xenologer: (Ravenna)
So at the end of August, I posted an entry about my origins as a person that just explains some stuff about dissociation and what a good friend of mine refers to as a change in management. If you cannot see it, sorry. You probably oughtta be on my friends/access list if you are interested in that kind of thing.

Suffice it to say I was not the so-called "core" member and did not become the scaffolding of this new person voluntarily, but believe I have done such a good job becoming a person that my sisters' faith in me has been entirely vindicated. Emotion was not my job, but I have grown into it without ever losing my awareness that thinking before I express feelings is not only wise but compassionate. I will brag about this all day and all night because I am proud of the emotional impulse control that I have built. Unless you're the kind of person who remembers when they first began to feel things personally, the enormity of getting savvy with those feelings may escape you, but trust me. I am a badass.

It's a big deal.

My closest friends tend to appreciate this, as it means that when I am experiencing Feels I'll be less likely to throw away all moral and ethical standards and all of the self-respect which is the foundation of my integrity. I can generally explain what is causing my unrest and I'm pretty good about suggesting solutions while remaining open to brainstorming from the person who hurt me as to how we can avoid this sort of thing in the future.

In my opinion, this makes me a really fucking good friend. Being a good friend or partner does not, in my opinion, require empathy or social skills, although they help. All it requires is that nobody sink so deeply into Suffering Solipsism that they depersonalize others into two categories: threats or need fulfillment machines (to use Franklin Veaux's phrase). All it requires is the ability to experience pain without forgetting that other people are real, and whole, and relevant. It is a point of pride for me that I managed to unlearn some bad habits I was taught growing up so that I do not just throw a great big tantrum and lash out at everyone if I hurt. The fact that I do not respond to pain by exploding into the emotional equivalent of a tornado of spinning blades is a skill that I had to go out of my way to learn because it was the right god damn thing to do.

I even have friends with whom I have shared vulnerabilities, vulnerabilities where they are concerned. This entry is about one such person, about the now-distant aftermath of one such event. I do not do this easily, and for those people who were talking to me during and after that conversation, doing so left me shaken and a little disoriented because it is so contrary to my nature to attempt to prevent someone from harming me by exposing the vulnerabilities in my emotional armor rather than pre-emptively shoring them up.

He learned things about my past: past abuses by family members, by romantic partners, by the forces of random fucking chance, and because of my own whole-hearted pursuit of codependency. I did this so that he'd see that it's possible to go from wading through codependency that leaves both emotional and physical scars and emerge out the other side whole, and healthy, and able to provide a level of competent and heartfelt sustainable support to others that simply is not possible from a position of codependency.

It was a candid conversation about the reasons so many of us have stayed with abusers out of a sense of obligation to them, and about how few people who urge us to leave have any idea what the landscape of the situation is actually like. It was frank and for me it was a rare moment of vulnerability resulting in a sense of common experience that is rare and certainly never guaranteed.

This was at the end of May, if my Gmail logs are accurate.

This is a person who has referred to their internal sense of me as a consistent voice of self-respect and responsibility. So I'm good enough to be classified that way, at least in his mind.

This is a person who is attracted enough to me to have the Fetish Secrets conversation and give advance consent in case for whatever reason he and I were to hook up while he wasn't entirely sober. So I am definitely good enough to fuck.

This is a person who has ceased to discuss his codependency with me not because of any of the myriad reasons why he might not do so for his own health and well-being or the state of our friendship or whatever. There are many many good reasons why he might have ceased to talk to me about any of this, and for a good couple of months I assumed that those things must be in play, and it would've been a good sign if they had been. It would have been a sign of him being willing to defy the expectations of others for the sake of taking care of his own self.

Until about a week ago, nobody had ever in my life called me a "stone cold bitch" and made it seem like anything but the highest praise. Guess who managed it?

Yeah.

More details and (alleged) feelings. )
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
TW: abusers, enabling, codependency, etcetera
TW: non-flashy animated gifs

Some people would really have an easier time moving past their childhoods if they chose not to live there any more.

This is not directed at any one of my friends, because I know so many of them that it would be difficult to even say which of them makes me feel this way the most. It's possible that this comes my way so often because I know a lot of people who need to hear a particular kind of "why do you do things you know are bad for you because you complain a lot and then keep doing it" sort of bewildered frustration to reality check their own repetitive thoughts and counter-act some gaslighting coming from other corners. I am open to this possibility.

I just find it really frustrating, and the contempt can be hard to swallow. I don't have contempt for people who stay with an abuser, because often that happens because of financial, social, or safety consequences they are not prepared to endure. Furthermore, a lot of people who're being abused have to convince themselves it's not abuse so that they can adapt to the new normal and stay above water. Additionally, codependency is a helluva drug just in general. All that stuff I know. I also know that it is hella disempowering to offer people advice, feedback, or anything beyond active listening unless they explicitly say that that is what will support them most effectively at that moment.

What I get sick of is friends repeatedly coming to me specifically to commiserate about relatives on whom they are not financially dependent, do not rely upon for access to health care, and therefore contribute literally nothing but toxicity to their lives. Actually, let me refine that. The ones who piss me off the most are the ones who expect me to be somehow onboard with this approach of building abuser-resistant structures to hide in until the worst of the latest tantrum subsides rather than ceasing to go out of their way to include the tantrum-throwing little shit. Because that's the thing. If you do not rely on someone for any of your actual practical needs, and if they do not provide you any emotional or social support, you do not need them; you are going out of your way to include them in a life that doesn't actually use them for anything otherwise.

Don't say, "You know how you have to X," or, "All you can do is Y," because I think you had better adjust that pronoun. I don't have that attitude. Maybe this is different for people who didn't grow up with at least a couple of contingency plans in case someday they had to kill their parent. Maybe for people whose abusers aren't that bad they can afford to create a fantasy world in which if they just stand still and let themselves be stabbed in the eye enough times, their abuser will learn to regret what they've done enough to... I don't know, stab them someplace less vital in the future. Maybe some people can afford to grow up without ever having seriously considered that what they need is a life without the abuser.

I just don't fucking get that attitude, though. You know why? I couldn't afford it. I couldn't afford to just accept the standards of my abusers and hope that doing so would ensure my survival, because yeah sure that works all the time. "GTFO" was on my to-do list from a very young age because I knew that a space I controlled was the only place where I would ever have a breath of a chance.

And y'know what? I was right.



Of course I was! This shit is obvious!

So! Don't act like what you're doing is all anyone can do. It is what you are doing. Do not presume to know what options I saw and what actions I took just because you clearly never had to look as hard as I did. Do not presume that repeatedly going out of your way to subject yourself to your abuser is just what's done. I don't know whether to feel envy or disgust when it comes to people who never had to learn the hard way that you need to not fucking do that.

