Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How to Live Happily Ever After (or Not)

Hello, honeys! You will be shocked, shocked to learn that Pretty Lady, after decades of Loser-Addiction, has changed her ways. Discretion is always her watchword, of course, but the collected evidence of over half a year tends to suggest that her current Gentleman Friend lacks those certain, ineffable Loser qualities which have so frequently plagued her--and he is still around! In fact, Pretty Lady is feeling so sanguine about her circumstances that she is daring to make an Observation regarding Happiness, or the lack thereof, and apply those observations to an inchoate Rule for obtaining, and maintaining, such.

For indeed, darlings, it seems to her that there is only one. When a person has come through the Torrents Of Agony, has traversed the Dark Night of the Soul, has engaged with the Forces of Darkness--to include schizophrenic girlfriends, abusive boyfriends, sadistic, domineering parents, parasitic relatives, treacherous friends, rape, incest, betrayal, perversion, and bankruptcy--and emerged into the sunlight beyond, to behold one's Prince or Princess standing smiling in a field of daisies, what then?

The One and Only Rule: Do not blame Him or Her for the past actions of Them.

Really.

For how often has Pretty Lady observed it--the cherished and beloved Wife of the nicest man she knows, that stanch, calm, patient, observant, accepting, faithful, considerate gentleman who is the best listener on the block, pulls down a substantial salary and grills a mean chicken--berating this paragon year after year after year, for the actions of every Loser she ever consorted with? He is Male, and he is Here, and so he must Pay, and pay, and pay.

And how often has Pretty Lady been that paragon, that calm, faithful, patient, understanding, accepting Good Woman who listened to the rants--against dead people, against cops, against conniving businessmen and psychotic ex-girlfriends--how often has she been that Safe Haven where battering produced no opposing force, just an ever-giving Source who naturally, in her position of Atonement, must Pay, and pay, and pay.

Friends, if you find yourself doing this, please stop. That way lies madness.

For in Pretty Lady's work as a healer, she has empirically discovered that when a person is finally Safe, that is when ancient trauma emerges. The battered psyche which has, for so long, filed unacceptable insults in the To Be Dealt With Later category, finally relaxes, and disgorges the dreck onto the surface. This is a natural process; it cannot be bypassed or suppressed, at least not to good effect. And when this inevitable cycle occurs, it is PARAMOUNT that one does not turn to one's beloved partner and say, "This must be your fault."

One must guard, heavily, against such tendencies. The reflexive mind is, by definition, not given to introspection; it equates Correlation with Causation without a backward glance. It thinks: "Princess, here. Bad dream, just now. Princess+here=Bad dream; therefore Princess=Bad."

With the unhappy result that the Princess is unceremoniously jerked out of a very nice dream indeed, and subjected to the tortures of the damned.

This, darlings, is how the miseries of the past are visited perpetually upon the future, in an inexorable karmic wheel of raging flame. Do not participate! Fling aside the shackles of the past, and embrace the brighter dawn! The next time you feel an urge to Blame come upon you, punt! One punts with the all-purpose, non-judgmental phrase: "Ah. These are my Issues, coming up."

Once again. "These are my Issues, coming up."

All together: "These. Are. My. Issues. Coming. Up!"

And now we get to set those Issues free! Hallelujah!

11 comments:

Not Fainthearted said...

Yes. Very good advice. Also, I find it difficult to teach someone else to say that phrase when I am the one on the receiving end of the Issues Coming Up.

True for you, too?

prettylady said...

Sadly, I have historically found that a person who does not already know this phrase, or who is unwilling to listen when one explains the fundamental utility of this phrase, is highly likely to fall into the Loser category.

Teachability is a hallmark of a Winner, in other words.

prettylady said...

P.S. You could, of course, try the phrase, "Ah. These are your issues, coming up," stated in a detached and mildly interested tone of voice.

This conveys the essential truth of the situation, coupled with a lack of judgment, coupled with (and this is key) a lack of willingness to accept responsibility for causing or fixing these issues.

EN said...

Congrats on your relationship success.

Anonymous said...

I found that it is also a good idea to be aware of and avoid the mannerisms that will trigger bad relationship flashbacks. My wife's father was an overbearing and domineering person from the Middle East, with all the cultural baggage that brings. When there was a conflict he would dictate and scream and she would be expected to give in, creating much resentment and fractured relationship. When we disagree, I don't react at all, a deliberate choice I make that short-circuits her anger-resentment response. When she has a little distance, then we talk.

Sometimes this approach creates its own problems, but they are OUR problems then, not leftovers from long ago.

Papapete

DuckMan said...

These are my issues, coming up. [pause] I apologize for getting some of my issues on your shoes. And over so much of your clean floor. I'll try to get to the men's room on time in the future.

DuckMan said...

When we disagree, I don't react at all, a deliberate choice I make that short-circuits her anger-resentment response. When she has a little distance, then we talk.
Papapete

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. - Proverbs 15:1

Chris Rywalt said...

If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. Exodus 21:23-25

DuckMan said...

Chris Rywalt said...

If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. Exodus 21:23-25

And you'll notice from the context, the offense doesn't have to be directed at the ultimate victim; you don't need First Degree Murder/Capital Murder/Homicide with Special circumstances to execute the perp - manslaughter is sufficient. (But that passage concerns the interest of society and justice. Our original concern was with private matters.)

Starbuck said...

There is much wisdom in the fact that God demands you forgive people who wrong you.

It is for their good as well as your own. Pity not enough people practice this.

The Aardvark said...

Wowsers. That is perspicacious.

What a useful Truth. Reminds me of the harridan who took her long-suffering hubby to counseling to Get Him Fixed -at least figuratively. When asked what the problem was, she dragged out notebooks filled with years of entries chronicling every perceived offense she had ever suffered from him.

She was a tad surprised at the response.

You have shown me summat to look out for in myself. I don't think I'm very prone, but little things can slip out.