communication, family, mental health, narcissists, psychology

Going “no contact” with rude and hostile people…

It’s Thursday! We had quite a lot of severe weather last night. In our area, there was just a big thunderstorm with lots of rain that refilled my rain barrel. However, in our former town of Jettingen, I’ve seen that a lot of people’s cars and windows were damaged by hail.

During our four years of living in Jettingen, I noticed there was more severe weather there in all respects– more snow, more rain and hail, more wind, and yes, hotter days in the summer! Jettingen is at a higher altitude than some other areas. Consequently, it gets some interesting weather. I remember in 2015, we got snow that hung around for weeks after it was long gone from Stuttgart.

In spite of the weather, I did like Jettingen, mainly because it was right next to a beautiful forested nature park. On the other hand, the nature park was full of ticks, and any time we walked through it, we came out with the little bloodsucking pests. I was forever pulling ticks off of our dogs. We also had a landlady who was a bit of a leech, as we found out upon leaving her house. Where we live now, the weather is milder. So is our landlord’s disposition. That’s a good thing, too, since he’s also our neighbor.

Speaking of non-literal “leeches”… I could also use that metaphor for some of the people I run into on Facebook. I’m sure anyone who uses social media has noticed how hostile and rude people are these days. You post a comment– especially one that goes against the status quo– and chances are good someone is going to come at you with negativity. There’s a pervasive “shoot first and ask questions” later attitude on Facebook.

Lately, I’ve been blocking people like crazy, mainly because I’m tired of being confronted with that level of disrespect by strangers. I know some people think blocking people is “cowardly” or “immature”. However, I think being nasty to people you don’t know, simply because you disagree with something they’ve said or written, is also cowardly and immature. If we were in person, I wouldn’t stick around to listen to that shit. I’d walk away. So that’s what I’ve been doing a lot more of on Facebook. I don’t post on Twitter or X or whatever… and I don’t really use Instagram, either. I stick to Facebook and YouTube, and lately I’ve been upping my YouTube consumption, because I mostly find it a more pleasant place to spend my time.

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that yesterday, I read an AITA post on Reddit Ridiculousness that triggered me. I mostly confined my comments about that post to my blog, because it’s a place where I can write everything I want to, and have some control over the responses I get. But, even though there was a little voice in my head telling me not to comment, I didn’t resist leaving a short statement on the post. I basically wrote a much shorter version of what was in yesterday’s blog post. It went against most of the other comments, praising the OP in yesterday’s post and saying he’s “not the asshole” for looking after his mental health by going “no contact”. My verdict was that “everyone sucked”.

The gist of my comment was that if a person wants to go “no contact”, they should stop being in contact with pretty much everyone connected to their target. In my social media post, I specifically wrote that the no contact thing makes “funerals and weddings awkward”. Which it does. Don’t kid yourself thinking your passive aggressive “silent treatment” toward certain family members doesn’t affect everybody else at a family function. It totally does, even if no one says that out loud.

I got several angry comments from people who told me my comment was “rubbish”. I blocked the first two or three people who responded to me in that way, because I figure if they’re automatically hostile because I’ve disrupted their version of reality, they aren’t mature enough to have a discussion. Frankly, I neither have the time nor the crayons to explain this concept to them, and I don’t want to get into a heated online confrontation with a stranger who hasn’t bothered to put on their thinking cap or employ basic civility.

I know sometimes comments on Facebook are very triggering, but most of the time, when I post on social media, I try to take a deep breath first. I wish others would try to do the same. I don’t like getting into contentious arguments with randos.

I’m sure the people who responded to me in anger were triggered because other people, whose opinions they might actually value, have admonished them for “taking care of their mental health” by going no contact with family members. And they feel that no one has the right to deny them their right to go no contact with others. What they really want is to have their cake and eat it, too, and it upsets them when someone has the nerve to suggest to them that “no contact” doesn’t work that way.

Here I am, a total stranger behind a computer screen whom they feel “safe” to attack, having the audacity to write that if you want to go “no contact”, you have to be all in and really commit to it. So attack they do… and I’m sure it temporarily makes them feel better. But I don’t usually respond to their angry comments. Lately, more often than not, I simply block them without any other response. I have the right to express my views, too, and I don’t owe anyone a conversation or an explanation, especially when they tell me my opinions are “rubbish”. If they want an explanation, they can find my blog. 😉

For the record, I have never claimed that people don’t have the right to go “no contact” if that’s what they want to do. What I wrote yesterday is that if you claim to be going “no contact”, but then you hang around with people who are communicating with your “no contact” target, you’re not really going “no contact”.

Going no contact is not just about giving people the silent treatment. Going no contact means just that. You don’t communicate with them at all. Communication isn’t just about talking to people, because not all communication is verbal. So, that means you don’t stalk them on Facebook; you don’t drive by their house; you don’t ask others about them; you don’t talk or think about them at all. And you don’t give other people in their circle of friends and loved ones the opportunity to share information about you to them. To do that effectively, you will probably have to cut off more than the target person.

If you cut off speaking to your father, but you’re still talking to your siblings, and they are still speaking to your dad, there will be communication and, likely, some triangulation. Your name will probably come up. You can’t expect your siblings to honor your desire to keep all of your communications private, especially when they are talking to someone as significant as a parent. You can certainly ask them to do it, but chances are good that, ultimately, they won’t honor your request.

It might even be by accident that they let something slip. See yesterday’s AITA post for proof of that. The OP claimed to go “no contact” with his brother and parents, but he still spoke to his cousin and grandmother. Sure enough, that eventually put him back into contact with his parents and brother, because the parents pressured the cousin to give them his phone number. And I’m sure when Granny died, if the OP went to the funeral, there was communication, even if he didn’t say a single word to his parents or brother. A large percentage of communication is nonverbal. Maybe nonverbal communication is not the mythical 93% that has been claimed for so many years, but it’s a very large percentage.

So, that’s why I wrote that if you want to go “no contact”, you have to go all in and commit to it, which means not talking to other people in the family. If you’re still speaking to family members, and they’re still speaking to your target, you haven’t really gone “no contact”. You’ve gone “low contact”.

Going low contact can also be effective for mental health purposes. Plenty of people who have to co-parent with a narcissist do just that, for the sake of their children– that is, if they’ve been able to arrange a co-parenting scenario. Not everyone can do that in every situation. My husband couldn’t do that with his ex wife; she flatly refused to cooperate, and he lacked the means to legally force her to comply with his requests to share the kids.

But if you’re not speaking to certain people, except to rudely tell them you’re not speaking to them… or you tell someone you obviously know that they have you mixed up with someone else. Yep… that is, indeed, a form of communication. You haven’t actually gone “no contact” with them at all. It’s petty as fuck and really stupid, to boot.

