what i've learned along the way
. . . people watching and perceptions
Published on June 23, 2008 By lobsterhunter In Personal Relationships

My husband and I recently took a family vacation to Disney World.

 

We spent an inordinate amount of time waiting for busses and standing in long lines. My two wonderful bonus children found this to be maddening, but I decided to use this time to observe a wide variety of human interactions. 

 

Now I realize that generalizations tell absolutely nothing about individuals, but from what I witnessed, there are a lot of unhappy women in the world. It seemed like every where we turned some lady was bitchin’ at her kids or her husband. There were scowls on their faces as they berated their loved ones in public. We started keeping a mental tally each time we encountered a “bitch-fest” scene, and the final count was astronomical. I think the most alarming part of these observations was the tone in the women’s voices. They addressed their spouses and children like a prison guard reprimanding an inmate.

 

Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I find this kind of behavior completely unacceptable. These ladies were at the most magical place on earth, and all they could do was groan and complain. They all seemed completely unaware of their hateful attitudes, and the saddest part was watching their children emulate the same kinds of undesirable behaviors.

 

I grew up in a home where the father figure was verbally and emotionally abusive. My grandmother was a saint who allowed this man to constantly put her down and criticize her. She had every reason to be a bitch, yet she always took the high road. Nora did the best she could, and I wish she had loved herself enough to leave, but circumstances prevented this from happening and rather than wallow in self pity, she chose to find the silver lining. She modeled graciousness and compassion in a way that ceases to amaze me.

 

Chris says that I am rare because I don’t nag and harass him. He expresses appreciation for my calm demeanor during difficult conversations. Perhaps this gratitude is born out of his experiences of living in an unhappy marriage for almost fifteen years. He married young, and the woman he chose had the emotional maturity of a twelve year old. After years of bitterness and resentment, he came to accept that the situation would never be different. He also came to grips with the consequences that would follow, and he decided to leave. Eventually he filed for divorce. Everyone involved in the divorce was wounded, and we continue to muddle our way through the healing process.

 

Chris has decided to chart a new course. He is purposeful about embracing the joy available to him. Our family is precious, and I could not ask for more loving, accepting bonus kids. The process of blending two families has been remarkably smooth, and I stand in awe of who he is as a father and a husband.

 

But despite our intentional efforts to think before reacting to situations that inevitably arise, and after numerous attempts at co-parenting, we still deal with the fallout that remains after divorce. His ex-wife is eaten alive with jealousy and anger. She represents all of the women we witnessed during our vacation, and as I consider the hurts she’s endured, I wonder why some people can move forward, and others refuse to grow. Why does one person opt to look past the pain and make the best of a situation, and another intentionally hurls barbs and inflicts punishment as a result of holding on to the past?

 

Now please don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not claiming to be perfect. The nasty bitch that lives inside of me has made her fair share of appearances, but I’d like to think Nora’s example helped shape me into a wife who is kind and loving. I do my best to guard against demanding and irrational behavior, and after watching so many miserable women during the last week, I am even more determined to rise above the fray.

 

So I leave you with this question . . .

 

What can we do to help the little girls in our lives avoid growing up to be bitches?

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Jun 24, 2008
A good view of both sides of the equation. From reading both, I would say you are both lucky. There is nothing wrong with being a bitch at times. We all are. But as you seem to have found, knowing when to allow that person out, and when not to, is a big part of the secret to a happy marriage and life.
on Jun 24, 2008

Did you notice any man behaving negatively during this trip?  I just can't believe that Disney World was filled with horrible, mean women and sainted men who just patiently put up with the evil women's behavior.  Maybe next time you should look for the moments of kindness in families instead of the bitchfests.  If you're looking for something you will find it. 

on Jun 24, 2008
LOL, Loca. It does seem sort of biased and holier than thou, doesn't it?
on Jun 24, 2008

If you're looking for something you will find it.

I certainly agree with this statement, and perhaps my outlook is skewed based on personal experience.

To answer your question, YES we saw a few agressive men.

At one particular restaurant there was an abusive husband cursing at his wife in public. This scene brought back unwanted memories form my childhood and it took everything I had not to walk up to him and say, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size!” Of course, when I see women being mistreated by men, I automatically ask the question, “Why do they put up with that shit?” When the genders are reversed, tolerance is an expectation.

Do you think the feminist movement brought about this revolution? Fifty years ago women were expected to be submissive robots, which was highly unacceptable. Based on my observations the pendulum has swung.

on Jun 24, 2008

LOL, Loca. It does seem sort of biased and holier than thou, doesn't it?

It's amazing how someone can spend a lifetime trying to conquer the character defects she's grown to despise, yet constantly be pigeonholed into the person she was in her youth. "Not human" huh?

My intention was not to be "holier than thou", but I can certainly understand how I came across that way. As I stated, "There is a nasty bitch inside of me", and hopefully Chris will be able to love her too during those unwanted appearances that are inevitable.

Yes, the article was biased. Yes it was one sided. And yes, it was based on personal experience. You are correct in saying that we did not know these people, nor have we walked in their shoes. We were making judgments based on limited knowledge, and as Loca already stated, "We found what we were looking for . . ."