There comes a time when I just want to tell them that I'm tired of hearing about problems they must not care about enough to solve. That's a shitty thing to say, but as someone who deserves to be proud of making the correct decisions, I sure as hell think it. If they just came to get my heart bleeding for them whenever they need to feed on my sympathy to refuel for their next deliberate pursuit of being hurt.

This is what finally got me off the codependency schtick.

There is no amount of therapizing or personal work or other emotional heavy lifting that I can do on my end to compensate for the shitty decisions of people like this. They cannot be saved, because you can do every imaginable thing to create a world in which they can live free of their abuser, and I guarantee you they'll have them over for dinner, list them as an emergency contact, or invite them to the wedding. They will undermine you every step of the way because they like where they are and they're gonna stay addicted to the abuser cycle until they decide to get clean.

I can't do it for them, so unless they're gonna come to me for real fucking talk about how incomprehensible it is to me that they are obviously going out of their way to seek out abuse, they can keep their... fuckin'... emotional self-harm nonsense to their damn selves. You cut yourself in the feelings if you wanna; I clearly can't stop you.

What you cannot do is sit down with me and solicit my feedback like there's anything I'm gonna say besides, "Actually no I don't do that thing you are doing. Because it is obviously not working and I stop doing things that are demonstrably bullshit once it is demonstrated that they are bullshit." It doesn't take knowing me that long to expect that I will respond to bullshit like you are feeding me bullshit.

I don't care if you ate it first; I don't want your bullshit.



Now, I have on at least one occasion had someone discuss an abusive situation they're in because they needed someone to not just disagree with the brain weasels, but outright dismiss the brain weasels as inhabiting such an alternate universe of bullshit that their brain weasels are not even saying things that are comprehensible. Some people do eventually appear to benefit from a reality check that rough; some of that set even know this about themselves well enough to solicit it. This is great. I can do that and will happily do it because if support to you looks like "hey tell me this bullshit is bullshit because it is bullshit right?" I am pleased as punch to say, "Yes. It is bullshit for a myriad of reasons that I will happily detail as exhaustively as you like."

What I am not pleased to do is pretend that we all have the luxury to live in fantasy enabler land where if you stick around they'll learn to stop hurting you. What I am not pleased to do is pretend that we all have the luxury to keep hope alive. What I am not pleased to do is hide the sensible, pragmatic, and often merciless decisions I have had to make for my own good which I am proud of because I took care of myself and that makes me fucking awesome because someone I know is cruising for some enabling of their enabling.

No.

Nope.

Get out.

I'm not going to go approach all the people in these situations and tell them my very important opinions on the subject, but I am allowed to post in my very own journal that I am proud not to be them. I couldn't afford to be them, so I wasn't, and I damn well will be proud of that. If anybody has a problem with the fact that I actually chose survival strategies that work and that makes them feel bad, they absolutely can take that messiness elsewhere because I am not here for it.

Support me or learn from me or ignore me, but get the hell out of my way and don't hate me for doing shit right. I had to. So I did. Try it sometime.
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
The Plot Hook

Had a dream that near me there was this really fuckin' sweet fair-type thing full of a mix of Marvel-themed stuff and truly decadent historical fashion, all of which is pretty much tailor-made to fascinate any dream version of me. My parents were not supportive of me going there and actually tried to take away the things I bought and destroy them (including a white silk gown and some Marvel-themed underwear which were all in my size because hell yeah dream fair).

There was a screaming match and I fled back to the carnival, but had had to hide all the stuff I'd bought to keep it safe and now didn't have any money either. I ended up just walking around mooning over stuff I wanted. A guy wearing a suit in that very Ralph Lauren style of layered plaids (orange and grey Glenurquhart check on the jacket with matching plaid pants, a grey sweatervest over another kind of orange plaid shirt and a really goddamn sweet top hat and just generally ridiculously god damn stylish) saw that I was looking at stuff I couldn't buy and offered to get them for me.

I told him that wasn't necessary because really I don't actually need-need any of these things. He pressed it though and said it wouldn't be a big deal at all and I let him buy them for me.

Unbeknownst to Dream Protagonist Me, but which was seen by Omniscient Narrator Me, he turned my troublesome parents into porcelain representations of themselves (so like, porcelain statues of just their iconic pieces of clothing, stuff like a porcelain statue of my father's favorite robe) and put them on a table of prizes. He said that he didn't mind buying me stuff at all, and let me know that if I was interested, I could complete some challenges to win even more free stuff. He pointed to the table of prizes.

When asked which things I wanted to compete for, I picked the porcelain statues that had once been my parents, thinking that it would be a great way to get on their good sides to present them with things that were such obvious homages to things they liked. Then I guess I picked a champion who started going through the challenges on my behalf.

This was about when I noticed that the guy who'd offered me this allegedly-wonderful chance was actually a lot younger than I'd realized, and pretty cute. He had that thick curling brown hair thing, but a serious bad attitude that made him quite a lot less attractive because assholes aren't actually romantic winners to me. Unfortunately, he was an asshole. He was also some kind of deal-making scam faerie, which is such a common archetype that all it took was him alluding to how different things were "where people like him came from" for Dream Protagonist Me to catch up to Omniscient Narrator Me in realizing what he was and what was going on.

I called him on this little verbal slip, and asked him if that meant what I thought it meant. He got really really defensive, in that way that people have when they expect to get a lot of shit about something. He asked, "well what would that mean to you?" and I shrugged and said, "People aren't always made the same way. Doesn't make them any less people."

This totally astonished him.

Personhood theory: nobody ever sees it coming?

His attitude softened a lot, but in some ways it was too late. At the time of me asking him, I'd set off some kind of defensive contingency that couldn't be stopped now that he'd realized that actually maybe I was an opportunity for him to have a friend. Spawn--yes fucking comic book Spawn--goddamn Kool-Aid Man'd his way through the wall, in so doing fucking up the competition to get my parents back. Thankfully he only pushed my champion closer to his goal, so I got my parents back.

But by then we had a larger problem.

This is about when the real plot drops.

The Real Plot

My guy--whose name I don't believe was ever actually stated in the dream--was taken away by his guardian and this is when my guy's owner got involved and I learned that there is this really frighteningly oppressive faerie hierarchy in which some faith-based entities outrank and even own others. Turns out that my guy was owned by the scariest motherfucker around. Nobody wanted to mess with this creature; nobody even wanted to say his name, but I got it out of them.

