Never mess up a good memory with the facts. My lawyer wrote a book. I have lifetime training and practice in speed reading, and I read the story of his life in 15 minutes in his waiting room. Less really. There was no imagination, just an accounting. It was like reading a spreadsheet.
He offered me a free copy and when I said no thanks I’ve already read it, he didn’t believe me. I said I prefer creative descriptive writing, that takes hours to savor and enjoy and re-read just for the pleasure of the words. I could look at Rembrandts feathers all day long… Steinbeck could take 3 pages to describe a drop of dew on a leaf…and I could read your entire life in less than 15 minutes. There is nothing to hold the eye or capture the imagination. You are a very interesting guy, I said, you should learn how to write.
Lawyers hate me. QC’s despise me.
My wife went law school, I went to art school.
The sex was dry and mundane, worse than the nurse but not as bad as the engineer. 50 shades of blah. I liked the part where you moved, then smiled and kissed me back; we laughed with joy, in my imagination.
I was more in love with Rembrandt’s wife than my own.
At least the divorce was free.
I met you at Deb’s and Maddi’s. Early 80’s. I was fresh out of a narcissist du jour, Betty, who had dumped me, a serial dumper, a psych nurse, for an abusive angry engineer. She wanted to marry her father and finally gain his approval, and live happily ever after.
Being in such pain and vulnerable, when you bombed me with love, I was smitten. I couldn’t believe one as beautiful and talented as you could love me, sleep with me. Instantly. The fairy princess.
I didn’t know that it was all an act of your needing approval, any approval, in a storm of self hate and then hating the ring bearer of your addiction.
Convinced, I thought you liked me, I mean I believed you, a passable actress, but it was a script learned well to gain only applause…the usual temporary transient sordid solution; the love junkies delema.
Good until the next fix. Serial installments in a storm of instant love.
Overvalue, undervalue, dump, rinse, repeat.
Any poet in a storm, baby.
I live in a very conservative, orderly, and authoritarian city. I make art about it, and have studied it all my life. The residents are typical fascists, who like dogs because they are predictable, obey commands and are orderly, friendly and are ‘good for something’.
Friendly fascists who are stone cold killers, who start wars, they like wars, and the orderly authoritarian military in charge. In other words they suffer from a deep anxiety, as all bullies do and the cognitive distortion, “others must do the right thing or they deserve to be punished” like the dogs mentioned previously. More consequences of that notion here: http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/musts.html
I paint the world around me that has been stripped of life and colour by folks like this and notions they suffer from, and impose on others.
““What’s the use of falling in love if you both remain inertly as-you-were?” Mary McCarthy asked her friend Hannah Arendt in their correspondence about love. The question resonates because it speaks to a central necessity of love — at its truest and most potent, love invariably does change us, deconditioning our painful pathologies and elevating us toward our highest human potential. It allows us, as Barack Obama so eloquently wrote in his reflections on what his mother taught him about love, “to break across our solitude, and then, if we’re lucky, [be] finally transformed into something firmer.”” – https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/09/27/kahlil-gibran-the-prophet-love-marriage/
Total nonsense. Love is a choice. If we focus on how much love we are getting we lose sight on how much love we are giving. That is the transformation to a ‘better person’. We are made of thousands of characteristics. If I choose to ‘love’ (a meaningless word) 60% of yours and put up with the 40% I deem bullshit, then that’s a functional marriage because I am getting 60% of my satisfactions met. I prefer you have the following characteristics but only 60% are required because I’m not a damn perfectionist:
attractive to me
mentally/emotionally reasonable health
likes to dine out/coffee shop
likes healthy food
frank conversation willing to compromise
has at least one strong interest
liberal at least
life long educated learner
Then I can choose to be engaged with you to a intimate degree. I choose to be in love. I choose to care about you deeply because it is self helping.
I choose to accept everyone unconditionally, because that is self helping as well, but I don’t choose to be intimate emotionally or physically with very many. In order to find safety and trust I refer to my list and hopefully 60% satisfaction is what I have found.
Learning is a skill that improves with practice, like any skill. Older people have more chops, potentially, if there has been a lifelong interest in lifelong learning. I went to art school at 40 and watched 20 year olds drop out, I never did homework. I learned how to learn hanging in the library as a street kid, avoiding beatings. Took a speed reading course too, when I was a kid, there are several free ones on the net. Tutored kids at art school on writing papers, still do. An old dog/new tricks is a self defeating cognitive distortion (lie) that stands in for poor low frustration tolerance. Usually that means older people have untreated depression. But it is the same depression symptom at any age. I’m often frustrated with my limitations of stroke recovery, I just learn (there is that word again) to tolerate the frustration. With that learned skill I tolerated the frustration of learning MySql and Xampp to host my own servers and websites only to discover that the reason people find tech challenging to learn is because it is poorly written and engineered by people who submit low quality work in order to get paid faster, much like the framer of a house that doesn’t square his walls, saying fuck it let the drywaller fix it….welcome to the gig economy…don’t even get me started about how that plays out in medicine…not getting treatment in a busy hospital, fuck it let the community therapists fix it, only to find they are understaffed underfunded in community, so I go to gym and ask what is that machine for? how do I use it? I have things to do, I can’t afford to wait around for people to care for me, they have their own problems to fix…
Recently I have met two women who have criticized my writing for being too hard on narcissists.
