Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I guess I need to set my hardwood floor free.

I know I'm probably making too much of this whole "Morning Thought" thing, but in another respect, I'm so glad these insights continue to (mysteriously) arrive in my inbox, because they're marvelous in the scope of their inanity. And in that sense they showcase the nonsensical foundation on which so much of self-help rests. Following is the epigram at the top of today's Thought, again from Melody Beattie. Remember that at least in a serious context, when people use a line as an epigram, they're pretty much telling you how profound they think it is:

Detachment is a gift. It will be given to us when we’re ready for it. When we set the other person free, we are set free.
First of all, I'm not sure it means anything at all. Detachment will be given to us when we're ready for it? Who's doing the giving? How will we know when we have it? (When all of our friends start moving away from us and talking about what an SOB we've become, maybe?) And what does detachment mean, anyway? That we'll care less about/be less affected by the feelings of the people around us? And that's inherently a good thing? And when we set the other person free, we are free? In what way? Free to not love and be loved as much? Free to be more narcissistic and self-seeking?

Of course if a person (usually in this case a woman, women being Beattie's prime targets in her sermons on codependency) is locked in a genuinely abusive or even loveless relationship, she needs to summon the will to get out of it. But you can't just make a statement like the above as a blanket prescription for happiness, because it has no nuance, no sense of gradations, no "situationality," if you will. We don't have any true concept of how to apply it. You can't just take it literally: Set everyone free? How so? Many a Mom, for example, is extremely concerned about her teenage children; and that worry drains a lot of the contentment out of her life. If Beattie is telling that Mom to "set your kids free" in the sense of not worrying about them and giving them all the leash they need to get into as much trouble as they possibly can
because, after all, it's their lifethat's absurd. It's a recipe for disaster. But even in the case of a "loveless" relationship, how loveless is loveless enough for a person to decide to leave it? Beattie might say, "Well, you know when you're not happy." I'm not so sure about that. Sometimes you don't know how happy you are until you leave a situation, and then you begin to appreciate what you just threw away. Secondly, as I argue in several places in SHAM, this movement to get people to obsessively focus on their own needs and whether they're being metto take the pulse of their happiness in real timecan almost never be a good thing. Such obsessive navel-gazing is destructive to enjoyment and, I would argue, tends to produce misleading conclusions.

It's like the hardwood floor in my kitchen. (Give me a sec. I'll get there.) If I'm just sort of standing there at the edge of the room, it looks pretty good at all times, especially from my eye level. (I'm about 6-foot-4.) If I walk into the center of the room and study the floor, I'll start to notice a few subtle water spots and such. And if I actually get down on my hands and knees and scout about, I'll suddenly notice not only water spots, but all sorts of little reminders of meals: a poppy seed from Sunday's bagels; a tiny speck of pasta sauce from Monday's ravioli. (And let me tell you, I am fastidious about my floor. I'm on my hands and knees, cleaning and polishing, nightly.) The point is, I'm better off just standing at a distance. It looks fine, and I'm happy with it. Get too close and you start to see flaws that bother you to a degree that is way out of proportion to their "value."

Hence, my comment in the title. But see, that's the tragic irony of codependency and so much of self-help. The process of "detaching" from the things that bug you presupposes and entails an almost pathological attachment to one's own wants, needs, etc. I think it can be argued with (at least) equal validity that the path to contentment is to detach from yourself: to stop worrying so much about what "works for you." Because you know what? Half the time I think we're the last people on earth who can answer that question.

48 comments:

ellen said...

'Half the time I think we're the last people on earth who can answer that question.'

Too true, but who else is going to take a stab at answering that for us? Would you take Sarah Palins (sorry Sarah, you are far too overused here)certain answer over your own semi-answer?

Detachment could be the view you take of the hardwood floor, Steve, you know the flaws and poppy seeds are there but you do not get obssessive about them, you do not let them spoil your enjoyment of that expanse of beautiful, glowing,
natural wood. (I can't believe I'm waxing lyrical about a kitchen floor) What makes wood beautiful if not the knots and grain (flaws?)
that makes each plank unique?

Anonymous said...

You can be as snide as you want, I can tell you codependency classes saved my life, literally. I would be dead by now. Instead I left the man and he is in jail where he belongs. My children are safe, too. And you compare it to cleaning your floor?

Steve Salerno said...

