Monday, May 11, 2009

The Maneuvering Muzzle (Part What on Estrangment?)

Don't you just love relational aggression? I do!
Oh, yes, almost as much as I love failing a test or being fired or causing a car accident because I was painting my toe nails and not watching the road.
Sure I do.

There are people that thrive for relational aggression. They need it. They are drama seekers. I picture them as I do storm chasers, mapping out the fluctuating hot and cold barometric pressures, driving recklessly to the sweet spot that will promise you flashes of the best lightening ever seen, the loudest clap of thunder, the intense rain that follows after the tornado's rip through the town.

Usually the storm chasers have practiced or worked on their "art" so well, that they are the safest during the storm. That's not a fact, I'm just writing thoughts as I go, but think about it, the more you practice at something, the better you get, the more prepared you are. The better the storm chasers are at tracking the destruction, raising their % for actually viewing predictable destruction, and watching it all from a specific preplanned location, so that when the storm leaves, the ones that are left hurt are the ones not doing the chasing.

The storm chasers, so long as they're unharmed, will hop back into their truck and drive to the next spot, based on how good they are at profiling the weather. Leaving the humble homes filled with broken hearts and feelings, left behind to pick up the pieces. Sure the storm wasn't the chasers fault, but, they saw it coming and sat back and watched it-for the thrill.

Yes, there are family members that love a good storm. They may not be the ones at fault, but they sure are good at profiling the personalities of each different family member, knowing just the right pressures of how to stir the soup to get it to a point where it boils out and before long it's a big mess. Meanwhile the "chefs" are sitting off in the distance, watching as everyone is scrambling around the steaming hot ruined soup.

Why? Why are there the soup stirring saps? The sinister sisters, the malicious mamas, the irritating in laws, the angry aunts, the gruff grannies, the conspiring cousins? Basically any female (or males, let's not rule them out, but lets face it folks, from my experience the drama mammas cause more estrangement issues then disappointing daddies, when it comes to stirring up storms), you know the ones, the ones that just love to blame other people for what's missing in their lives?

Because when they create or view drama, when they're sitting back watching the storm, watching the family turn into a mess of a soup kitchen, they don't have to worry about their own pitiful sad story of a life.

It's a cast of characters intermixed with you name it, all of the above.
Yet I forgot to mention one very important character though, the bully.

As a little girl I used to think a bully was a boy that would steal my lunch money or pull my pants down or pull my braids. Sadly, as a person that has witnessed relational aggression and now being involved in the middle of the storm itself, having not yet delivered the letter, I have to change my thoughts on the gender status of bullies.

For those that know me, you'll remember that as a young one, girls were always cruel to me. But I never looked at them as bullies. Oddly, I looked at them as cliques and mean girls, fabulous fivers, but now, as an adult, and seeing female family members involved in drama,creating drama and abusing their knowledge, I have to say how much more these women represent THE BULLY, then the boy coaxed into stealing my diary when I was in 3rd grade.

There's always an obvious bully in the family. For the most part it's a female. She's always been the outspoken one, the one that cops an attitude when things don't go her way. She'll be the one with the worst bite. She'll be the one that, as your friend, you cannot see how big of a bully she is, but the moment you cross to the other side, watch out, let the bullying begin. She will be an overachiever. She will also be someone, sadly, that never learned to properly interact with other women, in a healthy form. She'll have a tough time when things don't go right for her, when she has always been so book smart. When her marriage crumbles, since she herself has never failed, it will be his fault, and if she does have grief over it, which she will, it will because of how this has ruined her children's lives.

When she has children and the labor is painful, the pain medications make her awfully ill, the breastfeeding isn't going well, her child isn't thriving, her child, she feels, is difficult to manage, to control, it will be a very big challenge for her to manage. The result? A depression deeper then the darkest nights with which she used to spend studying to be the perfect student.

The moment something is challenging for the so called bully, say, breastfeeding, it will spiral her down the worse winding staircase you'll ever have seen, because she cannot deal with failure. She cannot deal with disappointment and if things aren't mapped out like a grid, she will bite anyone that tries to tell her otherwise. Well, no, correction, she'll bite those verbally that she feels aren't helping her enough. Giving her enough emotional support. She'll seek more, the more she worries that failure is near her home..


Are you already in a mess? At that point where you will be shortly, but you need to know how to continue to keep the pit bulls jaw shut after the storm of vicious viral words are emailed? To carry on with the torch of drama? Remember if you're a nice person, to carry on with fights and drama is not an easy task, especially if you detest conflict. Are you sure you're in the mood to leave the storm of spilled soup on the floor? To not help clean it up, but to add more drama to the mix? Well, if so, here are some good suggestions on how to carry on with relational aggression:

  1. Be a Maneuvering Muzzle: manipulate the silent treatment
  2. Grouping Gorillas: Be the first person to pull everyone on your side maliciously praying that the person you feel has "wronged you" will be a miserable person the rest of their life without you and left out FOREVER!!!
  3. No Thank You Thank You Cards: When attempts are made either by a card or gift, (say because the root cause of the estrangement is over the fact that a sibling has decided to celebrate the Holidays with their own kids and their families versus with you, your own family and the rest of the siblings) don't acknowledge the gift by sending an online, verbally vocal, or penmanship vague thank you card
  4. RETURN TO SENDER: Take The gift and/or card and ask the messenger to return it to the sender.
  5. BE FED-EX: Drive to their house, Pull in their driveway and leave their attempts to show love sitting nicely near the thorn bush, while honking the horn as you pull out of their driveway as they sit there perplexed unknown that you're even angry at them in the first place over the change of Holiday season gatherings.
  6. Blackmail Beauties: where as it can come from a monetary gain, more so approach this role as an emotional one, and remember to remind them about the time that they were there for you when you had no where else to go.
  7. QUEEN BEE: Announce yourself during family gatherings by always sitting in the exact same spot each time, and if by chance someone else is sitting there, either stare at them until they pee in their pants and move, or when they happen to get up to check on their child, throw their sweater somewhere else, and move their plate and cup-that'll help keep the negative energy going strong
  8. MEMORY MEALS: Only offer to come to family occasions as long as it's YOUR mothers Thanksgiving recipes that are prepared, not caring whether or not the other side of the family has memory meals prepared.
  9. THE TRUMPER: always one up-materials, words, stories, name it.
  10. AMBULANCE RIDER: Always be the best Victim you can be.
  11. PETITION WRITER: Start a Petition and make sure you get everyone in the family to rally together and sign it, making sure to show the one that you're pissed at, that everyone is against them, not just you. (This goes well wearing Gorilla Grouping as an icebreaker, but it's even better when you're wearing the Gorilla suit-even better if you encourage and not refrain one of your kids from managing this).

It's sick isn't it?
But it's happening right now. To either you, or someone that you know.

It makes me sick. It makes me sick to see how this nasty treatment of a family member can cause so much anguish for the person in my life that was the very first person to look me in my eyes and feel immediate unconditional love.

Back to more on that character, the outspoken bully:

So caught up in what they presume is hurt, no matter what anyone may say, no matter how obvious it is to the younger generation, no matter how much time will go by or how much "nicey nice" they'll play with you during big family occasions, she'll never see how wrong she is. She'll never see beyond her mirror, or her milk delivery.

She may feel that she hasn't caused the storm, but she's so willing to pick up and move away from her soup kitchen, refusing never to make soup again and blindly believing that the problems will end with the tornado's, when she releases herself from this current family village that she lives in.

Frankly, what she doesn't realize is that she herself is the one doing the abusing. She may have strong feelings of being left out, or perhaps feeling like people aren't giving back to her what she gave to the whippersnappers her siblings had way back when.

Or maybe even manifesting her own loss from a dysfunctional upbringing, and expecting her siblings to compensate for it, by making sure that they treat her own children as A1 WINE. Because, after all, that's what she did for us.

You can't cross her. You can't need her during a crisis and then grow up and have different beliefs, because then she'll feel like you're arrogant, disappointing and selfish. Plus she'll throw it in your face later on. She'll call you names and those that you love names. She'll remind you of your past emotions on certain topics pertaining to family and happily bring that up during the storm-trying anything to continue the lashing of her tongue, making sure the venom strikes deep and there isn't a single vaccine around to help you heal.

She'll turn into that and she won't be able to see it. But she will see that you're selfish and that you've changed. She'll see that you're not the same way you used to be, and that you've taken sides when you don't want to play around with the drama coaster situation anymore.

You will be a deserter. Banished. Dubbed selfish for leading your own life.

She's the type that will even go so far as to compare character lengths in thank you cards. "How come she wrote you a longer thank you card then me?"

Dragging her own young ones into the same mess, intentionally. By showing them her reactions to a situation. By telling them the situation. By not encouraging them that this isn't a big deal. She will allow the hurt to grow in her kids hearts, the contempt for the ones she feels that has failed her and her family, by not underscoring the situation. By not making a molehill into what she feels is a mountain.

Because she's working her fan base, that's why. She's so sad, that she's more then willing to provide disrespecting snippets of seeds planted into her kids young minds. She feels that it's our fault that she's damaged and she's allowing herself to fall apart even more.-naturally it's our fault.

She's never going to realize that the road to happy harmony to end this crap, starts with finding harmony within herself. Until then, it will continue on down the line, passing from her unto the generation that she created by having children.

Harmony starts from within.

  • Accept that relationships have ups and downs
  • Try to learn how to appreciate the framework of other family members lives

Her choices will have consequences and whether she sees that or not is not for me to have heartbreak over anymore.

I have harmony.
I have not delivered her venomous words.
She can.

But she'd best not play the hypocrite either-or she'll end up even more alone then she is now.


Kathy said...

I'm glad you have a forum to express all this and maybe alleviate some of the anger. :)

happyone said...

Some parts of this I thought you were talking about my mother!


Kathy: my little corner of pissy pouting :)

:) how are you my flower maven?


Happy: We all have a family member
Actually the part I wrote about the chair? did occur in my family--someone "stole" my place and moved my things, even my greeting cards that I had where I was about vainmaneuvering :)


Ginny said...

Hi Crusty,

It's not just relatives. I know people just like this who aren't related to me. Since they're not related to me (or my husband), they tell us all about their strange and histrionic doings, making the unjustified assumption that we think that they are sane. They are murder on the people that they are either related to by blood or whom they get involved with romantically.

They are always their own worst enemies. They dig their own graves and you don't have to hand them a shovel. They're talented that way.

It's sad to watch although kind of like the tornadoes that you mention. Or like a train wreck that you watch while you want to cover your eyes but you have to watch. They make themselves miserable and they can't stop.

After seeing what they do for a long enough time, it gets easier to maintain some distance. Detaching can be a good thing. Although the initial process of creating some distance can be traumatic.

Sorry to hear that you're in the middle of the tornado! Hope you come down safely somewhere! Kansas perhaps? (Toto, are we home yet?)

Brad said...

People like that are a cancer and should be treated as such! - Love you, my Crusty one! Don't let the sh*t stormers muss your windshield - off down the road of life with out them!

Cheryl said...

Wow. Just what you need on top of everything else you're dealing with. You need to walk away. It's what I have to do at home all the time.