Month: August 2012

Wife Vs. Secretary: Musings on Jealousy

I recommend the movie Wife Vs. Secretary  (also here, here and here), which I just watched tonight for the second time since 2008, as an example of how jealousy can ruin a perfectly good relationship.

(I’m especially interested in this movie because I was a secretary before becoming a stay-at-home mother.  The wives of my two bosses never showed any sign of worry, even though I was young, slim, etc.  Apparently times have changed.  But imagine if they’d been jealous of me–that would’ve caused a lot of trouble, and potentially jeopardized a job I needed!)

The secretary, Whitey, is attracted to Gable’s character, Van, and if he never noticed his secretary’s charms (since she is, after all, played by Jean Harlow), you’d have to check his pulse.

But their relationship is strictly business, never once becoming improper: Van’s character loves his wife passionately, and his secretary–who has brains, not just beauty–also has good character.

Yet people begin talking.  Though Myrna Loy’s character is initially very modern-thinking, all this talk makes her suspicious–leading to all sorts of trouble which never would’ve happened if only she’d ignored all the talk.

She thinks a hush-hush business deal, is actually an affair between Van and Whitey.  Her jealousy practically drives Van into Whitey’s arms.  Van says, “There’s an old Chinese proverb that says if you want to keep a man honest, never call him a liar.”

Meanwhile, Whitey’s fiancé, played by Jimmy Stewart, is also jealous of Van, which estranges Whitey and her fiancé.

As Jimmy Stewart’s character says at the end of the movie, “Gosh, all the fighting and worrying people do, it always seems to be about one thing: They don’t seem to trust each other.  Well, I’ve found this out: Don’t look for trouble where there isn’t any, because if you don’t find it, you’ll make it.  Just believe in someone.”

I noticed during the dancing scene that nobody looked at the wife funny for dancing with other men, but everybody looked at Van funny for dancing with Whitey.

It also annoys me that Whitey’s fiancé objects to her job, telling her that her having a career she likes (even after marriage) is somehow “unnatural” and works against having a home, marriage, and kids; and pushing her to quit so they can marry.

It’s also sexist to assume that a beautiful secretary was hired because of her looks.

I am very anti-jealousy.  I was raised, and socialized in, very open environments which accepted opposite-sex friendships/working relationships/church relationships as the norm.

In college, if I had objected to my boyfriends having female friends, I would’ve been dropped like a hot rock; they had female friends, I had guy friends, it was accepted whether we knew each other or not.

My friends are usually like this as well, especially my SCA friends, who see open and playful flirting as normal no matter what your marital status.

I also tend to pick up behaviors from the people I spend my time with, so I follow their lead of what is acceptable, start to open up a bit on things I was more reserved on before.  (The exceptions are things I morally object to, such as smoking or drugs or getting drunk–or cheating, which normally I don’t see my friends doing, anyway.)

The only friends of my husband whom I ever objected to, were women he’d slept with before we met.  I didn’t even object to friends of his who didn’t seem to like me for some reason, since it seemed very inappropriate to tell him who his friends should be.

So when I encounter jealous people, I don’t understand them, don’t know what makes a person want to be that way.  Wouldn’t they rather just relax and trust and enjoy life instead of wasting their time and energy being angry, suspicious and vigilant?  Wouldn’t they rather be the person their spouse can’t wait to come home to, rather than making his/her life miserable?

If you’re providing a warm, comfortable, happy relationship for your spouse to come home to, then other women/men should not be a threat.  And if they are a threat, then your spouse is a cad/caddette whom you’re better off without, anyway, so let him/her leave.  I have written about this subject at length here.

 

From Emerging From Broken: Forgive the Abusers? A bit of a Rant

I found this article very helpful for those of us who are frustrated by being told to forgive our abusers/bullies, even when those abusers/bullies (as is usually the case) refuse to admit that they ever did anything wrong.

This is an “in the trenches” style blog post, not one of those 5-step “forgive and forget” articles you often find on the Net and in magazines.  Thus, it is far more helpful for those of us who are trying to deal with/heal from/forgive the abuses of our past:

Forgive the Abusers? A bit of a Rant

Today’s Fun: Highland Games, Weird Friends

What a full day today:

First I bicycled to church (so I get to sleep in tomorrow), a new thing with my brand-new bike after years of no bike.  I got to visit with the people at coffee hour, practice Greek, try to understand Greek, and chat with a new friend, a very spiritual young man who’s become close enough to know my struggles with faith and the loss of a meaningful but abusive friendship.

