Quote Of The Day: Love And Criticism

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Quote Of The Day #75

there is no straight white line
it’s the bumps and the curves and obstacles
that make this road yours and mine”

Salena Godden

how can I not look at myself
in the reflective universe
off the silver tinged powder of August haze
how can I not look at myself
and love her too

Savannah Brown

I was reading some poems online to try to get a bit of inspiration so that I can write a practice poem. The next thing I knew, YouTube recommended a video that criticizes one of the poets and complains about her self promotion and self absorption. At first I thought this is done in a humorous way, but then I realized that the complainer in the video is dead serious and quite emotionally invested. I read the comments underneath the video, and one said that since he complained so passionately, he probably was in love with the poet.

This comment really made me chuckle since it reminded me of something happened long time ago when I was about 10 years old living on the campus of a rural college at the southern border of the Mongolian Steppe. Since it was a small and close knit community, one could learn stories of other people–how they got married, what they enjoyed doing, if they borrowed money from others etc. There was this couple. Before they got married, they were enemies, who worked in the same department. Let’s say the husband’s name is H and the wife’s name is W. H had a circle of friends with whom he shared his dislike of W, and W had a circle of female friends with whom she shared her low opinion about H. They were also verbally attacking each other whenever they met. And then suddenly one day, they announced that they were going to get married, and it really shocked everybody. It was such a betrayal to the community since their mutual antagonism had become an indispensable fun gossip. “How could they date each other in secret while criticizing each other in public? When did they start to date? What kind of game is this?”

Anyway, everybody was upset since H’s friends joined H when he said bad things about W, and W’s female friends assisted W in her complaint about H, often adding their own observations of H’s behaviors that is not to W’s liking.

This couple was about eight to ten years junior to my own parents. When this couple got married, everybody around them gave them gifts. At the time and in this region, people didn’t have much money to buy fancy gifts. So the custom was that people would bring food or clothes or whatever they had as gifts. There was no packaging necessary, and most of the gifts were piled at the corner. One of the gifts consisted of two small ceramic figurines–one was an angry man and the other was an equally angry woman. Since there was no packaging and no name tag, nobody knew who gave these two figurines as the wedding gift. It was rumored that the bride broke down in tears when she saw the figurines.

“I can’t believe that everybody pointed fingers on me. They think it was me who bought the figurines, but it was not me. They just blamed me without any evidence. I was so upset that I became the scapegoat, and the real perpetrator never stood up to admit the guilt.” My father would sometimes allude to this incident after a couple of alcohol at the dinner table.

I never dared to ask questions although I was burning with curiosity. My parents were serious narcissists who would shame and criticize me whenever I asked questions. I guess either they didn’t know the answer, or they didn’t have the interest or patience to interact with me. So I could only imagine that my father was probably a person who, in his narcissistic ways, laughed or shamed or antagonized other people. Anyway, he was a victim of his upbringing and developed many narcissistic traits as a result. He tried to be polite on the surface but his misanthropic style of thinking would routinely surface to annoy people around him. I guess when W and H wanted to find out the identity of the mischievous person who gave the figurine gifts, my father became an easy target and a very plausible suspect. In real life gossips, suspects are promptly convicted, in people’s mind at least, unless the whole mystery is solved. Unfortunately many real life mysteries are never solved and probably cannot be solved.

I never really knew W and H very well and didn’t understand their inter-personal dynamics. Now looking back, I still can’t understand why W and H did what they did if they really disliked each other that much.

12 thoughts on “Quote Of The Day: Love And Criticism

  1. Being from the southern edge of the Mongolian steppe and thinking about that region as well as the society that existed there, I can also guess that life was miserable there in the first place. This is also why people sniped at each other as a way of dealing with said misery.

    I had a Chinese friend who told me of the misery everyone experienced in China from the 1950s to the 1970s and that many people were just very angry at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for pointing that out. I have to say my writing didn’t reveal the kind of friendly atmosphere and layback attitude of the region. It is true that life is a bit of harsh in the place, but writing sad stories of it won’t really work. I’ve tried to make it more readable and fun, but I haven’t been able to master the skill.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My frame of reference comes from my time living in China as well. I even spent a week in Jilin province which is quite near Inner Mongolia and I had a different experience. If it is as laidback as you say it is, then I am coming from a wrong assumption.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I have to say from Jilin to the southern end of Siberia, it is really wild. I think I didn’t express it well when I said “laidback” since it is not an accurate description. Probably because it was a rural college and people around me knew they had to hide their claws in an education setting. Anyway, it was a tough terrain and tough environment, but my trouble was almost all concentrated in my own narcissistic family since I was being emotionally bullied and starved every day at home. Other people were actually normal in comparison. It was my own family’s narcissism, and my own female relatives aggressiveness, which were the main oppressor in my life.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Many victims end up narcissists themselves unfortunately. You know, now that you mention that YT video, it reminds me of something similar. There’s a poem I love and at one point I watched a guy complain about it on his video without understanding the hidden meaning behind it and why the author wrote it. And the comments all agreed with him because I assume they didn’t know the story behind the poem either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s so true. That’s why narcissism is so contagious. I think my grandma has raised 9 narcissistic children and about equal number of narcissistic grandchildren. For the victims, even if they are victims, and even if they want to change, they often behave in a narcissistic way either by habit or by mental trauma. It is heartbreaking. And for that YT video, I hope you didn’t go there to tell people the hidden meaning of the poem. Please don’t. I once did something like that, and I ended up being trolled. So I immediately deleted my comment. Life is too short to get oneself involved in unnecessary battles.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never comment on YT lol. People there are either trolls or just plain rude. There are rarely positive responses so I never bother commenting even when I’m right.
        The issue with narcissism in families is that it’s so difficult to get away from the narcissists and when you’re a victim you’re all alone with no support.


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