It was--

wait for it

--the Final Duck.

God damn faeries and their ridiculously laughable outward presentations hiding rulership of terrifyingly powerful hordes of more credible-seeming underlings! *fist shake*

The Final Duck was seriously a small white bird that basically ran the joint. The joint being an otherworldly carnival at which mortal people could peruse wares, shop, and get screwed over by faeries. That latter thing was supposed to be me, and the Final Duck decided for the evulz that it would be hilaaaarious to screw with me while punishing his underling for trying to have things of his own like friends.

So it threw my guy into an antique video game, the kind of outmoded piece of crap that nobody ever played and was quite frankly only fit to be scrapped. I was obviously tremendously upset by this! I didn't really have any hope of getting him back for a good while, but I kept coming to the carnival. People got to know me, and got to like me okay mostly due to me not being a complete asshole bent on ripping off everybody everywhere. I also obviously made a lot of pilgrimages to the game that had been the instrument of my friend's dissolution.

One day the lady who'd taken over that station waved me over because, like I said, everybody knew who I was and why I was still coming around. She'd found things in the game's list of available character profiles and help documentation. There were pictures of my friend in there, randomly dispersed through other data. Most of the time he was visibly getting pissed and shouting at the denizens of the game, which kind of made me smile. It also made it clear that something of him was still in this game, which meant that it might be possible to get him out.

That was why she'd shown me.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that if there was one thing the Fuck You Faerie Carnival does respect, it's a good quest narrative.

That god damn Final Duck (I still don't know what this name means) realized that I'd caught on and was only too pleased to use it as his next opportunity to be a total asshole who breaks little mortal girls' hearts. He decided now it was time to destroy that game so that I could lose my friend all over again.

At this point it was time for a levelling-up quest montage during which the real theme of this whole thing began to be clear to both Omniscient Narrator Me and Dream Protagonist Me. The nice ingenue human girl who was willing to accept anybody from anywhere if they'd just stop being assholes for like two seconds was rapidly turning into someone colder, harder, and far more dangerous. Dream Protagonist Me saw this happening to herself, and did not care. What mattered was the quest, not what she had to become in order to fulfill it.

One of the changes that took place happened when the Final Duck threw the game into an exterior wall of the carnival, throwing it through the wall and out toward the ocean waves below which were dramatically crashing into rocks which were dramatically placed at the bottom of this very dramatic cliff. The game knocked someone else through the wall as well and when the game broke against the wall, my friend was freed from it. Unfortunately, it left us with a dangerous situation.

Clinging to the floor, trying to keep from being flung into the rocky surf below, was a werewolf. Clinging to the werewolf's ankles, also trying not to fall? My friend. There was no way to pull them both up without first being attacked by the werewolf. I couldn't even lay down on the floor nearby without at the very least getting chewed on and being turned into a werewolf myself.

My friend told me that it wasn't worth it. I didn't care. What I became in the course of rescuing him did not matter if it served the quest itself, and if the price of moving forward was getting turned into a werewolf, then I guess that's what was going to happen. I got down on the floor and just as we'd feared got my shoulder chewed on by a werewolf while I offered my friend a hand up. It didn't even hurt, though, because that is how irrelevant it was.

I got my friend up but he was still owned by that archbastard the Final Duck, who reclaimed him and trapped him in this tiny little raggedy teddy bear thing like some kind of deal-making scam faerie phylactery. Final Duck fatal flaw: motherfucking hubris. Maybe it's fun to watch the broken-hearted little human girl wandering his carnival looking for a way to free her friend, but now I was just getting even more pissed. Everybody knew that I wasn't scared of that asshole and was fully planning to thwart his pointlessly-dickish plans, but before it had merely been the sort of sad notion that mortals get in their heads from time to time.

Now, however, I wasn't one.

I was a god damn werewolf. I was one of them now, and I was a totally free agent.

Now I belonged.

Time passed, during which I maintained my independence. I made friends, friends who were likewise kind of unused to anybody being halfway-decent and not a part of this terrible oppressive hellhole of a political system. One of my friends and informants called me around at one point to confess to me that she was also the property of the Final Duck, but that he was getting ready to sell her. She was afraid of whatever prospective owner she might end up with and asked me if I would please be the one who won her because she knew I wouldn't actually do anything with my so-called "legitimate" claim over her.

I said sure, because what the fuck nobody is buying or winning my friends.

At that point she brought out her leverage, since she'd had to have a contingency plan in case I'd said no (which, what the fuck, I was not going to do). She'd managed to steal my friend's bear, the one he'd been locked away into. While I watched, she opened up the back of her own symbolic focus thingie and stuffed him inside it, and then shut up the back.

I was thrilled.

All I had to do was win her and make it part of the terms that I also get what she's holding. It is perfectly within respectable and legitimate bounds of cleverness to do something like that because not doing it opens me up to winning her but not the actual symbol of control over her, which'd be as good as winning nothing at all. In this case, though, it would mean winning her focus and my friends.

The process of winning her freedom and my friend's was an exhausting bloody mess during which I got the rest of the global faerie community involved in this terrible sadistic shitshow of a fiefdom the Final Duck was running over here. I was perfectly willing to be the instrument of them deposing the Duck provided they gave me time to win my friends first to keep them safe from the resultant conflict. Cue exhausting bloody mess.

But I won.

I won because I was Final Boss Mode Dream Protagonist Me and I was a fucking werewolf and I was not scared of that god damn duck because this was my quest narrative and that made me the boss.

I stagger into the assembly of faeries, exhausted and bloody, and let them know that I won and they are more than welcome to go ruin the Final Duck's day and tell him it's from me. Then I went ahead and had my dramatic "so I'm gonna pass out now" moment and dropped to the floor holding the prizes that signified the freedom I'd won for my friends. Omniscient Narrator Me listened to them debate the fact that it was kind of irresponsible to let werewolves run around for any reason, and this was a perfect opportunity to get rid of me while I was pretty much defenseless.

Like I said, though, faeries respect a good quest narrative, and that is just not how you conclude a quest.

Instead a few of them picked me up, along with the symbols of my victory, and took me with them to go to war.

So you know what, Final Duck?

Bet you're sorry you fucked with me now. It's my carnival now, and my kingdom, and things are going to be different from here on out.

The moral of the story is: if you're a villain, don't send kind-hearted mortals on quests for the evulz. We will not fail for your satisfaction. Kind-hearted mortal heroes are scary scary people.
xenologer: (cocky Kamina)
I went through a drive through all by myself! I got to wait impatiently in a drive through and was too busy congratulating myself on the fact that I was doing it to actually be annoyed.