Anon, I am glad that you and your kids are safe. If you think that the glibness of my post means that I am glib about situations such as you describe, you don't know me very well. I just wonder, for every person like yourself who was helped by these classes--and the proliferation of that concept throughout society--how many people were screwed up forever-more? I have personal knowledge of at least a half-dozen such people from my own generation. I suspect that we all know such people.

ellen said...

Anon 10.17

Good for you Anon, and my apologies if I sound glib about something that is important to you. Unfortunately these generalisations do not translate to the experiences of specific individuals such as yourself who have found these tools to be, as they were originally intended to be, useful to all of us humans doing our best to get through life in one piece.
Don't let the b*st*rds (gender neutral) grind you down.

ellen said...

'to take the pulse of their happiness in real time—'

Can't of course be done, we can only judge our own happiness, and that retrospectively-- if at all. Happiness is different at different times for different individuals--one man's meat is another man's poison etc.

I would take issue with Beattie over the suggestion that detachment is a gift. To return to your floor as an example, you Steve, may have an easy time being detached enough to appreciate your floor, flaws and all. Perhaps you were born with an easy going nature. Floors aren't too important in life (that, at least, is what I tell myself when mine needs a wash and I am disinclined.)

In the more difficult realms of emotion, however, it is supremely difficult to detach and takes much work and effort. It is a learning process and we all stumble a bit then. Detachment then is not a gift, it is earned and painfully, as I am sure Anon 10.17 would attest.

You are, of course, questioning whether anyone should ever 'detach'
Not your call. Who among us has the effrontery to prescibe how anyone else should conduct their private life? The other man's shoes etc--these hackneyed old saws come in useful at times.

RevRon's Rants said...

Actually, detachment (as in disengagement from a situation or set of circumstances) is a difficult process, while detachment (as a general attitude) doesn't involve struggle. It is actually the cessation of an internal struggle.

Anon, I've gotten to know Steve pretty well, and can assure you that his apparent glibness is not borne of anything resembling a dismissal or a denigration of the genuine efforts people make to improve their lives. He does, however, have little patience with folks who mouth the words, yet choose to avoid taking responsibility for their actions (and reactions to their circumstances). So don't take the discussion as a personal affront. There's really none there.

And most important, take the advice you get here (including Steve's, mine, or any other contributor) with more than a few grains of salt. Just as you have apparently misread the intent of the discussion, others will quite likely misread your responses, as well. In short, to quote Firesign Theater, "We're All Bozos on This Bus!"

RevRon's Rants said...

One more thing - keep in mind that, as on all forums, there will be some folks who just want to argue. The worst and most toxic get banned, but some of us annoying (but careful) ones are around forever... kinda like a zit that just never goes away. Ya' just gotta remember not to take us too seriously! :-)

Anyway... Welcome to the blog.

ellen said...

'If Beattie is telling that Mom to "set your kids free" in the sense of not worrying about them and giving them all the leash they need to get into as much trouble as they possibly can—because, after all, it's their life—that's absurd. It's a recipe for disaster'

Children grow up, mothers are emotionally attached to their children, there is often a battle between the mother and child over freedom. The mother hangs on for her own reasons, the child is determined to be free to start her own life, for her own reasons.
It doesn't have to be a disaster but often is. Given that the drive to find our own place in life is almost unstoppable, a bit of detachment on the part of the mother would not go amiss.

I left home at 16, too young maybe, but I see a trend for 30 year olds to be still at home and dependent today. That cannot be healthy for any concerned.

Akhetnu said...

Steve-

You got it right with the last part: the point of non-attachment in Buddhism (et al) is indeed to break selfish attachments, not to stop caring about others per se.

In fact, compassion is emphasized.

Now, some of it may apply to others: like not obsessing over a child's safety in the usual SHAM manner in order to let them learn from life, etc. But it is more of not personally identifying with your emotions rather than ceasing them altogether (which is impossible).

Anonymous said...

"I left home at 16, too young maybe, but I see a trend for 30 year olds to be still at home and dependent today. That cannot be healthy for any concerned."

That is a matter of opinion and circumstance. In the United States it is called economics. I cannot afford to support my disabled mother and have a family of my own in separate residences.

I am 38 and know of many people my age moving back home after finanical losses. It is not cheap living in the United States. It is expensive to pay for parents and children. My mother helps me with childcare and she is free.

I actually think my relationship with my mother has helped me tremendously. I cannot run away from conflict so easily. If she had not become disabled, I could have stayed bitter and angry without facing my feelings. She helped me find a good guy to marry. The guys not worth my time backed away from a woman who came with a responsiblity. My husband saw me as an ethical person.

