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Posts from August 2008

Excerpt Twenty-Two: Confidence Boosted or Confidence Busted?

I can remember early in our marriage we would do everything together. We would do the grocery shopping together. We would go clothes shopping, for me, together. He would suggest what I should try on, and me, wanting him to like the way I looked, I would try on and often buy the clothes he suggested. (When we shopped for him, he rarely liked my choices; he got what he picked out.) At that point it wasn’t that I was losing myself and my personality in his decisions, it was rather that I did not have confidence in myself and so I was following his confidence, his perception of me. Besides, I wanted to look good for him. It wasn’t that he was controlling me, I was enabling his recommendations. Now that I think of his forceful personality, it’s not necessarily that I did not have confidence (wow, what a concept), it was that he had an inordinate amount of confidence. So, pitted against his utter confidence, my standard waverings stood out and became something for him to direct and ultimately control.

Why didn’t I have self-confidence, or rather why didn’t I have enough self-confidence to stand up to him. Was I following what I thought was the role a wife should take upon herself? Was I following the way my mother had acted with my father? She let him make all the decisions, or so it seemed. She waited for him and was guided by him. It seemed to work for them, why did it become oppressive for me? Was I, the independent daughter who went off to Israel alone at 20, in reality not independent, was I looking for guidance? And did this man simply take advantage of that? Or, was there no other way to be with him, except with his usurping all power and control. Did I ruin the picture by eventually seeking to reassert my independence and sense of self?

* * *

Leg Sideburns

Since I was about eleven I was under the impression that if I shaved my leg sideburns (you know, those hairs that grow unbidden on the upper inside of the thigh), the hair would grow back in masses. I was under the strongest of impressions that if I didn’t use Nair or some other product that smelled and needed to be applied in a thick layer and left on the area for at least 10 minutes without moving so as not to disturb the chemical process that was occurring, I would never be able to wear a bathing suit again because the hair that would grow back would be so dense I would not be able to hack through it to create a pristine legscape. It was a scary image. You can see, I’m not talking about gentle warnings, I’m talking about dire predictions.

And so, I used Nair for years. I always felt like a slice of toast, spreading the stuff on with the pink butter knife (or would that be a leg spreader?). I always hated that I had to plan when I would pare down; it always seemed to be dependent on mood. Was I in the mood to sit naked on a towel draped over the closed toilet seat while my legs got prettified? It’s not that my life is that busy, but somehow I was forever forgetting to keep things under control.

For a few years, when we still lived in Israel and would go to the beach in Tel Aviv all of the time, I even waxed. But after a while the whole idea of having two wonderfully-smooth-leg weeks lost its allure when I then had to wait two getting-hairier weeks in order for the hair to be long enough to be ripped out. And besides, at a certain point it became too absurd to have a woman spread hot wax on me, then a rag (what is a cloth that is used over and over again if not a rag?) pressed to the wax and then, in a motion reminiscent of a particularly masochistic friend pulling off a band-aid, rip the cloth off the leg, with wax and hair follicles adhering to it. Honestly, who thinks of these things and why do we pay to have them done to ourselves?

Now that I have no love interest, I’ve gone au naturel. But last week I was taking my daughter and a friend to the beach, and I had decided that thunder thighs or not, I was going to wear a bathing suit. I’m 47, I have essentially come to terms with the facts of my ripe pear shape, and while I need to exercise and lose weight, it wasn’t going to happen by Thursday last, but I did need to look presentable. There are some norms that even I don’t want to upset. So, with trepidation, I wielded a razor to virgin terrain.

Eight days have elapsed since the event, and I feel no different, and I look no different than if I had applied a cream hair remover. It feels good to refute a myth, and to know that I am no longer a slave to my leg sideburns.

* * *

Slime: A Definition

My mother and I have developed a term to refer to mr. ex and a whole host of his behaviors: slime. At first it was just a piece of slime, but it has become all-encompassing. If he does it, it’s sure to be slime. But slime is not just a behavior; it is a state of mind. Slime refers to any man (no stories have surfaced of female slime) who abdicates his responsibilities as a parent and a decent human being once divorce looms. Slime is a man who makes you ashamed of the “I love you’s” you once uttered. Slime makes you wish you could do it over again (with the caveat that you would have the same wonderful children).