I was like "dang she is taking so long I've been sitting here like an authentic drive through patron for like ever."



And nooooo I haven't done this before. For one thing, I don't drive much if I can help it. It just makes me nervous because I don't like relying on my depth perception even though it's probably fine. What's more, when I go out in search of food by myself, I tend to go sit down at a table with a book for a while rather than carry my nutritional plunder home to pick through there, so it just... somehow hasn't come up.

Some fartknocker ran a red light in front of me when I was trying to leave, though, and we were both lucky the roads were actually pretty clean and dry. Nonetheless I honked my horn with mighty honking and told my car I appreciate what good care she takes of me and now I have mini-churros.

That's the story. I know, it's a thrill a minute over here.
xenologer: (always shine)
TW on this whole entry because I am sure there's gonna be a whole lot of ablist shit in here that not everybody needs to see me wade through and get over. Also .gif action is happening, which I am going to start trying to remember to warn for specifically.



Sometimes holding my shit together has its disadvantages. Sometimes I (briefly) envy the people who don't.

Read more... )
xenologer: (human monsters)
This sums up basically everything I feel about the nasty impulses I learned from my parents.

Read more... )
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
Other people do a funny thing that doesn't make much sense to me. See, there are people who want me to fall apart, because apparently me falling apart is part of being friends with them. I can see the reasoning, but it makes me angry.

I know why it happens in at least some cases.

There are people who measure intimacy by how often they see me in moments as weak as theirs. There are people who measure intimacy by how frequently they are permitted to be present during a total breakdown. The only language of love that they understand is being caught in someone else's wreckage; is it any surprise that the best way they know to be a friend to me is to drag me into theirs?

So they wish I'd cry, to assure themselves that if I cried they'd be allowed to see it. They wish I would bleed, to assure themselves that they're the kind of person I'd turn to for help. They want me to need their advice about a situation they can't help me with, because me being let down by their lack of wisdom and perspective is a fair price to pay if it means that they get to congratulate themselves for being someone I'd ask.

When they don't get what they want, when they go for too long without seeing any histrionics, they feel isolated and unwanted and unloved, and so they try to carve out of me what they need to feel included. I'm not saying that it's a constructive response to loneliness to hurt the people who aren't hurting enough where you can see it happening, but I am saying it's a thing people do.

There's a certain intimacy in a good fight. Everything is laid right out and everybody is getting a lot of emotional stimulation and everything in the world besides you, us, this... it all fades. Drama is the only way some people know how to feel connected to other people, to feel engaged, to feel like they are effectual and like the world they're in can touch them with anything meaningful.

Fuck those people.

I find them so distasteful that I'm not even going to focus on them here, because I don't keep them around. I'm primarily talking about your garden variety emotional vampire habit of lashing out at all the people around them to prove that there are living breathing bleeding humans close enough to strike. I'm talking about the usual, "I'm hurting! You need to hurt too!" misery loves company sort of act.

I'm talking about the people who see my armor as a barrier between them and me. But you know what? Maybe it is. If you're going to try to sink your fangs into me and drag me down into your misery with you, you're damn right that the armor is there as a barrier between us. If your only way to feel close to me is damaging to me, you're not going to persuade me that you're the victim here because these steel plates keep catching in your teeth.

I know it's rooted in love, but lots of awful things can be rooted in love and still be awful. I'm not confused about where this is coming from; it's a very real desire for closeness and fellowship with me. I'm just not going to adjust my ways to make people feel loved at the cost of my own stability.

I have too much shit to do to pretend to be less strong or less wise than I am for the sake of consoling people whom I could only comfort by staging a catastrophe my life doesn't need and handing out tickets to only the most select of audiences. I have too much shit to do. I've got real shit to do, and if anybody can help me it's not these people. I'm not going to apologize to these lampreys for my refusal to speak to them in their dysfunctional love language that requires others to bleed affirmation.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
My quote of the day comes from the comments to TheFerrett's "But If I Can't Buy You A Coffee, How Will Our Species Reproduce?": How To Hit On Women

You can claim all you like that “it’s not about fucking.” But realistically, what you want is to talk, and get to know her, and go on a few dates, and make it a very intimate relationship…

…and then fuck.

And if fucking’s not a part of it, chances are extremely good that you’re going to feel like she’s wasted your time. Which makes you a liar. It’s like you’re saying, “Oh, no, going out to a restaurant’s not about the eating! It’s about the atmosphere, the good conversation, the experience.” But if you got the bill and went home hungry, you’d be ripped off.

The point is that yes, maybe fucking isn’t your primary intention, but it’s certainly well in the mix. And they know that. And you going up to them and dancing around your boner, going, “No, this is about getting to know each other! It’s about conversation!” is the kind of sad tactic that makes women not trust you. Because yeah. You want other stuff, but all that is stuff you could get elsewhere. You could have many fine friends who you don’t fuck. Instead, you’re lying about the friendship, and what you really want is the sex.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, except that you apparently feel that it is wrong. Most people want sex. But you, you’re going, “No, no, it’s more than that,” missing the point that since all of this camaraderie is going to be worthless WITHOUT the sex, you’ve pretty much made sex the core of it. That’s a scummy lie you’re telling yourself, and it’s doing you no favors, because chances are good women know what you’re really after, and are turned off by your dishonesty.

You say it’s not the first thing on your mind. But I’m willing to bet that if you’re straight, you don’t approach guys like this for fun conversations, or angst about it this much if they reject your hand in close friendship. That means that you’re lying to yourself, because really… it IS the first thing on your mind. You just are doing a little dance to pretend otherwise.


We really can tell.

Ferrett's replying to a guy who commented and seemed to be in denial about what he's really after when he talks to women. What Ferrett is pointing out is not that it's silly to try to get anything out of a woman but sex, but that it's bullshit to pretend that sex isn't the point when to everybody else it's obvious that it is.

So it's less, "Stop wanting things that aren't sex," and more, "Stop pretending you want to get to know her when you'll lose interest if she fails to put out. You are not subtle."

I've never been romantically involved with anybody I didn't consider a friend first. This is not to say that I wouldn't ever under any circumstances hook up with someone I didn't know, but after a lifetime of this shit I actually do sort of need my potential partners to demonstrate to me that my sole winning quality is not in the promise of getting a leg over.

If I think that you would see me as a pointless waste of time without the promise of sex, I personally am done with you as a human being.



I think at this point in my life I would seriously rather have a man come up to me and say, "Hey! I was just noticing how gorgeous you are. Are you looking to hook up with anyone tonight?" Then I can just say, "Nah." I would prefer this over the unmistakeable experience of a man talking to me because he's heard chicks like that and he's sure if he button-mashes enough he will figure out the combination to the supermove that takes off my pants.

