Friday, June 17, 2016

"I could have been her friendly acquaintance but she wouldn't allow it. She didn't have any of those."

When my kids were young and we homeschooled I met another mother at one of our "park days". As our children played we introduced ourselves and began to chat.  Very early on, as part of her introduction actually, she shared a very interesting fact about herself.  "People either love me or they hate me," she said.  She laughed as though this strange fact was a happenstance of fate.  People either thought she was wonderful or hated her.



Most people know a very few people they can't abide and have a few more close friends who love them while the rest of everyone they know are some variety of congenial but emotionally unengaged acquaintances.   These are the smiles in passing and polite inquiries concerning children, parents, the dog or the weather, all the things that provide the grease that lubricates the wheels of polite society. 

But this woman had no neutral interactions, no neutral relationships, no polite exchanges.  People loved her or they hated her.

Of course it quickly became clear that she didn't allow anything but love or hate.   Those who wanted to be friendly to her had to love her.  If you failed to love her enough you'd face some variety of social punishment where she'd be certain that you knew that you had to meet her expectations of love... or hate. 

It wasn't long before one of my children committed a mortal sin.  I have no idea which one it was because she never spoke to me again.  Not once.  Not even a stiff "hello".  Nor did she allow her child to play with my children.  Another mother let me know what happened.  One of my kids who I was teaching that "smoking is bad for you" because that's what mothers do, shared this tidbit of wisdom with this woman who was smoking, because that's what children do.

What I was supposed to do once I'd made the effort to find out what was wrong was go grovel.  I was supposed to prove that I was one of those people who would love her.   I react in predictable ways to abusive manipulation.  I accepted the information the other mother gave me.  I listened to the excuses about how this woman smoked because of hard things in her life.  I did not scold any of my children for making a perfectly normal statement to an adult.  And I let myself become one of those who "hated" her.
 
Of course I didn't hate her at all.   I didn't even feel bad because she'd been offended.   I felt nothing but an academic interest in her as a character study.  No love.  No hate.   I could have been her friendly acquaintance but she wouldn't allow it.  She didn't have any of those.

What she was doing, and what most anyone will recognize, is she was using emotional manipulation to control other people.  It was about power.  You loved her.  Or you hated her.

What brings this to my mind now is a small thing... a little thing... a tiny thing...  related to the horrific murders in Orlando.  Someone published the opinion that somehow people who had not supported gay marriage were not entitled to be supportive, to even care about, those who had been murdered.  As if anything other than love... is hate.  Anything other than 100% agreement and support... is hate.  No in-betweens.  No disagreements.  No polite tolerance.  No indifference. No social interaction of asking after the dog or job or weather in the presence of disagreement.   Just love or hate. 

I would like to think that this was just one random dummy on the internet.  That anyone could think, somehow, that this was something insightful instead of horrible is alarming.  We are human.  We can and do love people while believing in our hearts that they are very wrong.  We can and do care about lives lost, of sorrow and grief, and people's right to be safe, even in the face of disagreements.  We can and do care about people as people even when we find them personally unbearable.   Why?  Because sane humans do not think primarily about how to use emotional manipulation to control, shame or punish other people in order to force them to make a choice between love and hate. Healthy human relationships are built in all the in-between places.

If someone isn't willing to allow that, they are the one with the problem.
...

As I was thinking of writing this today I noticed someone had posted a link to this essay, "Friends Don't Care."   It's from July 4, 2001.   It's about the virtue of not caring, and it's about guns which my post is not, but since it is, I'll segway to the PinkPistol's national organization page, and to this page compiling a list of contacts of people who have pledged real material help to anyone in the LGBT community who are interested in learning about concealed carry personal defense in their local area.    Oh, and this one for Elijah.

28 comments:

Jim in St Louis said...

Very thoughtful post.

edutcher said...

I suppose the ones who practiced her version of tolerance were the ones who didn't "hate" her.

Lem said...

This is so true.

I follow Sally Kohn on Twitter and i tried very hard to come up with something persuasive to counter her claim that Christians were in spirit carring out murder in Orlando. I wasn't the only one.

But that's how she put it in black and white contrast. You either support us or you are a hater as much as Omar Mateen.

Lem said...

I'm going to tweet this.

Thank you Synova.

AprilApple said...

Manipulative women (people) - just stay away from them. They are soul-sucking.

AprilApple said...

Excellent observation.

ndspinelli said...

Wow! Just wow! Why aren't you writing here more often? This post is so insightful on several levels. But, I would like to talk about the control aspect. Having analyzed people for a living for decades, I gradually came to understand control on a micro and macro level, like Synova discusses. There is nothing inherently wrong w/ control. In order to have true happiness, I believe one has to have a good amount of self control. People who are balanced in body, mind, spirit, have good self control and are happy. But, what I started seeing more and more were people w/ poor self control being control freaks of others. They couldn't control themselves, so they set about trying to control others. I saw this professionally and in my personal life. And, almost invariably, control freaks are profoundly unhappy people.

On the macro level, ideologues on both sides of the political spectrum are horrible control freaks. That's why libertarian is my political and personal philosophy. Now, there are some liberals and conservatives who can be live and let live on a personal level. But, the hardcore ones are ideologues politically and personally.

What really reinforced my libertarian inclination was doing surveillance. I trained people to do surveillance. I found control freaks could not do it. Surveillance is extremely difficult on a physical and psychological level. But, even if you master all the techniques, you can't do it unless you at least understand that you have NO, ZERO control over what the subject does. I was able to train myself to do surveillance because I inherently understood that fact. The next step is accepting the fact that you have no control. I quickly got to that level. But, the Going Clear level[NO I'm not a Scientologist!] was embracing the fact you have no control over the subject. I LOVE the fact that I can be watching someone in Madison and end up in Milwaukee, just focusing on following them w/o being detected. You see, watching and following someone all day is physically and emotionally demanding. So, the completely wasted energy of wanting to control the subject is destructive.