I spoke to him about it back in February, told him the whole thing.  It’s hard for a shy introvert like me to make that close of a friend.  Facebook chats help a lot.

It’s good to find another spiritual, potentially close friend, to have someone to talk to who’s close enough to actually help.  Just his presence at church is quiet moral support as I go through this tough time.

My priest has also known for the past two years about my struggles, the various things that have come up, since I’ve been going to him for advice, prayer and counsel over this ever since July 2010.

They were my support system since long before the ex-friends (Richard and Tracy) found my blog.  So I’m not all alone there, even though Jeff goes to a different church.  There’s nothing the ex-friends can do to me with my support system in place. 

They have threatened to sue me if I tell members of the church about what they’ve done, but I told my priest and this friend long before they made that threat, and I’ve also told them about the threat and the blog stalking and intimidation they’ve done since.

It is my human right to confide in whomever I choose about my problems, so such a lawsuit would violate my free speech, would be frivolous, and would be thrown out of court.

Such threats are often used by bullies/abusers to keep their victims quiet and fearful.

That woman, Tracy, even pressed up against my back in the communion line and started breathing loudly–literally breathing down my neck and snarling!

It is a huge relief to connect and re-connect with normal, nice people who do not abuse their friends, who just have the usual human foibles.  The more I see them, the better I feel, the farther along I get on the healing process.

Then I went to another friend’s annual Highland Games/caber toss thing.  Stoneput, spear throwing and another tossing thing were added, and the usual caber tossing (big pole like a utility pole, in various weights/sizes).  Extra points if you wear a kilt.

The usual/annual jokes about men tossing their wood and what’s under that kilt.  (The rules stated that you cannot go commando because it’s unsanitary and could subject the people behind you to an unwelcome view as you toss your caber.)

And the usual fun was had by all.‎…Oh, and Jeff got a plaque (homemade by my friend, T., a gifted craftsman) for coming in 1st place in mini caber.

I tend to have unique friends.  I’m not used to the rougher types T. hangs out with, but my friends are usually geeks of some kind, computer geeks, British comedy fans, Dr. Who fans, roleplaying geeks, reenactment geeks (SCA, Renaissance Faire).  I even married one.

That’s also why my friends tend to be guys, though sometimes girls are this way as well. 

T. is one of these unique friends, met years ago through other geeky friends I met on a local BBS (back before the Internet made BBS’s into a bunch of crickets chirping, around 2000).  He also has Scottish ancestry, and even claims to go back to King Nebucchadnezzar.  I believe he goes back to King MacAlpine as well, which makes us cousins in a way, because so do I.

Though I couldn’t help wondering–after discovering that not only does my dad’s line go back to royalty, so does my mother’s–if some of the records coming down have been fudged.

Why is it that everybody I know, who has records stretching back that far, goes back to royalty?  Or is it just that if you can trace your records back that far, you must be from royalty, because the records of common peons would not be so carefully kept?

[Update: I recently read some Internet article which demonstrated that, based on math and probability, EVERYONE goes back to some kind of royalty.]

T. also comes from a unique family: Today he told the story of his stepfather, I believe it was, who likes to go into the pharmacy, let a nasty one go in one aisle, then go to another aisle and watch in the security mirror to see people’s reactions.

Once he did this while T.’s mother was bent down looking at a bottle.  An old lady came along, said, “Well, I never!” and started hitting her with her purse.  The response: “Maybe you should, and then you’ll be in a better mood.”

Another of my unique friends, M., seems to know other people I know as well: the youth pastor I used to work with 12 years ago, and a new convert at my church who almost went to live with him.

He is the kind of person who started out with a completely normal, ordinary name, hated it, and legally changed it to a name from myth (which if I named to you, would identify him, so I won’t give the name).  He also wore a beautiful kilt to T’s first Highland Games, in October 2010.

We used to play Dungeons and Dragons with him, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend (now husband, who was the first one I befriended on that BBS), T., and a teenager who also hung around in our little group on the BBS and in person, back around 2000.

The teenager was obsessed with Star Wars, wore a Jedi cloak to my birthday party in 1999, and to this day, despite being a mature adult, insists on being called the name of a certain Star Wars character.

In maybe 2001 or so, there was a rift in this group when everyone except me turned against one of the members.  I felt like, because I did not want to cut him out as well, I was also jettisoned, because after that, there were no more invites, no more showing up for our invites.

But in the summer of 2010, having reconnected with all these people through Facebook, and finding the rift repaired because the outed member had greatly matured, Jeff and I invited them to a party.

