Posted by: Judy | December 9, 2011

Tolerance…

Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions. ~ G.K. Chesterton

Thank you, Think Exist, because there were a whole bunch of quotes by Chesterton (and where I found yesterday’s quote by Mother Teresa). I was so enjoying reading them, I realized I had to learn more about this man. Thank you Wikipedia.

It is simply amazing that so much information is available and easy to find. The bonus for me is that looking things up now is nothing like when I was growing up, when I was told to go check the encyclopedia, which was torture. Spelling was not my strong point…. okay… I have dyslexia. Seeing a whole bunch of words on a page has, in the past, caused panic.

The thing about narcissists, at least in my experience, is that they tout themselves as being open-minded, generous, tolerant. I mean, look what they put up with dealing with me. Yes, that was snarky. But that is precisely the problem. I come across sounding snarky, when the truth is that the hypocrisy is so thick it almost seems true.

As I made spaghetti the other day, I was reminded why I never cook around the Ns. I’d forgotten. Background information: I cook for one. When I make spaghetti, I’ll cook the whole package. Saves time and energy. It makes eight servings. I divide it among eight bowls that I cover in plastic wrap and put in the fridge. A bottle of sauce is usually five servings, so I measure in sauce, and then the spaghetti. I do this once or twice a month, for the last year. A few plates makes stacking the bowls easier. This is the first time I’ve done the actual cooking while anyone was home.

“You must love what you’re making to have all that.”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure you want to eat the same thing every day?”

“I like it.”

“You’re going to be eating that for a loooonnnngggg time.”

“The same as the last time I made it.”

“You could freeze it.”

“I don’t want to freeze it.”

“Are you sure it will keep?”

“Yes. It has before.”

“You must really like it.”

“Yes.”

“I can’t eat that brand of sauce.”

And then repeat with the other parent, except the last statement.

They think I’m snippy. Can’t imagine why. Okay, that was snippy. Now, the underlying message I heard through tone of voice and implication:

“Are you out of your mind making that much?”

“You don’t really want to eat that every day, do you?”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“You don’t know anything about how long food keeps.”

“Your diet isn’t very good.”

“Your choices aren’t very good.”

The general message: We are oblivious to you and we think you’re stupid, unless we think we should be connecting with you to prove we care about you. See, we took notice and asked. What hurt me? Realizing, again, that these comments point out how much they don’t notice me, unless they’re feeling neglected, and they think I’m so stupid I don’t know anything about proper food storage.

They eat some of the same things day after day, so why is what I’m doing odd or worthy of any comment at all? And maybe they don’t realize that the food will keep that long, if stored properly.

What I learned from my counselor: The Ns see me as an extension of themselves, therefore they are allowed to comment on anything and everything I do, say, eat, wear, think, feel, etc. It isn’t about me at all. It’s them.

So if it isn’t about me, why am I chafing? This is why I had to stop cooking when they were home. It was the same dialogue, over and over and over and over… Really.

Maybe they’re having trouble with their memory. Maybe. They’re old enough. Except that this has gone on for decades. The same sad repetition because it all comes back to me being an extension of them, which they think gives them permission to make any comment they want, whenever they want, regardless of how unkind or thoughtless it is.

Ns see tolerance as acquiescence. I am expected to be tolerant. Tolerant means that I am required to accept whatever abuse they dish out to me, and be grateful for it or at least not complain.

What am I doing to make a different choice? My first choice has been to run the avoidance pattern. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. It’s the easiest, and the most prudent. They aren’t going to change. That being said, when I find myself in the situation I can’t escape, I am endeavoring to keep my answers short. Ns like it when you try to justify yourself, because it gives them more material to work with either then or at a later date. So, short is good. I really need to work on having a sense of humor about this. I still hold that the most effective tool against the nonviolent N is humor. Violence brings in a whole different set of problems. And, in my experience, no contact is definitely the healthiest answer.


Responses

  1. Wouldn’t that be lovely to have NC as a choice? 🙂
    I am discovering a handy new tool. If it is all about them then I make it all about them. How is your…..going? Fill in the blank with whatever gets them going. Then smile, nod and leave. Oh yea. 🙂

    • Someday. I’m going to have to try that.


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