If you can't figure out how to talk to women, you need to start with the small stuff and learn how to be friends with women. I don't mean circling around her ankles like a needy cat waiting for her to rub your penis belly; I mean actually figuring out a way for women to feel like you are a good friend to them, and don't do it for the sex. Do it because women are people to you and having female friends is nice. Seriously, though, don't make it about sex, even in your head.

Is this you? Do you have many female friends? If you even have to think, "Do I have many female friends?" you don't. If you don't have female friends, you are probably doing something fucked up that women notice and you don't and until that is resolved, you are not ready to chase us for booty.

I am not kidding.

If you can't befriend women, you'll be a shitty romantic partner and your ass is not ready.



And AGAIN friendship is not some kind of half-romance that needs to evolve into Real Romance. If you have female friends that you value completely apart from the question of getting your dick wet, you have already won. You don't need to do anything else to those relationships. They are already good.

I know you are thinking, "If I can just get them to be friends with me, our relationship will evolve and I will finally be repaid for my investment with the sex I have earned."

You are wrong. You are so wrong that you will ruin everything.


Or less. If it saves you time, I hate you now.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
When you are sitting and waiting and bracing for a thing
even if for once it doesn't come
you are
already
living it.

Maybe she doesn't break anything tonight
like you thought
she would.

Maybe just this once,
you find out that he had
anything
good
to say about you when you weren't there
this once.

And maybe, just for tonight
it matters to somebody
anybody
when you say no
and however much you're
willing to give is good enough
because
you're
enough
without anybody needing to steal
parts of you
without anybody needing to hold you
still
and silent
and cut out of you what they think
they
have earned.

But when you are
sitting and
waiting and
bracing for a thing
even if for once it doesn't come
you are already living it.

Even if it doesn't happen tomorrow
this tomorrow any tomorrow
or every tomorrow
it has
already.

Even if it doesn't come
it will always
have always
been there
waiting
in the nothings you worried about.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
It has rained for five days
running
the world is
a round puddle
of sunless water
where small islands
are only beginning
to cope
a young boy
in my garden
is bailing out water
from his flower patch
when I ask him why
he tells me
young seeds that have not seen sun
forget
and drown easily.
xenologer: (objection!)
Me: I am pretty sure I just successfully identified the sucker size wounds and beak wound of an attack by a giant pacific octopus before the Winchester boys on Supernatural did.
JW: ...
JW: Holmesy.
JW: Dude.
Me: They haven't figured it out yet. But I swear that's a beak wound.
Me: Come on.
Me: Get with the beak channel.
JW: Dude, really?
JW: Go back to school. Become a marine biologist. Just make it official.
JW: Specializing in cephalopods.
Me: That's not a vampire bite! That's a beak wound. That's a fucking beak.
Me: God I should do that.
JW: Or an entomologist specializing in bees, yeah.
Me: But I would have to move, I think. Not a lot of marine biology to be done in Indiana.
JW: You could totally do entomologist.
JW: And then you'd have enough shared background to tack on marine biology pretty easily in the future.
Me: I don't like dead bugs. They sorta squick me.
JW: That's fair.
JW: They are quite weird.
Me: They're hollow! D:
Me: WHY ARE THEY HOLLOW
Me: ugh
xenologer: (do not even)
I mistrust displays of strong negative emotion.

I think this is because I associate outward displays of rage or distress (especially crying, but to a lesser extent raised voices) with incoming irrational and hurtful behavior from someone who is clearly no longer in full control of their actions.

But you know what?

That's because that's what happens. Turns out that normal people don't tend to retain full control over their fucking mouths when they're in a state of serious distress. Turns out that normal people, when they're hurting, lash out at others to hurt them on purpose instead of solving their fucking problems.

And you know what?

Yeah.

Imma go ahead and ice over in advance, or at least armor up. I stay distant and rational so that I can trust myself and others can trust me. Someone who can't or won't return the favor? Well... do you trust a wounded wild animal? Maybe you want to help it and maybe on some level it knows that, but if it can't stop baring its teeth you put your hand back in your pocket and pull out a phone and call a professional, someone whose job it is to deal with this situation.

Or you be a dumbass and get bitten, and now you both need a professional.

I'm not a dumbass. I'm cold and I can be distant but I solve problems and I resolve conflicts and I solve them best with people who are ready to get their thoughts in straight lines and sit at the grownups table to work.

I feel strong emotion like everybody else. Contrary to some people's assertions, I am neither a superhuman emotionally invincible powerhouse nor an unfeeling cold marble statue. I just impose a thing I like to call impulse control, and I'm only getting better at it as I mature. I can feel strong emotions without falling so far to pieces that I make situations worse by escalating with my out of control impulsive behavior, and I don't think that makes me a bad person.

There are two common reactions to this. Some people are immediately horrified that I retain my higher brain functions when there's a conflict or a crisis, because that's a sign that I am some kind of calculating sociopathic space monster. Some people see this as an excuse to make me do all the heavy lifting and de-escalating every time there's a conflict, because if we can skate by with only one person controlling themselves, everybody else is off the hook when I'm around.

Not particularly impressed by either reaction.

What I really like is somewhat more rare. I like it when someone can feel deeply the impact of a situation we are in without losing their goddamned minds and lashing out and generally making even more of a mess for us to for me to clean up. I like it when someone can state their feelings clearly in words, say what made them feel that way, and sensibly figure out a solution to the problem of someone feeling shitty.

Self-awareness: DO IT YOURSELF.

I like people who don't exhaust me by treating me like a freak or a crutch, but who instead say, "Oh thank goodness we can just work on this."

I get it more than I used to. Being willing to kick people out for being perpetually in the grip of some emotional crisis that they consider license to be a dickhead to me, even if I could power through their bad treatment? Does a world of good.

I'm only twenty six, but really guys. I am already too old for juvenile hissy fits and counterproductive drama. There's a life without this crap, and I intend to have it.
xenologer: (happy!)
It was lovely.

Perhaps most important were the people.

I got to hang out with the next generation of Thalians who despite being quite young are some of the most well-grounded, thoughtful, and entertaining humans I know. The children of my friends are also my friends. What a funny age I am!

I also had some serious bonding time with someone I only sorta knew, but had always gotten good vibes from. It turns out that she wanted to go get bubble tea with me because she'd always wanted to try it.