M. had a sunburn, claimed that grass was good for sunburn, then went out and rubbed his back on our little closed-in lawn.  While doing so, he lost his iPod, but didn’t realize it.  That night, it rained.

The next morning, we found his iPod on the lawn, and returned it to him.  I don’t know if it still worked.

I’m told by T. that M.’s wife was a very serious person in high school, the last person he would’ve expected to marry M.  Yet they were together for many years before getting married, so she must’ve had both eyes open.  Funny how things turn out, isn’t it?

 

From Emerging From Broken: Why Setting Personal Boundaries is Not as Easy as it Sounds

By Darlene Ouimet:
Why Setting Personal Boundaries is Not as Easy as it Sounds

Quotes:

When I was defined as “not good enough” or “not worthy” by the actions of others in my life, it is understandable that I believed that definition of “me”. And as long as I believed that the definition of me was correct, I didn’t believe I had a right to HAVE boundaries.

I didn’t believe that I had a choice in my own life about what kind of treatment I had to accept. I didn’t understand that I was being treated badly and that I had a right to say no to that treatment….

Here is the link to the website that I mentioned earlier. I don’t recommend you reading this website other than to see the typical ways that we are encouraged NOT to look at the truth of this stuff but instead are encouraged not to place blame or hold people accountable because somehow it is better for us to skip that part. I got stuck there for many many years.

It didn’t take me very long to achieve all my recovery goals when I stopped trying not to place blame where blame belonged and I live my life today free of emotional pain and resentment.

I am free of depression and dissociation. I set healthy boundaries. I have wonderful relationships based on equal value for all parties in the relationship. I sleep great and I laugh often and I know how to love and accept love.

Her linked website is actually one I looked at while pondering how to set boundaries with both Tracy and Richard, after Tracy had ripped into me one day in April 2008, and because of Richard’s tendency to cancel plans at the last minute.

I decided my boundary was that I would not get close to Tracy because she was too emotionally dangerous.  Unfortunately, Richard and Tracy treated me like I had no right to set such a boundary.

When you implement boundaries and provide consequences for violating them, BPDs/NPDs will often escalate their abusive behaviors, manipulations, hoovering, etc. They hate boundaries, but look out if you cross one of their boundaries. –Dr. Tara Palmatier, comment on The new face of borderline personality disorder…

 

You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: Moving On

Another wonderful post from Upsi, applicable to probably all or most of us who are dealing with the after-effects of some sort of abuse, and which reminds me of my stalkers.  [Update 6/17/14: She has taken down her blog, so I have removed the link, which has been taken over by a spammer.]  Some quotes:

Have you ever noticed that the edict to “move on” or “get over it” is frequently issued by none other than the brazen reprobates spreading so much misery in the first place?

Who is anyone to define what “moving on” looks like for someone else?  All too often, this sentiment amounts to silencing.  It is used to belittle.  It is the expression of discomfort with someone else’s process, as if any of us has the right to dictate when it is time to move on….

When you have mourned, you will naturally find release.  Don’t let anyone tell you what timeline is right for you.

Yep–My own narc Tracy expressed to me twice that she expected me to just take what she said/did as my due, and then “get over” being hurt over it.

First in a conversation one month after her narcissistic rage and verbal abuse of me, when she told me to “GROW UP and get over feeling hurt over the consequences of” my “behavior” (“behavior” which she was always twisting into something other than what it really was).

And second in her e-mail quoted in Now I’m Being Stalked, in which she said two years is enough time (totally minimizing the destructive nature of the things she said and did, and showing her usual lack of consideration for other people).

So–The one who abused me is the one dictating to me whether and how soon I should “get over it”?  Especially considering the grudge she bore against Todd for lashing back at her after she’d been verbally abusing him

cussing him out, accusing him of motives he did not have, belittling him publicly, and lying about his actions to make him look bad to an entire game forum–

saying some time afterwards that she wanted to see him “at the bottom of the sea.”

And the grudge she bore against me for an entire two and a half years because I did not have the time every day to sit and talk with her all afternoon when she stayed at my house for six weeks, for doing a couple of things which Richard had taught me were perfectly fine things for friends to do but no longer doing them after she objected, and because I refused to get close to a dangerous person whom I witnessed abusing my best friend and his children.

But no, if she gets nasty, I’m supposed to just “grow up” and “get over it.”

