up with parents who had the money to send me to college. She joined the Marines and had a career until she retired. That is something I doubt I could have done myself, and I really admired her for it. She paid me back by stabbing me in the back and insulting me publicly. Her good friend and effective leadership act was just an elaborate facade. Deep down, she has no real strength of character. She only spoke to me so I could be the butt of her jokes.
Well… I learned something from that experience, and that’s that many people aren’t worth trying to befriend. If they show you who they are, believe them, and don’t give them another chance. And anyone who expects you to gaslight yourself, doesn’t care about your well-being, and mocks you for taking care of yourself, is neither a friend, nor a good leader. As she had underestimated me, I had grossly overestimated her as a person.
One of my real friends who knows me well shared something with me on November 5, 2017. It resonates a lot.
I’m so tired of people who can’t be real… and don’t appreciate people who are original and authentic. I’m tired of people who expect other people to ignore their own needs, so they can temporarily feel better about themselves. But, so many of us are carefully trained to be this way… we are taught to be “nice” at all costs, even if it causes harm. I was expected to be quiet about misogynistic crap being spewed by a man that I knew was toxic. I was expected to let him harass and humiliate me. When I opted out, I was accused of being “childish” and abandoning someone who wasn’t even involved in the initial incident. Who cares if just being around someone misogynistic and abusive like that literally makes me feel sick? I’m supposed to put that aside, so everyone else can get their “yuks” at my expense.
And then, a couple of years later, when I’ve broken away from that mess, they try to “Hoover” me back… No thanks. What’s really sad is that I fell into that shit in the first place. I thought Ex had taught me well, that I can opt out of the drama and not get involved in it in the first place. I guess sometimes we need a refresher course in self-care.
Looking at that memory on Facebook brought back the memories that has spawned today’s post. But today, I did something healthy in response to it. I untagged myself from the photo and hid it from my timeline, since I couldn’t delete it. Next year, on November 5, 2024– provided I’m still living– I won’t have to see it or remember what spawned it. I don’t wish any of those people ill, by the way. I just don’t want to waste mental resources on them anymore. They aren’t worth it to me. But they’re probably worth it to other people who know them better than I do. I’m sure to some people, they’re more genuine. I would sure hope so.
As for crazy ex landlady, she also horrendously misunderestimated us, and she paid dearly for it. I’m hoping it was bad enough to get her out of the landlady business. I did look at our former house on Google Earth, and it looks like there are German cars in the driveway. Good. Because if she’s their landlady, I know there’s pretty much no way she’ll be trying to screw them the way she tried– and failed– to screw us, and probably a lot of other Americans who were intimidated by her stern “Oma” act. They will more likely hold her to the straight and narrow of German landlord/tenant law than Americans will. That was ultimately our goal. I think it would be even better, though, if she sold that place and retired.
It’s true… I’m silly, giggly, blonde, and sometimes too emotional… but I advise you to never mistake that for weakness, stupidity, or childishness. You probably don’t know me well enough to discount the things I’m capable of doing. And if you’re laughing at me for writing this post, I hope you won’t ever engage me. I don’t need you in my life, either. I’d rather be alone.