Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Nothing is Ever One Sided

I'll totally admit that I'm pissy as I write this. I'm pissy because I'm sick of myself, and others with mental health conditions, being scapegoats. It's easy for everything to be "our fault." After all, we're the crazy ones, right? We're the ones who over-react, freak out, The irrational ones that blow things out of proportion, misinterpret, over-analyze. And maybe, maybe, we sometimes are (except the crazy, that's just bullshit). But not all the time. Nobody is right or wrong 100 percent of the time. Nobody. Barring physical abuse (I'd safely say we can put that in the "always wrong" category), can you think of a single situation in which you can say it's always, without one possible exception right or wron?. Not almost always or virtually never or mostly always or "I could make a good case for this", but literally always or never? I cannot. And I'd challenge you to do so and find others who agree.

Right and wrong is opinion, subjective. Not fact. By definition, that means that there are two sides, or can be. Let me give you an example. Person A comes home from work. Person B says something not overly positive, but basically benign to me. Person A flips. Completely flips. They start yelling at Person B. Person B throws their hands up and calls them a crazy asshole and claims they did nothing. Anyone from the outside looking in, with no background might say, "Geez, all they did was ask if they could wash the dishes when they got a chance!" But maybe every single day, when Person A comes in the door, before they can even put their bags down after a long day, before Person B even asks how their day went, they ask them to do some chore or task. And they expect the person to happily do it, to agree without . If  Person A so much as hesitates before agreeing with a smile on their face, Person B gets upset. If Person A says they've had a long day or they're tired or has some other reason they don't want to/can't agree to the task right now, Person B tells them that they're lazy and never do anything to help and starts demeaning them. But to hear Person B tell it, they just asked nicely if Person A would mind doing the dishes and got reamed.

And maybe, to give Person B the benefit of the doubt, they've done nothing. And maybe they didn't deserve to get yelled at. But maybe Person A just found out that their company is downsizing and they may get laid off, and the same day found out that their favorite aunt has terminal cancer, and that their car needs $8000 worth of repair for something that's not covered by their warranty, which is especially stressful now that they may get laid off.  Perhaps, the last thing they needed when they got home was to be asked to do a chore around the house. All they wanted to do was have a glass a wine, get a hug and a "we'll get through this together" from their partner, and get to bed early because they're too anxious to do anything else. And instead of a hug and a "we'll get through this," they got "can you do the dishes". Did they over-react to that particular request? Yes. I'd probably say they did. But given the circumstances, is it a bit understandable? Again, I'd say yes. Had Person B asked how their day was going first, they'd probably have done the dishes themselves. And if they did, and their response was still to expect Person A to drop everything and go do the dishes, they may have gotten what they deserved.

Those of us with mental health conditions are easy targets. Because of our panic, anxiety, (hypo)mania, and depression, people are more willing to believe that we're at fault. Of course we are, we're the one with the problem. And because, when we're provoked we get more panicky, anxious, depressed, or (hypo)manic, we do react, it becomes increasingly easier to blame us. It's the old back a frightened animal into a corner while jabbing at it with a stick, and then blame it when it bites trick. Eventually, the animal becomes so nervous around you that it may lunge out even in when unprovoked. Sure, the animal is nervous, and this nervousness plays a part. Yes, it technically went after you, and that's not a good thing. It did have a role in the scenario. But it had its reasons, whether you care to understand them and work with them or not. And those on the outside who are less insightful will fall for it. They'll believe you were innocently standing there, attacked needlessly by a wild animal. Those of us dealing with the condition may even believe it ourselves at times, at our lowest points where we lack belief in ourselves, when we're easily molded and preyed upon. Until eventually, we regain our strength and see the truth for what it is. We'll acknowledge our part, but we won't take the whole blame. We, the "crazy" ones, understand there are two sides.

If someone's stories or account continually involve them always being right and the another person always being wrong, if they're constantly making themselves to be the "good guy (woman)" and the other person to be the "bad guy (woman), be wary. Because basically, they're full of it. Or they have such a lack of awareness that they truly always think they're right. People that see the world this way have a narrow lens, and don't want to see it through any view point but their own. They don't want to say "what can I do to help" or "what could I have done differently" or "perhaps there are two sides to this." They want things to all come together to support their view, whatever that is. And if their view changes, so do the "facts" that support it. A person who's telling the full truth may get exacerbated with others. But they'll eventually give them some sort of credit. They won't portray them as crazy monsters. They'll be able to understand their own part in things. They may speak of others' faults, but they'll also acknowledge their own. And those are the people who you want in your life. Because right now, you may be "right" because you agree with the only version of the story the person is willing to tell you. But give it long enough, and you'll be the one who's "always wrong." Because nobody's perfect, and when Person A is out of the picture, Person B will need someone else to blame when something goes wrong.

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