It was not simply that I felt abused and controlled by you directly. What added to this environment, was that I continually saw your hostility also aimed at others. I saw this with your family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers. This made me feel uneasy, as most of the time I felt that they didnít deserve it. Yet if said anything, it seemed that you would become indignant that I had even dared to question you. In these situations you would simply redirect your anger toward me. These examples are drawn from throughout our relationship.
Hostility toward family:
1. Yelling at your mother for cooking the vegetables a minute too long, bringing out the wrong silverware, etc.
2. Yelling at your mother in front of your nieces--I was appalled (then later, you angrily criticized her "sulking.")
3. Yelling at your mother over the gutter thing (front of house)
4. Yelling at your mother over the violin being out of tune. This episode was extremely upsetting to me. In a matter of seconds, you were yelling at the top of your lungs, point blank to your motherís face. And one thing you yelled, was "IíM NOT YELLING!!!" (?!?) If I remember correctly you also called her a bitch. I was frightened by the sudden and overwhelming rage you expressed over something trivial. And when I stood there stunned and starting to whimper, you directed your rage at me: "What are YOU crying about!!"
5. Yelling at your mother regarding the junkers parked out front (later, you casually told me that when you live so closely with someone, interactions like this are only naturally bound to happen!)
6. Yelling at your mother when she was reluctant to go into the hospital. (Wouldn't it have been better to say "Gee mom, I'm worried about you being sick, perhaps you should listen to Dr. Ford's advice"?)
7. Endlessly criticizing Ellen (to me) about her being in a relationship with Frank.
8. Being very critical of Garry.
9. Yelling at your mother for saying "Hello?...Hello?..." and not hanging up immediately when there was silence on the other end of the phone. You would snap angrily, "Youíre just victimizing yourself!!" Why do you become so angry about what other people do, when it does not even affect you at all?
Multiple interpersonal difficulties/conflicts with friends/coworkers/acquaintances:
2. Marilyn (and Ann's other friend)
3. Kelly Oyler
4. Ann--when you punished her with the silent treatment when she took drugs in front of you.
5. Kathy Emsley
6. Yelling at your grad students
8. Many conflicts with professors and other staff
What was even more disturbing was that you seemed to wear your hostility towards these people like a badge, as something to be proud of! So many times, you told me proudly how you had yelled at this person or that person, as if to say, "See? I know how to stand up for myself!!" It seemed like you wanted or expected me to pat you on the back everytime you said you had yelled at someone, for me to give you my approval for your being a strong person. And I had no choice but to go along, because I would only be yelled at myself if I didnít.
Hostility toward strangers:
1. Every other driver on the road is an asshole until proven otherwise--e.g., if someone is blocking a lane of traffic, even if it turns out their car was stalled. Everyone who tailgates or doubleparks, has you angrily muttering "Asshole!!!"
2. Children. "I hate kids!!" whenever you see one not being perfectly still and quiet.
3. Police. Just about every single time you see one (and this approaches 100% of the time when you see a police car parked on the side of the road), you have to mutter,"Assholes! I hate police!!" (And the one time I pointed out that the world would probably be a lot less safe without them, you became angry and verbally abusive toward me!)
4. At the LA airport, upon seeing the family with the man reading the paper while the mom looked after the kids, "It just figures!!!" (What on earth bearing did this have on you?!)
5. Upstairs at that restaurant when the kid next to us dropped his napkin in the aisle and didnít pick it up until five minutes later--you muttering angrily about what a little jerk/brat he was.
6. At EMS: "Mind your own business!!!"
7. "I hate it when people wear dirty clothes/pants!!" (What the hell difference should it make to you, what other total strangers wear?)
8. Yelling out the window downtown to a man on a bicycle,"Whereís your helmet, asshole?!" however I was not allowed to say anything out of the window--for example, when the guy in the truck was motioning to us going down the hill and I started politely responding to him, I got yelled at. (For your own sake, I have to tell you that itís just not a good idea to yell at strangers. You never know when some maniac with a gun is just going to shoot you. For example,"highway shootings" between irate drivers who yelled at each other do occur.)
9. Yelling at the student leaving the lecture hall early, threatening to report him. What bearing did this have on you at all? How do you think people see you when you do things like this?
Why on earth are you so hostile towards people you donít even know??
Sometimes, I was frankly embarassed by your behavior. However, I could not say a single word, or the full brunt of your rage would come crashing down on me.
1. Angela--I was totally embarassed by your behavior toward her--see below.
2. Remember when we were at Houlihanís with Linda Tolson and some other members of the women's professional group? I cringed when you began openly criticizing Kelly Oyler and Amy Hiller for "how badly they had treated you." At least one other person at that table was an active member of the lawyer's group. How did you think it appeared, when one of the co-presidents of the women's professional group, you, began dissing other members of your own group? Several times during our relationship, you expounded on what it meant to "act with class" or to "not act with class." In my opinion, this incident at Houlihanís definitely lacked class and I was embarassed to be associated with you.