I think by having a family responsiblity, I actually grew-up a lot. When I lived in Europe during my early 20's, living at home was natural and they were a lot more mature than their independent American counterparts!

ellen said...

Toe treading time.

Steve,
You make a point of saying that Beattie's work is aimed at primarily at women, I'm not sure that is true but women are definitely more readily inclined to define themselves as 'co-dependent'

If you are not too emotionally attached to your identification as a male, perhaps you see that the cultural experience of men and women is radically different.

Women are socialised, even today, to be more submissive, giving, nuturing etc, for very obvious reasons given the accepted role of women as primary care-givers. Cultural and peer pressure reinforces this. Men are socialised to be strong etc.(I'll let you fill in the rest)
These things are in constant flux, probably always were, but we notice it more today.

Often the role women are expected to take has very little relevance to their own wants and needs, or they may find that the 'womanly' qualities are not sufficient to deal with the real problems and difficulties that they encounter. Women are far more ready I think to try these new things, probably because of the history changing roles of women in society. Women have to come up with new strategies because the old ones no longer apply.
Men have not been under such pressure as yet.

My husband was a man who refused to contemplate any change at all, he was happy with the status quo and that was all that mattered.

Eventually I figured out that there were in fact two people in the marriage, not one and half persons--took me a while--and that if the one person wasn't going to change then the half a person who was miserable and lonely would have to do the work alone to sort her misery. Husband was not at all happy and we battled for a few years but the days of the wife committing suttee on the husbands pyre are long gone thankfully.

It would be nice if life was smooth ride for us but it ain't, and these dramas add interest, when viewed from a distance, hell to go through at the time, to what could be a very boring time here.

Steve Salerno said...

Women are socialized to be nurturing etc.? Is it possible, just possible, that women, by their biologic nature, are nurturing and such--and it's only in recent times that we've attempted to socialize them away from that natural heritage? (I'm not making a moral argument here; just throwing in a nod to anthropology.) I look at the gender divide in the animal kingdom, particularly among mammals, and though the males certainly share in the "domestic" duties among some species, the primary caregivers, if you will, are the females. In fact, as we know, in some species the males must be kept away from the young, lest they might, well, eat them. Just a thought.

I also think there are dangers in generalizing from our own experiences. It's something we all do, of course...I do it on SHAMblog. But if we're discussing things in a more formal manner, it's something we ought probably avoid. No?

Anonymous said...

"If you are not too emotionally attached to your identification as a male, perhaps you see that the cultural experience of men and women is radically different."

Ellen you should read more of Steve's posts, Steve understands he is male. He has done many posts about gender and culture.

Ellen, please speak for yourself and not all women. Maybe you see the world in this way, but I do not and you make a lot of blanket statements about women based on YOUR experience. YOUR experiences just might be clouding YOUR views. I am sure you can find women who agree with you, but we all can find similiar view points if we go looking.

I had never heard of Melodie Beattie until Steve. Heck, Steve keeps me informed of the self-help movement. From what I can tell, Beattie is just sprouting more circular babble.

Detachment to me is objectivitiy. I realize that other people have different experiences and views. I can get out of my own way to see those fews and understand they do not reflect on me.

Steve Salerno said...

Someone comes to my defense (Anon 4:20) and there I go sounding like a typical MCP, eh? But really, I'm just making observations and raising questions. I'm not trying to "chain women to traditional roles." But neither do I want to allow people to get by with easy rationalizations and possibly incorrect assumptions. I don't think any of us can know what a woman's "proper" role is (or a man's, for that matter); we're thinking beings and we can redefine our functions in life. But I do think we can get a pretty good idea of the groundwork laid by Mother Nature.

ellen said...

Steve,
As always, I think there are dangers to any generalisation, including yours of comparing human behaviour to animal behaviour. Animals nurture their young for a relatively short period, as soon as the kid can feed itself, it's on its own. Humans have a much longer dependent period, due to our more complex cultural environment and more complex education needs to fit into that environment. There is no rule written in stone that this should be exclusively womens work, it is also a cultural and social development rather than a genetic one. Cultural and social standard are mores developed over time to fit particular needs, they change constantly, so why such dogged resistance to these changes?

Anonymous said...

"But I do think we can get a pretty good idea of the groundwork laid by Mother Nature."

That kind of throws out your whole argument! If you look at a lot of human "mothers" today, they fail compared to the rest of the animal kingdom. As you have previously state via your wife, a lot of women have children as "hobbies." How nurturing is that? I know a lot of women who listened to their biological clocks to disasterous results. As a society, we pay for that in a lot of ways.