No, my abuser/bully does not get to dictate to me how I react to her abuse, or how long my healing process will take.  She does not get to decide whether or not I’ll be hurt by it or–even better–furiously angered by it.  I get to call the shots about my own life.

As Patricia Singleton puts it so eloquently:

I have discovered that those people who tell me to “Let it go now. Move on.” are usually one of two types. They either have never experienced what I have and therefore know nothing about the process that it takes to heal. Or, they have their own abuse issues that they want to stay in denial of.

If you see me going through my issues and haven’t dealt with your own, then my struggle threatens your denial. That is why you tell me to let it go and to move on so that you don’t have to become aware of your own unresolved issues.

I feel sad for those who are still in denial of their own issues. I have little sympathy for those who don’t know what they are talking about because they have never experienced what I have.

If you haven’t been there, you have no idea of what it takes to live my life and to struggle to get better. Don’t tell me to get over it.

If you have been where I am and were able to let go of your issues by healing them, then tell me how you did it. Share your experiences and what worked.

Don’t share your denial of your issues. I don’t need that. I did that, on my own, years ago and I know that denial just helps you continue to live in the pain.

Denial heals nothing. When you are in denial, you aren’t happy. You aren’t free. The only way to freedom is through the pain, not around it.

…Some of you choose to share your own experiences, as I do, by blogging about them online. Others choose to write in private journals. Some of you still continue in the silence because you haven’t found your voice yet.

It is for other incest and childhood abuse survivors that I write of my experiences. Any time that someone survives abuse in any form and can write about that journey, that is inspirational. It isn’t light, funny inspiration. It is sad, thoughtful, sometimes tearful. It is always heartfelt.

Sometimes it comes from a deep well of hurt. It is always healing to be able to bring these thoughts and feelings to the surface and share them with others. It can be educational to share with others who have never experienced abuse in their own lives. Without awareness, you can stop nothing.

As Darlene Ouimet writes:

I heard so many things against speaking about the past.  Questions which are actually statements and judgements more than they are actual questions such as “why do you want to talk about your problems in public” or “why do you want to air your dirty laundry in front of the whole world?”

These judgements always concluded with some version of “you are only making yourself look like a fool.” Statements like that carried with them the all too familiar indication that the speakers (the judges) were concerned for ME; that they truly cared about what was “best for me”.

When I faced the cold hard truth, I began to comprehend the actuality reality; I realized that their concern was never for me. I didn’t need to make myself look like a fool, they did that for me all of my life.

I think of the times they delighted in finding ways to embarrass me or humiliate me in front of others. In fact I think that some of their motives were based on discrediting me in case I ever revealed the truth.

They were not concerned about MY dirty laundry. They were only concerned about what I was exposing about THEM. They didn’t want me to expose THEIR dirty laundry.

And I think this would be a good time to add that if they didn’t KNOW what they were doing was wrong, if they didn’t “know any better” then WHY did they know that they needed to keep me quiet about it?…

But an even bigger eye opener was when I realized the lengths that so many people went to, to make sure I kept quiet.  Like I said, if they did not know their behaviour was wrong, they would not have spent so much energy making sure it didn’t come out in the open.

I wish I had found a website or like this when I was searching for answers all those years.

Nobody was talking about holding family accountable for abuse or about exposing abusers… everyone seemed to be talking about forgiveness or letting go of the past. “Live for today” and “acceptance is the answer” but nobody wanted to talk about WHAT we were supposed to accept!

Were they really telling me to accept that people messed with my head, discounted and devalued me, took advantage of me, taught me that something was “wrong with me”, abused, mistreated and objectified me, and telling me that I should just “get over it”?

In that dysfunctional recovery system, everyone endorsed “keeping the silence” and no one wanted to talk about spending some time actually validating the dysfunction first.

I was never able to put the past behind me until I actually validated the damage that was done. There are even therapists out there that will refuse to work with you if you want to talk about the past!…

I spent only 2 years facing and validate it and all the results that I ever could have hoped for were achieved. So what is so wrong with my way? At least I am living proof that it worked!

I speak and I write EFB because it is my story and MINE to tell. I celebrate the permission I give myself to tell my story after years of being silenced.

It is validating for me and for others to hear the benefits of living in truth. Finding, facing and embracing the truth is what set me free from oppression, depression and the low self esteem that hindered me all of my life before I faced the lies so I could embrace this truth.

Also: http://upsi-upsi.blogspot.com/2012/02/oh-wise-one.html  [Update: No longer exists]
http://upsi-upsi.blogspot.com/2011/03/get-over-it.html