If he makes choking sounds when he passes me, it’s slime. If he calls me a $5-a-pop slut in front of our daughters, it’s slime. If he tells our daughters that I don’t love them, it’s slime. If he hides a $90,000 bonus check from me, it’s slime. If he calls my lawyer a liar in court, it’s slime. If he doesn’t buy food for his daughters, it’s slime. If he doesn’t pay his share of the utilities, it’s slime. If he doesn’t return calls from the realtor about lowering the price of the home so that it can be sold after more than a year on the market, it’s slime. If he can’t act in a mature fashion more than eight years after I initially broached the subject of divorce, it’s slime.

Unfortunately, being slime is not limited to him; no, it extends to a whole host of other men who have, for some reason, become unhinged once the women in their lives decided to forego the marriage. What? They’ve never been rejected before? My mother and her friends either get to discuss the joys of being grandparents, or the slime that their daughters are divorcing or are divorced from and the slime they are shoveling at their daughters and grandchildren.

Unbelievably, these are two fairly common examples of slime: refusing to pay spousal support (does anyone get this any more?) or child support or tuition for their children; and stopping to work so they won’t have income that their wives would “get” to support their children. There’s nothing you can say about these behaviors and the decision-making process that must have preceded them except slime.  

What has happened to these men’s minds or moral and ethical code? Where are these men from? Is there a special class that they take in college that we women are unaware of? (Surely if we knew of it we would offer some kind of “special compensation” so that they wouldn’t attend Slime 101.) And who raised these men? Were they coddled too much? Were they not coddled enough?

These men are akin to space ships: initially the whole unit glides into space together, then there is an explosion and a separation, and off they go. Only now they are without the boosters and they’re on their own in space, and boy, are they out there. They have lost their power, and often that means that they are no longer in orbit. They have lost their purpose or the essential stabilizing influence that they require and without which they cannot function properly, and they are in free fall.

It would be sad, except it’s so painful for the women and children to have to rise to the occasion and live in the wake of such constantly hurtful behavior.


And it’s too painful, too, to constantly be barraged by amateur-hour therapists and positive-thinkers who attest that I have placed myself in this situation because it will lead me to some higher plane of personal growth, or that I need to put my chin up and look forward, and not let the past weigh me down, in any form, otherwise I am a weak woman. For goodness sakes, can’t I just get a hug without all of the moralizing? I’ve been battered enough by the slime, don’t make me feel worse about it and myself.

* * *

Bonding by Books

The first book club I belonged to was in Israel. There was a core group of seven women, originally from the US and England, who were living in the Tel Aviv area (most of us had been living there for years). In the summer months (which means May to October), we would meet monthly on the beach. We would take white plastic chairs from a beachside café and place them in a circle on the cooling sand steps away from the gentle waves of the Mediterranean. The slowly dissipating heat of the day as dusk arrived would provide a soothing backdrop to our book discussions, amongst other things.

This was a group of non-conformists (perhaps that is the reason why we had all left our home countries in the first place): at our first meeting it was decided that there would be no assigned books. A few of the women were adamant about not being pressured into reading something that they did not want to read or according to a schedule that might not suit them. Instead of being a book club, we became a book exchange club. Each month we would bring in the book or books we had read that month, and give a synopsis and explain why we did or did not like the book. It was always interesting to see that one woman’s bad read was another woman’s anticipated read. We would each end up with one or more books to read for the coming month; we generally received books from family or friends abroad, or purchased them on our trips back home, or bought books in an English-language used book store, or, on occasion, splurged to buy a new book at the Israeli bookstore chain, Steimatzky’s.

In the beginning we sat next to the friend who had brought us into the group; my friend was a work colleague who was also from New York and who was a member of the book group gone wrong. (The one which, apparently, caused the protestation for having no assigned readings in this newly-formed group, absent some key members of the original group, who, I assume, were the book dictators.) As time went on, or, rather, as our conversations unbound us, we became a group, not a collection of separate friendships. That process took months of sitting on the sand, and then moving to coffee houses around Tel Aviv, and talking about books.

But what are books if not lives writ in 10-point font? And so our meetings became gatherings and the work of the group transformed from lending library to lending ears, for the lives we began unfolding were our own, and not only those of the books we had read.

