2007-01-08 Woozle's response

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2007-01-05 Rebekah's response . . 2007-01-08 Woozle's response

Brief Response


I notice that you did not respond to my request to "cease contacting members of my family with pointless criticism of me." In the time since I made that request, I have realized that perhaps I overreacted a bit and did not handle the situation in the best possible way.

After thinking it through a bit, it seems to me that those you contact (with one exception) have the following reasonable choices (please let me know if I have omitted any):

  1. If the contactee agrees with your opinion, s/he may choose to pass it on to me as her/his own opinion.
  2. Whether or not s/he agrees, s/he may choose to pass your words on to me directly (forwarding an email is the only example of this which currently comes to mind), and thus get out of the middle. This option is problematic, of course, if you have requested confidentiality from the contactee.
  3. If they do not agree, then they can deal with you on their own; in other words, if the recipient feels that the communication in question has become bothersome, then said recipient can tell you so on her/his own behalf.

In all of these cases, it is not up to me to deal with the problem unless I am in receipt of words of yours which I can answer.

Therefore, I will handle this situation in the following way from now on: I ask anyone who is contacted by you with criticisms of me, and who finds these criticisms to be unwanted to them, to please handle the problem in one of the following ways:

  • Ask you to please desist, and to address any criticisms of me to me
  • If possible, forward your words directly to me, without responding to you

The one exception is, in a word, Anna. As you should know, it is considered very poor parenting for one parent to bad-mouth the other in front of the child. I believe this holds true for grandparents as well. I will consider any comments directed about me to Anna as if they were spoken to me directly, and will respond to them as such. I do not consider that you have a right of confidentiality with her when discussing me; although I cannot speak for her directly, my impression is that she does not either. (I also advise you to tread very carefully if you do not wish to lose her trust altogether; you are quite far along that path already.)

I believe that handles the essential business at hand; as you are not interested in dialogue, you will no doubt also be uninterested in reading my responses to the points in your letter. I have put these in the "analysis" section below.




Rebekah said:

You need a good liberal education...

I find it quite ironic that you should say this. I'm led to understand that you have had such an education, but apparently you failed to understand one of the core fundamental principles of such an education, i.e. the Enlightenment idea of individual empowerment – encompassing within it the ideas of discussion and negotiation between disagreeing parties – when your core ideology seems, from what I have observed, rather more geared towards pre-enlightenment, feudalistic concepts with a social view in which everyone has their place in a strict hierarchy of dominance or submission. Perhaps you missed that day in class? It's never too late to go back and catch up on these things, of course, and I'll be happy to recommend some reading material.

Rebekah said:

...(beyond what you've gotten from reading science fiction)...

I never said that all of my education came from SF; just large parts of it – tending to be the parts I found the most interesting, at least at an early age. I've branched out a bit since then, although I'm sure you can find ways to disparage any source I might name.

Rebekah said:

...a good psychiatrist...

No arguments there. Can't afford one, and nobody's offering to pay for one. Oh well. Why do you bring this up?

Rebekah said:

...and a good job.

Again, can't argue. I'm not sure there are any good jobs out there for me anymore; I know too much, so I'm overqualified for most lower-paying jobs, but those annoying gaps in my resume (initially incurred in Athens) apparently look suspicious to those who hire for the higher-paying jobs. I got lucky briefly, during the 1997-2001 time period, when programmers were in huge demand due to the Y2K bug and the dot-com bubble happening simultaneously; I doubt anything similar will happen anytime soon.

In any case, I don't know that I would qualify any of the jobs I have had to date as "good" jobs. They were perhaps "steady", and sometimes "high-paying", but I do not feel that my abilities were being put to good use the majority of the time.

Rebekah said:

As you are, you are pathetic and an embarrassment...

Now that seems just a bit harsh. Could you be specific, please? I believe I have dealt honestly and honorably with you and Livia under some extremely trying circumstances. Can you say you have done the same for me? As I have said before, whenever you had any criticisms of me, you have persistently declined to tell me of those criticisms directly, and instead used them to calculatedly push the buttons of others whom you believed could be depended upon to steer me in the direction you wanted.

You need to understand that progress with other people comes through negotiation and dialog, not manipulation. It is understandable that you might feel cheated when manipulation did not work with me, as it always worked pretty well with Livia, but the problem is yours, not mine.

Rebekah said:

...a case of a beautiful mind wasted. It's not too late to turn around.

What, and accept Jesus Christ as my savior? That's how this language sounds. Just what is it that you want me to do? Ok, I get the bit about the education. About that, I have the following questions:

  • Who is offering to pay for this?
  • Who is offering to pay for the extra tutoring that I would probably need in order to overcome my well-known poor academic performance?
  • When had you planned to tell me that this is what I needed to do in order to have the slightest hope of redemption?
  • Is it really worth the time and trouble, at this point? I am making far better use of my abilities right now, pursuing my own projects, than any job I would be likely to land even with the best of degrees.
Rebekah said:

You are already middle-aged, but you still have people in your life who love you and are in a position to help you realize your potential. I urge you to cut your losses and rise up to accept that help while you can.

Again, who is offering? What help? This is news to me.

Rebekah said:

My primary interest in your doing this can be expressed with one word: Anna.

Ahh yes... you failed to raise Livia as a sufficiently passive receptacle for your ambitions, so you're going to do more of the same with Anna. I can only say that from what I've seen of your parenting ideology, I do not intend to allow you to control her the way you have tried to control Livia. Anna will be her own person, not another imperfect echo of your aspirations and ideals.

Rebekah said:

Perhaps one day some legal way will present itself to me whereby I can extricate myself and my family from your – I'm not sure what to call it other than internet abuse.

Ok, here I'm really not sure what you're talking about; as far as I know, I have not posted anything defamatory, untrue, or otherwise abusive regarding you or any other member of "your" family. I have never heard the first word from you that you had any problem with anything involving me and the internet. If you have any problems with what I'm doing, you could always try asking nicely... er, try asking me nicely... if that's something you know how to do.

Rebekah said:

Meanwhile, I do not intend to enter into a dialogue with you.

This is the heart of the problem, as I have said elsewhere. You consistently refuse to enter into dialogue with those who do not "fall in line", and are hurt and angered when your preferred technique of manipulation fails. I would suggest, with some degree of sympathy, that this is a trait which has likely cost you much in the area of positive personal relationships. Dare I suggest – without meaning to thereby invalidate your reasoning; there are plenty of fair ways to do that – that you also could use a good psychiatrist?

Psychiatry aside, I don't see how you can possibly make any progress getting what you want or need without dialogue. I have always tried to be open and honest with you, but apparently it was a waste of time. Unfortunately it seems to be an inextricable part of my personality, so if by some miracle you were to actually attempt to open dialogue with me, I would probably respond in kind.

Rebekah said:

However, it is with utmost sincerity that I wish you the best

I can only believe this, given the evidence thus far, if I allow for the likelihood that your idea of what's "the best" for me bears some resemblance to a Spanish Inquisitor's idea of what's "best" for Galileo's soul... or perhaps a Catholic nun's idea of what's "the best" for a transsexual to do: kill myself now, so that I may minimize the taint upon others.

I do not believe I have transgressed against you. Indeed, you have benefited considerably from my presence in Livia's life, and I have suffered considerably. I was prepared to overlook this disparity to a large degree; if you insist on continuing to disparage me (especially in front of others) however, honor requires me to reply with the truth.