After a few indignant responses from irate people about how my comment was “rubbish”, I decided to respond to the last person who challenged me. I was feeling rested, because I had just taken a nap. And I was tired of being tagged in angry responses by people who were trying to “correct my opinions”.

I calmly explained that it seems to me that the guy in the Reddit article had not actually gone “no contact”, and I included reasons why I believe that. Then I briefly explained why I think anyone really going no contact needs to quit talking to other people in the group or family unit. At the end of my response, I wrote “That’s just my opinion, and I’m entitled to it. If you respond to me with rudeness or hostility, I’ll be going ‘no contact’ with you.” And I added a winking smilie, even though I was dead serious, not that I think the guy cares one way or the other if he ever has a Facebook exchange with me again.

I doubt most random people care when I block them. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know, because I don’t so much as interact with them. I just notice their online conduct and “schwack” them… as Bill would say. Because I’ve seen the trailer and I’ve determined that their show isn’t one I want to watch… or be sucked into for binge viewing. I do it for MY mental health. Sure, it hurts more when a person is blocked by someone they “know”. So, I figure it’s better to spare them the pain by not engaging and just sending them to Facebook’s proverbial round file called the “block list”. I’m sure other people still love them anyway, even if things didn’t work out between us. 😀

It’s very difficult to truly go no contact with people you somehow know. I would love to be able to do it with Ex, but it’s been impossible, especially since Bill and his daughter reconnected. I used to make a point of not searching for information about Ex, because I figured it would disrupt my peace. But then I’d hear about her latest antics or past shenanigans, or some other disgusting layer of toxic crap would come to light. I’d need to unpack it, so I’d write a post in my blog.

Then I noticed her trying to mess with the vulnerable in Bill’s family. I don’t directly intervene, but I do raise the alarm so the more easily affected can protect themselves from the craziness. At this point, I just embrace watching what she posts online. At the very least, it helps warn us if she’s planning something sinister; and at best, sometimes she’s entertaining. I know she watches what I do; she always has, even long before I started paying attention to her. I know, because she mentioned my blog to Bill’s daughter. So yes, I realize I’ve been “Googled”. Turnabout is fair play.

I figure that if you’re reading my blog, seething because I’ve written something you don’t like, or you think is unfair, but then you lack the courage to have a conversation, you’re no better than I am. At least I watch Ex because I know for a fact that she can be dangerous, if not to one’s health, then certainly to one’s finances. I may not be the most likable person, but I’ve never used family members (especially children) as weapons; I don’t threaten or abuse people; I don’t manipulate others; and I’ve never been the direct cause of anyone’s severe financial or emotional problems. I’ve also never left any physical scars in private places on another person’s body.

I suspect people in the family read yesterday’s post, as well as several others. I pay close attention to who reads my blogs and where they come from. There were some suspicious hits yesterday. Allow me to go on record in saying that I truly don’t care if my husband’s former family members read my blog. Maybe it will help some of them wake up and grow up. Or maybe it won’t… either way, it doesn’t matter to me, because they’ve all supposedly gone “no contact”. 😉

Life is short. I don’t like the bloodsucking ticks in the naturepark, or the extortionate behaviors of our former landlady. I also don’t enjoy having my time and emotional well-being sapped by hostile people on Facebook, who don’t bother to consider more than their own perspective before popping off with disrespectful comments to perfect strangers. I choose not to waste my time with those people. I simply go “no contact”. And because they are complete strangers and we have no shared experiences, relatives, or friends in common, it’s super easy to do.

For more information on how to REALLY go “no contact”, have a look at this excellent post by the folks at Psych Central. It offers good advice, but again… it’s not easy to do.

Standard
communication, condescending twatbags, controversies, Duggars, social media

How many “friends” were lost due to COVID and Trump?

Good morning, y’all. It’s a sunny morning here in Germany, and I’ve just posted a new travel post about our visit to Visby, Sweden. Bill’s birthday is tomorrow, and he’s asked me to bake his favorite cake– Blackout Cake with ganache– for which I have a fabulous recipe. I think I won his heart when I baked him that cake the first time, over twenty years ago. I don’t make it often these days. There are only two of us and it takes forever to finish the cake, even though it stays fresh for a long time. But, since he asked me so nicely, I’ll make him one, and he can share it with his buddies at work.

Speaking of buddies… this morning, I was reading through old Facebook memories, and I noticed that three years ago, when COVID was in full swing and suckitude, I posted about receiving an unsolicited PM from a Facebook “friend”. At the time, I had posted on my page about not being in full agreement of the face mask mandates that were going on then. My “friend” apparently wanted to make a rather cowardly statement to me, disagreeing with my opinions. So she sent me a meme without comment. Naturally, I wrote a blog post about it.

I didn’t unfriend the person who sent that, by the way. I DID unfriend a mutual “friend” we both knew from our days on the “pink” second wives and stepmothers Web site, where we met years ago. That was actually long in coming, as this person always seemed to have kind of a negative, derisive, and purposely misunderstanding attitude toward me. She seemed to follow me just so she could privately snark on me with her more genuine friends, who probably agreed with her apparent opinion that I’m an asshole. I figured she and her “friends” got their jollies making fun of me.

When our mutual friend sent me the rude meme about anti-maskers with no comment, I posted a public query about it, asking why someone would do that. I mean… you have your own page, right? Why not post it on your own page? Or, if you are going to send such things via PM (a practice I don’t like, by the way), at least have the stones to explain yourself?

Sending me that unsolicited message was very passive aggressive, stupid, and obnoxious. I don’t know what her point was, but her meme didn’t change my mind. It just made me think a lot less of her for not having the broadness of intellect to have a rational discussion. People who post memes and pictures of crying babies and such, as a way of silencing others whose views don’t align with theirs, are just showing everybody that they aren’t critical thinkers, interested in having a rational discussion. The other person might not change your mind, but maybe hearing them out might broaden your perspective on certain topics.

In my venting blog post about that incident, I clarified that just because I didn’t have great faith in the efficacy of face masks, that didn’t mean I broke the rules. Yes, I wore masks properly when they were required. I simply didn’t think they were that effective, nor did I wear them with cheer or enthusiasm. I had what I think are very good reasons for feeling the way I did, and they were based on common sense and science. I’m not stupid, particularly when it comes to public health. I have a master’s degree from an accredited university in the subject. A real friend would have known that, right? Or at least they wouldn’t insinuate that I need “special help” by sending me a fucking meme via PM.