In my opinion, I think using the noodle between the ears is better than following whatever science is stating today. As you know, science changes rapidly. The only thing we do know as humans is our brains separate us from animals. I rather that difference be used for better judgement.

RevRon's Rants said...

"If you are not too emotionally attached to your identification as a male, perhaps you see that the cultural experience of men and women is radically different."

Eschew!! (as in condescension. See earlier blog post.)

"Men have not been under such pressure as yet."

Actually, men have been under their own kind of pressure for some time. While we never had to suffer through the agonies of childbirth or the inconvenience (and frequent discomfort) of breast-feeding, I can assure you that we have had to develop new strategies as gender roles have blurred.

anon 3:17 - I, too moved back to my mother's home when I was in my 30s. Her health rendered her unable to take care of the house by herself, so I converted her detached garage into a nice apartment, moved her into it, and moved myself & my kids into the house. I'd take care of the house & yardwork (and pay as many of the bills as I could without my very independent mom knowing), and cook everybody's meals when Mom didn't feel up to it (which was most of the time). Mom would drive the kids to school and pick them up, and go grocery shopping with me when she could.

It was a truly symbiotic relationship; I had someone to do the things that my work prevented me from doing, my mom was taken care of & felt safe in a neighborhood that was far from safe, and most important, she still felt - and was - useful, which was of paramount importance to her. Plus, we grew to be great friends, rather than "merely" mother and son.

My friends all knew of the arrangement, and none of them thought there was anything unusual about it, and certainly not "unhealthy." A couple even grew to be close friends with her, as well.

Obviously, each situation is unique, and I have no doubt that there are other situations where an adult child living with a parent aren't as mutually beneficial as was my own. But it is ultimately up to the individual situation, and I especially would find it difficult to judge another's circumstance without the benefit of intimate, first-hand knowledge of the entire situation.

ellen said...

Anon 4.40

'YOUR experiences just might be clouding YOUR views.'

Of course my experience informs my views Anon 4.40, who elses experience should I use--yours perhaps, or maybe Steve's?

And if we are going to be picky, whats with the clouding? My view is 'clouded' compared to whose clear eyed gaze exactly?- tell me please- I love learning new things.

I am sure also that Steve appreciates your leaping so swiftly to his defense, but is it just possible that there was no hidden nastiness in my comment, no underlying sub-text, no snide allusions and that those things reside in your interpretation?

Steve posed the question, at least respect him enough to allow him to answer it.

Steve Salerno said...

Not necessarily resisting. Just pointing out a few things, or maybe "bringing a few issues to the table." I do think that there is some possible relevance here to the "have it all" argument--and, yes, the issue of codependency. Today everybody wants to do what everybody wants to do, and acts as if nothing else matters, there are no precedents or protocols that even need to be considered, etc.

Look at it this way: If a man wants to go to work, and feels entitled to that, and a woman wants to go to work, and feels entitled to that...who raises the kids? They spend their entire youth in day-care? If everything can't be shared--and I don't think everything can be, barring wholesale changes in the way life is lived--then why is it so absurd to look to biology (and even the preferences/best interests of the child) as at least a guideline? That shouldn't even be a factor?

That's all I'm saying. I'm not saying "women belong in the kitchen" (and I don't personally believe that; if you saw the division of labor in my household, you would know that I handle many of the chores normally identified with domesticity). What tickles me, though, is when people argue (or seem to) that everything that has come before, right up to the moment of now, including all of the precedents set by biology, as well as cultural mores and normal expectations, should just be summarily thrown out the window as irrelevant. Why?

RevRon's Rants said...

"Cultural and social standard are mores developed over time to fit particular needs, they change constantly, so why such dogged resistance to these changes?"

I don't think it's Steve who's being resistant here, Ellen. And the dynamic nature of cultural standards and mores aside, one should also consider the *source* of those cultural standards. Women have been encouraged to be nurturing in virtually every culture for one reason: that was their genetic nature and early role. Even today, the most successful female executives are typically those who bring an uniquely "feminine" element to their management activities. There have been any number of studies done that virtually all pointed to the more "nurturing" approach of female managers, as opposed to the more domineering approach of the males (which, as it turns out, is also rooted in their genetic and early developmental makeup).

ellen said...

Many, many examples of female animals also eating their young in times of stress and hunger.