3. The temper tantrum you threw at the dealer in Toronto (about conversions and exchange rates) had me wishing I could disappear. I had never seen someone be so unreasonable and hostile toward a total stranger. Of course it turned out that he was right. What made it worse, was that when you realized this, you did not even have the decency to go back to apologize to him. I never would have yelled at him in the first place (I always give people the benefit of the doubt), but even if I had, if I realized that I had been the one who was wrong, I certainly would have apologized.
4. At EMS, when you angrily snapped at the guy to "mind his own business," youíre damn right I was embarassed to be with you! Why are you so defensive and hostile toward total strangers?
More hostility in general:
1. The Morristown Mills Mall has "no class" (you said it about 10 times). I guess shopping at Sax and Banana Republic makes you a "classier" person??
2. People who eat/drink diet foods/sodas.
3. Every single baseball player on TV.
4. Every single time we drove through Drummond County, you had to express your utter scorn for the place and the people who lived there. I suppose they, too, have no "class"?
5. You ridiculed Kerry and Calís decision to have a child, every single time the subject came up. Why are you so hostile regarding other peopleís very personal decisions which have absolutely no bearing on you??
There were many other things about you that I gradually became aware of, again supported by examples.
I saw a consistent pattern in your apparent refusal to take responsibility for your own actions. Over and over again, you blamed others for everything.
1. The whole Angela situation. Whether or not it was polite to go rapping on their window unexpectedly at 10 pm, or whether or not it was impolite for Angela not to invite us in or Michelle not to come out, is debatable. However, what definitely was rude was your treatment of Angela the next time we saw her at the movies--your very deliberately snubbing her, looking away in a huff when she said hello to you and your not saying a word to her (this completely embarassed me), and continuing to ignore her for months. Then when she understandably got upset or exasperated or whatever and did not invite you to her party, you angrily criticized her for being rude!
2. Sandy. You constantly expressed your anger to me about her "dumping" you eleven times. However, I have to wonder, how did you treat her? What did you do to make her so angry and frustrated that she didn't want to be with you anymore? I am sure you were not just sitting there being nice. Furthermore, you very angrily verbalized to me on a number of occasions, how much money she "put you out of." In fact, this anger was sometimes inappropriately directed at me, even though I had nothing to do with it! Yet I ask you, did Sandy put a gun to your head and make you spend money? Did she steal it from you in large quantities as Katrina did with Mandy? No. You yourself went to the MAC machine, withdrew the money, put it in your pocket, and spent hundreds on parking, all of your own free will. Mandy is now lamenting the fact that after Donna has broken up with her for the fifth time, Mandy is stuck with $1000 in phone bills to New Orleans. But is she angrily blaming Donna for these bills? No, she accepts the responsibility that she willfully made those calls and only has herself to blame.
3. Ellen. You have never taken any responsibility for hitting her. Yet you angrily refer to the restraining order she had placed against you. What is even more astounding, is that you once told me you considered her stroke to be God's punishment for her criticizing you!
4. The multiple interpersonal difficulties I listed earlier. The way you put it, each of these people treated you poorly or otherwise deserved for you to snap at them or snub them. For a moment, contrast your situation with myself. In the last two years, how many run-ins have I hadthat caused an ongoing or significant temporary break? I can only think of two--Halpern and John Merkell. Even if I have momentary run-ins with people, I still maintain good relationships with them. I donít burn my bridges. Now, are all those people I listed above in a conspiracy against you, each of them "not treating you well" independently? Or have you ever considered that perhaps they are all responding, to some consistent signals you are putting out?
You seemed to have an inability to see shades of grey. It appeared to me that you saw other people in terms of black or white only.
1. Your gynecologist Judy Patterson--at first she was wonderful, very nice, caring, waited to come see you after your surgery, etc. Then suddenly she was evil, discriminated against you because you were a lesbian, had the gall to refer you to an infectious disease doctor, you never wanted to see her again, etc.
2. Karen--simply because she was on the phone that day during our professional group's meeting (and believe me, I don't think anyone else holds a grudge to this day about not her not ordering the pizza immediately), for years afterwards you have angrily referred to her as being rude and a terrible person, with bad teeth to boot. You don't think she has any redeeming qualities at all??
You seemed to exhibit a marked paranoia about a lot of things. Your main theme seemed to be "No one can be trusted until proven otherwise." This pertained to people in general: For example, all of a sudden you felt that the owner of that sports equipment store didnít like us or looked down on us. What on earth did they do to make you think this? I think it was your paranoia that made you perceive that they had looked at us funny once. But if I had ever questioned you on this, no doubt I would have gotten the "Chris, you just donít know about life!!" lecture, i.e. Iím so stupid for not realizing that of course they donít like us. This paranoia also pertained to things in everyday life: For example: Don't leave anything in the car, even a single cassette tape, someone will break in; rip up all your mail before putting it in the trash, someone is bound to get your address and commit some kind of fraud with it; don't leave mail in the box overnight, someone is bound to steal it, etc. etc. Furthermore, if I dared to disagree with you, you would either snap at me, or look at me as if I were stupid and God, didnít I know any better?! The global picture you carried seemed to be, "Everyone is out to get me."