Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brought to you by the letter B and the number 8

Feel free to lash out in irrational irritation and annoyance for this post, but I'm about to be extremely blunt about something that's REALLY been annoying me over the past few days.

In order to be as we should be, ie. love one another, have forgiveness, and all that stuff, it is necessary to have a compassionate understanding component in your personality make up. I do not, in any way, shape, or form claim to have perfected this component. But I do feel like I possess it in at least a reasonable degree. With people, or even just characters in books, usually something will happen that annoys me beyond belief. And then I find out the background behind said person/character, and I really just can't stay mad at them.

Just as a disclaimer, this is not to say that anyone with a tough past is excused from stupid stuff or rudeness. Which I shall get into momentarily.

But yeah, sometimes with a person, I am annoyed at them until I realize that something really crazy happened to them, and that's why they think the way they do. Or are bitter about a particular thing. Even if they keep doing annoying stuff, if they have hard things in their past that sort of shape the way they are, I really can't hate them. I usually just feel bad for them. Especially if they end up showing little soft streaks in their personalities that have always been there, but you really have to dig for them.

Now to discuss the difference between understandable rough spots in personality, and using your past as an excuse to be an utterly deplorable person. It's kind of like people who use ADD or OCD or whatever as an excuse to get out of even trying to do something. Just because you might not be as good at it as some people does NOT mean you can't do it at all. You're throwing all the responsibility off of your shoulders, and justifying your right to do anything you want because "you can't help it". This is complete rubbish. And it's the worst kind of obnoxious.

Now, on to my personal example. There is a particular lady I have been in contact with for a while now. I won't say her name, but I don't really know it anyway. I just know she's the occasional local agent for the landlord of my apartment. A few times a year she shows up to do a check up on the place and make sure everything's working and all that jazz. This is entirely normal. But DANG she's unpleasant about it.

Just yesterday she came into my room with a horribly disgusted look on her face at the state of it. Granted it was messier than even I usually have it, but it's the end of the semester, and therefore the end of the contract. I am moving all my stuff out in 6 days anyway, so cleaning and organizing seemed like a redundant endeavor, because I'm gonna have to pull everything out again once I start packing. Speaking of which, I really need to get going on that. Blah. Anyway, she came in looking absolutely horrified, to remind me of the apointment at 11:00 in the morning for a girl to come over, and that I needed to have my room cleaned. And I asked, "what girl?" And she told me, "The girl who's coming to see the room. Remember I told you about her."

First of all she did NOT tell me about her. There was no warning in the slightest that there was a specific appointment for a girl to come over and look at my room. None. At all. So needless to say I stayed up cleaning until 4:37 am. in order to avoid the inevitable lynching that would have otherwise occurred. Ugh. You do not spring a "completely clean your room by 11 am" on someone at like 6 in the evening the night before, and then pretend like you gave them all this time to work on it, and it was their own fault. And since when did they ever do that anyway? They've never organized exact times to come over. What the flagnard?

Second of all, you do not just go and examine other people's rooms, especially when they're not at home, and especially when you are only doing so in order to profess even more loudly that it is a toxic waste dump. Going into other people's private space is just creepy weird.

So that's kind of weird, right? But not unheard of, you know. There are way worse landlords than that, even if it was a pain in the royal butt. So now let me tell you a little bit about this lady. This is the background stuff that, with a normal person, would make you feel sorry for them and patiently endure their flaws.

  • She's been divorced so many times that her grandkids have lost count, and she's currently starting to date yet another fellow. This is a two way sword here. Divorce is tough on people. Especially depending on the reason for it. But 6 or 7 times? That's just not even ok. On the other hand, who know's if it was HIS fault every time, you know?
  • What I do know is that at least one of those divorces was a result of domestic violence. She was beaten and all sorts of crap. Which is wrong, no matter how annoying your wife might be about cleaning.
  • When she was a child, she was never shown any love whatsoever unless she cleaned something to anal spotlessness. This explains her attitude about cleaning. If something isn't clean, it means to her that you don't have any concern for her feelings at all.
  • Because of this way she's been raised, and the harsh treatments, she also has a really hard time with the idea that people can improve themselves. If you were a selfish brat when you were a kid, even if you mature as you become an adult, she still has that image of you as the selfish brat, and it's tough for her to change that.

Now, for the thesis here: These things explain a LOT about her personality and why she values the things she does. They also explain why she might be somewhat abrasive. They explain her lack of self confidence in many things. So yes, there are lots of unfortunate reasons for why she is the way she is, and it makes me feel bad for her. BUT... and this is a huge but... I don't care what the crap happened to you as a kid or a young newlywed, you still have your agency. And the way you treat people is entirely related to your agency. Ex. If you were beaten as a child, it is completely understandable for you to have trouble trusting others. It's normal to not be comfortable with commitment. It's acceptable to be guarded with what you say, and to test people out before trusting them. These things I understand. These things I sympathize with. But there are things that you CAN still control, and you still don't have an excuse for.
  • Saying rude things to people for no reason. Grandmothers just should not tell their granddaughters that they're fat. As in "Deanna, you're getting so fat. Why don't you exercise?" Yes, that actually happened. And, Deanna is an entirely normal sized person. Not ok to say, even if you had someone say it to you. Brain filter, please.
  • Getting angry at people for not doing things they didn't know they were supposed to do. There was a loose bolt on the lint tube on the back of the dryer. It made a little bit of lint stick to the wall. We got SUCH a chewing out about it. Like full out actual yelling. Like we were supposed to know that there was a loose bolt, and like it was the worst thing that could have happened. Oh darn, there's a piece of lint on the wall. *scary face*
  • Assuming that everyone in the world has the same brain functions as you do. Bad idea. Because they don't.
  • Forcing people through anger, threatening, and guiltifying to do what you want them to do. Being in charge of everything, and micro-managing the lives of grown adults who've lived on their own for a long time. We know how to take our shoes off at the door, and how to do our own laundry. We know that we have to leave on time for classes, and put gas in the car. And no, it is not the most crucial thing in the world to do laundry every time a sock is dirty, or to scrub the whole kitchen if you spill a few crumbs on one counter. Just because you have germaphobia doesn't mean you can threaten people into ocd-ness.

So yeah. having a hard background does not excuse you from micromanaging, rudeness, and judging others. (The bad kind of judging.) I can understand and sympathize with emotional difficulty. I can understand when it's tough to do or be certain things because of your past. But DUDE. Sometimes you are wrong. And you treat people like crap. And you need to actually try to be nice to people, even when it's hard. AND, you have to at least try to not be shallow, and think you're fat when you weigh literally 3 pounds. Or tell other people they're ugly or fat, especially when they're not even close.

Ok, I'm really done now. Meh.

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