There's been the occasional Ballas article where the man was simply wrong, as it happens, or amusingly sophomoric, or even ridiculously blinded by whatever internalized ideologyi. These are fortunately rare.
Moments ago I've however run into a piece that is absolutely and patently fucking insane to a degree you can scarcely imagine. And yet, it remains coherent in its insanity, which is why I think it rather instructive a subject. Let's go through it with the note pen!
You get married in your twenties, but 20 years and three great kids later, not to mention the idyllic farm in Big Sky country, you seem to have made it. The rest is coasting.
From the NYT:
Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: "I don't love you anymore. I'm not sure I ever did. I'm moving out. The kids will understand."
Wouldn't be the first middle aged man who suddenly realized he belonged not with his family but in a pre-furnished uptown apartment living on take-out. ii They say that the older kids get over it, but that sounds like something a psychiatrist would say, i.e. completely made up.iii
His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, "I don't buy it." Because I didn't.
She figured that this was a mid-life crisis; not another woman, or a failing on her part, but the discovery that his "personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did." So, she treated it like "a child's temper tantrum": she ignored it. For four months.
Not ignored him: she included him in all family activities, talked to him, set a place for him. But she refused to engage in discussions about separation.
So he turned mean. "I don't like what you've become."v
Gut-wrenching pause. How could he say such a thing? That's when I really wanted to fight. To rage. To cry. But I didn't.
Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: "I don't buy it."
He was... surprised. He tried different ways to get through to her, but she kept "not buying it."
"Go trekking in Nepal. Build a yurt in the back meadow. Turn the garage studio into a man-cave. Get that drum set you've always wanted. Anything but hurting the children and me with a reckless move like the one you're talking about...vi What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?"
My first reaction was: this woman is insane. e.g.:
(To her husband) It's not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents' happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who'll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy. There are times in every relationship when the parties involved need a break. What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?vii
I don't know what that means, but I'm pretty sure I don't like it.
And this clear example of needing to go on/off pills:
You see, I'd recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself.viii I'd committed to "The End of Suffering." I'd finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control.ix
What put me off was her unwillingness to see him on his terms. Identity may be arbitrary and malleable, but the one with the body has a bigger claim to it, right? She wanted him a certain way, he didn't want to be that way, and she didn't care. She wanted to be the one who chose his identity.
Also, she was a writer which made me suspect the whole thing. Why does this stuff always happen to writers and not longshoremen?x
But as I mulled it over for two months, I had to defer, this woman had it right. She didn't overthink it. The obvious thing to do would be to take it personally ("he's not in love with me because I'm old and fat"); the easy thing to do would be to use it to air out old angers with him ("you always took your mother's side!"); and the tempting thing to do would be to do therapy on him ("don't you think you feel this way because you're old and fat?")
But instead she let it evolve naturally. She got out of the way and let him do exactly what it was he wanted to do, which was, specifically, choose his own identity. xi What she hoped, of course, was that he'd choose the one he already hadxii for the past twenty years. But it was a gamble, because he could have chosen to become a middle aged man who prowls airport bars looking for stewardesses. (I'll preempt your joke: when I did it I was a very young.xiii )
The analogy is to adolescence, where the more you badger them about their ____, the more they're going to believe they really want ____; because they aren't identifying with ____, they are identifying with not-you. That's what teens do, that's what anyone who feels their identity is being decided by others.
He, representative of too many men, wanted not to be something new, he just didn't want to be anything decided by someone else, even if he actually likes that thing. xiv I came to understand this when I reread his quote, with the additional last sentence:
...you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: "I don't love you anymore. I'm not sure I ever did. I'm moving out. The kids will understand. They'll want me to be happy.
Why would this nut think that they would want him to be happy? On some level they might, but why would they choose his happiness over theirs, or their mom's? "They'll want me to be happy" are the words of someone who has no idea what he wants, and so picks the meaningless word "happy."
I had to concede that she does know him better than he knows himselfxv, after twenty years; not because she has seen into his soul but because she hasn't: she's seen what he's done, repeatedly, for twenty years. That's who he is, regardless of who he says he is. xvi
Not great example, but: he says "I love japanese culture, I love japanese food" but she knows to find him at the burger joint and not the sushi place. Who he is is "a guy who just says he likes sushi, but does like burgers."
