6 thoughts on “I Do Want to Talk About It

  1. I think it would be a good idea to read some of the literature on resilience when you’re done with the books you’re reading now, Kalilily. I don’t have any titles at the tips of my fingers, but your library catalog should turn up something.

  2. Resilience: The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.
    The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed; elasticity.
    Until and unless one has been clinically depressed, stretched beyond elasticity, deflated of all bouyancy, it’s almost impossible to understand just how absent the capcity for resilience becomes. The goal of therapy is to restore the capacity for resilience. Then, of course, there’s the issue of which direction one bounces back toward. These books describe a direction for men’s resilience for which few men consciously opt, although many more are exploring it these days. And that’s the point. I will investigate books on resilience, although I think that becomes the result of engaging in the processes that these books describe. As for me? I’ve reinvented myself so many times that sometimes I feel as though I’ve led several totally different and sometimes concurrent lives: rebellious Catholic girl; sorority sister; wife and mother; raging feminist; disco queen; activist educator; recent grandmother; and now? Well, that’s the Crone’s journey. Resilience must be in my genes.

  3. Hello Elaine!
    May I offer you some well-intentioned, compassionate criticism? First, a disclaimer, I haven’t read Dr. Real’s book, though I suppose I’ll have to now. I have read a lot of books on similar subjects recently.
    First, you write: “Real’s books makes these points real, give them some objective validity.”
    I would be reluctant to ascribe the quality of “objective” validity to any account. Dr. Real is a therapist writing a book, which is great, but what he selects from his case histories will be those cases that most support his general thesis. It’s a subjective assessment, not an objective one. But you are correct in the sense that it does validate other accounts you have read or heard. I just caution against putting too much weight into one therapist’s views.
    Then you write: “Of course, I have a feeling that, as usual, it will be mostly women reading these books, women who are desperately trying to stay in relationships that, in their present form, are not in their best interest. So they’re trying to get a better understanding of the men with whom they live, the men who don’t want to talk about it. It is really the men who should be reading these books and then talking about them.”
    Oh, groan. How many things are wrong with this paragraph, dear Crone? It’s good that you preface your remark that this is a “feeling,” can’t argue with feelings, but then you derail. You write “as usual, it will be mostly women reading these books,” as if men don’t read such books. The “mostly” qualifier is negated by the “as usual.” The sentence can be constructed in different ways:
    1. Of course, I have a feeling that, as usual, it will be women reading these books.
    2. I have a feeling that it will be mostly women reading these books.
    There are two different messages in these sentences, and you mix them in your sentence. That “as usual” comes across as a dig at the male gender, that they are somehow deficient when it comes to reading books about relationships.
    You go on to imply that the women who will read these books are only women who are “desperately trying to stay in relationships…that are not in their best interest.” This then excludes all women, like yourself, who are reading the book simply for their own edification, and not because they’re in a toxic relationship. And, also by implication, it is only women who are in such relationships, not men. Again, you discount men.
    Then you commit the cardinal sin, you use the word “should” in connection with the third person. Are Crones granted some form of omniscience that affords them the knowledge of who “should” do what? Only men “should” read the book? I’ve learned that the word “should” is a flag. There’s another message here. “It is really the men who should be reading these books and then talking about them.” Well, that certainly absolves the female gender from responsibility, doesn’t it? Which sort of makes it clear where the problem originates, doesn’t it?
    This would be a pretty good world if it weren’t for all these men, wouldn’t it?
    Just trying to hold the same mirror up to your writing that you hold up to men’s. I know you’re not a sexist.
    (Sorry if some of the quotes are screwed up. I previewed the post and all the punctuation in the edit box got mangled into what I don’t know.)

  4. I will be much more careful in how I phrase my next book report. It’s hard not to write from personal experience and from personal knowledge of the experiences of other women I know. I don’t know the male experience because none of the men I know talk about it. I’m not in a toxic relationship because I quickly extricated myself from any that were so. (As a result, I’m not in any relationship.) My own experiences and feelings color what I say. I’m not a journalist or a therapist. I’m a personal essayist. I think that means I write from a very personal place. But I will try to choose my words more carefully. While I don’t think I’m a sexist, my experience is such (and my reading of many women’s blogs and writings is such) that it all leads me to believe that too many men still are not making efforts in the directions that Dr. Real suggests are required to make relationships work.

  5. Kalilily, I happen to have Been There, and if the epidemiologists on depression are correct (they say that 3+ major depressive episodes hand you a 90% chance of another one) I will likely Be There again someday. Careful about your assumptions.
    I still recommend the literature on resilience. It’s not what you think it is — it’s about how children overcome terrible growing-up environments. The applicability is, I hope, evident.

  6. I’ll be interested to read what the “experts” think are the variables that make it possible for some people to overcome terrible childhood experiences and some not. I wonder if it’s something with brain chemistry, or something in the genes? And sorry about the assumptions. I’ve gotta watch that; it’s one of my biggest faults.

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