I know life is supposed to have purpose, and we are supposed to accomplish great things, and seek to alleviate the pain and suffering in the world, but sometimes the distillation of life can be seven friends sitting around a table, drinking tea and coffee, and talking about their lives. What more could a woman ask for? There is validation for who she is and what she has done and what she is living through; there is compassion for the dips her life and those of her loved ones have taken; there is joy for the successes and happinesses that she has wrought and which are wrought in her; there is commiseration, for no story is truly isolated and isolating. When I left Israel, I think I was saddest about leaving my book club, my community. Those two hours on the sand once a month gave me a stability that I needed; a stability that was missing, perhaps, because I didn’t have any of my family nearby, and because I needed to be encompassed in only English every once in a while.

About six years after I returned to the states I joined another book club. It has been slow going for me to transition from my first book club to this one; I think I resisted joining emotionally because I remained loyal to the vision of that first book club on the beach. It was not the same. It took a while to realize that different is good, not in the sense that one is better than the other, but in respecting each for the unique community that is created.

We have been meeting every other month for about a year and a half. There is an assigned book, but we vote on the book from a list of, usually, three suggestions. The meetings are on a rotating basis at our homes (I can’t wait till I can host a meeting, when I am in my own place and can happily invite guests in); there is a book discussion; and there are nine women who are finding a place of comfort in the community that we are creating through books. That must be the power of the book club, and why so many women join them. Creating community through books.


Some Book Club II Books

The Good Women of China by Xin Ran

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver,

Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner


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Welcome visitors who have found Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman via and Please find comfort in this home I have created on the internet, it is a sanctuary for me—and I hope it will be for you, too. Some of these posts come from pain, some from joy, and some from wonder, but they are all the fruit of my introspective nature and are an honest expression of my heart and head to yours.


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Compromising Myself Out of a Marriage

Compromise is not necessarily good for a marriage. You want to be kind, you want to be caring, you even want to show that you are magnanimous, but for heaven’s sake—you don’t always want to feel that you never get what you want. Yes, I know it’s all about finding common ground, but common ground can feel like enemy territory if you always have to leave your home turf.

It had started out so innocently 25 years ago; how was I to know that I would end up compromising myself out of a marriage? Maybe the problem was that we each perceived compromise differently: my understanding was that we each give a little and get a little so that we both feel satisfied; whereas, his understanding was that I give and he takes, and we both feel satisfied.  

When we were dating and early in our marriage, we would take movie turns. One James Bond or some other blow-up-things movie for him, and the next time we would see a drama or romantic comedy for me. But at some point he just couldn’t bear to see Meg Ryan cry again, and so the romantic comedies were cut—with no substitution. Okay, dear, I don’t want to make you suffer on our night out, so let’s go to see what you want—even though I hate movies with guns and people dying and no real dialogue or story.

And while the first time I did this I thought that I would be compensated the next time by a it’s your turn sweetie, it’s alright, I’ll just hold the tissues for you, but, alas, it was not to be. He was quite pleased to see Something Part 2 with me in tow, and never got around to reciprocating the favor. So, with a lovely smile and the fairness principle that was deeply ingrained in me from childhood, I enabled my husband to be comfortable as he hijacked our movie-going options. He saw it as a calculation: x times the degree to which he hates the movies I like to see is greater than x times the degree to which I hate the movies he likes to see. So it became twisted into his not having to suffer, as opposed to my having to suffer, but not as much as he would have to. Compromise? I don’t think so.

Fast forward 22 years and we have just bought a beautiful house and we are either going to renew our respect for each other and develop real compromise-making skills to once again become a couple that sees its future together or we will be pulled apart by the weight of so many “compromises.”

I had decided that I wanted to get two large vases to put in front of the house. But I overstepped my bounds when I thought that I would be able to make a decision on my own and act on it on my own. I had hoped that my husband of eighteen years would nod and say “wonderful, that would look great, make sure that you get a plant that can live in the shade,” but once again I was pushed out of my home turf and into enemy territory. At 42 I was still being told that I could not buy things on my own (which is where all of that compromising had led me). “No,” my husband told me, “you can’t buy anything without my approval.” Without a moment’s hesitation, rather than suggest a time to launch the vase expedition, I said “go by yourself.” It was my straw on the camel’s back. Needless to say, the vases were never purchased because it was not about the vases; it was about his deciding things for both of us, for the family, and not about his esthetic principles being compromised.

That was the slippery slope to which my compromising had led me.

