Thursday, March 06, 2003
A very disturbed person I know (one who can't say "thank you" for huge favors but instead offers the old saw "Kum by yah") quotes someone named Dr. Phil with annoying frequency. I assume Dr. Phil is in some way affiliated with either Survivor, The Bachelor, or Oprah! since those sorts of shows are the constant companion of said offensive person. I do not begrudge the public access to armchair psychology, and I do believe there must be a great deal of good that comes of people talking of their woes and sharing their stories of extracting themselves from said painful situations. However, when one's main source of fodder for conversation with live human beings is to recount psychobabble gleaned from these tv programs, I feel some reflection is required. Much has been made of the term "co-dependency" which is an annoying notion in and of itself. On my planet, people depend on each other, and not always to meet psychologically unhealthy needs. It's called having relationships, and while things may not always be a perfect balance in the give/take department, nothing and no one is ever perfect, and somehow people manage to be happy together in spite of the flaws and imbalance. In a recent chat with the Dr. Phil acolyte (I'll call her "Jane") I happened to mention that my husband utterly forgot my birthday a couple of years ago. She said 'Your husband forgot your birthday because you gave him permission to forget your birthday.' Excuse me? People are being led to believe that they are responsible for the actions or inactions of another person? Allow me to say that before we were married (key phrase, that, as everything changes) my husband's first birthday gift to me was a food processor and a $1000 handbag, which set a standard I expected to be kept for future such events. At no time did I say, imply, or think "Honey, my standards have dropped and I give you permission to forget my birthday and special events in the future." Is it no longer common knowlege that some people are just inconsiderate jerks who act in ways abusive of all who are misfortunate to be in their inner circle? Is it not possible that a person who is generous and kind in general could have been momentarily thoughtless? We have passed the politically correct buck to the point that the offender is no longer responsible for their actions in any situation, and the victims are to be blamed in every situation. All this great advice and myriad tips for better living notwithstanding, Jane is one of the more miserable people I ever have met. If she asked me, I would say "You have allowed the television to make you miserable. You have given the tv permission to ruin your life. Try something different and go out and HAVE a life!" Occasionally I complain that I don't seem to have enough time to accomplish all I need to on a daily basis. I could blame the computer (my personal idiot box), but the fact is that I am the sentient adult in this situation. Rather than sit around whining and dreading all I have to do today, I am going to practice what I preach, and right now, I'm walking away from my tormentor.