It’s true I don’t find the humanity in me rising up.
When I mentioned that I had one visit from narcissistic family to my hospital room, in 6 months, including Christmas, where I am the kind of guy that would go every night, I mean I have, the woman I spoke to couldn’t seem to feel what I felt.
I was doing something wrong by expressing this she thought.
I wasn’t being nice.
Wait till she hears about being prey for the monsters without empathy that lurk on dating sites…
Thanks for the courtesy of a reply. Of course people recovering from a traumatic life changing event tend to be irritable, that’s called frustration actually. I chose to document it. I would never take it out on someone, that’s called abuse. I mean that’s what it is.
It’s also emotional honesty, I have a right to express my emotions, you have right to know what they are, or in this case, were.
My writing on my blog is a form of using REBT therapy to really get to the rational: why me, well why not me, where is it written I can’t deal with a pain in the ass. What good can I make of this?
Well one good thing was to write a book, writing every morning with my left hand for 6 months while living in a hospital, suddenly homeless, I mean you just wake up one day and you have lost your home, and your cat, and your car, and you are living in a wheelchair. And your dominant arm and hand are flaccid. The process of getting all that back was a tad frustrating. Learning to shave with the left hand was dangerous. Don’t even talk about clipping nails.
The government sent my temporary drivers license yesterday I have final testing soon. I’m going back to my first love, driving to the mountains, the forest, the trees, which I had thought lost to me forever.
I met a fellow last week who after 5 years in the wheelchair, finally got the courage to attempt to stand at a urinal. 5 years living in anxiety.
Of course hostility and anxiety go together, hand in hand.
That is what people fear and run away from and attack, someone who has dealt with what they fear most.
“I like your photography…” it isn’t, I’m a painter using digital brushes, real photographers hate my practice of cropping and editing, a standard painting practice.
That’s the overvalue.
“I sense many many aversions and irritability…” I have no idea what you mean, which sense, smell? but your likes and dislikes only describe you, not me or my work, so it’s really an undervaluing of my human experience couched in the language of cult recruiters from the local Ashram or some such.
This of course is followed by the dumping, “we wouldn’t be harmonious”, so therefore I’m not a candidate for harmony which is usually don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel in dysfunctional relations. Dictionary.com defines it as ‘a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity’. This sounds extremely fascist and authoritarian to me. Trump would be pleased. Actually harmony is created my soon to be ex friend by frank conversation, and willingness to compromise. Asking for what you want frankly is a relationship deepening exercise, which involves a bit of tension, and is therefore unharmonious.
But since I’ve been overvalued, undervalued, dumped for the crime of not being ‘nice’ and potentially unharmonious, I will take my frank conversation and willingness to compromise to some other stranger whom I will ask for what I want, a self helping exercise. Who knows, they may want more than a dishonest relationship killing ‘nice’.
Yours in sincere and honest disappointment, as well as relief
from dodging the bullet.
REBT Self-Help Form
What is the situation that you are upset about?
Answer: Christmas, loneliness, dumped by a coffee date
What are the unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing?
Answer: anxiety, depression, shame, embarrassment, hurt
What self-defeating behaviors would you like to change?
Answer: exercise avoidance, withdrawal, unassertiveness
What demand are you making about the situation?
Answer: The idea that it is a dire necessity for an adult human being to be loved or approved by virtually every significant other person in their community.
Dispute: Why do I have to?
It’s impossible to be liked or loved by everybody.
No matter how popular you are, there will always be someone who doesn’t like you.
Even if you could get everybody to like or love you, you would never know if they liked you enough, or if they still liked you.
Different people have different tastes. Some people might like (for example) your new hairstyle; other people might hate it.
Therefore, no matter what you do, some people will admire you, and some people won’t.
Getting people to like you takes time and effort. If you try to get everyone to like you, you won’t have any time or energy left over to do the things that you want to do.
If you demand others’ approval, you’ll always be doing what they want you to do, instead of doing what you want to do with your time and your life.
Your life will no longer be your own.
If you try too hard to be loved or approved, people will soon tire of your constant sycophancy, and they will not respect you.
Paying too much attention to how much love and approval you are receiving,means you won’t pay enough attention to how much love and approval you are giving.
There’s no harm in trying to be popular, but it’s best not to try too hard.
In other words, it’s self-helping to want to be popular, but it’s self-defeating to need to be popular.
Having love and approval means you’ll find it easier to have friends, to find and keep a job, to find accommodation, etc.
But just because other people approve of you doesn’t mean that you’ll like yourself.
It’s better to strive for unconditional self-acceptance; i.e., you accept yourself, regardless of what others think of you.
It’s not pleasant when other people don’t like you, but it’s not awful, it’s not the end of the world, and it’s not fatal.
What are you saying to yourself about the situation that indicates low frustration tolerance?
Answer: I can’t stand being alone
Dispute: Where is the evidence that I can’t stand it
Rational Belief: There is no evidence. Besides, I’m not alone, I have me
What are your new healthy negative emotions?
Answer: sadness, concern, disappointment
What are your new self-helping behaviors?
Answer: talking to strangers, asking for what I want, find nicer friends.
Warning: This form should not be considered a substitute for individualized treatment with a mental health professional. If you are seeing a counselor or a therapist, it is recommended that you print this page and discuss your responses with him or her.
Designed by Will Ross © 2006
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