I know life is stressful for both men and women. I just don't find it necessary to be mentally or emotionally abusive to those we love. I saw way too much of that shit growing up, and my deepest desire as an adult is to have a peaceful home where people are treated with dignity and respect.

Avoiding extremes is the goal. I don't want to be a people pleasing doormat or a nagging bitch. On the continuum of life, I'm sure I'll spend a little time at both ends of the spectrum, but finding middle ground, whether male of female, should be our ultimate aim.

After rereading my own article I realize my world view remains somewhat black and white. I guess that just means I still have some growing to do.

 

 

 

on Jun 24, 2008

Well I have met my fair share of "b_tches" and I have to say they usually need to simply take a chill pill. This need to be stronger than men is actually quite annoying and very unappealing. I am not saying for women to give in to their mens demands and such, just that they don't always have to aproach every situation Full Metal Jacket style. I understand once upon a time women were not seen as equals but does that mean that for ever they need to make up for the many years of abuse and put downs their ancestors indured by serving it up back to men? Not that men are free of their mistakes but dam, we are not all dogs as some like to put it.


You're husband is a lucky man to have a woman who can make a point without sticking one in him. My wife is so ditermined to win the argument even facing proof against her opinion she won't back down. But, we men are always told to let them win. Talk about stereotyping, generalizing and down right unequality.


 

on Jun 24, 2008

I hope you know that I was teasing about the "not human" thing, Tenille.  Chris' comment about you being very, very, very rare is true.  And I don't mean that negatively.  You are a special, wonderful person.  You are the kind of person who sincerely considers how she makes others feel and works on continual self-improvement.  And that is a very, very wonderful thing, even if it's not common (or not human, LOL, see, teasing?).  

I am very sorry if I hurt you, Tenille, because I really didn't intend it to be hurtful.  I am so used to commenting on articles with whatever thoughts I have about them, and I probably should have handled this one with more tenderness.  I am sorry.

I think the article duo you guys wrote comes off as two perfect people pointing out the flaws in others. 


Now, actually knowing you, obviously you far more than Chris, but still, I don't think you guys see yourselves this way, and I KNOW you guys don't treat people that way. 


I guess the articles seemed a little self-indulgent and quite judgmental to me.  90% of women are bitches?  What?  I mean, come on, that's a TERRIBLE and obviously untrue exaggeration.


It is definitely hurtful and disturbing to see abusive people treating their loved ones like garbage.  It seemed from your articles, though, that you guys were nit-picking people more than describing abuse.  Or maybe I read you guys completely wrong.  I do that.  LOL.

 

on Jun 24, 2008

Charles, that kind of thing is what makes us want to treat you badly, LOL.


You only ever have negative things to say about your wife.  Either she is the most awful woman in the history of womankind (and then why, oh, why did you choose her?) or you are one of the most difficult to get along with  men in the history of mankind.

Maybe she is just a horrid person and you are accurately describing her.  I dunno.  But geez.

on Jun 24, 2008

It seemed from your articles, though, that you guys were nit-picking people more than describing abuse

I will agree . . .

One of the things I've learned along the way is that it's human nature to swing from one extreme to another. Chris and I have been dealing with lots of ex-wife drama recently, and because she is hell bent on punishing him for leaving, I have probably lost objectivity.

I appreciate you writing and sharing your perspective. One of the lessons I have to learn over and over again is that just because someone disagrees with my point of view doesn't mean I am wrong and they are right. Neither one of us have to get off the planet . . .

Thank you for your reassurance. I know you words were not intended to harm. I suppose it's my own insecurity creeping up on me. I definitely see how we came across as extreme. We made a broad stroked judgement, and it was unfair.

You help me find middle ground, and for that I am grateful.

 

on Jun 24, 2008
Heh, well I am sure the ex-wife drama will do it.

I have a strong tendency to allow something specific that is bothering me turn into something that colors my observations about everything else, so I can see how what you guys are having to deal with with her could make it much easier to see nastiness in women wherever you go. It's on your mind, and it stands out so much more than anything else.

Your observations make a lot more sense to me with your comments in mind (ex-wife issues and having seen women who were not just demanding bitches, complaining about seemingly unimportant details, but who were actually ABUSIVE to their family members).

I am really sorry to have made you feel bad or worried or insecure or anything like that. I did not think about how my comments might affect you, and I am sincerely sorry for that.

As always, you show grace and understanding in disagreement. I appreciate it.
on Jun 24, 2008
Charles, that kind of thing is what makes us want to treat you badly, LOL.


You only ever have negative things to say about your wife. Either she is the most awful woman in the history of womankind (and then why, oh, why did you choose her?) or you are one of the most difficult to get along with men in the history of mankind.

Maybe she is just a horrid person and you are accurately describing her. I dunno. But geez.


I'm sorry if I am being too honest about my wife. Though my comments were not about her except for the last part. I was actually talking about other women I have met and seen thru out the years. I wouldn't say she is horrid, but she definitely lacks some of that which makes her more feminine. At times I feel as if I am fighting with a hardheaded brother.

