A Celebration of Annihilation|
Basically, I got into a fight with pretty much everyone today, and it's mostly from not knowing when to shut up. A truly bizarre email setting as well as a miscommunication set up a morning fiasco that I really would have done a lot better just to keep my big fucking mouth shut, and the end of the day was set up with a two-hour online argument with a friend of mine.
I don't know why I bother.
I really should just realize that most people won't get it - they refuse to learn anything until the plane crashes, they'll ride their mistakes all the way down like a surfer doing a hang-ten on the wing of the plane. There are some people who just genuinely do nothing wrong....
Yet they're upset all the time and they get really, really mad if you point this out. "If you know what you're doing, why are you so fucking miserable?"
Generally that's when they hang up. My friend did today, anyway.
I need to realize that for a lot of people, they don't make mistakes - well, actually, it's more dangerous than that. They do make mistakes that they admit - and admit it cheerfully - but they don't make any mistakes they know about. A subtle, but dangerous difference.
It's the ultimate in egoterrorism; the thought that you know exactly why your life is fucked up, you just haven't done anything about it. I mean, how does that help? I tend to think that if you really knew what the problem was, you'd fix it.
When I had my problems with Gini, I sat down, I asked, I didn't always agree, but I kept it in mind. And when someone tells me something I disagree with, sometimes I listen. A friend of mine called me "a bully" recently; he said that I mistreat Gini and browbeat her into things. Now, I don't agree with that statement at all, and this was coming from someone who I think has a terrible relationship with his partner...
But I've spent the past few weeks - actually the past two months - really trying to figure out whether he's right. Really analyzing it. Because you know, I hadn't thought of that before.
And you know what? I don't think he is; I think that I tend to get out of hand always trying to get to the absolute core of the issues, and sometimes I should just fix the immediate problem at hand.
(Put another way; if I get upset, I don't have to spend five hours guaranteeing that all sides understand every last aspect of it and we all get on the same page to make sure it never happens again. Sometimes I should just say, "Hey, thanks for the apology" and move on, understanding that it will probably happen again.)
(Just like I probably should have said, "Hey, whatever" and disconnected, rather than try to solve the problems my friend has with his Magic strategy, which ramped up to the problems he has in his life.... But I am stupid.)
But it was a valuable insight, and I never would have come to that realization if I'd said, "No, I know what's wrong. Don't tell me! I know!" I had to listen. I could be wrong. And even though I don't always agree with my friend, I'm never sure that he couldn't be right on this one.
A lot of people are. They know exactly what's wrong with their life.
But if you try to tell them that hey, maybe there's something wrong that they didn't catch, it always comes down to one of three things:
"You don't understand! You're not in my shoes! You don't know me!"
A lot of time, that's really irrelevant. I don't have to stand in your shoes to notice there's blood leaking out of them and infer that hey, those are pretty bad shoes... Or at the very least, you need to take better care of your feet. Sometimes, people can look over your shoulder and say with accuracy that you're doing it wrong - without necessarily having to know how to do it better.
But for these people, there's always an exception. "If you were in my shoes, you would have done x," they say. "I know. You don't."
So what you're telling me is that I don't know what I would do in a given circumstance?
How arrogant is that?
People are more alike than you'd think; their problems aren't that different. A lot of times, a lot of the bullshit is irrelevant. If you want a girlfriend and you're not dating, it's not that complicated to find one; get out a lot. Talk to people. Be friendly. Make yourself presentable. And be aggressive.
But the people who know always find fifteen thousand different excuses why their particular situation excuses them from that. "I can't date because my father had a bad view of women...." or "You don't know how I feel about dating..."
Pardon me. Is that relevant now? You have a goal that you're not accomplishing.
Everyone has a good excuse why they should have problems dating. Everyone. But you know, what it boils down to eventually is that either you get out and start socializing, or you stay at home miserable.
With a killer excuse.
And as a result, I do not have to stand in your shoes to know what you need to do when it comes to dating, chum. Here's the list: Do it or don't. If you don't, stop whining. Everything else really is noise.
And that's true for about 90% of life's problems. Really. 90% of life is just doing it.
But if you try to prove that you do understand - if you try to logic them down - they get hysterical. If you say, "I know more about dating women than you do," they'll invariably turn on you, snarling like a wildcat, and sneer: "What do you know about my sex life? Hanh? You don't know me! I haven't told you everything!"
And you run through it. "Hey, maybe I don't know you; but I know that you haven't had a date for in six months, I know that you really want a girlfriend, I know that you've felt sad because you haven't had sex in eight months - and you've complained about that in public. I also know that you haven't really gotten out a lot, either, since your fiancee dumped you, and even with her you felt like you were settling. Now me? I've dated over sixty women. I know some of the boundaries. I may be a bully and I may be callous... But in this area, I think you have to admit that I have more experience than you. So let me help."
They go nuts.
"How dare you say that?" they yelp. "How dare you get so personal?"
Hey. You were the one telling me your life was perfect. You told me you didn't need the help. I merely pointed out that you complained about your life the other 90% of the time - and as a result, you probably do need help.
Or maybe you should stop complaining the other times, because if you are happy, you really come off as miserable.