Also, hopefully, she has a sense of what are his values-- again, not what he says they are, but what he does. So she might find it legitimately out of character that he wants to move out since, for example, he could tolerate her infidelity just to stay near his kids.xvii
So if we grant her a particularly unique perspective on her husband, then she may be in a position to know what's a phase and what's not.
And hence what she did- potentially humiliating and even futile-- was the right gambit.xviii
Here's the depressing part: if she had let him go, via arguing or clinging or whatever-- then he probably would not ever regret his decision to leave. Living at the Residence Inn, he would sincerely think he had made the right choice, that he had to move on.xix
But he wouldn't be any happier. Different life, sure, but not better. This is what Laura intuited. He may as well have moved from Cleveland to Indianapolis and swapped Lacoste for Polo. "Wow, this is so much better." Meanwhile, he's left behind a perfectly good life.xx
Everyone will tell me their situation is different and it may be, so I'll say it like this: if outside, impartial people who know you both perceive it to be a mid-life crisis and not a fundamental problem in the relationship, then bank on it. The problem isn't the relationship, the problem is you.
One thing I almost forgot: Laura's husband is a dying breed.
The trend now-- generation <40-- is for the woman to have the mid-life crisis. Before you jump on men, it's a combination of factors.xxii
On the male side, the drive for novelty and nueva vida loca is turned inwards, so that rather than chase new experiences they close off from the outside world and dream them. They don't end relationships, they stay caulked to the inside of one, unmoving, ungrowing, apathetic; while their minds and DVRs are an imaginarium. The few things they do choose to jump recklesslsy into are obvious go-nowheres: one night stands (for the married man)xxiii; making a movie; daytrading. They're easy to attempt, and easy to blame on externalities when they inevitably fail.
They don't break up with the girl, they ignore her until she breaks up with them.
On the female side: well, reverse 50 years of history and it's what men went through. Promised the world as described by Coca Cola and whatever TV show was popular at the time. All opportunities are open to anyone who wants to work, a new car, a big house, a career. But no one told the men that those things were for their families, not for them, that none of this would make them happy, and, indeed, would make them realize how little their lives are really worth-- unless they understood that their lives had value only if it was of value to someone else. xxiv So for a while they chased sex, affairs, or took up an out of the house hobby (e.g.golf). Something to give them the temporary illusion that they were free, and that the world had possibilties, not pot roast and pot bellies.
That's where women are, encouraged like the men had been by media images that say, "of course you can! (if you have the right bag)." You can't. It didn't make men happyxxv, and it sure won't make you happy. If you think it looks stupid when a 40 year old man buys a convertible or has to go find himself or chases a 20 year old intern, think how stupid it looks when the woman does it.
Women since 1980 have been sold a big fat lie, the same one the men were sold since 1945. It didn't turn out well for them. It did make men drink more, so you can look forward to that.xxvi
Weird, huh ?———
- This generally revolves around his mistaken notion that "all people are valuable" which paints him into various ridiculous corners, such as "I gotta watch TV". You'd think someone so keenly aware of the nonsense of media would be using his time other than to watch Carrie Horseface in Carrie Horseface's Adventures II, but no such luck. He's not willing to forego the notion that people are in and of themselves, by merely existing, valuable - he'd have to reevaluate things such as "being a doctor" and other identitarian investments and obviously isn't inclined to do that.
If you'd rather have another example, take his deep misunderstanding of the heroic Joe Stack : he's decided apriori that "killing is never right", and so obviously Joe Stack must be wrong, incomprehensible, unpersuasive, disorganised, failed to show, whatever it takes. Just as long as one doesn't have to take a serious look at the duty to kill government agents incumbent on any US resident, all's gravy. [↩]
- Let's delve into this for a moment. So, the proposition is that the woman is to be left with the house, and the "family", and the pretense of centrality, whereas the man must move on and be a sort of aged teen again ?
How about we construct the exact mirror alternative. The master of the house says : "I tire of you and your spawn", which means that the woman has until sundown to vacate the premises, taking her entire objectionable litter with her, or else be stoned to death. Not even by the husband himself, there's a special service offered by the local pest controllers, they take care of the whole thing and it's like a hundred bucks or whatever, just like any other infestation of your house. Did you notice that possesive there ? Your house ? Hold on to that, it's important. Alternatively, she can come up with sweeteners, such as you know, sleeping in the garage, convincing her sister to spend more time in your bed, whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.