I think that if I continue to post here Steve, I will have to qualify every word and defend every comment--tedious in the extreme.

As a point of interest, and I would prefer that you answer rather than your loyal anons(gender neutral), why are your topics worded in such a generalised way as to provoke such virulent responses? Could this be deliberate on your part? (a direct question, no sub-text) It seems to me disingenuous on your part to generalise so blatantly in your topic and then to excoriate the respondees for both generalisation and personalisation--although granted, the last was from your (gender neutral)loyal anon.

ellen said...

Steve,

Your entire last (5.17) comment, with the exception of one personal sentence was a bunch of generalisations.

'people argue (or seem to) that everything that has come before, right up to the moment of now, including all of the precedents set by biology, as well as cultural mores and normal expectations, should just be summarily thrown out the window as irrelevant. Why?'

Who has argued this and shouldn't you be discussing the issue with that person?

Why do you throw this out as a gauntlet if it is your own issue?

Maybe you should try some detachment from your issue before you lure others in so that you may grind your axe.

I'm going to suggest that maybe you read some Melanie Beattie Steve, you might have some co-dependency issues yourself, hmmm?

While I'm in 'armchair oprah' mode, have you ever asked yourself why you have such a virulent aversion to self-help that you wrote a book about it? Perhaps you know, deep in your 'True Self' (religion neutral)that you want and need this help but, being a man(gender neutral) feel unable to seek that help?

No aspersions, just asking.

Anonymous said...

I've tried to keep my mouth shut but can't any longer. Forgive me for being so forward and possibly tactless, Steve, but can shambloggers start having discussions without the need for patronizing and moralizing at every opportunity?

What good does it do to say the following,
"Ellen, please speak for yourself and not all women. Maybe you see the world in this way, but I do not and you make a lot of blanket statements about women based on YOUR experience. YOUR experiences just might be clouding YOUR views."

Anon, it is obvious that Ellen is speaking for herself and expressing her own opinions. She is not speaking "for all women"--how can you even say that? She has not made "blanket statements" and she is not forcing you to agree with her. If you disagree, say so, but don't go into (so tiresome already) pontificating ("YOUR experiences only," etc.), lecturing her to read more of Steve's posts (as if you had the monopoly on the expertise here) and misrepresenting her views to underscore your point. Why can't you just say your piece without trying to lecture others at every turn? In your "defense," if one can call it that, you are not the only one doing it on the blog. This need to pontificate and to lecture and to underscore one's superiority at every turn (something the Anon does less of, but others excel in) is really souring any discussion and making one reconsider a desire to participate. I don't know Steve whether you even notice it and choose to ignore it, or you don't see it happening, or you just don't care what it does as long as people keep writing in, but this continuing childish behavior turns me, and I suspect at least several others, off to the blog. Enough already, for me.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to SHAMblog, Ellen.

ellen said...

What a tag team you and Revron make Steve,

Splinters out of your own eyes I think (to be biblical).



An observation

Steve Salerno said...

Ellen...with all due respect...this is my blog. OK? I choose to use it to raise controversial issues, and often in controversial ways. If you haven't noticed, often in the post itself I will raise an issue in an inquiring mode, and then in the comments section I provide more of my personal feelings (though, yes, I recognize that my notion of objective/inquiring may be tainted by the personal aspect, but I try to do the best I can). I also recognize a major dichotomy between my personal feelings and my rational notion of "how things really are." As I've said before, I am sure there is a God--and I am also sure I'm wrong. And no, I don't think I'm insane.

If somebody tomorrow said the sky is blue, I would probably look for a counterargument, just because I believe that devil's advocacy is probably the best mind-frame in which to approach life.

This is a blog that--for the most part--attacks (or at least explores and often explodes) the Givens. If you came here to pontificate, and not to be challenged, and it annoys you that people throw arguments back at you, then what can I tell you? Nobody forces you to comment. I'm not saying that you're unwelcome! Not at all! I'm just saying, why do you appear to have such a short fuse about the contentious manner that you routinely bestow upon others? (Including me.)

For the record, my "virulent aversion" to self-help was far more of an effect, than a cause. (And once again, I can understand your interest in "hypothesizing," but if you knew me at all you would know how laughable it is to apply male stereotypes to me. I stop and ask directions--right away. I cry at weddings, funerals ballgames, and pizza deliveries. And on and on... Point being, if I need help with something, I try to find it.)