But the compromises weren’t just about whether or not to buy the white dining room table and chairs (it was the 80’s), or where we should go out to dinner, or when we should start a family, they were about appeasing him. And this type of compromise is not a give and take, it is about control; it is about one person compromising herself so as not to upset the other. The calculation here would be: x times the degree to which he would be nasty if I said something that he didn’t agree with is greater than x times the degree to which I wanted to express myself to a man who no longer considered my point of view. And once you start to make decisions or change your behavior to prevent antagonizing someone, you have crossed the line into an abusive relationship. For what is abuse if not one person controlling another person’s mind?

It took years to realize that my life had crossed an untenable line from compromise to control and abuse. Perhaps I didn’t realize it because it didn’t make sense. It takes a clear mind to discern that it’s not okay that you have your husband in the back of your head whenever you go to the store, whether it’s to buy children’s shoes or cake. I’m not saying that this isn’t normal, I’m saying that the degree to which he encroached into my decision-making process, and why, was wrong. It wasn’t about getting things that would make him happy, it was about getting things that would prevent him from being disappointed. And that’s a huge difference. It’s the difference between someone saying “thank you” and someone saying "return it."

On our last vacation as a couple (the save-the-marriage trip) we went to St. Thomas. Before we left I had said that I want to see the ruins of a plantation. When we got to St. Thomas it became an onerous thing to do; in fact, it could potentially ruin the entire vacation for him because he would be forced to do something that he didn’t want to do. It was no longer about seeing the things that we both wanted to see; rather, it was about my “compromising.” The logic goes like this: since he didn’t want to go to a plantation, and since I wanted to do all of the things he wanted to do, then why should we go somewhere that one of us didn’t want to go? Wasn’t that right? Wasn’t that a fair compromise? Besides, it would be a waste of time and money to go to the plantation. And so, the compromise was to do what he wanted.

I did the calculation: is it worth having him angry at me for the rest of the trip so that I could look at a few broken buildings?


We didn’t go to the ruins. But I was the one who gave the silent treatment; I could no longer talk to a man who so negated my will, and my willingness to compromise.

* * *

Food Prep Station

I have thought about what my daughters would like to eat.

I have shopped.

I have rinsed and chopped.

I have measured.

I have cooked.

I have washed the bowls, and pans, and utensils.

They have eaten.

It was good.

But there's none left for me.

So that's what happens to my diets. Instead of the fish and fresh vegetables, it's the white starch.

I need to buy more and cook more.

It would be easier if mr ex would, on occasion, pay for his children's food. 

* * *

It's Finally Over: Unravelling the Thread

This is my story, my unraveling of my thread to try to find where things got twisted. It has been/is a worthwhile journey for me. I hope that the experience presented in these "It's Finally Over" games has been/is helpful to you too. But now, perhaps it is time for you to unravel your own life: start where you want, let the thread of your life unravel as your mind wanders, just try to look at its path with a clear head.


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Excerpt Twenty-One: First Year of Teaching

The first year of teaching is supposed to be one of the hardest job there is. For me, as tough as it was, dealing with life at home was harder. The constant stress of living in an abusive relationship was much tougher than teaching one hundred and thirty reluctant teenagers the eight parts of speech.

Is relationship the right word to describe my marriage, perhaps predicament or situation is better? How can something so nefarious be a “relationship”? Isn’t that a word with positive connotations, doesn’t it signify something that brings happiness, isn’t it something that you want to be a part of?

Learning how to plan interesting and effective lessons; reading and understanding the short stories, plays, poems and novels I was to cover; writing quizzes, tests, and warm-up assignments, homework assignments and essay questions; speaking to and emailing students, parents and administrators; reading, commenting on and grading papers were all difficult, but coming home was infinitely worse. At school, although there were tough days and tough kids (or, kids being kids, or kids reacting to a tough teacher) who challenged me by slumping or ignoring or doubting or questioning, at least they seemed to respect me and knew (I think) that I was doing something for them, or at least that I was trying to do something for them. And I was. At home my husband made me feel that my very presence was anathema. That pervasive feeling of negativity is what made home so much tougher than school ever was.

Since my husband did not work for a year and a half, including the entire first year of my teaching (the ostensible reason was that he was laid off, but I interpreted it as part of his absolute commitment to make my life hell), he was at home most of the time, and so everyday as I drove home I would wonder if he would be there when I arrive. The drive home usually took about 40 minutes; it was generally a good transition from school. I would take the highway, so I could just drive along with the flow of traffic (three o’clock is still too early for traffic, even in this area), listening to music, snatches of my day coming up to me, with all of the accompanying ‘should haves’ and ‘could haves,’ a calm easy time between two worlds, but in a world of itself.