I suggested that we eat at Noodles & Co. since she's sort of into raw food stuff, but when she realized that I would also dig Skyline for chili spaghetti, she expressed a profound love of Skyline and we ate there instead. Turns out she just likes the raw food thing and is not actually making a whole lifestyle out of it. Which, y'know, it's all good either way, but it was amusing to be all ready to adjust and then to find out that actually what she really wanted was the thing I'd chosen not to suggest out of consideration.

Life lesson, right?

Then bubble tea!

Then we talked about haters and relationships and parental generational shifts and baggage and went back to my place so that I could make her mix CDs and we drank tea and talked more. We may have a sleepover. We will probably watch Spice World. I am pretty jazzed about it.

I only got like three hours of sleep but that's okay because I have friends and sleep is for when I am not busy being pleasantly surprised by profound human connections. Like maybe in an hour or two. We'll see how long I can sustain articulate consciousness.

Happy, though! Yay.
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
Considering my two life options: kicking everybody out of my life who betrays my trust, or learning to repair relationships tainted by betrayal. The former option keeps everything temptingly simple, but on the other hand... nobody is perfect, and if I kick everybody to the curb after a single strike, that means I won't get to keep anybody.

I suppose that's an unfair way to portray it, though.

Generally I give people one opportunity to prove that an instance of awfulness is not reflective of their real priorities and values, because there are people who just don't think clearly enough or deeply enough about what they do, and it's possible to just hash things out with them and give them the data they need to be the kind of friend they want to be.

The rule is double-edged. On the one hand, that's basically the "take them or leave them" moment for the relationship, whether I drop them right that moment or not. Generally if I am going to ditch someone, that's when the decision got made, and everything in between that decision and its actualization? Just damage control, no matter how it looks. The other edge, though, is that I don't trust people until we have had this moment. How can I know whether someone really gives a shit about me and whatever relationship we have if they've never needed to demonstrate it? How can I possibly know someone until I know how they handle conflict?

Knowing who a person is when everything's going their way is not knowing them at all, because there is no healthy and reasonable way to keep them happy all the time so that I never need to know what kind of person they are when things get thorny.

I really do think it's when people show their true colors. Not in the "be perfect and never fuck up" period, but in the "well somebody fucked up so now what do we do?" period. Whether I have fucked up or they have, here is what needs to happen. Anything short of this is grounds for immediate friendship termination (with only a couple of exceptions).
Rebuilding trust is something two people do together. You just can't say, "You go off and become trustworthy and then come back and we'll see." It doesn't work that way.

You're needing to talk to each other, to share information about what things mean to you. You've got to talk about things that are difficult to say and difficult to hear and do so without making each other miserable. You've got to share hurt feelings without creating more hurt feelings. You've got to listen when you're itching to make yourself heard and make yourself heard when you're tired of talking. - Mira Kirshenbaum

Remember. Fail here by being a shitshow, and it's done. Succeed here and we're actually bros now. Remember that this is a standard I hold myself to as well, and that my refusal to implode is not a sign that I don't care, but that I care too much about solving whatever problem we have to collapse at this crucial moment.

It's a risky time. No matter which side I am on, it's the moment when I know whether to trust this person and accept them in for real, or whether they should be cut loose before they have the power to do serious damage. So basically, people have one chance with me to demonstrate that they deserve chances at all. If they use that first chance well, they'll get more (up to a point, until I see them squandering those opportunities).

The lovely thing about this approach is that it pretty well protects me from betrayal. I don't take too many emotional risks if I refuse to get invested until I've given someone's risk level a favorable evaluation.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. - Maya Angelou

It has a drawback, though. It means that the better I get at assessing who is likely to betray me and how, the longer I go without practicing dealing with betrayal. I think I deal with it okay, despite not having very many opportunities to hone my skills. Perhaps the definition of dealing well with betrayal is knowing when the cost-benefit analysis tips in favor of just cutting them off, and then acting accordingly.

Every now and again I do wonder if I am missing out, but at the same time... I think I am generous enough. My life has a lot less drama in it than many people I know because "tends to introduce drama" is fully enough reason to show someone the door whether they need my support or have some other reason why I should keep them around out of pity. I'm having a moment of second-guessing that instant willingness to turn and sever, but deep down I'm still satisfied with my results.
Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife - chopping off what's incomplete and saying: "Now, it's complete because it's ended here." - Frank Herbert
xenologer: (argggghh)
Car accidents are so tiresome.

I was stopped in traffic and I heard tires squealing. The guy in front of me, obeying some stroke of preternatural genius, reflexively pulled forward to separate himself from the people behind him--including me. Next thing I know I'm thrown against my steering wheel and my glasses have flown across the dash to fold neatly under the windshield. Good show, glasses. They're fine, by the way.

I was already stopped, so I just switched into park and hit my emergency flashers to get out and see what happened.

The people behind me had lightly tapped me because someone had slammed into them from behind. The pickup in the very back... I don't know what their deal was, but they seemed to understand that this was on them and were both apologetic and willing to act as interpreters for the people in the middle car.

Those poor people didn't speak much English, had a car too fucked up to drive home, and while they had insurance the lady driving didn't have a license. I hope that doesn't mean they're undocumented and are going to get deported because someone hit their car. Because holy shit.

So basically, truck hits car, car hits me. Like the frontmost ball hanging in one of those little executive ballclicker things, despite the negligible damage (seriously, my bumper stickers are fine) I was thrown forward against my steering wheel. I have some little cuts on my left eyebrow and will probably have a heck of a bruise there.

One of the ladies in the middle car pointed at my eyebrow, grinned, and put up her fists, implying that I looked like I'd been in a fight. I laughed, put mine up too, and said, "Yeah, that's me," and it was nice to make light of it.

So yes. I am fine. I am not going to constantly fucking reiterate that I am fine because I'm a little rattled and icing my face and would much rather laugh at the situation than spend a bunch of time reassuring people over it.

The guys were over with Brian gaming, and commented that I do in fact look like I was in a fight. It's right over my eyebrow. They accused me of having invented this accident as a cover story to hide my underground boxing hobby. Sure. That's what we'll go with.

Naproxen and ice.

I just wanted some fuckin' fish cake to go in my ramen. No international grocery for me today. Alas. I'll just sit here icing this nonsense.
xenologer: (bye bye)
So when women are like, "Hey don't sexually harass me," there are always people who say, "But I am so awkward/autistic that I cannot tell the difference between harassment and flirting BAWWWWW you are so ablist BAWWWWWWW."

No, awkwardness is no excuse.

