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I don’t get it. I don’t get self...

Posted Sep 29 2008 10:44pm

I don’t get it. I don’t get self-help. Why don’t all you people just get your $h!t together and stop all the whining and handholding. Its ridiculous!!! Blogs like yours make me sick. Suck it losers!

Ah, a fan letter. How sweet. :)

The actual letter was longer and full of much more profane language (and several misspelled words) but I will spare you the full monty.

I don’t typically explain myself to people like this. When I ride, I have a Harley tee shirt that says, “If I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand anyway” and “self-help” is something along those lines. Al-anon teaches about detaching from those who don’t get it and a long time ago I learned that it’s not up to me to make people like this “get it.” Because if I talk until I’m BLUE in the face, they won’t get it. So why waste the energy on it? But here it is anyway:

I had an aunt who was a serial wedder. She wouldn’t sleep with a man unless she married him so she was married 8 times. Her second marriage lasted longest. He was a well-to-do Southern gentleman who was quite a few years her senior. He helped raise her daughter and opened up a beauty shop for her. They had a maid and an in-ground pool and though she was born and raised in New York City, she became a Southern belle (full drawl and all, y’all).

When he died he left her his entire estate which was a lot. And because she was codependent and addicted to men and had issues she never dealt with, she also had, as most of us who are similarly described do, a broken chooser. Except for husband number 2, she was TERRIBLE, just terrible, at picking men.

So over the course of the next 20-30 years, she lost her fortune, met man after man who was either no good or an abuser or both. She grew increasingly crazy and addicted to drugs in her 70s. She stole my dying mother’s morphine when she was up here for a visit to her dying sister. We all knew she stole it, but like all addicts, denied it when confronted. So we just all let it go. What else could we do? She was a mess; my mother was dying. How much intervention were we capable of? None, really.

A few years later she was found dead in the car she had been sleeping in because she was homeless, beaten to death by the latest boyfriend. She was 77 years old.

12 Step programs have an appropriate saying that sums up my reaction to that news: But for the grace of God, go I.

And it’s true. If I ever thought (and believe me, I did), that I would just “grow out of” the nuttiness and the attraction to abusive, crazy men, my aunt’s unattractive demise (which would have horrified her at the peak of her Southern belle of the ball days) told me that it doesn’t necessarily happen. You don’t outgrow your issues. Some people don’t get it and won’t get it. Others don’t receive the gift of desperation. Some people want to turn it around but don’t know how.

For me, I knew my life was garbage when my first marriage ended. I was in physical, emotional and mental pain and I knew that things should have been and could have been better than they were. They were downright horrible.

I say that I clawed my way back, but I didn’t know how to do that without the help of a lot of great people: a therapist, a 12-step sponsor (or 2 or 3), friends, support groups, retreats, conferences, seminars and, yes, lots and lots of SELF-HELP books and articles.

I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

I had to be taught every step of the way.

I didn’t know how to just get my $h!t together. I really didn’t know. I had to be taught. I had to take baby steps and I had to learn how to be healthy and how to have boundaries and how to make a life.

I wish I could have gotten out of bed some random morning and just “gotten it” but I wasn’t raised to get it and my life and my pain wasn’t going to just become “normal” by wishing it to be so.

I had to do a lot of work and I had to go to places where healing happened. I had to listen to people who had what I wanted and I had to be taught what I needed to know. I had to find out how to get rid of my pain and anger and learn to relate to people in a healthy manner while doing so. And none of it came easy.

And I was taught to “ pass it on ” as Bill W. said and that is what I do here.

Do I need to explain it to anyone? No, not really. If you visit here, take what you like and leave the rest and if you like none of it, well then buh bye. This blog is free and it’s here for people who are in pain and searching for a better way. If you’re not, go somewhere else. We don’t need to explain ourselves to you.

I once was friends with someone who was bothered that I didn’t drink. In front of a group of friends, he cornered me one night and said, “Why don’t you drink?” He said it very antagonistically and was waiting for an answer as was everyone else. I waited before answering and then said, “What is it about ME not drinking that bothers YOU?” He seemed stunned by the question. He backed off and never asked that question again.

I find that people who are content with themselves don’t question people who search for answers through self-help books or 12 step programs or therapy or support groups or whatever. It’s always some dysfunctional person who is threatened by self-help. And that’s too bad.

To the angry emailer I say this: That’s my answer and what you think of me is none of my business. So, run along Francis. There’s some dysfunctionality somewhere with your name written all over it. Go find it and be it. We’ll be here. Getting Better. :)


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