Becky Says...

June 22, 2001

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On Topic

A piece of personal weirdness here: when I am angry at someone, it doesn't help me much at all for someone else to try joining the fight. It especially doesn't help if the other person brings up side issues---goes off-topic. While I appreciate the moral support (and the occasional joke made at the expense of my "enemy"), usually I'm better off if I'm left to ponder the argument on its own merits.

You see, I wind up defending the person at whom I'm angry against the person who's trying to help. Yes, I know that's a little weird. But it's how I am, and I don't see me changing it. It's often why no one knows the target of my anger.

I first really realized this about myself when Prince Charming turned into a frog and my mother did her level best to take my side. And although I wanted her sympathy, and to be told I was wonderful, etc., it truly made matters worse when she pointed out his flaws. Yes, he had them, and yes, she knew them! When she would list them, I wound up defending him, which made her try to argue my side even more.

This happened countless times, until one day when I burst into tears and told her in effect to stop it. She was so startled that she did indeed stop, and asked me if I had lost my mind. I told her that it really was a problem for me to hear her saying things against someone I still cared about, no matter that he was behaving like a jackass.

I'm not sure she ever did understand it, but at least she changed her tactics and started just reminding me, when I was down, that I was wonderful and she was on my side. You know, things your mama ought to be telling you when you feel lower than dirt.

I know how hard it is to refrain from enumerating all the sins ever committed by someone else's "enemies" when flare-ups happen. Sometimes I wind up biting my tongue to do just that---and I don't always succeed. But I remind myself of a one-time Prince and a girl who would have been the Princess (except for that frog thing), and I do try to go back into on-topic support.

And say a silent thanks to my mother for all the holes she must have put into her own tongue.

Text copyright 2000-2001 Becky