Posted by: Judy | September 30, 2013

Follow up on last Thursday’s post…

Pandora Viltis made an interesting comment that started my brain working. I decided to make my reply a post of its own.

“I don’t think you’re being fair to yourself to compare your situation to what this guy is talking about. But I think it’s good you are pondering it.”

I think you’re right. I’m comparing apples and oranges, but it’s taken me a while to figure it out.

It comes back to what my counselor would say when I’d present a plan to attempt to work things out with my NM and EF. He would point to the wall, reminding me that I might as well bang my head against the wall.

Healthy interactions can only occur between healthy people. However, what I find fascinating is the idea that I can behave in a healthy way no matter what the other person does.

The example of the soldier who respected all the prisoners. I realized that I do my best to be respectful of NM. She doesn’t think I’m respectful, but I don’t yell at her, except to be heard, and I don’t call her nasty names. I endeavor to not say nasty things to her. I honestly work to be pleasant while maintaining a safe distance. She hasn’t changed. I have. There will be those who watch me interact with her and tell you I’m not respectful at all. They don’t live in the house and see what happened before they arrived for a visit. They don’t recognize the narcissistic little smile that says, “I’m going to get you.”

Some people will respond, while others will not. It is impossible to reason with someone who enjoys causing pain. However, I don’t need to add my prickliness.

I was amused by the chapter on the Ugly America. I lived in England one summer and visited France. Before I left, I was warned about the cold English and the snooty French. Everyone was so kind and helpful. People bent over backwards to help me and make my visit as pleasant as possible. I have no idea where the naysayers went, but it wasn’t the same place I did.

So, as I read the book, I realize that in large part he’s right, but not wholly.

I also haven’t felt the need to bring up how different things are for victims of abuse. Abuse survivors are not the ones to whom he’s writing. It helps to keep perspective.


  1. I heard all the stuff about the nasty British and snooty French, too, and then when I actually visited there (like you), people in both countries were very warm and welcoming and kind. I’m thinking those folks that say that stuff might be miserable to begin with (chip on shoulder) so that they attract misery from other people. Or they blew tiny things out of proportion, take offense where none was intended, etc.
    I know that was only one small part of your post, but just saying I was agreeing. 🙂

    • Good point about people taking offense where none was intended.

  2. I think that opinions like these are not really to share their opinions of their experiences but rather to cause anxiety in the other person. When I said I was going to France, I got the same response. Was the behaviour to make me excited about the trip, to inform me or to add anxiety? The behaviour, itself, comes with no good intentions. If it was to inform, how are they exactly helping me with my upcoming trip.

    It takes me a while to figure out information too – any info, opinions, challenging thoughts, contradictions. To me, it means you are considering it – which is part of listening to others. xxoo TR

    • Wow! I hadn’t thought of it that way before! You’re so right. Thanks, TR!

  3. I didn’t think I was all that different from everyone else until my counselor told me he wanted me to thrive. Many people understand what that means. I didn’t. How could I do something that I didn’t even know what it means? He realized he had his work cut out for me to describe a basic human behavior that most people take for granted.

    I also know that a lot of people assume that how NM behaves when everyone is around and how she behaves with us in private are the same. It doesn’t occur to them that her behavior is not the same.

    • True.

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