I was visiting my Mom the other weekend, and I was talking to her in the driveway. We were talking about my sister’s Depression, as that’s one of the most important issues in her life. I said to my mother that it was spring and she seemed to be getting better than she was in the winter. She was getting more activated as opposed to the winter when she slows down. The one thing is that when she is deeply depressed, she is so slowed down that she is pretty damn nice. As she gets more activated, she gets more difficult, but maybe we are all like that. Anyway, she heard us and she exploded and screamed, “I can hear you!”
First of all, this is stupid because we were talking about how she is getting better. So were saying positive things about her. But we were discussing one of her hundreds of banned subjects. She enforces these bans with the emotional terrorism of throwing a temper tantrum if you discuss any of them. Because the fact that she was getting better means that earlier in the winter she was worse, otherwise meaning she was in bad shape.
Even though she was in bad shape, this is something that can never be noted because it insults her and she has a brittle and frail defensive system that reacts and blows up with the tiniest slight. Also we were discussing her Depression, even though she has had it and been on disability for it her whole life, and it’s the main theme of her life. Nevertheless, it can never be discussed because she’s too babyish and insecure to handle it.
Look. Don’t do this, ok?
If you ever hear people talking about you behind your back and saying things that might not be too pleasant to listen to, don’t burst onto the scene throwing a tantrum saying how you just heard them talking crap about you. People have been talking about me behind my back my whole life and saying things that are not pleasant to listen to. I never once burst onto the scene like a gigantic baby screaming how I just heard them talking about me behind your back.
As difficult as it sounds, just listen to them. They are often saying important things about you. The sad truth about my life and probably all of yours too is that every time I heard people talking shit about me like this, they almost always were making some pretty legitimate criticisms about me, as painful as they were too listen. And this stuff can be wrenchingly painful to listen to. You are tempted to burst onto the scene and tell them to shut up, but grownups don’t do that.
Listen to what they are saying. See if you can improve the areas they are complaining about. It might be stuff that’s bothering you, too. And they are probably talking about some real faults of yours. The crap they are saying about you is probably straight up true, as brutal as it is to listen to it. You may be able to change it or you may not be, but at least realize that this is probably how you are coming across to others. The opinions of the people talking crap about you, whether they are valid or not, are probably shared by most other people too. You are being shown a window into how you are coming across to other people. If you’re not coming across well, you will find out why.
If you can change it and want to, try to change it. If you can’t, just realize that this is how you come across. Sometimes after they were done talking about me, I brought up some particularly shitty and frankly untrue things that people were saying about me. And I did angrily challenge one of them about it later in private. You are free to do this if the complaint about you isn’t really true. They get taken aback.
Later I heard my parents talking, and my Mom said, “Shhhhh. He can hear you. He listens in on these conversations.” Damn right I do. Whenever you hear people talking crap about you, always listen in to the whole brutal session. Never burst onto the scene. Consider it an important life lesson that there are certain things you really ought to change because you’re turning off other people. If what they are saying is unfair, don’t burst onto the scene like a baby but instead maybe confront one of them in private later on. They will be angry that you were listening in, but so what. Everyone has a right to listen in when others are talking shit about them, and frankly, you’re stupid if you don’t listen in.