Well, this is a surprise!
Last night, while watching a reality show that literally made me twitch, I posted a social media comment about my personal (and rather physical) reaction to one of the participant’s behavior toward another on the show. The victim (IMHO) on the other end of this guy’s tirade was a woman that he was supposed to be in a relationship with. His manipulation and emotional abuse of her literally made my gut wrench. I couldn’t hold back (and yes…I probably got what I deserved).
For those of you who know me even a little bit, you know that I have had my share of manipulative, abusive, condescending, fraudulent, nasty relationships — all toxic (and that’s putting it mildly). Like me, anyone who has been on the other end of that kind of toxicity can smell a skunk a mile a way … even through the TV.
The result of my post was a snarky comment from the reality show personality himself (shocking because I didn’t tag the guy and didn’t expect a response — I was venting my own reaction to his irritating behavior on national TV). I explained my intent was not ill toward him and even wished him well … I just couldn’t take his whining! His response: to block me.
Okay then …
This whole thing has made me reflect on relationships — my own bad ones, as well as those I write about. It’s interesting that the heroine in my series (The Deja vu Chronicles) is constantly confronting foul male relationships. I wonder now if that’s a reflection of a subconscious disquiet about my past. Perhaps. Even more interesting is the fact that Kathryn’s final, gargantuan nemesis is female — okay the Celtic goddess of death. What does that represent, I wonder?
Whichever way one looks at it, the drama that comes with rotten relationships feels like an uphill battle — perhaps one fought without a cutlass the way Kathryn fought her first against Archer. The trick is to recognize the attacker’s strategy. In the reality show, the toxic male attacked with an arsenal of tools that included: accusations, name-calling, talking over her, addressing the TV (and not her), manipulation, and WHINING (aka: victimization). I know these tools well because they’ve been used against me before.
With the challenge that even good
I guess ultimately, we all have a choice to pick up a sword and fight back, ignore the conflict, become a real-like victim (in our own minds), or just leave the situation. I chose to leave…a few times. I’m glad I did. My dignity was spared a little less damage, my inner strength was tempered akin to steel, and my peace was restored. These are things that stay personal and seem to be a different kind of arsenal in the battle of bad relationships. The Aikido approach to conflict seems to fit me well, the way an onyx dirk and cutlass fits Kathryn.
Of course, you can always take the reality TV personality’s approach and just block everyone.
Happy reading (and happy relationships)!