I saw the money being made, hand over fist, in the self-help world. (I worked for a while in a large self-improvement setting, and learned many things, most of which made me cynical.) I didn't see any proof of results. And much of the material struck me as being (a) unfounded and/or (b) downright fraudulent. I am going to repeat here what I have said several times on this blog: The burden of proof is always on the person making the claim. If you tell me that by eating your pasta I can make myself immune to cancer, it is not MY job to disprove that; it is your job to prove it. That is the way the scientific method works. And that is the spirit of inquiry I try to observe. I don't always succeed. But I try.

Steve Salerno said...

Oh, and as to my tag-teaming with the Rev (a comment I hadn't yet read when I wrote my way-too-long comment above), clearly you weren't here on those occasions when the Rev and I went at each other with a fair degree of intensity--and there were a number of them.

Your assumption seems to be that no two people could independently disagree with you unless they're clones of each other or involved in a conspiracy of some sort. Do you not see the hubris there?

RevRon's Rants said...

"Maybe you should try some detachment from your issue before you lure others in so that you may grind your axe."

Ironically, this is exactly the thought that has been crossing my mind as I read many of your comments, Ellen. This isn't a class, where everyone has assembled to be lectured by a teacher, yet you seem to have the need to assume that position. Disagreement with you, or perceiving and understanding something in a way different from your own is not a sign of lack of sophistication, disingenuous behavior, resistance to change, or whatever other intellectual or personality flaws you might conjure.

Neither is anyone here for psychiatric evaluation and/or therapy. Your repeated implication that others' ideas must be the product of some pathology is not only condescending (which you *had* promised to eschew), it would be unprofessional if you were actually qualified to make such diagnoses. Even Freud became something of a laughing stock for assigning a diagnosis to Miss Lucy when he had never even met her.

I apologize if my bluntness hurts your feelings, as that is not my intent. I merely want to avoid the kind of domineering exchanges that ultimately soured a couple of threads in the past.

Elizabeth said...

An aside observation: For all it's worth, Steve, I don't think Ellen is the one doing the pontificating here. She disagreed with you and presented a different opinion, an opinion which was then discounted and for which she was subjected to a usual dose of moralizing, lecturing and, yes, belittling, from the usual suspects. I don't know what else to say, but this has become a predictable pattern on SHAMblog and one that I find not conducive to a healthy exchange of ideas. Of course it is your blog, as you so rightly noted, and you set the tone. Your blog, your rules.

So, Ellen, it's really "take it or leave it" for those of us who may have doubts about participating, given the tone and predictable patterns of these exchanges.

Anonymous said...

Ellen, for what it's worth in my experience I think Steve almost always makes an effort to reach out in understanding. Can you look inside yourself and honestly say the same?

Jeanette said...

I am a wife and mother, I read this blog, I enjoy the open spirit of discussion. This is the first time I ever posted, because I am furious! My husband and I have been following the discussion here, what gets me is, for years women have been openly discussing men in the ugliest terms. Pigs, dogs, etc. Remember the jokes said openly about castrating men after Lorina Bobbitt or whatever her name was? Almost every TV ad with a husband and a wife makes fun of the man and makes the woman about to be a saint and a brain surgeon rolled in one. The sitcoms are the same. But on this blog we can't even have POLITE questions about a woman's role without everybody going berserk and pointing fingers? Get over yourselves people, this isn't Congress. In fact I wish it were right about now! One last thing, please don't say you're a woman so you therefore represent me and my views. You represent yourselves and that's all.

RevRon's Rants said...

"What a tag team you and Revron make Steve,"

Just wanted to say thank you for that one, Ellen. It's been a long time since anything made me laugh hard enough to make me spray my coffee out my nose! Guess me & my alter-ego are finally busted. :-)

Now... lessee about getting all those splinters... :-)

Mary Anne 13 said...

Ellen, I don't always agree with Steve. I think sometimes he is illogical, but in the same token, it is his blog. He can say he believes in Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster. So what?

I don't buy that females are more nurturing. I think that is BS. The best nurturing I ever got was from males. They were teachers, employers, mentors, professors, and the list goes on. All I ever got from women was anger and passive-aggressive behavior. My grandmother was the exception, but she died when I was 16. I was raised in a matriarchal home. It was not Shangri la. My mother fully admits she should not have had children. Too late for that now though, we are here. I do understand that these are my experiences though and try my best to convey that. Sweeping generalizations stifle dialogue in my view.

I had a bad first marriage, because I was stupid and ignorant. I don’t put that on being a woman or my first husband. We were both dense and had hormones raging. Maybe if I had read Beattie instead of Plato, I could have thrown that in my ex's face? My life of missed opportunities.