But then again, for these people, other input doesn't exist. They have to run everything into the ground. Until they've personally fucked over every aspect of their life, they can't learn.
I don't know more than they do. I can't know more than they do. If I do, it's because they're different.
They're not and I do, but that invariably leads into the angry....
"What are you - are you God? Is this about acclaim? You want me to tell you how great you are?"
No, I don't claim to know exactly how to fix it... Though I have a few suggestions. I just know that in this matter, I can help.
Except I can't. That's what I need to remember. For these people, any advice that doesn't back up their way of life is a threat; if their life is a shithole, any advice that does not correspond to this is bad advice.
"Say, you don't have it bad," you say. "You don't have a career right now, but that's because you're lying around on your butt. You're talented. You could be a professional writer. Actually, things are looking up...."
"What do you know?" they go - and they're actually pissed that you're telling them their life is better than they thought.
And here we are, back to point #1....
These people put you in a lovely double-bind; if you agree with their bollixed world view, you reinforce their psychotic theories about what's really wrong with their life - which, generally, aren't even close to what's wrong. If you disagree, then suddenly you don't understand... And suddenly, you're not their friend anymore.
You're the enemy. You implied something very dangerous for this sort of person - the fact that they might not know everything that's going on.
(And how dangerous is it for them? They always say the same thing: "I admit it when I'm wrong. Look! I've done it in the past! See?"
(No; you have only admitted the mistakes that you find acceptable or have noticed. The FBI has admitted to many errors in preventing the 9/11 attacks... But you may note that they are no closer to actually preventing future attacks. The point is not that you have admitted errors, but have you admitted the right ones?)
And this always leads into...
"What could I have done? I had no choice! It was the fault of X!"
These sorts of people always look to themselves last for blame. Let's give them credit - if they are backed into a corner, they do eventually blame themselves. But they'll grasp at anything else first... And you'd be surprised how easy it is to find something, anything, to prevent you from seeing the real problem.
"My teacher is a jerk."
"Well, Phil, your teacher is... But you knew that she was kind of a bitch when you went in. So why did you mouth off to her?"
"She's a bitch, man! I could have said anything! It's all her fault!"
No, Phil. The fault's yours.
Yeah, she's a bitch. No, she shouldn't have been gunning for you. But she was. So why did you hand it to her?
You tell them this, and - you guessed it -
"You don't understand. It's her fault!"
No, really, it's yours. You should have acted better. You should take responsibility for this error. Yeah, the deck may have been stacked against you... But you could have been more careful.
"It's that bitch," they mutter. "It's her fault."
Yeah, that'll do it. Put all the blame on her. It's not you, is it? Sure, maybe you would have wound up getting thrown out of class anyway... But does her stupidity excuse yours?
Apparently it does. In the light of this horrendous bitch's problems, your problems wither away! It's like an old 409 commercial!
Rinse away your sins with bitch-off!
It's her fault! All of it! You did nothing wrong! Furthermore, anyone who defends this bitch isn't your friend because they don't understand what a bitch she is. And the next time you're snippy to someone else, well... She was a bitch, too. Or she is overly-sensitive. Or maybe it's that old Top 40 favorite, She Doesn't Understand You, by the Dell-tones.
She was a bitch, and you were stupid.
Who's behavior do you have a better chance of affecting?
When do you learn?
A lot less often than you're given the opportunity, that's for sure.
The lesson to be learned is that everything is your fault. Every mistake you have in your life right now can be laid at your feet. (Are you God?) Why?
Because it might not be true... But it's the only thing you have a hope in hell of changing. You're not ever going to change the bitchiness of other people, but you might change their reaction to you. Or you might change your life to make it so that bitchy people have less power over you. Or you might find out that you have a real habit of being attracted to the bitchy.
Or you have the other lesson: She's a bitch. What a fuckmunch.
Which one gets you further?
But I try. I have long and involved conversations with the unblamed, trying to tell them that even if it logically is not all their fault, there is nothing - and I mean nothing - to be gained by looking elsewhere for the source of your problems. Everything that is in your life can only be changed from within. Anything else is spinning your wheels, keeping you mired in misery....
I hammer down with logic - which, of course, is not logic, because I'm telling them redundancies. "I admit my faults! I said so! Why do you say I don't? You don't understand what I'm saying!
"Logically, I'm not responsible for everything... So why should I? I'd be stupid to be blaming myself!"
No, you'd be stupid to be blaming anyone but you. But that's a threat.
These people are cruising, all over America, slowly spiralling down towards a terrible finish. And the horrible thing is, not all of them will hit rock-bottom. Some of them will luck out, and get far better lives than they deserve. God is merciful, and occasionally stupid. These people will continue on, wondering why they're not happy when by God, the answer is right before them.
It's just not from them, so it doesn't count.
But the ones that God loves, He will crush. He'll grind their lives into a fine paste, give them boils and plagues and sexlessness and Job without a job, all in an effort communicate the lesson that their lives are fucked because they let it be fucked.
"That's not true!" they say. "I had a - "
Wham, says God. No excuses.
It all starts from within. And if you're really serious about fixing a problem, you don't automatically dismiss the advice of friends.Here's to ruination.
Current Mood: drained
Current Music: Radiohead - Morning Bell