Why that and not this ? Oh, because this is insane ? How do you know that isn't insane ? Because it's what you do ? Good for you, but this is what I do. So now what ?
The fact that you've never even considered this matter, at all, as a plain and simple intellectual exercise, "hmm, I'm thinking of A, I wonder what non-A would look like", idly, for no other reason than to have some cause, a little, a tiny bit of a modicum of cause when you pretend to yourself and others that "you've thought things through" is already damning. That this schmuck has spent countless hours filling endless pages over years with various screeds against narcissism (most of which pretty well done and on point) yet sees no problem whatsoever with a married woman who is very content yet at the same time surprised by the discontentment of her husband... really ?
Where I come from if you're unperceptive enough to not know when the man's displeased that's a beating right there, and I don't mean it jokingly. A cane can bite those buttocks, the marks stay for a week, the soreness will be there in the morning. What's made narcissism in
womenold, fat, boring, middle aged ex-women so special that it gets a pass ? Are they niggers or something now, natural phenomena, items devoid of spirit and intellect ? Laissez. [↩]
Who gives a flying fuck about the dumbass kids is perhaps even more interesting. So they won't get over it ? Big whoop. There's more kids coming right after them. They can either get over anything and everything or else go hang, entirely at their option.
O noes, the kids won't get over it, that's a criteria now, in America. Will the goats get over it ? [↩]
- And this doesn't count as domestic abuse, by the insane logic of the nazist state, because... well...
Consider the simpler situation of subway nuisances. You wish to sit in your seat undisturbed. There's two kinds of disturbances you can run into : that the person next is fat, and their folds are pushing at you, which they shouldn't be ; or that the person next is holding their knees apart, and their knees are pushing at you, which they shouldn't be. Only one of these two perfectly equivalent in principle (but otherwise sorted by descending inconvenience) nuisances is the subject of statal repression these days. Guess which ?
No, they don't have ads in the subway going "fat women are an insult to society", no they don't have steel bars at the entryways to make it impossible for the overweight to get in and bother people. Instead, they derp about "manspreading". Why this and not that ? Because while they are both intentional actions of responsible agents, the decision of the man to stretch is right there, whereas the decision of the woman to overeat is one step removed. That's all. That's the way the nazist state works, and that's why passive-aggressive behaviour is so common these days (in some places) : in the nazist atmosphere it actually is adaptative.
So back to our case : the woman has some thug friends that will come beat up the guy if he puts her in his place. On this differential of power, she decides to... abuse the relationship. And this is ok, because unlike his taking off the belt and making her into leopard print, which is direct, her abuse is one step removed, and therefore a-ok, in der Nazional-Socialismus.
So she's going to push the point, "what are you gonna do about it ?" The same Ballas that astutely notices a stupid woman "is practically daring a man to like her", "You think I'm pretty? Bam! Now I have a kid! What do you think of that?" somehow misses it here. Why would he miss it here ? [↩]
- He turned mean. The man victimized by a well armed, systematic agressor that used to masquerade as his spouse pointing out the transformation is mean. How about that!
Hooray for cognitive kill switches, another topic Ballas seems to otherwise have well mastered. It's inappropriate to interrupt your agressor with discussion of his aggression, right ? I knew it, damn! Every rapist hates it when the worthless whore screams, I just had no idea why that is, before. IT WAS MEAN ALL ALONG! I am now enligthened.
Or wait. Perhaps it was inappropriate ? What do you think dear reader, was it mean, or was it inappropriate ? Or was it rather bumstcz ? Perhaps these words don't even carry any notional content whatsoever, they're just political ploys ? Could it be ? [↩]
This is, I presume, not rampant narcissism, as diagnosed by the narcissism expert. This is just... right ? Mmmkay. [↩]
- Translated : "how can I make it so that we actualize this fantasy of mine where you don't matter and it's all about me anyway and no matter what ?" [↩]
- I would very much love to see this one in court. O wait, we already have. "I have hereby committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself that Maritime Law and whatchamacall it therefore forthwith!"
- Indulge me, what is this other part of success that "outside" success differentiates from ? Confabulation ? Delirium ? "I am a very successful civil engineer that's outwardly had some bridges collapse, but whatever - inside me they're still standing man!", something like that ?