My method of dealing with COVID in the early days of the pandemic was to… STAY HOME! And stay away from other people! This makes me an inconsiderate asshole who deserves to get this rude message in my PMs? Wasn’t it better to NOT go out in public in July 2020, than to go out in public while wearing a mask that probably hadn’t been changed in weeks? I thought so… but apparently, just because I wasn’t a mask booster, my “friend” thought I needed the below message in my PMs. Well, fuck her.

In retrospect, I probably should have unfriended the person who sent me this, too. It was a cowardly, asshole move, and completely unnecessary. This is not something an actual friend would send.

If I recall correctly, I didn’t even respond directly to the person who sent this to me. But now that I’m reading it again, my impulse is to comment that if you have something you want to say to someone, be a grown up and just say it. Especially if you’re calling yourself a “friend”. I feel like real friends are in such short supply!

I don’t want to rehash this particular incident too much, especially since we’re currently beyond the mask mandates. On my vacation, virtually no one was wearing masks. I saw only a small number of people donning them. I know COVID is still out there, but all of a sudden, the self-righteous have retreated back into the hum drum beats of their former lives. They no longer feel compelled to send rude, passive-aggressive, unnecessary memes to their “friends” via PM, insinuating that they’re self-centered assholes, simply because they disagree with popular views about controversial issues like face masks. I mean, that person didn’t even take the time to ask me why I felt the way I did. She just sent that meme with no comment whatsoever.

What I really want to comment on is how polarized people have become in recent years. For most of my life, I felt like I could co-exist with people with whom I had disagreements. I mean, yeah, I’d probably not want to associate with someone whose views were extremely offensive to me and taboo, although I would like to think that I’d want to know why they felt they way they did. But I wouldn’t automatically shitcan someone I thought of as a friend simply because we had different religious or political views. I would like to think that I could have an honest and basically respectful conversation with an actual friend about my opinions, even if we disagreed. I thought that was what friends were for… to have regard for one another and care about them as individual people.

A few months after the meme spam incident, I got in another dust up with a former friend over Mike Pence and Donald Trump. This person was someone I knew offline and once had a lot of respect for, as we used to work together. She was upset because I expressed something positive about Mike Pence. My former friend is a lesbian, and she apparently thinks that anyone on her friends list has to hate the people she hates. I don’t like Mike Pence. I’d certainly NEVER vote for him. But I was glad to see that he showed up to Joe Biden’s inauguration, like a grown up. I was glad that he didn’t do Trump’s bidding and try to overturn the 2020 election. I saw nothing wrong with stating that on my own fucking Facebook page.

My former friend got angry with me, though. The straw that broke the camel’s back was that I bought a Donald Trump toilet brush. Even buying a Trump toilet brush– to clean shit stains out of the toilet— was an extreme act of disloyalty and disrespect to her. She actually blocked me over it. WTF!

I really do try to understand and respect people’s perspectives. All I ask is that my real friends try to respect me enough to understand why I feel the way I do. You can hear what I have to say without insisting that I change my views for you. Don’t we all have the right to think for ourselves? I mean, if it’s an issue that you simply can’t budge on and it’s a deal breaker, okay. But why the knee jerk response? Can you not spare a minute to consider before you just throw people away?

I don’t blame people for not wanting to have anything to do with someone like– say– Josh Duggar, or his ilk. And yet, I think that even Josh Duggar deserves a little consideration beyond disgust. He’s certainly very gross, but he’s not the worst person who ever lived. And while he definitely belongs in prison because he’s done vile, reprehensible, criminal things, there were also things that happened to him that helped put him where he is.

I can have some empathy for that reality, and still not think Josh Duggar is a good person, right? I don’t have to hate him just because everyone else apparently does. There are very few people I actually hate… and I have very personal reasons for hating them. They did something bad to me, or to someone I love. Of course I disdain Josh Duggar for what and who he is, but I don’t hate him. I don’t care about him enough for that.

I’d say most people can’t abide someone who has some kind of inappropriate proclivity. Bring up the subject, and people don’t even think twice about it. They immediately denounce the intrinsic value of someone who has these inappropriate proclivities. They won’t even discuss it for a minute. For example– bringing up Josh Duggar again– they think people like him should just be taken out and shot in the head.

It never occurs to them that Josh may do vile things, but he’s still someone’s son, brother, husband, and father, and he has worth to someone in the world. They also don’t consider that someday, they might have the misfortune of having a family member with these obsessions, and there is precious little that can be done to help them. They can’t even safely seek help from a mental health professional about a problem like that. Admitting to having such a problem will end with people scorning them. It would ruin their lives. They might as well commit suicide. If someone like Josh did attempt suicide and was stopped before it could happen, and then explained why they did it, what would the authorities do? Would they say, “Oh, in that case, maybe you really should off yourself. Here’s my pistol.”? I would think they wouldn’t say that, but in this day and age, one never knows.

You see, I do think about these things. I think it’s a valid thing to do. And because I think about these things, I often have opinions that don’t neatly align with the popular views. But in today’s world, I can’t always express my true and honest opinions, even though they are usually based on deep thought and consideration, because most people have an opinion that does align with a popular view, and they haven’t thought as much about it. Or, even if they have thought about it, they refuse to consider another view. They have very black and white thinking.

One last example of what I mean before I close this post…

Back in 2020, Mary Kay LeTourneau died of cancer. Mary Kay, as you might know, was an infamous child molester. She had a sexual relationship with a boy she had taught second and six grades to, even giving birth to his two daughters. Mary Kay did time in prison for her crime, but after she was released, she married her former student. They were married for about twelve years or so, divorcing because her second husband (long since an adult) wanted to run a marijuana farm and couldn’t do so while he was married to an ex-convict. When Mary Kay died of cancer in 2020, her former student/victim/ex husband was by her side.

Even though I do NOT understand how and why Mary Kay LeTourneau did what she did, and I do think it was right for her to go to prison, it’s also clear to me that her victim didn’t think of himself as a victim. So I expressed condolences to him, and to Mary Kay’s children (she had seven), because even though she did criminal things, she was still their loved one. Do you know, I got called a “rape apologist” for that? Because I didn’t completely denounce and vilify Mary Kay LeTourneau, and see her as nothing more than a disgusting lower life form who victimizes children? I got labeled as a “rape apologist”, as if I actually condone rape, simply because I acknowledged that even though she did illegal and criminal things to a child, she was still herself a human being. And I felt her victim’s feelings about her were a hell of a lot more important than my uninformed opinions about what she did. Most people are more than their worst action in life, right?

But this is a conversation I can’t have with most people… not even my so-called “friends”. I can have it with Bill, because Bill is a kind, reasonable person who also doesn’t mind thinking for himself, and discussing hard issues. Most people aren’t like that, though. They’d rather disrespect and discard people who don’t have the same views they have, and dare to admit it out loud. They don’t want to be challenged by contrary opinions, and they think anyone who isn’t on their team politically or otherwise is someone to just toss away like trash.

