The shrill ring of the phone filled my bedroom, as I struggled to a sitting position I glanced at the caller’s ID, it was Margie my friend of many years. I grabbed the receiver and whispered “What” an hour later I was still in the same position on my bed listening as Margie unburdened herself. According to Margie, Ana her teenage daughter could not understand the discomfort she felt because of her (Ana) frequent and sometimes long visits to the home of her new friend Marley. I listened carefully to Margie’s account of the situation, Marley’s mother she described as “unstable” and the home environment as “chaotic” . I understood very well the reason for her fears of conflict in the friendship,even though there was no hard proof to back up the cause of her fears. At the same time I also understood Ana’s position. Ana at this time lacked the experience that is sometimes needed to understand complex individuals, she felt safe dealing with such persons, of course this level of confidence was due to her naivety and ignorance regarding the unusual lifestyle of such persons and the possibly nasty situations that could erupt when involved with such individuals.
I smiled sadly at Margie’s words and my mind moved quickly into a downwards tumble digging up what I call “The wrath of misery” . There are some persons to whom I have bestowed such tiles as misery, spit-liar, danger mouth and lie machine . Why these titles ? Because of their amazing ability to strike big blows of terror, torment , hurt and sadness using their extraordinary ability to compose and tell ridiculous lies, and to tell these lies without an iota of guilt, with a straight face and all the theatrics and drama of a Hollywood classic. I have no doubt in my mind that these persons are not normal, it is my firm belief that such persons are sick individuals who were perhaps deeply scarred at some point in their lives, but as is said the scarred go on to scar, unfortunately this I think is just seen by them as a normal process in life. I am always amazed at their need and natural ability to create what seems to be the exact environment of their past, their place on the social ladder makes no difference, they strive to create an environment of strife, accusations and verbal bashing, in other words household war.
I recalled a home where the maternal head of this household was the trend setter, her raised voice was a constant along with her many complaints and dramatic episodes of household losses perpetrated by different individuals, including relatives and close friends . Her reports of friction and discord with relatives, friends and neighbors were frequent. This individual seemed to thrive on conflict and misery, looking back she seemed quite at ease and satisfied when engaged in recapping one of her sordid episodes, but on the contrary she seemed somewhat listless when things seemed calm. That home seemed always to carry a characteristic energy of discord and a somewhat grey shadow even though its occupants were mainly young persons of that happy and carefree age. The person in question seemed always bent on having a current issue of “someone stealing something” or “someone said something about a member of her family” or “someone had done something to offend her” or she would just engage a family member in all out verbal war. But each day she wielded her hammer and it appeared as if no one knew nor cared where her hammer struck . Most of the persons surrounding her seemed quite at ease with her style, no one seemed stressed or bothered by her, everyone seemed quite prepared and able to match her verbal outbursts, or they just dismissed her and life went on.
A picture of Ana amidst this type of confusion appeared in my mind, and I wondered about her reaction. I felt somehow that like many young persons her observation of this lifestyle would not amount to much in her mind. She probably would conclude that the daily matters of the household did not concern her, and would probably not give it much thought, as her mother said, she explained that in her mind she was there to visit her friend and her friend’s mom just seemed somewhat excessive in her behavior, but she did not think that this was really any of her business . My mind moved to a story that Margie recapped to me in our conversation earlier, she said that this incident had caused her some alarm, but I dismissed it as hearsay, I told Margie not to bother with baseless gossip, but now reflecting, I hear a bell of warning being rung. According to my friend, Ana was chatting away with a group of friends when a member of the group of friends, who is also a relative of Marley’s family did mention in a sort of joking manner that Marley’s mom was not such a nice person, another member of the group questioned in what way, and the person volunteered that she is “miserable” and is always hatching a problem . Those words failed to evoke any insecurity or concern in Ana, nor did she seek to muse on them, she just heard, laughed like everyone else and moved on. Margie expressed the fear that some day Ana would regret her flippant attitude, she burst out “How can she be so stupid, so mindless of such behavior, and continue to be a part of such an environment.” Older and wiser you realize many things, I agreed with Margie, I could see clearly the reasons for Margie’s fears, but I could also understand Ana’s reaction knowing her to be ill-equipped to process, to understand and to deal with such matters.
Many years ago a young lady was employed to assist me at home, during the first few days of her employment she kept repeating stories about her previous employer making her unhappy by constantly talking about her when she was not around, I allowed her to speak even though it bothered me . One day after being on the job for a few weeks she asked for a few minutes of my time, she then proceeded to tell me with out a hint of doubt that my four-year old and his friend, another four-year old were constantly talking about her and laughing. This of course did upset me quite some, and I decided not to allow her to continue to lend her service. I could not understand two four-year old children locked in gossip and making fun of anyone. I then fully understood the tales about her previous employers and I realized that according to her stories there was always a case of someone spying on her , talking about her or some such behavior. This type of situation is apparently pretty normal and acceptable to her, and simply explaining to her that not all persons find this type of activity interesting and rewarding did not change her outlook in any way . This is normal and very much acceptable in her community and her mind probably tells her that it must exist in all spheres, it just simply must be there, and so she must look and find it even if the only available perpetrators are just two four-year old children.
I am no Psychologist nor Psychiatrist but based on my experience with these persons I am of the opinion that some persons coming out of certain types of background have a difficulty or perhaps in some cases find it impossible to leave behind certain practices. Practices that may be acceptable and probably in some cases a normal part of everyday life in their former environment, this type of environment is not peculiar to any particular class in society, this type of behavior exists in different ways at all levels. These persons go on to live in perhaps different environments and interact with persons with different standards and values, but they continue to see certain things in the same old way, their expectations of certain scenarios in their daily life remain colored by their past, this type of mental attitude it seems creates the danger that fester in these confused environments. They set to work I think mindlessly creating their environment , heedless of pain and hurt caused to others. They set the mood, create the scenarios and confidently live their lives as they know it to be, blaming, accusing, harassing, hurting ,lying, tearing, and belittling anyone they choose without an iota of pity, without guilt or any such consideration . The web of lies they spin becomes their truth, this is life as they know it, so naturally for them it must be the correct way, and they continue merrily to satisfy their hunger for confusion and corruption.
I hung up the phone and continued to sit in the same position on my bed. My mind reeling, my heart heavy . I had listened carefully to Margie without interrupting, and when she was through I said “Yes Margie I’ll speak with Ana, but not as a second voice of reason as you are suggesting, but as a voice shaped by experience, maybe, this will make a difference.”