As far as women buying self-help books, women buy more books period. They also are the largest consumers of fiction and literature. Thank God for that, because I write fiction.

Women by and large are becoming more educated. Women are also overtaking men in colleges. My undergrad was a small liberal arts college and the ratio was three females to every one male. On the graduate level, I had about five men in my masters program. It may have been due to the fact it was English, but I don’t think so.

I agree with Steve about playing Devil’s Advocate. I have horns and a tail to prove it.

ellen said...

Steve, Revron,

I really don't object to your taking a pop at me, I don't object to a tough and dirty debate--if there was a purpose to it, if it advanced in some way.

But there is a very predictable pattern here, Elizabeth seems to verify that, where this is just an excuse to attack, through deliberate misreading and other common fallacies of logic and rhetoric--at anyone fool enough to extend an opinion.

I think you're right Elizabeth, and I'll leave it.

Thanks for the entertainment guys, I'd like to say education but that would be a misnomer.

roger o'keefe said...

Hmm. When did all this happen?

I must say that I sometimes feel there is a bullying mentality that evolves during the natural ebb and flow of comments here. To be fair about it, I'm not sure that's something that you could ever hope to eradicate in a forum where, as Steve notes you're considering very controversial ideas, and encouraging people to push the envelope. (Isn't that what you mean, Steve, by questioning the givens?) So yes, I can see where some people would feel slighted or abused, but I can also see where almost *anyone* is going to feel that way in any given debate. In other words I wouldn't imagine it's the same person all the time, unless the person himself or herself is "out there". All in all I have to feel it's a worthwhile forum. Much as part of me hates kissing up to Steve, there's not much like it I find elsewhere to be honest.

Mary Anne 13 said...

"I think you're right Elizabeth, and I'll leave it."

Oh, I get it. If we don't agree with you and Elizabeth, we are "attacking." Well, now you and Elizabeth can tell each other how smart you two are and how ignorant anyone who doesn't agree with you is. I think Crack follows that line of reasoning too.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Your entire last (5.17) comment, with the exception of one personal sentence was a bunch of generalisations.

Who has argued this and shouldn't you be discussing the issue with that person?

Why do you throw this out as a gauntlet if it is your own issue?

Maybe you should try some detachment from your issue before you lure others in so that you may grind your axe.

I'm going to suggest that maybe you read some Melanie Beattie Steve, you might have some co-dependency issues yourself, hmmm?

Perhaps you know, deep in your 'True Self' (religion neutral)that you want and need this help but, being a man(gender neutral) feel unable to seek that help?"

Gee, Ellen... Sorry if I intentionally misread the intent and/or meaning of your comments. I'm certain now that you never intended to sound dismissive of anyone else's opinion by doing something as condescending as ascribing some underlying pathology to it. Mea culpa. :-)

Elizabeth said...

Ellen, I did not mean to say that you should leave -- I hope you know that (I think you do). But I completely understand why you'd choose to do so -- if indeed you do. I would urge you to reconsider, but of course you'll do what is right for you -- and I perfectly understand that.

As I said several times already, I have greatly enjoyed your contributions and would look forward to more (here or elsewhere, should I have that luck).

Anonymous said...

I've tried to keep my mouth closed but can't any longer. Forgive me being so forward and possibly tactless, Steve, but can shambloggers start having discussions without the need for patronizing and moralizing at every opportunity?

What good does it do to say the following,
"Ellen, please speak for yourself and not all women. Maybe you see the world in this way, but I do not and you make a lot of blanket statements about women based on YOUR experience. YOUR experiences just might be clouding YOUR views."

Anon, it is obvious that Ellen is speaking for herself and expressing her own opinions. She has not made "blanket statements." She is not forcing you to agree with her. If you disagree, say so, but don't go into (so tiresome already) pontificating (YOUR experiences only, etc.), lecturing her to read more of Steve's posts (as if you had the monopoly on the expertise here) and misrepresenting her views to underscore your point. Why can't you just say your piece without trying to lecture others at every turn?

I'm a long-term shamblogger, but this continuing childish behavior turns me off to the blog. Enough already.

Anonymous said...

For the life of me I can't figure why this happens so often here. Don't you people have jobs where compromise or at least respecting an adversarial position are required in order to remain employed? I have to say, if this happened in the office as often as it happens here, most of you would be fired before long. You know the old saying, "God gave you two ears and one mouth and you should use them in that ratio." A little more listening instead of just waiting your turn to pounce again would be a valuable asset here!