I don’t think it’s right to demand that people surrender their own thoughts, feelings, and opinions to fit in with the status quo. I think everyone should be free to own their own minds, and express themselves freely, especially when they do it with reason. One of the reasons I quit hanging around on RfM so much is because there are a few notorious posters there who hammer people over the head with their views, which they seem to think are superior to everyone else’s. They lob insults at people who have different thoughts, insisting that their perspectives are the only ones. It’s hard to have a real conversation with people like that, so I don’t tend to bother trying anymore.

I’m always interested in hearing other people’s views, as long as they are presented respectfully and with reason. And if I consider someone a friend, I don’t automatically ditch them, simply over a disagreement. If I have something to say to them, I try to do it in an honorable way.

As I put it in that post I wrote about my mask shaming “friend”…

I’m getting to a point in my life at which I value quality over quantity. A lot of people don’t like me. Many people decide they don’t like me having never taken the time to get to know me. That’s up to them, of course, and I’ve gotten used to it. I still have some great people in my life who do love me for who I am and don’t mind that I speak my mind. We treat each other with basic respect and give each other the right to be heard. We don’t try to stir up drama on each other’s social media accounts or offline. And when we have something to say, we say it. We don’t do immature passive aggressive digs or make fun of each other. Those aren’t things a real friend does.

This is still how I feel three years later. In fact, I think I feel even more like this today, mainly because of what I’ve been watching happen to our society. People have lost their damned minds. I feel like the best way to hold onto mine is not to get too swept up in group think, or feeling like I have to go along with the crowd in order to keep my “friends”. If my friends want me to keep quiet, they aren’t really my friends. They’re just people who up the hit count on my friends list. No thank you for that…

Standard
communication, condescending twatbags, language, overly helpful people

“I’m callin’ you out like a sneaky snake…”

I remember back in the early aughts, while job hunting, I got hooked on Mad TV. There was a hilarious sketch featuring a paranoid middle management guy named Sean Gidcomb who was obsessed with the office supply closet. He would accuse his co-workers of being “sneaky snakes”, stealing the pencils, staplers, toilet paper, and computer paper. He was rigid about their work habits and absenteeism. And he held the prospect of being fired over their heads to keep them in line.

Don’t we all know controlling micromanagers like this character?
Sneaky snake!

The character of Sean Gidcomb is, of course, an exaggerated stereotype of a certain type of person we all know. If we didn’t know someone who acted like Sean in some way, this routine wouldn’t be funny because people couldn’t relate to it. However, I’m willing to bet that most Americans– and probably a lot of Europeans (especially Germans)– can relate to this type of busybody.

I don’t work with other people very much anymore, so it’s been a long time since I had to deal with someone like Sean in the workplace. However, I do often run into this type in my online endeavors. These are the hyper-anal types of people who appoint themselves the law and order keepers. I usually refer to them as “overly helpful people”, but they aren’t always coming from an apparent place of help. Sometimes, that behavior comes from a deep need to look superior to other people, or to subtly tear people down… in a “sneaky snake” kind of way. I think that kind of behavior is meant to make someone who feels insecure or “small” feel better about themselves by being subtly negative or corrective. They don’t want to be obvious about their negativity, because that would not be socially acceptable. So, instead of being outwardly rude or upfront, they’ll be sneakily passive aggressive and covertly controlling.

I happen to be very sensitive to this type of behavior. Much like people who snipe at others in underhanded ways because of childhood trauma, I am sensitive to that manipulative behavior due to my own baggage from childhood. I grew up around controlling, manipulative people who were always issuing corrections and criticisms. So, when someone acts that way toward me as an adult, I tend to notice immediately and issue a response.

Many times, my responses tend to be more obvious call outs, which put the other person on the spot. I don’t mind criticism or correction when it’s really warranted, but I truly don’t appreciate passive aggressive digs. And I almost always notice them, too. Then, when I respond, the other person tries to gaslight, saying that what I read or heard wasn’t really what I read or heard.

Here’s an example from 2014 or so… (just to keep this post somewhat safe from a shitshow).

There was a woman in my online life that I used to know from a messageboard I hung out on in the days before Facebook. I found her incredibly insufferable. It was like she went out of her way to be rude and condescending to me. Back in the days when we posted on the messageboard, this woman would seemingly make it a point to contradict or criticize. I tried to ignore her, but she just continued her behavior, either not realizing or not caring how obnoxious and overbearing she was. (for more on this, click here)

I tried to be assertive, but she got offended and sent me angry private messages, accusing me of “insulting” her. I wasn’t insulting– I was pointing out that I found her comments rude, belittling, and offensive. She insulted me first, which is why I responded in the direct way I did. But no, I never called her names, told her to “fuck off and die”, or anything like that. What I wrote was, “Whether or not you mean to come across that way, your comments to me are belittling and offensive.”

Finally, once the messageboard fell apart, we all moved to Facebook, and I unfriended her.

Unfriending the offender worked fine for a long time. But unfortunately, we had mutual friends, and I would still run into her on occasion. One day, I left a comment on a mutual friend’s post, and the overly helpful person decided to leave a little passive aggressive dig that I found very offensive.

Here’s an excerpt from my original post about this on the Blogspot version of OH:

I was fine with letting her be her and letting me be me… until a couple of nights ago, when a friend posted about marijuana.  She wanted to know if we thought it should be legalized.  I said it should; that way, I could smoke it next week while hanging around my family.

Ms. OH pipes up with a quip about how some laws were meant to be broken, insinuating that smoking pot is no big deal.  And maybe it’s not if you don’t have a job where drug testing is done.  I wrote that I don’t have a problem with recreational pot use, but Bill doesn’t like marijuana because he used to live with a couple of potheads in college.  He didn’t like that the pot seemed to make them less than ambitious.  He also doesn’t like smoke.

Ms. OH comes back with “He’s never lived with alcoholics? 😉 ;)” 

Looks like a simple comment, right? But because we used to hang out on a messageboard, I think she knew full well that alcoholism is a sore subject to me. Why would you add winkie smilies if you aren’t implying that you “know” Bill has had “experience” with drunks?  If it were an honest and serious question, there wouldn’t be any winking going on, right?

I continued:

I think if she’d left off the winkie smilies, I probably wouldn’t have gotten so aggravated.  Alcoholism is a very sore subject for me and I don’t think it’s funny.  Alcoholism has personally caused me a lot of pain.  People I love have also been hurt due to alcoholism.  I grew up with an alcoholic who abused me.  Moreover, some might even call me an alcoholic because I really do like my booze– though Bill says he doesn’t think I’m abusive or mean when I drink. 