Lem said...

The reason why Sally Kohn and some in the left lump Christians with mass murder is to get concessions? A bargaining strategy?

I watched an interview of Scott Adams last night and it touched on the theme of "mind set" and "persuasion".

In fact I think I should post it, because it follows very nicely with what Synova has posted here. When manipulation is misused and abused.

AprilApple said...

Sally Kohn hates Christians and loves radical Muslims. See- love or hate. There is no other choice, right Sally?

ndspinelli said...

Who is Sally Kohn, and who gives a flying fuck what she says?

AprilApple said...

She's an influential angry progressive Christian-hating leftist lesbian who works for MSDNC.

Lem said...

She does what she believes helps her cause. Misguided as she is, it has nothing to do with her sexuality and it does in a way, because it is what she markets.

Watch the Scott Adams video and see if you can pick up how it all comes together.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Excellent post Synova.

The either/or attitude. The black and white thinking of people on the left (in the main although the right side is just as guilty) is baffling and annoying. Nothing in the middle? No ability to have a wide rage of opinions, likes, dislikes? No. It is either you are totally with them. Or you are a terrible hater, racist, islamophobic etc etc etc

The media and the left is mystified that someone can oppose Gay marriage as an institution yet pull out all the stops to help those in Orlando supporting the wounded gays in Orlando. Chic Fil A...for example. You can dislike something or disapprove and it does not rise to "hate".

All the drama. All the hysterical posturing. The sanctimonious outrage.

It is so tiresome.

Sixty Grit said...

She misspoke - her initial statement should have been "Either people worship me or I hate them."

I think that sums up her attitude.

chickelit said...

As a chemist, I get the notion that things really are binary at their core, charge-wise: proton or electron (+ or -).
The wonderful range of material things reduces down to these "binary" elements.

We can see a similar notion in binary code as this simple gif illustrates. For an explanation of that gif see here: 1 and 0 spell different things, but they are 1's and 0's at their core. This the heart of the quantum revolution which seized physics 100 years ago.

Binary thinking is completely natural -- see for example dichotomies like "Good" and "Evil."

What "binary thinkers" like the subject of Synova's post overplay is the importance of each solitary bit. Or in the chemical analogy, the importance each single proton or electron doesn't matter; what matters is a summation (in the parlance, an ensemble). It boils down to selfishness.

Lem said...

Sorry I brought up Sally Kohn. It threatened to derail a well reasoned and thoughtful post.

Methadras said...

Synova, excellent post. I've run into people like this. They are saboteurs of themselves and the people around them. They are little islands of cults of personality. Love me or hate me. There is no in-between. I will not accept a mediocre like, just love or hate. I have a close group of friends, I have a larger group of people I've familiarly acquainted with and am friendly with. I know people who I thought I was friendly with end up never speaking with again because usually they find out I'm not of a particular persuasion politically or maybe engaged with them in a discussion where I disagreed with them and they are no more in my sphere. It happens and frankly these people are psychopaths and not to be confused with sociopaths.

This woman is a psychopath.

Methadras said...

Lem, Sally Kohn is a piece of shit. She deserves every piece of derision that goes her way. Arguing with Sally, the worlds ugliest man, is like arguing with a retard. Once she starts swaying back and forth, hugging herself, and mumbling like Rain Man, forget it. It's an impenetrable wall of dumb.

Synova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

(fixed a typo)

I'm glad that people liked my post. Thanks. :)

This woman likely had all sorts of reasons to be the way she was, but that doesn't change that she was that way. There were dozens of little events, small tells. Mostly it was sad and unhealthy for *her*.

But she was so strongly brought to mind and I wanted to write it out.

And what is unhealthy and damaging to an individual is unhealthy and damaging in society.

There was another somewhat related post I saw yesterday... http://takimag.com/article/low_hanging_fruit_david_cole#axzz4BrbvCrhs

The author identifies "Shalit Syndrome" as the thing where people (in this case Shalit) are made to publicly grovel and abase and apologize when they fail on one tiny little point, even when all other respects they're completely innocent of "hate". The "all or nothing" demands are so strong that one contrary opinion flips the switch from "friend" to "foe."

(The article as a whole is pretty good... the comments were a bit less so...)

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Synova, great post.

ndspinelli said...

Lem, Sally Kohn was not a derail. I simply never heard of her and found her thoughts despicable. Kohn is the same ilk as the Synova smoker. Completely legit.

Christy said...

Thought-provoking post. Have you ever noticed that people who say, "I'm the kind of person who..." generally aren't?

Anybody familiar with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) ? It's a test for security clearances I ended up taking far too often because, for a variety of reasons, I would let my clearance lapse. Anyhow, curiously enough, the only people I know who were called to the psychologist's office to discuss their results were those with a very black & white attitude towards everything. Perhaps I misinterpreted, but I came away thinking TPTB didn't trust rigidity. Anyone have better insight?

blake said...

Segway?

Synova said...

"Segway definition, a frequent misspelling of segue."

Oops.

blake said...

Good post, nonetheless. ;-)

ndspinelli said...

BLAKE!! So good to see you. There's been a paucity of decent flicks this year. I think we went once and that was to see Tarantino's. It was pretty good.

William said...

I read the post with interest. I wonder how her children will turn out.