Anonymous said...

"For the life of me I can't figure why this happens so often here."

I have pondered this myself. I think due to Steve's heavy traffic, a lot of posters like the attention. It becomes a matter of pride to score over another as if everyone is on stage.

I did an informal study looking at the bloggers who blog on this site (why I post mostly as an anon now) and they get more traffic by posting on Steve's blog.

It has to be the best in show.

RevRon's Rants said...

anonymous 9:15 - I know what you mean. For the life of me, I can't figure out why people come into a public forum of their own accord, and then start analyzing people they don't know, accusing them of having all sorts of pathologies, and then acting put upon when folks don't take kindly to it. And what about people who walk into the same place and start lecturing people on how they should be holding their discussions? It would be interesting to see someone walk into a club and start up with the same kind of unasked-for criticism. Oh wait... I've seen just that happen in clubs, years ago. Wasn't pretty, as I recall. but it's a lot safer when you're not really here and nobody knows who you are, isn't it? :-)

Me, I've got no job. Sit here on my computer all day, blogging and blogging and waiting for the gummint check to come. Sure hope it isn't late this month. I'm almost out of beer.:-)

Margaret said...

Hi it's me again.

Now I am working on mu daughter. She is 16 years old in the 11 grade and a working girl at the big mall and having a ball!

I allow her to take the train in daylight but never at night. I smuggled a pepper spray into Australia so my girl can take it with her wherever she goes. Pepper spary is illegal here. Girls traveling alone have no chance!

But anyway, I protect my child at the risk of being found out by Australian security and stripped of my silly pepper spray.

When you live in the USA, don't take it for granted. Look back in the history of it, and revel in the rich intellect of our forefathers. Our curent legislatures may not be all that grand...but remember one hundred years is like a sneeze! when compared to the big scheme of things. Many great men and women may enter the realm of politics. Let's hope so!

Love the USA - it is the best we've got right now.

Steve Salerno said...

And I hope I don't offend other devoted SHAMbloggers by saying this, but...whoever the moron is who keeps trying to send through those oh-so-clever little epigrams and presumably witty putdowns of everyone else...stop wasting your time, OK? They're not going to get through to the blog. Go work out your neuroses elsewhere.

Elizabeth said...

I've tried to let it go, but the matter is just too serious and perplexes me to no end.

Steve, you cry at pizza deliveries...?!



(For the record, the verif word here is lafmho. Fate, I tells ya.)

Steve Salerno said...

Only if they forget the extra cheese.

OK, that was hyperbole. But you get the point. I am, shall we say, a sensitive soul.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:33, most of the SHAMblog regulars do not have active blogs of their own. And some of the worst offenders, like the moralizing Anon who likes to underscore that "X should speak for herself and not other women/me" and perform the on-going duties of the SHAMblog moral police at every turn, prefer to attack others from their anonymous positions or assume false identities, on this thread as well, for the purpose of scoring another "victory" over someone they don't like. It must be fun.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 9:33, most of the SHAMblog regulars do not have active blogs of their own."

Well, there is Cosmic Connie, Rev, Myfriend Ben, Steve Sashen, Crack MC, Janine, Alyssa, PR Guy, and the one who was into zoology. I know I am missing a few.


"And some of the worst offenders, like the moralizing Anon who likes to underscore that 'X should speak for herself and not other women/me'"

That was Ellen and she did all the time. I was not the only who was tired of being grouped under a generalization. I am not all anons or posters.

"and perform the on-going duties of the SHAMblog moral police at every turn, prefer to attack others from their anonymous positions"

As you have done anon 11:36? Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? As far as being "moral police," the policing is done by Steve this is blog. I do answer and ask questions. It is up to Steve whether or not they get posted.

"or assume false identities"
So Voltare and Dimension Skipper are real names? False identities are pretty common on the Internet. Some people can lose their jobs for what they blog.

"for the purpose of scoring another 'victory' over someone they don't like. It must be fun."

Like? I do not even know anyone on this blog to take such a personal interest in them. I will ask questions and blog my thoughts. I will answer questions when they are posed to me, as yours was. Steve, from what I can tell, likes a good debate. In a good debate, you pay attention to the other party and can use what the other party has said to craft your response. Is it fun? Yes, because I love a good debate and exchange of thoughts. Thank you for showing so much interest in me anon 11:36. It is always nice to have a fan.