But even if alcoholism weren’t a sore subject, I don’t like her and I don’t enjoy interacting with her.  This week has been stressful enough for me, dealing with people who are crazy makers.  I feel pretty certain I don’t want to interface with Ms. OH again.  So I decided to block her.

I told Bill that I thought I’d soon get an email from her.  Sure enough, I did.  She wrote that she didn’t understand and demanded to know what she’d said to offend me.  Seems to me that if someone blocks you on Facebook, it means they don’t want to talk to you.  But she can’t accept that and has to know why… and she seems to think I owe her an explanation, as if we were actual friends.

Years later, as I think about this, I realize that there are a lot of people out there who struggle with their own feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and low self-esteem. They’re always looking for someone to pick on in some way. When they spot someone who seems like an easy target, they can’t seem to help themselves.

I know I have served as an “easy target” to a lot of people. Maybe it’s because I am the youngest of four by more than several years, and my family regularly discounted and belittled me when I was a child. So I still have that unsure side to me that comes out, attracting “overly helpful” people like blood to a shark. However, just as our dog, Noyzi, loves people naturally, but is automatically affected by prior abuses that make him skittish and scared, I am affected by that unfinished old business.

Naturally– I am not as unsure as I seem. Naturally, I am someone who is pretty assertive. But I was taught not to be that way by controlling, manipulative, critical people when I was not in a position to defend myself as well. It’s hard to lose that old way of surviving, even when it no longer works. So I still have people in my life who are comfortable being shitty to me.

Below is more from my 2014 post:

It is possible that [the sneaky snake overly helpful offender’s] comment about alcoholics was innocent, but I am guessing it wasn’t.  I’ve been around her enough to know that she’s one to be snarky.  She has a way of looking down on people.  I don’t think she was intending to be funny or even friendly.  Besides, I honestly think she’s an asshole; so this decision was years in the making.  To be clear, I didn’t block her because of one stupid comment; I blocked her because she has a very long history of irritating me and most interactions I have with her raise my blood pressure.  And when I have told her why she gets under my skin, she gets pissy. 

She just rubs me the wrong way and either can’t or won’t modify her behavior.  And I would be wrong to ask her to modify it.  She obviously has friends and loved ones who love her just the way she is.  I’m obviously the one with a problem, so I just decided to quietly walk away so I don’t have to read her shit anymore.

But she apparently doesn’t want us to part company… or she wants to engage me in some dialogue as to why I don’t like her.  I just want to say to her, “Don’t go away mad.  Just go away.”

Not everyone is going to like you.  Lots of people don’t like me for whatever reason.  Not even a mild mannered, even tempered guy like Bill is universally liked by everyone.  You’re not a bad person, Ms. OH.  You just get on my fucking nerves.  So please just leave me alone.  There are a lot of people out there who will happily be buddies with you.  I am not one of them. 

Years later, I unblocked Ms. OH because, at the time, I was a lot more conservative about people I blocked on social media. Nowadays, when I block someone, they tend to stay that way. In any case, when I popped up on her radar again, Ms. OH sent me a private message apologizing for whatever it was she did to upset me. I appreciated that and accepted her apology, and life has gone on without her particular brand of passive aggressive microaggressions. However, more of her ilk have popped up– giving me a chance to practice being assertive.

Yesterday, I was watching cop videos on YouTube, and there was a cop who incorrectly used the non-word “irregardless”. A lot of the cops I watch on YouTube annoy me anyway, because quite a few of them are high on power trips. I know they have difficult jobs that are very stressful. Some of them have other issues that exacerbate, like bad marriages or substance abuse issues (lots of drunk cop videos on YouTube, too). I probably shouldn’t watch those videos, since they seem to trigger my authority issues.

Those who know me, know that I tend to be a stickler when it comes to words. “Irregardless” is not a word that well educated people should use, because it’s a double negative. The word “regardless” means without regard. When you add the unnecessary prefix “ir” to it, you get “without without regard.”

I posted that the word “irregardless” is not a word. And it’s not. I even double checked before I made that claim. Some might say I was being critical when I posted my comment, and in fairness, I was. But the actual offenders weren’t going to read it. It would be different if I posted that to a friend. It was posted to no one in particular, as the person who said it is some cop on YouTube in Wisconsin.

Just as some people abuse reflexive pronouns, and overuse fifty cent words like “utilize”, when they could just as easily use “use”, in an attempt to sound smarter, others think they should say or write “irregardless” instead of “regardless”. It’s a pet peeve of mine, but easy enough to ignore when I complain about it, especially when I put the complaints on my own page.

You’d think my comment wouldn’t attract controversy. And yet it did. Someone asked me what my “criteria” was for a real word.

That struck me as a pot stirring dig, because I don’t think the person who asked it was being serious. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be a dig, but that’s how the question came across to me. I’ve known this person for years and I’m pretty sure she knows that “irregardless” isn’t a real word. She just wanted to call me out, like a sneaky snake… maybe knock me down a peg. Maybe that’s an appropriate thing to do sometimes, but I didn’t think that particular post warranted a challenge. So, instead of answering the question, I asked one myself.

“Why do you ask?”

The response was telling, as the person wrote that they were “just curious” and “had no agenda”. The “no agenda” part kind of confirmed my initial suspicions that the question about my “criteria” was a dig. I was reminded of when our toilet clogged in our last rental house and the landlady immediately said, “We’ve never had this problem before!”, when I had never accused her of anything. When people add extra unsolicited information when something goes awry, it’s usually because they do have an agenda of sorts… and are maybe trying to establish an alibi or cast blame.

Former tenant did the same thing when she volunteered that she and her husband were moving mid tour because they needed to be closer to their babysitter. We never asked them why they were moving, and simply telling us they needed to be closer to the sitter sounded disingenuous. If they’d just said they needed to be closer to work, that would have been a lot more believable. The bit about the sitter rendered their excuse to bullshit, kind of like a person telling me they have “no agenda” is likely bullshit, too.

I know some people might think that my reaction to this is ridiculous and over-the-top. And to those people, I’d basically say that people discounting my reactions is one reason why they are so extreme. Because I have a right to feel any way I do, and I have a right to express myself. You might think it’s crazy and an overreaction, but I have these reactions for a reason… just like people issue those little passive aggressive digs for a reason.

I’m sure the people who do this kind of shit don’t actually mean to be irritating. I know I irritate people. I generally don’t mean to do so. A lot has to do with old baggage I need to unload. I think most people who issue passive aggressive digs are looking for control, or a way to even the playing field somehow. And my over-the-top responses to them have a lot to do with my own authority issues… which come from having a lot of controlling and criticizing people in my life when I was growing up. I don’t respond to control freaks very well anymore. I tend to rebel, sometimes, by getting pissed and writing blog posts. Maybe that’s passive aggressive, too… but I don’t want to get in a fight. I just want to be heard.