That is until I would drive down our driveway and click on the garage door opener. Is he home or isn’t he? Because of the lighting in the garage, it always takes a few seconds for the garage door to open enough for me to know the home situation. If the car is not there, I would smile broadly and continue the easy transition. But, if it was there, I would generally say (out loud for emphasis, to show that I really mean it, that this is more than wishful thinking, this is a demand, a desire that is so strong that it deserves speaking out loud, making it more possible, perhaps it will reverberate into reality), “Get a job! Go away!” And then I would drive in with an absolute anchor as a heart. I could feel myself being beaten down just by his presence; just by the tangible prove of his reality—of my reality:

     That I live with a man I hate;

     That I live with a man who is constantly insulting me;

     That I live with a man who treats me with absolutely no respect;

     That I live with a man who finds it acceptable to ridicule me;

     That I live with a man who is constantly trying to control my life.

I am confronted with the fact that my home is no one’s castle; that my home has become my prison, and I am an inmate.

If he is home, he is generally on his laptop in either the basement or at the kitchen table. If he is at the kitchen table, he generally gathers up his computer when I come in and goes down to the basement. While I relish his going away so that I don’t have to confront his verbal abuse or stony countenance (which I find repulsive even though I am unable to look directly at him), it is still upsetting that my mere presence is repulsive to him, too. Certainly I don’t expect unbounded joy when I come in, but this summary dismissal is still hurtful. I simply said that I don’t love you any more, I don’t want to be married to you anymore; I did not verbally assault him. I shared with him more than twenty years of my life before I really felt what was being done to me and voiced my decision. Why is he so vindictive? Why has this degraded into a game of wills that is counter-productive? Why is he (perhaps it is we by now) unable to confront each other and talk the end through? Why do I have to come home day after day to a man who has become an evil entity, who simply wishes me ill?

I had always prided myself on being a mature person, so why now, when maturity is so much in need, am I incapable of getting past his solid wall of antagonism. It just does not make sense, or maybe it does too much, that what I say and do is not enough to end this marriage with grace and timeliness. Continuing in our sorry cycle, it must be according to his time-line and conditions, otherwise we barely move forward. It seems that he can’t prevent himself: he must be a bully till the end. And finally, I can’t get over it that I am always prevented from getting what I want, even when I am forceful.

Am I so weak? Am I too nice and too understanding, always questioning myself, doubting myself and my experiences, and not him and his motivations?

* * *

Mind's Eye or Mirror?

When I see myself in my mind’s eye, I am twenty-two, a vibrant woman in size 8 pants, excited (and anxious) about the life she will live. When I see myself in a mirror, I am forty-seven, an overburdened woman with bags under her eyes in size 14 pants, anxious (and excited) about the life she will live. Will the real me please present herself.


* * *  

A Reverie Inspired by Tampons

Here goes, breaking taboos again by talking about things we don’t talk about. First it was peeing in my pants, then it was pantylines, and now, now it’s tampons. Why? Why is it that something that we women need for something that we “do” from our teens to our forties or fifties (give or take a decade) is such a forbidden topic? Okay, not forbidden exactly, but not broached in proper company, or any company for that matter. Why? Why is it that we can talk about putting hot wax on our bodies and ripping out our hair from the follicles is a topic for discussion, but not our period (our menstrual flow)? Well, maybe not that either. But why not? Why are the things that we do to our bodies or for our bodies so conversationally inappropriate? Is it true that the only body mentionables are manicures and pedicures, and diets? Oh, and bad hair days.

When I told a friend who had been out of the country for a few months and, apparently, was not following my blog during her travels, that I had written about underpants, her response was “why?” Why indeed. Why shouldn’t we talk about everything in our lives? Why do we censor so much of our lives? Wouldn’t it have made me feel better to know that my friends were also peeing in their pants after the births of their children? And couldn’t we have figured out together what to do to help ameliorate the situation, or at least to know which is better in a sneeze situation: to cross the legs or to squeeze the legs together?

And why do we need to censor ourselves so much? Is it pride? Do we always want to present our best face to the public? Are our friends the public? Is that why so many people seem to be going to therapists or reading self-help books, because they hold so much back? I’m not saying that talking about pantylines will suddenly stop someone from drinking, but I am suggesting that being a big mouth may be healthier than being prim and proper. The flow of ideas, or at the very least the expression of one’s concerns, with the needed nod of assurance or commiseration from a friend is quite the requirement for maintaining a balanced outlook.

