Through a glass darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)KJV

Friday, April 03, 2009

Stuck on Stupid

A few years back, during Hurricane Rita, there was a military commander (LTG Honore) who coined this phrase when answering reporters' inane questions about the relief effort -the reporters kept asking why such and such was done in the past while the general was trying to give out information that would be helpful to the survivors. He chided them for being "stuck on stupid" for focusing on irrelevant details that could not be changed while ignoring potentially lifesaving info that needed to be broadcast.
I commented on a similiar phenomenon in post (Not All Gloom and Doom) three years ago in which I talked about people who were "stuck" in some trauma that had happened years ago. I know a couple of people who are frozen emotionally at the point of their marriage break-ups over forty years ago. They are almost like the character of Miss Haversham in Dicken's Great Expectations. Miss Haversham had been jilted on the day of her wedding many decades before, but had shut herself up in her house wearing her dress with the cake and flowers still laid out as though expecting her tardy groom to show. Her disappointment had turned to bitterness and bitterness into hatred for all men as she trained her young ward, Stella to exact revenge on males by breaking their hearts once they had fallen in love with her.
These real Miss Havershams continue to relive their moment of pain, sometimes crying their hearts out as if the trauma occurred yesterday. Like Miss Haversham though, their hurt has turned into bitterness and over time they have become quite unpleasant to be around, save for a select few that they allow in. The ones who are even worse are the ones who seek to settle the score -not with the actual object of their victimization (the villians themselves might be dead or out of the picture), but others that these Havershams view as apt surrogates. On more than one occaision, I have been unwillingly selected as their foil. I really want to say to them,"I am not X, get over it."
I've had a Miss Haversham in my life; I wish I knew what her problem was -she definitely seems stuck in what may have been a happier time for her when she was a teenager, but that was a very long time ago. She also doesn't seem to want to have "grown-ups" around who might frown on her childish ways. In her mind, I am the evil one -the one that ruined her blissful return to her youth (or perhaps I just remind her of the one) and so she attempts to "get even with me". How silly and pathetic! Her lack of forgiveness and lack of desire for healing only hurt her, not me. Her heart, like Miss Haversham's wedding cake, becomes dark and moldy, full of the sin of bitterness.
You might say, "Aha! I know exactly of whom you speak." No, unfortunately, you may guess wrong because there are more than one Miss Haversham-types around these days. However, if you see yourself as one who is stuck on stupid and is bitterly reliving the past in order to try to feel right about yourself, get some help. We all can get in a rut every once in a while -the Miss Havershams though, end up living there.