Being Supportive Does Not Always Make You A Good Person


I’ve had to do far too much supporting of others lately, and it has taken a toll on me. Keeping my mouth shut and my opinions to myself has pent up so much anger and frustration within me that I literally want to scream the truth in people’s faces sometimes – am I the only one that sees what is really going on here?

Yet still, I hold it in.

It started about 9 months ago when my brother in law and his wife announced that they were having a baby. At our BBQ. (Because our BBQ was totally all about them.)

Since then it’s been one family event after another that I’ve had to be supportive at. Living only 5 miles from my husband’s family (yes, we basically live in Everybody Loves Raymond) this has been weekly. At some points in the last 9 months, it’s even been daily.

All the while, I just wanted to scream in everyone’s faces the truth – that they were just separated a year and a half ago. That I have vivid memories still of my husband’s brother seeming practically unable to go on with life because his then-ex-now-again-and-pregnant-a-few-months-in wife had left him.

And, more importantly, that not everyone decides to have a baby and POOF is just pregnant. That some people struggle for years only to be unsuccessful at it, and that knowing this is going on with more than one family member, yet still flaunting it around ad nauseum, is at a certain point really shitty of them.

Am I the only one that sees what is really going on here? Hold that in, Heather.

oh-talking-about-our-infertility-makes-you-uncomfortable-lets-get-back-to-talking-about-your-pregnancy-until-were-blue-in-the-face-56c6a

I could go on and on and on about all the things about this situation my husband and I don’t support, but I won’t. We’ve kept our mouths shut, with the exception of one occasion when we tried to have a reasonable and private conversation about it with his mother. We were told we should be more supportive. Since then, we’ve gone out of our way to be overly supportive of them, because we knew it was what his family wanted. (For that we’ve gotten it shoved up our assholes every way possible.)

Still yet, hold it in.

It has been way more than just that, though. It’s been the expectation to continue supporting my husband’s career even though it is very certainly, and undramatically, destroying our lives.

Hold that in, Heather. Don’t talk about the fact that we’ve got no employer-sponsored dependent health insurance, no retirement, and no raises in years at the Christmas party! That would be unsupportive of your man!

It’s been the measles outbreak – which we were actually exposed to, living in Southern California in a county that has one of the highest numbers of confirmed cases paired with some of the lowest pockets of vaccination rates. We sat there with my mother’s family last month, while friends and family talked about their wariness to vaccinate, as though we are all just supposed to stand by and watch irresponsible parenting run amok in society as a whole, in the name of supporting people’s personal choices as parents.

That was the same day we saw photos of my cousin’s wedding that we never received an invitation to, until a week before the wedding. She texted me and said she forgot to invite me. We were invited, but there were no kids welcome. In the photos, there were 12 kids present at the wedding we did not attend.

Hold it in. Hold it in.

As I have sat here for 9 months brooding and deleting my comments and biting my tongue so hard I need a pint of blood to cover the damages, I quietly – in my head – added again and again to the laundry list of all the times that something should have been said to stop this madness once and for all.

Then, a few weeks ago in a public forum I went nuts on anti-vaxxers. Not emotionally, not illogically. But nuts. Scientifically and morally, yet insane.

I cannot begin to describe how much better I felt.

Now, in the aftermath of that, as weeks have gone on and I’ve been more and more honest, and less concerned about what people think of me and how unsupportive I may come across, I just have to say it. Maybe it will be the thing to end the madness:

Being supportive does not always make you a good person.

Somewhere down the line being truthful and honest became pejorative qualities. Sound advice became negativity, and a sensitivity and attention to the realities of the world, no matter how insignificant any one of them may seem, made you a hater. Instead we should all just hold hands and sing Kumbaya and be supportive of each others’ decisions and endeavors, all the while lying about what is universally true and right and real.

So this morning I logged onto Facebook, because naturally that’s where I get my news. As I scrolled through the feed I saw articles, updates, baby photos, and eventually news from fellow writers.

And then I saw an update about a blogging anthology, which shall remain unnamed, that is going to be published. It’s a sequel, and to be quite frank I didn’t like most of the first one. The update was lamenting not being included, more a statement on that own person’s insecurities and hopes to make it in the blogging world. I didn’t really get that feeling at the news, but I’m a writer, not a blogger.

So me being tired of always supporting supporting supporting when I know that someone should cry BULLSHIT ON THIS NOISE, and feeling more and more comfortable over the past few weeks doing so again, inspired me to just post my own comment on how I was glad to not be included because I didn’t like the first book and prefer to not be included in that kind of book.

As a side, I know a lot of really gifted writers that cannot even sell 10 copies of the self-published books, while cliche and mediocre stuff is peddled and makes it to the best seller lists – there is nothing right or good about that at all. All I said, though, was that I’d rather not be included, as other talented writers should take that as support that there are other, much better, projects out there.

Now, I know it sounded rude the way I said it, though, and I quickly realized that a few of the essays in the first book were written by friends that I did enjoy. So I deleted my comment within a couple seconds. I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings at the expense of me feeling better about being more open and honest.

Of course I did not delete it before the organizer of the anthology saw my comment and, apparently, was insulted – perhaps as insulted as I am by her writing, in particular how much of a bully she is to people she doesn’t like.

But that is all neither here nor there to the central point.

