Archive for category Men

Defending Narcissism and Offending Laxatives

In my divorce experience, I have observed friends’ and acquaintances’ divorces in order to get some perspective on my own situation. The most amazing scene played out in the middle of all of this: certain spouses convinced each other that their soon-to-be ex’s all were narcissists. More often than not, these spouses were also what I’m going to call Laxative Spouses (a close relative to Laxative Coworkers).

I’ll start off saying this: Yes, it’s narcissistic to blog about myself. But you all are reading it, so it can’t be all bad. Also, you all are bloggers, and probably write about yourselves and your points of view too. So we’ll all be happy little narcissists together, shan’t we?

It started with an email my ex sent to my new bride’s ex when they had teamed up to oppose us and support each other. They were saying that my new bride and I are narcissists and left them feeling spent. Never mind that my new bride and I spent our first marriages eternally propping up our spouses, making them better than they would have been otherwise. Then, I found out that the ex of a dear friend of mine (whose wife left him) was sending a very similar email around to any mutual friends in order to get people to “side with her.” So I’ve uncovered a clubby little conspiracy…

The members of this little group pass around links to unscientific websites (here is one example). These websites are poorly written, and fling about this accusation describing what could really be anyone when you look at them through ugly lenses. In this case, my friend’s wife (from last paragraph) had done the leaving, and since we were all from a tight little group of Mormons from college, she felt the need to tell anyone who’d listen that my friend is a pill-popping narcissist (as my bride says: “Aren’t they all?”).

My bride brings up one other brilliant point: Let’s just assume we are narcissists for a moment. For the exes who sit there pining over the departing spouse, or the exes who are otherwise angry at being left, and yet still bandy about the N word, aren’t they in fact better off? If we have a disorder that makes us bad people, shouldn’t they feel lucky to be out of a bad situation?

The basic claim is that if you have an ex (or a spouse you wish was an ex) who is a narcissist, they have this “disorder” so it’s really not your fault. You tried to relate to them, to comfort them and be a romantic partner, and they rejected you out of fear. You were so darn wonderful, they were afraid you might get to close and instead turned about and hurt you mentally and/or physically.

Now here’s my point: Narcissism is an indefensible claim. When my parents got divorced, my mom called my dad a control freak – same/same. And I have a philosophy about who throws around indefensible claims mid- and post-divorce. On a political side-note, I am a card-carrying Republican. However, 2 years ago the theme across all of the talk-radio airwaves was that President Obama is a narcissist. It has never sat right with me – again, because it is indefensible. If it is a disorder, I’ll believe it when the President walks out of a psychiatrist’s office with a diagnosis. As my bride would say: diagnonsense!

In every breakup (other than the movie-divorces where the spouses are each other’s best friend and other such unhealthy scenarios), there is one spouse (we’ll call them Spouse 1) who wholeheartedly admits, “It looked like it would be a good marriage, but over the months and years I made some mistakes, he/she made mistakes, and things got away from us.” What I’m seeing is that the other spouse (Spouse 2) blames Spouse 1 for everything. It doesn’t seem to be tied at all to which spouse left whom. It just seems to be a general character flaw.

The really insidious thing? When Spouse 1 admits they made some mistakes, Spouse 2 leaps on that moment as an opportunity to prove how right, innocent and mentally abused Spouse 1 made them. By being the more mature adult, Spouse 1 gets an extra helping of blame. But here’s the funny part: isn’t it the ultimate narcissistic move for a Spouse 2 to say everything bad in the marriage came from the other spouse? Odd, isn’t it, that they would have been the perfect husband/wife? Just sayin’!

How this all ties into Laxative Spouses
When one spouse leaves another, it’s because they’re unhappy. I talked to a divorced exec the other day who says, “No happy marriage results in divorce” – truer words were never spoken!

In my case, and my new bride’s, we were married to Laxative Spouses. It’s like this: A complaint about laxatives is that the more you use them, the more you have to use them. What happens is, when you use laxatives, your digestive tract stops pushing so hard on its own to get food through you, and lets the laxatives do their work. Regular laxative use can result in almost a permanent need for laxatives.

I felt like a laxative. The more I did, the more I made my ex feel good about herself and the more I did around the house, the less she felt she needed to do. Period. I knew that when my bishop told me the way to fix my marriage was to hold her hand at night and pray vocally, including 5 things I liked about her, what the result would be. And I was right. The result was that she would be so happy that I just liked/loved her for who she was, that she could try even less in our relationship. That’s just what Laxative Spouses do. If your Laxative Spouse has gained a ton of weight, you probably have too much decency to tell them they’re getting extraordinarily fat. If you try to make them feel comfortable, or beautiful, or whatever motivates them, a Laxative Spouse will eat even more and exercise even less because they’re so clam-happy. You made them happy, by accepting them for who they are! It’s really a catch-22: You can’t tell them they’re miserable, or fat, or lazy, or whatever their flaw is that’s driving you insane; if you pretend the problem doesn’t exist, they get clam-happy.

They’re just like Laxative Coworkers (and for the record, my ex is not one of these). Laxative Coworkers let you help them when they struggle, and then realize how much work they didn’t have to do while you were doing it for them. My bride had that problem at a grocery store – a coworker in the deli wasn’t very fast/efficient at skewering chickens for the rotisserie. After my bride helped her, my bride ended up always being tasked with skewering. This is how Laxative Coworkers work – they always say via their actions: “You’d save so much time just helping them do the stuff they don’t want to!” All you ever get from helping a Laxative Coworker, is more work.

Laxative Spouses (and likely Laxative Coworkers) peaked at a certain age and stuck there. They want the rest of their lives to be level and predictable. They don’t want change, and they don’t want anything new. I was telling my bride tonight that I love her because she is constantly evolving. She does everything she tries magnificently, and has so many neat ways to do things that I have learned a ton from her over the past year. But she is always looking for ways to do better, to do things better, to live better. It’s this sort of refusal to rest on her laurels, that I love about her. It’s this sort of person that I want to have around me.

For the record, I’m not afraid to open up. My bride knows everything about me, even things I was always too embarrassed to tell any friend, any relative, and my ex-spouse. I wanted to make sure I was a completely open book for my bride, so that nothing would ever be too touchy to share. I advise anyone getting married, whether a RM 1st marriage, or an Elizabeth Taylor 7th marriage, to take this painful step. You are the culmination of your best and worst choices – if they can’t love you for everything you are, then find someone who can. Then you can be as happy as I will forever be.

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Fashionable Apostasy

What’s the trendiest way to obscure your quickly dissolving faith? Allying yourself with:

Homosexuality

It’s so very powerful. You claim you used to love the Church (or any other Christian sect that hasn’t diluted itself with abandon) but you no longer can stand by a faith that hates homosexuals.

Defending the Church
Let’s step back a moment. First, in defense of the Church.

We don’t stand against homosexuality out of hate. When we have rules in the Church, they’re steadfast. The rules say things like “Never give up on a loved one,” and “Moderate your response to the news of your loved one’s homosexual struggles,” and “Do not encourage him or her to marry as a “cure” for homosexuality.” These aren’t the words of a community mobilizing with militaristic hatred.

An easy fact: you can’t hate people into changing. So if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, then you won’t make any headway by ostracizing and/or mocking them. We are to embrace the homosexuals we know, and encourage them to strengthen their relationship with God and their faith in the Gospel. We happen to believe something like this: if they strengthen their faith, if they submit themselves to Christ, they probably won’t continue living an active homosexual life.

We stand against gay marriage because marriage is reserved for a man and a woman, with the ideal that the union produce children. Among other reasons, there are wonderfully utilitarian uses for encouraging procreation:

  • The major cultures who hate us around the world are very happy to breed themselves into little population explosions, and don’t think they’ll refrain from using the excess people to kill us one day.
  • Our quickly bloating welfare state (and the already bloated welfare states elsewhere in the West) needs a new generation to work for 40 years to pay for 30+ years of free money to all the old folks.
  • It’s a lot easier to manufacture new Mormons (or other religion) than to convert some (and some religions you can’t convert to, like Orthodox Judaism)


The Apostates
I will give a concrete example from someone I have known – a woman I’m vaguely related to. The first time I met her and her husband, they were leaders in their Ward (their Church community); in fact, he was the 1st Counselor in his Ward’s bishopric. They had everything Church-wise going for them, and they were graduating from college. They have 3 kids. They have owned a home or two. The world should be their oyster.

Then he had trouble finding the right job. Then he decided maybe he wanted to go to grad school. She supported them financially. Then she got a new job, surrounded by successful homosexuals. She hung out with them a lot.

At this point, the husband started to drink (a big no-no for us) heavy liquor to diffuse the stress from his grad school. The woman was shocked and appalled. Soon, this woman and her husband started to one-up each other in destroying their relationship.

She went drinking with her homosexual coworkers frequently. She would pass out at their homes and sleep in their beds.

Quick aside: The dirty stories in dirty magazines are full of men who are otherwise straight who stray gay for a night. Can’t a gay man stray straight? Should a lonely housewife really be sleeping in a gay man’s bed?

Back to my story. The husband “fell in love” with a girl at school and told his wife, plus an aside that he didn’t plan to do anything about it. She wondered whether she should get into swinging to make him happy. Yes, that’s the order of it.

She then reconnected with a high school boyfriend and would leave the State to watch his sporting events. Then this woman, the high school boyfriend and his own wife, and this woman’s husband started going to strip clubs in Vegas. (This woman AND her husband each had to drink themselves into oblivion the first time they went to the strip club in order to feel comfortable being there/drown out the Holy Ghost.)

Lesson: If you have to take any drastic measures to drown out the Holy Ghost, just stop.

The woman soon announced she wanted no more children, but if her husband wanted one, then he could feel free to sleep with the high school boyfriend’s wife and make one. In my mind, she was trying to find justification to sleep with that old boyfriend.

So after all this spiritual and mental deterioration, this woman’s only regular friendships were the old high school boyfriend and the circle of homosexuals from work. And after all this deterioration, she decided she cannot support a Church that hates people who are so nice as homosexuals are.

First of all, some of her own gay friends say they don’t want gay marriage. So are these gays discriminating against their own kind?

Second of all, she leaves this whole story of her deterioration out of her reasoning for falling away from the Church.

I met another woman who has fallen away from the Church based on our stance on homosexual marriage as well. She hadn’t attended church regularly in years.

Analysis
There are a couple levels to these people’s apostasy

  • The hypocrite within: They know they’re not living their lives in accordance with our standards/rules. They don’t want to get punished and go through the repentance process. Look how easy it is to support the wrong side in this social controversy.
  • The WASP Ridiculousness/Stuff White People Like: It’s so cool to have gay friends. You’re in that circle, and the best way to keep ahead of the curve is to be a zealot for their societal issues.
  • The Morally Obtuse: You’ve depleted your “spiritual bank account” and now you need a way to obfuscate the call of the Holy Spirit to come back. Best to drown it out with a contrived emotion like zealotry. In a way, the social issue fills the void that your religion once did. Something has to fill that bank account, so why not counterfeit spiritual dollars?

I’d say that people who sacrifice the religion they once loved for a social issue like homosexual marriage have all three of these levels somewhat equally.

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A Man’s Millstone

Whenever anything in the media, whether it’s a news channel or something in pop culture, talks about a woman’s mind, it lovingly describes the multitasking going on in a woman’s mind. She has to think about her job, her home, her children (if she has any), her significant other, her appearance, etc. These same channels portray the man’s mind as being simpler. It is and it isn’t.

What consumes a man’s mind? 100 levels of:

Worry

Let me start off by saying I’m a reasonable guy, reasonably intelligent, and rather well put-together; that is to say, I have no psychosis. I know enough, asking my friends and sometimes (when the circumstances are right) simple acquaintances, to know I’m not wrong when it comes to these topics.

We never fully quash a worry, sometimes not even silly worries from our childhood. We keep little worries tucked away in hidden crevices within our minds, and they stack up on each other. Have you heard the one about women needing financial security to feel comfortable, and men needing security at home/emotional security? That’s because it helps the worries drop down to a din from a roar.

Here are some worries I know about, or I experience. If I know about them, my acquaintances hold onto them at all times. If I experience them, I’ve had them for some time and I feel them at some level right now:

Car accidents
Deaths in our family
Having our credit card get declined at the grocery store
Our business might not make enough money to feed the family
We might lose our job
Might have to fire someone
Spouse might leave us
Spouse might stop loving us
Children might not do well in school…college…life…marriage
Someone might break into our home
Might get sick
Might get really sick
Might die and not leave enough to support our families
Might not get enough sex
Might be seen as a bad lover
Might get caught doing ______ (fill in the blank)
Might be seen as ugly
Might get fat
_____ might break down (car? computer? Dishwasher?)

I have a recurring dream that I haven’t finished high school. Sometimes it’s college. Sometimes it’s grad school. Sometimes it’s my military stint. Really believable dreams. The military ones now, I go to the right office and complain that why did I get pulled back into the military as an enlisted person when I have all these degrees?

These are worries that sit in every man’s soul. We may not think shallowly about 100 topics during the day, but we have 100 levels of one big topic. Absorb that before you judge a man so poorly against the equivalent woman.

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