Tell it, Captain Awkward.
If you alert someone to an unwelcome behavior, and the person keeps doing that thing and/or angrily arguing that they shouldn’t have to change anything, the problem is not Asperger’s. Even if they do have Asperger’s. People with Asperger’s can knowingly or unknowingly violate someone’s boundaries. They can also have their boundaries violated! A lot of people who are Very Worried About The Aspies do not themselves have Asperger’s and are using this as a straw man to derail the conversation away from their own behaviors. They’re also insulting people with Asperger’s by assuming that even close to a statistically significant portion of creepy behavior can be blamed on them. Who’s able-ist now?

I hate how people who sexually harass people and persist in ignoring boundaries hide behind (or are hidden behind by others) "social awkwardness" as though there were any degree of awkwardness that could recontextualize "no" to mean "yes." If you come to this comment thread to explain that Asperger's is why you shouldn't have to stop scaring the women you hit on, I hope every boundary-respecting Aspie on my friends list punches you in the mouth.

Also, all of the men I know who have persisted in sexually harassing women and then been sheltered by mutual friends have actually been entirely socially savvy... when it comes to situations and people they actually give a shit about.

For example, any harasser who has managed to surround himself with enablers who'll say "oh he's just awkward so he can't change" and targets who'll say "well there's no way to get him to stop so I'll just shut up and try not to make drama over it" is a harasser who is actually very very good at what he does, socially. He gets away with sexually harassing people precisely because he is not awkward.

What he is... is a man who doesn't believe that women are qualified to define and defend our own boundaries, and who has figured out what kinds of people to keep around him so that he doesn't EVER have to feel real pressure to adjust his behavior. And THAT is not the behavior of a man who's bad with social cues. He's just a man who is bad.

This rant can also be found at Dissent of a Woman. That's the linkable public version, mostly because there are people on my friends list who know some of the creepers I am talking about and their privacy may be a factor here, too.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Wrote a lot of this a week or so ago, when I was still reeling from all that Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day horseshit.

Read more... )

Resources

If anybody else is still having these terrible terrible discussions, here are some resources that you might find helpful.

Specific and easily-linkable information on Chick-Fil-A's donation history.

Great rundown from ThinkProgress.org that I like because it addresses the problems with (and harm caused by) falsely casting this as a First Amendment issue.

Tired of having this cast as a dispute between two equally-unreasonable and extreme camps of zealots? Here, drop this link before you smash your head against that brick wall again.

JP Brammer's Final Rant on Chick-Fil-A, full of justified anger over very real harm.
It’s not about Dan Cathy’s opinion - which I do not give a flying fuck about - it’s about the fact that Chick-Fil-A donated over $5 million to anti-gay hate groups. Hate groups which have been listed next to the KKK, hate groups which try to cure gay people like it’s a disease, and hate groups that have disseminated information claiming that gay people are pedophiles. (...)

Let me tell you this. Agreeing to disagree is a luxury I can’t afford because that’s something you can only do with an equal. And, if you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of dealing with some major inequalities here. So when you tell me that I have to deal with the bullshit that society and religion sends my way on a daily basis, and that I have to do it with a smile on my face, then don’t be surprised when I tell you to kindly fuck off.

“But you’ll never get rights that way. You attract more flies with honey than-” oh shut the fuck up. Like you care about my rights.


Then, for a slightly different tactic, Aesop to the Right: Why I Believe Bristol Palin, one of those rare potentially bridge-building essays which does that difficult job without compromising on the values at stake here. This is a keeper any time someone says, "I don't have a problem with LGBT people. I just believe that they're definitionally excluded from certain rights because of the way I have chosen to define the group of people eligible for those rights. But I love my gay friends!"
Some people turn supremacy into an over-arching philosophy. For most, it’s just a habit of mind. As a habit of mind, supremacist ideas can spring up in anyone. Being liberal doesn’t make you immune. Being gay doesn’t make you immune. Being a minority doesn’t make you immune.

You don’t have to hate people to feel innately superior to them. After all, what kind of threat are your inferiors to you? You may be annoyed by them, from time to time, or you may even like them. You can even have so much affection for them that you might call that affection love.

Because they don’t have to be said in anger, supremacist statements aren’t only the purview of the “God Hates Fags” crowd. The dangerous thing about a supremacist point of view is that it can accompany even warm affection.

Now understand: I’m not saying you’re a supremacist, but your letter, polite as it is, does betray a somewhat a supremacist point of view.

Finally, Snopes.com on the Chick-Fil-A marriage equality issue.

Also! For those of you on LJ and DW who might want to link this, the entry on DoaW is here. Please feel free to leave links to more resources in the comments on DoaW so that anybody who needs them won't have to depend only on what I happened to have stashed in my browser history when I posted this.
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
Been hurting a lot lately. This comes out sometimes as depression and other times as anger. Mostly I just have a much lower tolerance right now for certain things. When it comes to callousness, I'm a little more raw right now. I've invested a lot of energy and made sacrifices for the sake of being the kind of person I can respect, of being the kind of person who didn't leave me to fight and endure alone out of ignorance or apathy.

It's important to me not to be those people, because those people do more damage than they'll ever know, and I don't want to be them. I know I'll never be perfect, but there is a degree to which I am sort of obsessively ethical (look up Compulsive Vowing in a GURPS book) to try and keep an eye on everything and minimize the harm I do without thinking.

Obligatory Proof That I Understand Humans

I know everybody does what they think is right. I know that everybody--whether they're demonstrably wrong or right--believes that the choices they are making are appropriate. Most people who consider the question of whether they are good people conclude that they are. So I know that most people are generally doing their best, even though blindness can get in the way ofeven the most earnestly good-hearted.

What I am having trouble dealing with right now is the idea that there are people who can be presented with a great gaping wound in the world and treat it like a thought experiment, like there are no real people involved and so it's not serious.

We don't all have infinite energy. We just don't. We also don't all have infinite capability. The world isn't going to fall apart because one person needs to recharge so that they can sustainably tap the finite resource that is their very self. That's not what I'm talking about.

I am talking about people who can shut a certain type of person out of their ethical considerations entirely. I am talking about people whose personal integrity comes with a list of exceptions for people whose experiences aren't really real.

Right now I am not dealing with it as well as I sometimes can.

So I'm touchy.

Just to be Clear, "Touchy" is a Euphemism for "Ready to Eat Some Fool's Home Planet"

I am so angry right now. I have a right to that anger. I have a right to be angry on behalf of people who are suffering from entirely preventable and addressable injustices, because that is an anger founded in love.

