Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From My Orbit

As usual, original letters can be found here.

LW#1: Okay, first thing I think of when someone's behavior changes dramatically and they attribute it to God is mental illness. So you may want to get that checked out.

I understand you are looking for a rational argument to persuade him to boink you, but when God enters the picture, you are not able to get one over through reason. God is about faith, and often a person's concept of God comes down somewhere between the way they were raised and how they view themselves. That is, you can't talk back at this God character. Especially for someone who has had an intense religious experience like being saved, and uses that as the basis of his faith.

In the meantime, you're living in a place with a guy who is taking away something you consider crucial to the relationship your have and your own health. For a few minutes, stop thinking about him and start thinking about yourself. Is he (or He) going to declare new unilateral rules for you in the future? Can you live with that? Can you love with that?

Another thing: Stop saying you find his impositions "somewhat hurtful and offensive" and start owning your anger at him. How can any woman not find sexual rejection hurtful?

What I'm saying is that if he is going to be selfish and hurtful to you, you need to start protecting yourself. You need to start looking at him with open eyes and weigh him objectively instead of reflexively defending him, even if it's in the privacy of your own mind.

If your BF is sound of mind, I would start making plans to find a new place to live if I were you (and if he is in his mid-20s and is beginning to show schizophrenia, I would say you need to think long and hard about what living with someone with schizophrenia is like, and I do mean learn what it is like). His willingness to do this to you, coupled with his inflexibility, does not bode well for the future.

LW#2: OMG this little girl snorts? Like a pirate?

So what?

Okay, look, someone who actually likes this poor kid needs to step up and mention her snort to her, since obviously none of you are ever going to find it a cute little habit that an otherwise "sweet and lovely" and presumably competent, young woman has this tic.

Please, find someone in this office who is kind enough to mention this silly thing with compassion and help this poor kid find a way she can take control of her weird tic and propel herself to business success without crushing her (you know, like prompting her to do breathing exercises or visualizations or maybe do a run-through before she presents and, hey, how'd she get through her job interview?). Someone with "mentor" written all over her. And have her do it when they are alone in the bathroom or something.

LW#3: What a dumb thing to do, on your dad's part. Are you sure his griping about his boss was not somewhat unjustified by this completely unethical thing he's doing?

I mean seriously, this is the sort of thing that can be checked out and could lead to his being fired (assuming he's hired) for lying on his resume. Boom! Two burned bridges! Two bum references he can't use!

But more than that, this is not cool at all. He is risking career suicide in desperate bid for employment.

And it may be for nothing. Many, if not most, companies have a policy of not saying anything — negative or positive — to people who are asking about job candidates for fear of liability. They just confirm the dates of employment. Your dad should call his company pretending to be a person asking about his job candidacy (or have a friend do this) and see what happens. This is actually okay, because it's gathering information, even though it may also sound shady. Think of it this way: What are the repercussions if he does this? Virtually nothing. What about lying on his resume? Huge.

Or give a coworker the reference spot.

Tell him no, tell him it's wrong and tell him to look at the Internet for resources about dealing with burned bridges on his resume. Tell him about what I said above (the two references being bad if he's caught out) and tell him you're starting to think his employment problems may be self-generated and he needs to check himself before he wrecks himself.

But do it nicely. Firmly, for sure, but nicely.

LW#4: Call.

Just call.

He is a domestic abuser, and he needs to be reported before his wife or child ends up in the hospital, or worse, the morgue.

He is too chicken to mess with anyone except the woman he has trapped under his thrall. He will be terrified of you and everyone else knowing his dirty little secret, because you have open eyes, resources, and the ability to call the police (and the landlord!) on him if he so much as looks mean at you.

And he may not hit the baby now, but that baby is going to grow up in an excrutiating dynamic that will warp him or her.

A few times getting called on his crap, this man will either get the help he needs to turn over a new leaf, or his wife will get the attention and resources she needs to leave him.

People don't get involved in what goes on "behind closed doors." But they have taken their drama public and made you complicit in it.


  1. How interesting that we both have the same take on this weeks letter's. How did the snorter get through the interview? Unless the person in Human Resources really has a skewed sense of humor would she have been hired while snorting?
    Ah, this crazy world we live in, does one ever know?

  2. Poor little pirate girl. A lot of people are saying this week that it's no big deal and everyone should deal, but if you treat it like spinach in teeth (like not a big deal) instead of some huge deal, and are actually helpful instead of mean, it could go a long way for her.

    I think she's probably just really good at her job.

  3. You're the only poster I've noticed who cared diddly about the poor kid. Abusive men may hit women, but sometimes they throw babies.

  4. Hey Spacey. For me, the following is a crucial point, "Are you sure his griping about his boss was not somewhat unjustified by this completely unethical thing he's doing?"

    I had started to go on a whole tangent about not knowing dad's job also means the LW doesn't know dad's performance (LW only assume's dad's a good worker), but, like you I totally question dad's work habits/ethic if he's willing to go without any work for over a year and then suggest his child to play former boss. Craziness, I tells ya!

    As for Pirate Girl, I just doubted the LW's philanthropic interests, and, like you suggested in your response to Debbie, I wondered if all of this wasn't because of jealousy over, desire to boink, etc., this new girl.

    And yes, good catch on mentioning the baby regarding neighbors' fighting. What a mess. :-(

  5. When I was younger, older, mentor-y people helped me with my own tics/tendencies/attitudes and it was for the better for my career. I don't write advice because I was born perfect (well, I was born a perfect snot, but I got better), but because I have learned a thing or two.

    I think it's okay to doubt the LW's intentions (I wonder if the LW wonders what she might sound like in flagrante delicto? Oy!), but at the end, if you have someone who may be handicapped by a tic, and you or someone else has experience overcoming nervousness, why not say something constructive?

    I mean, I wouldn't let you walk around without saying anything if you were afflicted with an astonishing abundance of nose hair. I'd say, "Dude, I don't know if you looked in the mirror today, but you really should get a small pair of sharp scissors and make some topiaries out of your nose hair."

    You might be embarrassed, but we'd laugh about it, and then you'd be able to do something about it.

    Save the baby! At least from growing up (super) screwed up!

  6. Spacey, good post but I'm not sure you Martians are aware that us mere earthlinks cannot always control our tics...

    You make a really good point about schizophrenia. It does appear usually in one's late teens or early twenties. Recently I've read a theory that it's caused by some sort of virus but I didn't read any follow up.

    But then the BF could be spewing a lot of BS, and be a controlling SOB....