By Joyce Alexander, RNP (Retired)
I’m a sucker for “one line philosophies,” and sometimes I hear a new one that makes me perk up my ears and start to ponder on the phrase. Thus the quotes around today’s title.
The person who told me this, and said that she had heard it from her mother, I later came to believe is a psychopath. At the very least, she was incredibly demanding toward me, but all in the name of being “helpless” and therefore entitled to my help or entitled to doing it her way, entitled to inconvenience everyone else for her immediate gratification.
Of course she never shouted at me to get her way, but was very soft spoken and politely demanded that her will be given in to by all in the house. It was all very “passive-aggressive” and “please and thank you,” but demanding none-the-less. We must remember that “passive” aggressive is still aggressive.
One of the things I have noticed in my several acquaintances with various levels of psychopaths, from the common garden-variety “red-neck thugs” to the “snakes in suits,” is that they are all very good at presenting themselves as “victims” of someone else, or victims of circumstances, and therefore they are entitled to special privileges or consideration because of X, Y or Z. If you aren’t willing to take “pity” on them and give them their way, then you are the bad guy kicking the poor victims when they are down and unable to defend themselves.
My maternal DNA donor is quite adept at the “pity ploy,” and at the tactic of projecting her own bad thinking onto others in “mind reading” sessions such as, “Well, I had to lie to you because if I’d told you the truth you would have been mad and thrown a fit.” Actually I would have been disappointed in her gullibility in giving the psychopaths money, but not angry. It was, after all, her money that she earned, and she was entitled to give it to a home for stray cats if she had wanted to. Her “mind reading” wasn’t nearly as accurate as she would have me think, and the ploy is doubly nasty because how could I defend myself from her “mind reading”? If I said, “No that’s not true, she would only counter with “WELL, YOU ARE LYING, YOU WOULD TOO!” In retrospect, it is actually funny, but at the time, as part of the “summer of chaos,” as I have come to call this particular summer, it was a heartbreaking accusation that there was no way I could defend myself from. I cried for days because there was no defense, no way I could convince her I was not being “mean.”
Of course my egg donor is quite elderly and no longer physically robust or independent, and requires someone to drive for her, shop for her, etc., so now that I have gone no contact with her, and I’m her only child, she uses the “pity ploy” to complain, sweetly of course, that her “mentally ill daughter” is neglecting her. At least she is making an excuse now for why she told everyone that I “tried to gain control over her money,” when I have never taken a dollar from her, not even for the eighteen months I lived in her house and took care of her and my beloved stepfather 24 hours a day, five to seven days a week.
Pretend it never happened
When my daughter-in-law and the ex-cell mate of my son Patrick, that he had sent to kill me, were arrested for trying to kill my son C, my predictions to my egg donor that these people were evil were proven true in spades. So now, having no one to dance to her demands in exchange for “loans” and “gifts,” she came back to me with the suggestion (read: demand) that we “just forget about all this unpleasantness and pretend none of it happened and start over.”
The pretense that “none of this happened” is the most demeaning of all the demands that the “passive aggressive” psychopaths try to heap on our heads. They are pretending to be “weak” and “pitiful” and “powerless” in order to elicit our empathic hearts to give in to them, no matter how demeaning, or demanding, or hateful they are to us. They expect that we instantly forget the pain, the demanding and punishing behavior that they in their entitlement heap upon our heads continually, in the name of “keeping the peace” with them. They use the excuses of “it’s your mother after all,” or “we have been married for 20 years, we can’t let all this unpleasantness break up our family.” Blaming the real victim for not silently enduring the abuse is a perfect “pity ploy” for the real abuser.
I learned early in life that it was “important” to “keep the peace” in the family and “pretend none of this ever happened” in order that the neighbors didn’t know how dysfunctional our family really was. I learned to “forgive” (pretend it didn’t happen) if a family member did something that was horrible, or otherwise I was told I would personally be thrown into hell fire and burn forever because I didn’t “forgive” the bad behavior, in other words, “pretend none of this happened.”
Of course while the “weak” expect us to “forget and forgive” everything immediately, they are allowed to hold grudges forever, and believe me they do! If you remind them of something they did to you yesterday, according to them that is “bringing up the past,” and they will counter with something you did when you were 10 years old that shows you are still, 50 years later, not to be trusted, even though that behavior has not been repeated since you were 10!
“Beware the tyranny of the weak” is an excellent piece of advice, and I am no contact with the person who gave me that phrase, because it fits them to a ‘tee.’ The strong admit their own failings, and make an effort to be kind and compassionate to others, but they do not give in to the pity ploy or let the “weak” exercise tyranny over them.