People can always choose whether or not to read the blog, right?

Anyway… that’s today’s deep thought. Now, time to get dressed. We need to go to the hardware store and get a new sun umbrella. Our old one (of two years) broke yesterday. So, sayonara, until tomorrow (probably).

  

Standard
communication, complaints, condescending twatbags, Duggars, rants, social media

“I’m not in need of correction from you, lady…”

Fair warning… for many people, this is going to be a really petty rant. Some readers will doubtlessly think it’s much ado about nothing, or that I’m being childish or silly. It’s fine to think that, but just so you know, I really don’t need to be corrected. I understand that the more mature beings in the world will probably think I should be posting about world peace or another lofty topic. And maybe that’s true… but it’s not what’s on my mind today. I’m often petty, obnoxious, and easily annoyed… but I own those characteristics. They’re part of what makes me “me”. I grew up with the message that who I am isn’t okay… and now that I’m 50, and realize that I won’t ever be changing. I’m working on living with myself. But you don’t have to live with me, so if I write something today that makes you think I need “correction”, “advice”, or anything else remotely resembling “special help”, I would like to encourage you to go write about it on your own blog and leave mine alone. 😉

So here’s what happened…

Yesterday, I was on the Duggar Family News page on Facebook. The page’s moderator posted about the Duggar Family’s annual Christmas celebration. A few days ago, I had noticed how extremely cute John David and Abbie Duggar’s daughter, Gracie, is. I even wrote about it in a recent post. It’s not that I don’t think all of the other Duggar grandchildren are cute. I just think Gracie is at a really sweet and expressive age, and she obviously mugs for the camera. She is especially adorable right now, in my opinion.

She is so CUTE. This is not the photo I commented on, by the way.
What a doll!

So I typed under the picture, “Gracie is so adorable”, or something along those lines. Nice, positive, kind comment for a child who probably can’t read, and wouldn’t be on that page, anyway, right? Several others agreed with me and signaled by hitting the “like” button. I didn’t mention her brother, Charlie, who is a beautiful baby, but to me, not as obviously cute as his big sister is. When he’s older, I’m sure he will give her a run for her money. Besides, everybody gushes over babies.

Early this morning, I opened up Facebook and noticed that I had a notification from someone I don’t know. Usually, one can tell what Facebook notifications are in reference to, but in this case, there wasn’t a clue. I had forgotten about the Duggar Family News post I’d made, and never thought it would be controversial. But there it was… Someone named Donna tagged me with the comment, “So is Charlie.”

What am I to make of this comment? It would be one thing if she’d just posted it without tagging me, making it clear that she was expressing her own opinion and not criticizing my comment. But she responded in a way that made it very likely that I would see her comment. And while I can’t be absolutely certain, since she’s a total stranger and I didn’t have any non-verbal cues to offer a hint, my guess is that her comment was meant to be pointed. How dare I comment on one child’s cuteness in a photo, and not the other child’s “equally” adorable visage? What is Charlie? Chopped liver? Give the lad a participation trophy, at least. Give me a break… he’s a BABY, and he’s not reading that page. I am sure his feelings won’t be hurt.

I’ll be honest. My first instinct was to respond to Donna with snark and sarcasm, because that seemingly corrective comment legitimately pissed me off. I know a lot of people would laugh about that “over-the-top” reaction, too… which makes it even worse. Because this was a genuine reaction I had to something that, in the grand scheme of things, really doesn’t matter. It’s just some busybody feeling the need to correct a perfect stranger’s innocuous opinions on Facebook, right? I have no idea why my comment triggered her enough to tag me with a response. For all I know, she’s just as irritated as I am. We all have our hot buttons.

There was a time when, indeed, I would have dashed off an inflammatory response to Donna. But middle age, years of psychotherapy, social work training, and the fact that I hadn’t been drinking, collectively gave me the gift of restraint and composure. I took a moment to consider if I wanted to make an actual reply, or even just leave a “laugh react” or “anger emoji”.

I very quickly decided that I didn’t really want to get into it with Donna over such a non-issue. I figured any response I would make would simply make me look bad, even though her comment was unnecessary and kind of disrespectful. So I deleted the notification and didn’t respond to Donna’s “correction”… at least not on Facebook. I’m sure she means well, but I don’t really want to get in a pissing match with some “biddy” I don’t know. Especially over something so inconsequential and… well, petty.

Since this incident has made me think for longer than a moment or two, I’ve decided to write about it today. Maybe other people can relate. I do feel slightly self-congratulatory for not taking Donna’s bait. I scored a “little victory” with that one, even if I am now posting mental spew in my blog. 😉 Fewer people read my blog than my Facebook page, though.

If I had been in a more engaging mood, how could I have best responded to Donna? I thought about it as I drank one of Bill’s expertly brewed cups of coffee, fixed just the way I like it. What can I say? My husband is truly wonderful. So let’s see…

There’s the positive approach. I could have acknowledged Donna’s “correction”, either in a sincere and apologetic fashion, or in an over-the-top, sickly sweet, passive-aggressive way…

  • “Of course, Charlie is cute, Donna. Thank you for the correction. May I have another?”
  • “Yes, he sure is scrumptious, Donna. Shame on me for not acknowledging it properly.”
  • “Oh, I’m sorry for the oversight. I’m such an ignorant clod. Charlie is also adorable.”
  • “Whatever would we do without you, Donna, to keep us straight when we comment on the Duggar grandchildren? We wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings… even if they can’t yet read, and wouldn’t be on this page, anyway.”
  • Or… just a plain old “Yes, you’re right, Donna. He is cute.”

Or, there’s the negative, confrontational, unfriendly approach…

  • “Speak for yourself, Donna. I don’t need your help.”
  • “Why did you feel the need to tag me, Donna? You think he’s cute? Good for you.”
  • “STFU, Donna.” Or my personal favorite, “Oh fuck off, Donna!”
  • “Trying to make yourself feel useful, Donna? Glad I could help you out.”
  • “Actually, I don’t really think he’s adorable. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.”

Or I could have been really passive-aggressive and just laughed, posted a “?”,… or used an obnoxious rolling eyes GIF to get my point across to her.

But as I had just opened my eyes, I didn’t feel the need to engage. I didn’t want to spend precious energy… especially since Donna is probably sleeping right now, anyway. I get the sense that she’s the kind of person who would wake up in a few hours, see my comment, and feel the need to “set me straight”. And then, hours after I was over it, I’d be invited to an online melee, which probably would have included other people who don’t know either of us. Life is too short for that shit. You gotta pick your battles, if you want to stay sane in this world.