After deleting my comment and moving on with my day, I realized that maybe I shouldn’t have deleted it; and not deleted it because of my own feelings of being insulted. Maybe I should have said the entire truth all along, with everything. As much as other people have a right to be insulted by my lack of support, I have a right to be insulted by their flagrantly terrible behavior to begin with. With the opportunistic anthologies; with the BIL and SIL’s baby; with my husband’s job – with all of it.

Keeping silent about what I know to be universally true and right and real feels so much worse than the backlash of speaking up. And in the end, al that is sacrificed by staying silent is me. So speaking up makes me a hater. I’d rather be an honest hater than a loved liar.

In the end, who is really the good person?

kumbaya-motherfuckers-e2346

Advertisements

8 Comments on “Being Supportive Does Not Always Make You A Good Person

  1. In my opinion, whether to support someone is an individual decision, and like most decisions in life, is a matter of choice and judgment. In this case, at least two factors should be considered: your relationship to the person and the strength and Objective importance of your own opinion about their position, activity, or whatever. As for the first factor, I would think it would be most appropriate to give more slack to say your husband or a sibling or a best friend and give them support, unless you feel very strongly that what they are saying, doing etc. is wrong. On the other hand with respect to someone you are less close to, honesty, though gentle honesty, I submit is more important in order to maintain your own sanity. Support is not only always necessary for a good person, but if dishonest, makes you as a disingenuous person, something most people do not want to be and are not comfortable with. That’s my two cents.

  2. There are times when I wish I had more family nearby. And then I remember that being near family means more family functions which you “have” to attend as well as more family drama.

    And it seems strange that you’re the type to hold back your thoughts.

  3. Hi. I can’t say I think your honesty is a very healthy thing… like… bear with me… I have learned from my inlaws who hate me with the passion of a thousand STD’s that hate and criticism are usually projections of our own flaws and insecurities. Now read that, flaws AND insecurities. Something that bothers you about someone else, it could be because you are that very thing you think they are, OR you are afraid you are the very thing you think they are, OR they have hit an emotion you haven’t quite figured out. For instance, my inlaws hatred toward me used to really bother me, but then I realized the issue, while they were jerks, the real issue was I was insecure. I don’t usually care if people are jerks. i don’t trust them, but I’m pretty cool about accepting people for who they are, and like my mother-in-law, if I had her life, I’d be a jerk. She slaves after her family. Anyway, their criticism hurt me because I had issues about how good (or bad) of a mother I am. I still do, but being aware has made it so much easier on all of us. I’m just saying I have learned that when I feel a negative emotion, that’s a cue to do some self-exploration. It’s easier said than done, but all we can do is keep trying. Meanwhile, I totally get you need to release the emotions. But I think you bottled them up too much too long. I release my really negative emotions in secret somewhere, like with my husband or a Facebook secret group of my closest friends. Then instead of approaching the person with negativity, I try to flip it to something positive. I focus on good things and solutions, and humor. The reason I do that is hate begets hate. Anger makes people more angry. And while innocent bystanders love to read a good rant, the most productive way to deal with people where we grow from it is to approach them, basically, like Jesus. Love. Basically, bitch slap them with BOTH Love and Truth. Of course, none of us are perfect, and I have my moments where I’m like, “Roll over and play dead like a good bitch.” But I’m working on it.

    I hope you can work things out with your family. Don’t fret about the anti-vaxxers. They really mean well. And as for the anthology, be happy for those in it. While it might not be your style in writing, it might the perfect thing for your friends’ career. One of my friends got to write tweets for McDonalds, advertising and SEO. I would personally hate that job, but I’m impressed she got it, and she was good at it. Getting into an anthology is not easy, and some anthologies really boost some writers’ careers, like Patti Ford was in one called I Just Want To Pee Alone, and she got television gigs with that, and I swear her blog grew 70,000 people. And like Kim Bongiorno’s resume just like exploded with experience and awesome publications after You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth. Nobody expects those anthologies to be Toni Morrison quality, but nobody expects that from James Patterson either.

    • Thank you for your very thoughtful comments, Michelle. I absolutely see a lot of it as insecurities, though I also see a lot of it as “well, these people are jerks.”

      One of my very oldest of friends (as in longest time, not that she’s old per se) is in HR at McDonalds – your friend writing Tweets for them, I’m sure you know, got a pretty sweet deal!!

  4. I have a question, as one of the writers who will be published in this anthology you speak of … why would you say “I’m a writer, not a blogger” on your BLOG?

    • That’s a great question, Harmony; and I’m not sure you are certain of what anthology I’m referring to – though I assure you my comments have nothing to do with my thoughts on the merits of individual writers, but some other more philosophical principals. And I really don’t like mean girls on the Internet (not implying you are one of them, I assume you are a fairly reasonable person given that you took the time to read and comment on my post, which I thank you for).

      To your question, if you are serious and not just being sarcastic – because all writers should have a blog that they post on occasionally, but not all bloggers are writers. Personally, I believe a writer has a different caliber of content, a different motive for putting word to “paper” (or computer), and some even a different process altogether. Not saying either is better or worse, just I see things from the point of view of a writer (fiction, mostly), rather than a blogger. I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not.

  5. A therapist just told me that when you do that, you are abandoning your true self. It is all so complex, isn’t it? And if I told just anyone that I had issues with American Sniper, the Klan or some such organization would probably pay me a visit for being unpatriotic…..

    OTHERWISE, how are you? I’m still struggling, truth be told.
    Susan Streeter

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: