Though it reverberates as a small compliment, my disfavour towards certain people happily continues to thrive. For too long I have stunted the growth of this relieving and rewarding enterprise on the basis of false notions, among them that everyone deserves to be treated well even if I am inclined to think otherwise; or that it is my own stubbornness or inadequacy which promotes such enmity; or that life will always be fraught with acrimony and it does no one any good to cultivate it. I am overthrowing that namby-pamby gibberish. Instead I intend to capitalize upon the privilege of curmudgeonly behaviour afforded relics such as myself. No longer will I be bamboozled! I have decided to side-step annoying people and to avoid them whenever possible.
The prejudice is naturally directed at people whom I know. Token objections about political leaders or movie stars for example are quite another thing. I am here talking about personal dislikes of people whom I know well enough to make the animosity intimate and vital. The only feature which pulls me up short is that my prejudicial treatment risks being rampant, which is to say that there is virtually no one who is free from my vitriol and disdain. If ever there were a case to be made for the preference for dogs as companions, this is it! Meanwhile the exercise resembles a scorched-earth policy.
I suspect however that when the heat of the moment cools – and let there be no mistake, I have been provoked in this matter – the pointed invective will require revision. I am therefore prepared to submit to a modified version of denunciation. I may for example do whatever I can to distance myself from the people whom I dislike without being especially critical of them. If I am obliged to be in the same room I shall govern myself with such obvious austerity to make it transparent that there could be no expectation of beneficence on my part. The objective will be to ensure clarity of my resolve while at the same time emphasizing my lack of empathy. Haughtiness may be too strong a word; perhaps mere “remove”, something to indicate a want of commitment and lack of condonation, accompanied perhaps by a blasé attitude and a sardonic smile.
It is unfortunate that we are unable to “erase” people from our lives. People are so indelible. Once entwined, the residual contamination is ineradicable. I am therefore contemplating diplomatic measures. For example I have considered proclaiming that I no longer wish to participate which I think nicely captures the avoidance of engagement without becoming alarming. Refusal to participate precludes the necessity to risk confrontation. Criticism after all is a well-known minefield and therefore best avoided, far too hysterical. Tactically it ensures that fewer doors than necessary are closed in another’s face, always a wise decision in the unlikely event of revival of the association. I am aware of my reversible disposition in spite of prior determination. I attribute the paradox to an inherently binary psyche. Perhaps I am just a wuss.
Often the cause of irreconcilable friction between individuals is the refusal of one or both to acknowledge facts, or more specifically the failure of one or both parties to deal with the facts. It is understandable and excusable that dealing with facts can create obstinacy and heightened emotions, ingredients which effectively impede resolution. This does not however imply that the party who is suffering the impairment will as a result approach the problem any differently or with greater purposefulness. There are times when people must be allowed to solve their own problems. After limited patience for matters to unfold, if nothing remedial transpires, then it is appropriate to cut the moorings. More than once I have proven my inability to alter the course of another’s life in spite of endless encouragement and support. It amounts to laughable repetition to say that each of us is the sole vehicle of change in our respective lives.
As a desperate alternative, I suppose there is an argument to be made for remaining a disinterested bystander. This sort of removal may however amount to nothing more than a distinction without a difference. Either way one is not involved and it is no greater celebrity than being an inactive member of a service club. Such dilution of a relationship is treacherously close to its obliteration not to mention duplicity. There may come a point when the most important fact of the relationship to be acknowledged is that there isn’t one. By the time the disparities and hollowness of the association are allowed to flourish, the soil upon which it is grounded may have become infertile, a protracted death by inattention.
The tolerance of family members for the faults of one another is notorious as though such ties were either immortal or impossible to cut. This is an intellectual fraud. My experience has been that tolerance of discreditable behaviour among family members is merely an abuse by one of them. To choose to ignore alcoholism, financial indiscretion, offensive conduct or other effrontery from a family member is no less tolerable than from any other person. Usually its forebearance does nothing but perpetuate the problem.
It requires boldness to make a choice and to stick by the decision especially in these diaphanous matters of association. A moment’s reflection however proves the inutility of either ignorance or camouflage. Though it is easier to pretend to stay the course, it is frequently an unparalleled chicanery! It is besides – and perhaps most importantly – a destiny which cannot be postponed. No matter how one may persist to deny the problem or rephrase it, it will surface again and again. So much for warm and fuzzy!