On the other hand, maybe posting a “?” and inviting her to explain herself would be satisfying on some level… but I don’t like to be deliberately obtuse. I think I know what she meant by her comment. She was just “fixin’ it for me”… the petty bitch… tryin’ to hook me into a scuffle. 😉

I guess I’m just left kind of puzzled, though. Once again, a perfect stranger is looking at my innocuous communication from a seemingly negative, corrective way– like the people in my wine group who insinuated that I’m a “Karen” because I had the “audacity” to complain about a legitimately bad experience we had in a wine shop in France. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to be negative, but I don’t think our culture likes to admit it anymore. If you aren’t “positive” and inclusive all the time, you’re a problem, and need correction from others.

Then, there’s my dysfunctional, reptilian response to Donna’s “correction”. It comes from a lifetime of being the youngest child in a family where my presence wasn’t really welcomed or valued. For most of my youngest years, I was repeatedly criticized, corrected, and told, in no uncertain terms, that I wasn’t making the grade. I’m sure if I were to point this out to my family members, they would deny it… and again, that would be a perfect example of the problem. Because even if, in their minds, they weren’t overly critical of me, that was the message I constantly received and internalized. And now it’s a trigger, because I have come to realize that I do have worth, and my opinions matter to someone– even if it’s only me… and maybe Bill.

When someone leaves what appears to be “correction” for me, especially when it’s on something that is really innocuous, or of little actual consequence, I have a tendency to get very annoyed. I’m not referring to “constructive criticism”. Sometimes criticism is necessary for growth, for safety, or to become proficient in something. That kind of criticism is much less irritating to me. No, it’s petty criticism over things that don’t really matter that bugs me the most. Nobody likes to have their opinions corrected, especially on a “public” forum like Facebook. No one likes it when some smartass on Facebook posts, “Fixed it for ya!” in response to something they’ve written. It’s just diminishing, discounting behavior that is meant to make people feel small. And while getting annoyed over that behavior is legitimate, it’s also doubly bad to express that irritation, because that is, in and of itself, PETTY behavior. It really should not be worthy of any response whatsoever, but yet, I still feel compelled to express all of this so early in the morning. 😉 I’m sure a good therapist could help me figure this out, sometime.

There’s one other observation I would like to make. I was quite agitated about Donna’s comment when I got up, but by the time I’d finished breakfast and was draining my second cup of coffee, I had almost forgotten about it. If it weren’t for a silly exchange I had with my cousin regarding this incident, I probably would be posting about something more hard hitting and consequential today. 😉 See? It really doesn’t matter at all… It’s a minor blip in the day, now forever immortalized in my blog. And now I can smile and hold my head high, as I fold laundry and change the sheets on my bed… two chores that do need attending to, and will actually matter in my life.

So… not today, Donna. I’m not taking the bait and getting into a ridiculous online pissing match with you. I don’t agree with you, because I do think Gracie is cuter than Charlie is, at least right now. I don’t need you to correct my post, and I’m not going to validate your correction with any direct response– negative or positive– that gives you the opportunity to engage further with me and attempt to make me feel bad about myself. I am going to ignore you (except, of course, in my blog, which is not for you). Find someone else to play with. 😀

Off to go tend to my chores now… Have a great Tuesday, y’all.

Standard
communication, language, lessons learned, love, marriage, relationships

It’s very important to use your words when you have needs…

I woke up this morning feeling oddly quiet. I felt like I just needed to shut up for awhile. And, for the past hour or so, I’ve been staring at the computer screen, wondering what I should write about today. I didn’t really want to write about the topic I’m about to tackle. But then I remember what Bill said to me as he was about to leave for work. He said, “You’ll write about it. It’ll help you process.” Then he gave me one of his meltingly sweet smiles, which never fails to win me over and warm my heart.

Bill and I had a little spat last night. It was kind of a sudden thing, not unlike the brief but intense storm that briefly provided us with a rainbow as the sun was about to set. You can see the rainbow in today’s featured photo, which I took as the rain was falling, but the sun came out. It reminds me of the spat we had last night, and how I feel today.

I didn’t say much to Bill today, when we were getting up. After he got dressed, he came into our bedroom and sincerely apologized to me. I told him I knew he was sorry, and I was sorry for getting so upset with him. I love him very much, and truly don’t want him to feel distressed. He works very hard, and really is one of the good guys. Nobody’s perfect, though.

Bill and I don’t have spats very often because neither of us likes to fight or argue, and we’re usually very compatible about most things. We have tons of chemistry, and seem to get each other remarkably well, even if no one else understands us. But every so often, an issue comes up, and we have a disagreement. There’s a spat– kind of like a storm, or a chemical reaction. And usually, our spats occur in the evening, as Bill is wanting to go to bed, but refuses to just go. He wants me to give him permission, or something.

My husband is very much a day person. He functions best early in the morning. When the sun goes down, so does his brain. Sometimes, he’s much too polite and non confrontational for his own good, and that can cause him to temporarily be a jerk. He doesn’t mean to be a jerk, and sometimes I “overreact”, by many people’s standards. I try not to do that, but sometimes I fail.

Last night, when Bill came home, he casually mentioned to me he needed to write up his dreams for his weekly appointment with Jungian therapist. He also needed to complete his time card for his job. That information went into one ear and out the other, since he always does those tasks without announcing them to me. Consequently, I didn’t realize this was something that was pressing in its importance, nor did I know how long those tasks would take. I’m also not a mindreader.

Most nights, Bill does online German lessons using Duolingo. I used to do those lessons myself, years ago. I quit doing them after a year or so, even though it would do me good to keep studying German. Nevertheless, Bill very diligently does his homework. He’s diligent about most things without input from me. I forgot about what he’d said about the things he needed to do. I assumed he’d already done them.

So, as the evening was winding down, I noticed that Bill was tired. I asked him why he didn’t just go to bed, if he was tired. I’ve told him many times that I hate it when he’s obviously exhausted and continues to sit there at the table, as if I’m obliging him to do so. I find it to be kind of passive-aggressive behavior. He could just get up and go to bed, right? But he insisted on waiting for me to finish my drink, and go upstairs with him. I guess I was taking too long, and talking about some subject that wasn’t interesting to him. Finally, he got up and was turning off lights and edging toward the stairs, backing away from me with a smirk, but still not saying outright that he has things he needs to do, or wants to go to bed. It’s left up to me to officially “call it a night”, as he was non-verbally “calling it a night”.

I said, “What are you doing?”

Bill said, kind of sheepishly, “I told you, I have to write up my dreams and do my time card.”