I am use to having people come to her defense as if it was me the one doing the harm. I don't know about 90% of women being b_tches, but they sure do like to gang up on men even when they are wrong. I have to agree with lobsterhunters one comment she made:

Do you think the feminist movement brought about this revolution? Fifty years ago women were expected to be submissive robots, which was highly unacceptable. Based on my observations the pendulum has swung.


Today men are expected to bow down to women and that any form of defense against a womans actions would lead to us being sued for everything we got and what we will get in the future and be denied basic intimate relationships as punishment. It is my personal opinion from lots of experience that most women feel they need to lay down the law from minute one in the hopes of keeping us men on some kind of leash and using the court system as a whip to keep us under control. Guys like me who are nice, loving, caring and wanna treat women like queens get mixes with the rest of the male crowd and branded a dog before they even get a chance to know them and anything that remotely shows a connection to men who are truly dogs is an automatic strike.

Personally, I tire of being unappreciated, insulted and having to stay quiet about, seen as a dog, a jerk, a bastard just because I am a man and more than anything, I tire of being a tool rather than part of the relationship.
on Jun 24, 2008

Texas Wahine
I think the article duo you guys wrote comes off as two perfect people pointing out the flaws in others.

I assure you that I am one of the most flawed human beings I know; and if you look beneath the surface of my outer shell, there are many scars invisible to the naked eye from wounds inflicted upon my soul. I also admit that there are other walking wounded from hurts in which I've inflicted; and I am deeply sorry for those hurts for which I am responsible.

Texas Wahine
90% of women are bitches?  What?  I mean, come on, that's a TERRIBLE and obviously untrue exaggeration.

I absolutely acknowledge that this statement is an untrue exaggeration...but one of the points of blogging is to express one's feelings and/or experiences...even if it is written from a skewed perception. My wife says, "Feelings aren't facts." Sometimes they feel real at the time, and some of my life experiences have contributed to those feelings, and sometimes when my feelings overcome me, I write to process them. At times I post them to hear truth; and I'm okay with that process.

Personally, I'd like to be in the 10%, but I've spent a lot of time in 40th and some time in the 50th percentile.

 

on Jun 24, 2008

Here's the thing, though, Chris...


Reading the articles (and the way they were titled, I can't imagine you wouldn't think you would get some flak...), just reading them, without background or extra info, to ME, it gives the impression of a couple who think highly of themselves nit-picking an entire gender.  

Now, obviously that's not the case, but if I didn't know better, it would totally read that way to me.


And of course you can write and explore whatever inflammatory topic you wish.  I have written plenty of bold things that I had to backtrack on later, haha.

I think I now have some idea of where you guys are coming from, but I was shocked when I first read you guys' articles.  I didn't expect that from the two of you. 

Not that you aren't entitled to bigotted ideas (I have several of my own that I'm not interested in getting rid of, haha), but I was surprised that you guys would see things that way. 

Even though you both openly admit that you have been hurt and that your hurts influence your perceptions, I think you have to acknowledge that MOST people have these hurts.  The older I get, the more I learn that so many people, maybe even a majority, have experienced some horrific things.  You might never guess by looking at them, but they also have those deep scars.  Some people take great pains to keep it hidden, but most of us have had some very, very, very bad things visited upon us.  

What is the saying?  Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  (I don't know if that's the correct wording).

Not that it excuses bad behavior, but most of us are hurting from things few or no one knows about.

Having said all that, I still adore the two of you and I'm not mad at 'cha or anything.  I just disagree. 

on Jun 24, 2008

Texas Wahine
Reading the articles (and the way they were titled, I can't imagine you wouldn't think you would get some flak...)

Yeah, this was totally expected on the flak-o-meter. But, the comments offered did offer perspective to perception and insight from the outside.

I think I now have some idea of where you guys are coming from, but I was shocked when I first read you guys' articles. I didn't expect that from the two of you.

"I guess there's a Slim Shady in all of us."

BTW...I had to go to dictionary.com to look up half the words you used in commenting on my article... ...JK

BTW2...I voted for Hilary in the primaries, so I'm not completely misogynistic.

 

on Jun 24, 2008
Yeah, this was totally expected on the flak-o-meter. But, the comments offered did offer perspective to perception and insight from the outside.


I have, on occasion, written articles generally meant for pissing people off. LOL. Although I usually do regret doing it, there is something fun (evil fun) about getting people all worked up.

Heh, Slim Shady.

You find me offensive? I find you offensive
For finding me offensive
Hence if I should draw a line on any fences
If so to what extense if
Any, should I go? 'Cause it's getting expensive
Being on the other side of the courtroom on the defensive
They say that I cause extensive
Psychological nerve damage to the brain when I go to lengths this,
Far at other people's expenses
I say your all just too god damn sensitive

(Applicable random Eminem lyric, haha)

BTW...I had to go to dictionary.com to look up half the words you used in commenting on my article...


I don't remember what I wrote (pregnancy brain)...did I use made up words? I do that sometimes. LOL.

BTW2...I voted for Hilary in the primaries, so I'm not completely misogynistic.


Bitch is the new black!
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