I am not wrong to be angry that some of my so-called friends don't believe they should be expected to worry about trivial matters of "political correctness" like referring to racial or ethnic groups by the names they choose. I am not wrong to be angry that my trans friends are being gaslit on a daily basis, told that they don't understand themselves or the world and that they are too insane for their self-assessments to have weight. I am not wrong to be angry that I know men who are angry that women get so up in arms about sexual harassment because these men aren't willing to learn to approach women in ways that won't frighten us.

I am right to be angry, especially if it motivates me to do the necessary work to solve the problems that are hurting so many of us.

Now Begins the Me-Specific and Not-to-be-Used-to-Bludgeon-Other-People-for-their-Anger Section

I need some more sustainable fuel than this, though. I used to fuel myself on anger when I canvassed, and while I knew that I was right to be angry because it was a sign that I was still invested in the fates of my fellow human beings, I also knew that if my anger was grounded in love... shouldn't I be able to just motivate myself with that love?

Anger's a quick-burning fuel, and I can use it to excellent effect. I know what's right, though, and I will do it even if I am not angry.

I need to find my way back to that inner peace that lets me fight because I love and not lash out like a wounded animal. I am not doing this because the people who are pissing me off and receiving the verbal flamethrower don't deserve it. They probably do! I am doing this because I hurt. Anger is a great motivator, but as strengthening and liberating as it can be to people who are just realizing the legitimacy of their pain... anger also is pain.

I've done work with dharma practice before, specifically with anger. I have gotten pretty good at stepping back a bit and saying, "This is a mind experiencing anger." I have gotten pretty good at saying that I am experiencing anger and not that I am angry, because my anger is not what defines me. It is an experience I am having, and how I respond to that experience is up to me.

I need to get back to that project, because this anger is hurting again.

Kind Enemies

One thing that has helped me is looking at people who are behaving terribly as an opportunity to practice patience that I didn't ask for and still don't want, but am getting anyway.

In fact enemies are kinder to us than Buddha. That's almost inconceivable. "What do you mean my enemy is kinder to me than Buddha? The Buddha has perfect compassion for everyone. The Buddha doesn't harm a fly! How can my enemy who is such a beep beep beep be kinder than Buddha?

...to become Buddhas, we need to practice patience. ... Who gives us the opportunity to practice patience? Who is so kind and helps us develop that infinitely good quality of patience? Only the person who harms us. Only our enemy. So, the enemy is much kinder to us than Buddha. - Thubten Chodron

I had an employer once who was sort of obnoxious, and what I ended up telling myself (sarcastically at first, as an office-friendly euphemism), "So and so has decided to provide me with a lot of opportunities to practice patience today." Eventually the sarcasm faded and I really did see it that way. I was getting opportunities to apply some of what I was reading and deciding about my own anger, and those opportunities to practice wouldn't happen if I didn't have somebody pissing me off at least some of the time.

This is not to say that people who are being oppressed should stop fighting and respond always with "thank you sir may I have another." It's sort of the "someone is being an asshole" version of what I do when I have been an asshole. When I've been an asshole and someone tells me so, that is an opportunity for me to prove to them that I am a safe person to talk to and that it is okay to be honest with me. It's the best chance I will ever get to prove to another human being that my integrity and my interest in their well-being are priorities for me.

I don't want these opportunities because they mean I have screwed up and likely hurt someone. I don't seek them out. But you know what? I am not perfect and I will get these chances to prove myself whether I want them or not. What's important for me to remember, then, is that these are my only chances to earn real trust. Until then all they know is that I am nice when there's no conflict. They don't know if I'll flip out and act a fuckin' fool the moment I hear something I won't like. They won't know until they take that risk. So I make a point to take that opportunity as my chance to earn real trust, because without this opportunity--however undesirable--we were never going to be friends. It's painful for basically everybody involved, but until all parties involved have seen how the others handle it... there will never be trust.

So it's like that, only with other people making me angry. I don't want them to, and I'm not even saying that their behavior should be excused. Sometimes the training exercise in question is solving a problem--including setting and enforcing boundaries--without giving over control of myself to my emotions.

tl;dr: Anger Can Be Legitimate and Still Not Be Helpful

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am getting a lot of opportunities to practice patience, a lot of training exercises for maintaining mental equilibrium, and I need to make the conscious decision to use them.

Right now that means that I need to pull together some tools and techniques to practice with. I need to get on this and not put it off, because I am sure that the world will be kind enough to offer me some more opportunities to practice very soon.
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
CaptainAwkward #247: Marrying into a family with awful boundary issues, or, secrets of dealing with Highly Difficult People
Here are some underlying principles that might help you in dealing with Alice.

You cannot control Alice’s behavior. You cannot predict Alice’s behavior. You cannot prevent Alice’s behavior. Alice is gonna do what Alice is gonna do, which is cry and shower displeasure and guilt on her family, who will cheerfully pass it onto you, because that’s how they roll.

Alice is going to throw tantrums and be shitty NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. I think that is helpful to know. Keep reminding yourself. Alice will find ways to be shitty and intrusive, because she is a shitty intrusive control freak who needs to make everything about her and who will projectile vomit blame all over everyone.

Also, Alice is not going to get better. She is not going to have a sudden revelation of self-awareness and stop this stuff. She may mellow with age and time, but she is always going to be somewhat like this.

Here’s what’s powerful about realizing this: Once a person shows that they don’t give a shit about the social contract and have no shame about throwing adult temper tantrums in public, it kind of frees you from giving a shit about what they think of you. They hold the threat of their tantrum (displeasure, guilt trip, sulk, whatever) over the family if they don’t get what they want, but you have the power to say “Huh” and not really even acknowledge that it affects you. (...)

When Alice throws a tantrum, she wants you to inventory your behavior and wonder what you’ve done to upset her, and she wants you to walk on eggshells and be worried about upsetting her and to actively try not to upset her (Secret: This will always be a mysterious, moving target and you will never figure out how to prevent upsetting her). Her family wants this too – it’s like they are afraid she’ll turn green and bust out into nothing but purple shorts and wreck the secret flying Avengers lair dining room. Once you figure out “Oh wait, what did I do to cause this…NOTHING, because Alice reacts like this to EVERYTHING” you are free of running that little guilt-game on yourself. Alice, like Hulk, is always angry.

Absolutely.

I will say that the de-escalation techniques that Captain Awkward mention do work. It is a tried and tested way of talking someone down out of the Crazy Tree to continue talking to them like they aren't having a complete shit fit because eventually they will realize that your ruthless sanity cannot be impacted by their childish bullshit, and if they want their way they're going to have to stop throwing feces and sit down on the ground under the Tree with the adults and actually work shit out like a human.

I will also say that this is fucking exhausting, and some people aren't worth it.

Yeah.

Yeah, I fucking said it.

Read more... )

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