Back to my period. There was one occasion when it was alright to talk about my period: it was the day I got it in the summer between sixth grade and seventh grade. Since I was the first girl where I lived to get “it,” I was the celebrity for the night. But that was it, until college when there would be the occasional pregnancy scares, otherwise, we were on our own.  

But I’m back to it, because there are related issues that are bothering me. And I am under the (I hope not misguided) assumption that if something is bothering me, there are other women being bothered by it as well. What I am trying to figure out is why can’t they come up with a tampon that works? It might look like a rocket, but it’s not rocket science: it’s layers of cotton wrapped around a string (the eject button, if you will). In my experience, on most occasions the string is not necessary. They just plop out. And it’s not as if they have fulfilled their job, there’s still more work they can do, but they have decided, nah, I’d rather swirl around the toilet and get flushed away. Is this like the lightbulb and tires that have supposedly been invented that never need replacing but which the lightbulb and tire companies have hidden away because then they would have a lot less to sell? Is this built-in obsolescence?

And it’s not as if there is such a small market that it’s not worth the time and money to do some efficient product development. For goodness sakes, they have cameras that can go into the human body, they can surely develop a tampon that doesn’t come out unbeckoned. Maybe if we talked about this more, the product developers would know that there is a problem. As it is, we are suffering in silence with self-ejecting tampons.

So this is my voice in the wilderness, hoping to reach a power that be so that the situation can be ameliorated.

* * *

Back to the stress incontinence discussed in "I Need a Diaper": I have been doing lots of kegels lately (as suggested by some readers), but, instinctively, I squeeze my legs when I feel a sneeze coming, so I’m not sure if they’re working. Oh, and my gynecologist just told me that it will just get worse. Great.

* * *

So what should we talk about now?

The Spiral of Life

Another lesson culled from my Introduction to Conflict Theories class that can be applied to life: conflict is not a cycle, rather it is a spiral. According to this theory, as applied to conflicts, we don’t retread the arguments (or battles or wars) in exactly the same way and to the same degree each time; rather, we keep ratcheting things up (or down, depending on the term in use). We, ever-so-gradually, ratchet down our impatience, up our intransigence, up our actions that aggravate the other. In other words, things get progressively worse, they are never the same.

Even if we seem to be having the same argument day after day, it is not the same, because your weariness in needing to have the argument day after day is increasing. A stereotypical experience can illustrate this: the dishes (or some other seemingly insignificant chore or basic order of family business). The first time that your spouse doesn’t do the dishes or put them in the dishwasher, it’s no big deal, there’s a request or a reminder and it’s forgotten. But the next time it happens, there’s the request or reminder again, maybe with just a dash of frustration. But if (do I mean to say “when”?) it happens again, the frustration starts to increase, and this comes out in the tone of voice used, maybe even the actual words, maybe you tune out the explanation, which means you are tuning out your beloved. How can you possibly ask someone to put his dishes in the dishwasher repeatedly without ratcheting up your annoyance? It’s not that this will bring on a civil war in the house, but you are not standing in place, you’re getting more aggravated.

Perhaps the understanding from this application of the theory is that if you don’t resolve what’s bugging you, things will only get worse. The “don’t go to bed angry” mantra really makes sense here, because if you have the entire night to mull over things, to interpret or dissect events, you’re probably going to read more into them then are there. And if you don’t take the time to talk things out, you’re not going to have the same argument over and over, you will be having an argument to the power of however many times you have had it. I guess this could be written as:

     ArgumentX = D

where X equals the number of times you have had the argument, and as X increases so does D, where D is the disaffection factor.

Which spirals me back, in an obtuse way, to my post on “Sweating the Small Stuff”: nothing is really small if it annoys you. And nothing that bothers you stays small: it will simply simmer under the surface. And we all know what happens to things that simmer invisibly: they erupt quite visibly, seemingly from nowhere. And surprise attacks (for obvious reasons) are the hardest to prepare for and recover from, since there is such hurt in “not knowing where this is coming from.”

So, the lesson we can take from the theory is: To not enter into a spiral of bitterness we must acknowledge and address all the inanities of the other and (yes, I admit to it) ourselves.

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