“Well, why didn’t you just say so?!” I exploded. Much to my surprise, I found myself getting really upset. Like… I actually felt like crying, because my feelings were hurt. And then I said, “This makes me not even want to go on the trip next weekend. I think I’d rather just stay home alone!”

I know that was a hurtful and kind of crazy thing to say, because Bill has planned my birthday trip to Antwerp, and we’ve been looking forward to it, even if it does mean I’m turning 50. But I honestly didn’t want to go anywhere with him for a few minutes last night. I just felt really injured and bewildered… like I was being rejected by someone I never thought would reject me. I know that’s kind of an irrational reaction, but I was honestly triggered by that look on his face, and his non-verbal communication. I legitimately felt disrespected.

I felt like he should feel alright about point blank telling me when he has needs, or wants to excuse himself. I’ve been his wife for about twenty years. I’m not going to be offended. And over the years, I’ve seen so many people giving me that “smirky” look he gave me last night… people who aren’t my husband… people who don’t like me, for whatever reason, and wish I would just shut up and go away. It honestly wounded me to see that look on Bill’s face. So, I got really pissed, and felt like rejecting him in kind. Impulsively telling him I didn’t want to go to Belgium with him was a quick way to do that.

Bill immediately looked extremely sorry as he explained that he had just wanted to avoid confrontation. And then when I asked him why he didn’t just tell me, he said he’d told me he’d mentioned it earlier. But he’d kind of said it in passing, in a matter of fact way. I didn’t realize the urgency of the situation, and for some reason, he couldn’t just use his words to reiterate his needs.

Seeing that pained look on his face upset me even more, because once again, I upset someone for simply being myself. At the same time, I had compassion for him, because I love him, and I’m not a mean person. I don’t like seeing him looking distressed, especially when it’s me who caused the distress. I was still feeling angry, though, so I said that maybe when he got home from work, I’d just stay in our room and watch videos instead of talking to him, since he has so many pressing things to do.

Again… I was hurt, because I really do look forward to talking to him at night. I don’t have people to talk to during the day. I don’t have local friends or family, and at this point, I’m not really inclined to try to make friends with people, because trying to be friendly with people usually ends in disappointment. I have a weird personality and inappropriate sense of humor that not everyone appreciates. Besides, around here, almost everyone’s German, so there’s sometimes a language barrier.

Bill said he didn’t want me to stay in our room and watch videos. He wanted to talk to me. He’d just had a couple of tasks he needed to complete before bedtime. So, again, I said, “Then why didn’t you just excuse yourself? You can tell me that you have stuff to do. I’m not a complete jerk, and I’m not a mindreader. What do I do every morning before you go to work, and I need to take a dump?”

Bill nodded and said, “That’s true. You do expressly tell me when you need a minute.”

Just as an aside… my body is remarkably efficient when it comes to necessary functions. Bill has remarked on it a lot, and has even told me he’s jealous. Most mornings, as he’s about to leave for his job, I have to say goodbye a few minutes early and take care of necessary business. Bill understands this and is fine with it; he doesn’t feel spurned because I have to go to the bathroom. However, for some reason, he doesn’t feel like he can say something similar to me. And I don’t understand why he doesn’t realize that I know he has things he has to do sometimes. Why can’t he simply tell me, his wife, that he needs time to get things done? Doesn’t he trust me, after almost twenty years?

I usually do notice when he’s trying to do something. When I see him with his computer, I don’t intrude. When he’s talking to his online therapist, I give him privacy. But last night, we were just there at the kitchen table, having a chat, and he suddenly gets up and backs away, looking awkward. I mean, if you need to excuse yourself, excuse yourself. Don’t give me that look. It’s not necessary. Just tell me what you need.

This is very much like my husband. He sometimes lacks assertiveness, is exceedingly polite and considerate, and wants to leave decisions up to me. But I don’t always want or need to make every decision, and sometimes I just don’t know what he needs, and I can’t read his mind. At the same time, he doesn’t want to offend or make ripples… and in the process, sometimes he offends and makes ripples. He never means to do that. He always wants me to be happy, sometimes at the expense of his own happiness. And when his needs are about to intrude on my wants or wishes, he’d rather be covert than just come out and tell me what’s going on.

This situation is kind of similar to one we ran into last year, when we were in Switzerland. Bill had expressly wanted to visit Carl Jung’s house and museum. This was the one non-negotiable activity on our agenda. On the other hand, I get very cranky and irritable when I’m hungry. Bill knows this, too. He has a habit of wanting to lead things, but then he gets “wishy washy”. We needed to have lunch, but Bill was focused on us going to the museum, since we had an appointment. And even though this was what HE had wanted to do, he hadn’t even decided if we would be driving or taking a boat, since the museum is on Lake Zurich. He had wanted to leave that decision up to me. But the problem was, I wasn’t prepared to make a decision, because I was just along for the ride. The whole Jung museum thing was his bag, not mine. I needed to eat before we went to the museum, and I didn’t want a hot dog at the dock. But that’s what we ended up having, because there weren’t any firm plans made so that everybody’s needs could be met.

And again, last fall when we visited Slovenia, on the way to Lake Bohinj, I had wanted to eat lunch earlier than Bill did. We kept going, and sure enough, I got hangry, and there weren’t any open restaurants. Bill ended up getting me a chocolate bar, because I desperately needed to boost my blood sugar. That put me in a foul mood, too. He’d wanted to lead, but then kind of failed… and then I had a candy bar for lunch, instead of something that was somewhat better for me.

Anyway, we were able to mend the conflict, and sure enough, I’m writing about it, even though I’d rather write about something else. We had a spat, and it’s over now.

Insightful stuff here… It’s not always a bad thing to be “triggered”.

I saw a really good video yesterday by Kati Morton, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. It’s not so much about last night’s issue, but it does sort of address my feeling guilty for being “triggered” and overreacting. If I wasn’t triggered, I wouldn’t have told Bill what was on my mind. And as wonderful as he is, he did need to hear what I said. Sometimes, Bill is too nice, takes too much responsibility for other people, is too much of a people pleaser, and needs to assertively express his own needs verbally, instead of being passive-aggressive. These are things that I think would help him across the board, not just in his dealings with his old ball and chain wife. 😉

But then, based on the trauma he went through with his ex wife, I guess I can see why he hesitates. I’ve spent a lot of years trying to teach him that we’re not all like her. It’s an ongoing process that I don’t think will ever end. He’s been scarred by her abuse, much like Noyzi the rescue dog is scarred by his traumatic experiences in Kosovo, before he came to live with us. Noyzi gets better every day, but I think he’ll always have some remnants from that time in his psyche. The same goes for Bill… and the same goes for me. So we’ll keep trying.

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