The time the idiot finally exiles the voices in his head telling him about reality is the time you call the pest control unit to dispose of the body. [↩]
- Because writers marry pencildicks. [↩]
- Yeah. Makes sense.
You know who else did something this sensible ? Owners in New York cca 1890. They... took a step back and let the poor immigrants choose their identity : do they wanna be dead of TB at 17, after a life spent in a strange brick prison, or do they wanna be dead of starvation now ? Seems perfectly legitimate. Hey, it's their choice!
What the fuck is he going to pay for the garage with, and much more on point : how about he sells her sweet ass to his best friend Antron, so she can also "make up her own mind" : anal or no anal ? Oh, you don't do that there. Where, there ? White Pencildickia ? Mmmkay. [↩]
- Except he hadn't. She had. [↩]
- I'll also pre-empt this "joke" : do it to me and you'll need a dentist appointment. Which you might or might not get, and like it. [↩]
- Except he doesn't, because nobody other than a menopausal woman could like it, and God knows half of them don't either. It's just not a thing to like, and unsurprisingly people don't like it for as long as they can stand. Some for even longer than that. [↩]
- And after you get to spend twenty years from twenty onward in a prison of her own design, she'll know you better than you know yourself, too. Principally because you won't even be yourself, like one of those pears grown in a small bottle, you'll just be "whatever's left around the glass". [↩]
- Quite exactly correct. If you value your identity, you have to, let me repeat that, you have to beat her, let me repeat that, beat her, the first time, let me repeat that, the first time she tries for this. And you have to beat her so bad she does not believe, at the time, she will survive the experience.
Alternatively, you could just redecorate the garage. Or perhaps the doghouse. Either way.
No, this is not open to any sort of discussion. I know you just want to... It doesn't matter.
Oh, you don't live in the sort of culture that "allows" that ? Mkay. [↩]
- Right, right. That's how this works.
He could tolerate her having kids with other dudes just so he can stay near... his kids. Makes perfect sense, now tell me more about Apple's valuable "intellectual property" that just so happens to be all in Chinese hands, it'll make great dinner conversation. Could he sell "his" kids for all of Russia ? [↩]
- To quote the very author, why would anyone want to be involved with a loser like that ? [↩]
- Chiefly because he would have.
Just like every other battered wife (yes, in this relationship the supposedly - I don't buy it - male is actually the wife) at the battered wife shelter thinks that the roaches on the wall suck and the food selection is miserable but THANKS GOD. [↩]
- And the rape victim has left a perfectly good cock. What the fuck's your point, Jesus almighty! [↩]
- I generally do not hold the same position : neither this particular schmuck, nor any other rape victim, generally deserves what they got. But apparently US-born and bred, educated psychiatrists disagree. Just as long as the woman is being played by a man, it's all gravy, apparently, or somesuch. [↩]
- Yeah, it's a combination of factors.
The factors being, that they get to keep the house and the kids and the pretense of centrality. So they're the men now. So they get the men stuff. "Combination of factors" consisting of divorce court and "must make arrest on domestic disturbances" policies which somehow do not result in an arrested Fido, or female. And other such combined factors. [↩]
- Every woman I ever had any sort of meaningful relationship with started with a one night stand.
But apparently this wisdom only applies to you know, "journeys". Nothing else, even the longest journey begins with a single step but otherwise, one night stands are obvious go-nowheres (which is how we say "obviously going nowhere" when acutely retarded). [↩]
- O yah, I'm sure that's what it is.
And yet he deeply comprehends that
Of course the idea is to get rich-- which sounds like capitalism, if you're retarded, but observe the message that is being taught: that the necessary correlate to getting rich is to give all the capital to someone else. The power is traded for the fetish of power. That's not capitalism, it is madness, and apparently Davos and Randi think women especially will heart it.
But then turns around and sells the same cheese. Oh this time it's different, you see. I'm sure it is. [↩]
- It did make men happy. It did make men happy. It didn't make retarded adolescents anything but feel inadequate, but guess what : when you fail the exam of life, the problem isn't the exam, or life.
The problem is you. [↩]
- This is the most insane part of the whole get-up. He actually understands most of it. And yet...
Blindspots in intelligent people are a fascinating thing. [↩]