And now meet Clarissa, the winner of the prize for the head that is more thoroughly empty of brains than anybody else’s. Because who else could have had the brilliant idea to have a breakfast of a pickled cucumber and coffee on the hottest day so far?

I’m trying to achieve a breakthrough on my chapter here but raising my blood pressure artificially is not the way. Stupid, stupid Clarissa.

On the positive side, today summer holidays officially begin for me. Tomorrow’s classes don’t count because I’m giving a mock final exam in al of my courses, and that’s a breeze. So I have exactly four months to finish my manuscript, submit it, and start working on my new (and super promising) project.

Also, this summer there will be a trip to Europe and to the Caribbean. And I’ll teach my online course for the first time. So you can imagine how many great posts we all have to look forward to.

Long live summer!

A Man Informs Women That Their Breasts Are Dispensable

It’s always so cute to see a guy dictate to women which of our body parts we should value:

I know I’ve said this before, but let me say it again: the problem with breast cancer is not that it takes breasts. Let it take them! Breasts aren’t all that important, really. The women they’re attached to are. . .

We don’t need to save breasts. Pace Westley, there isn’t currently a shortage of them. What we do need to save is the women they’re attached to. Women need to get breast exams and pap smears and colonoscopies and ECGs and regular check-ups because women are important. Their lives are important. Their health is important. Their breasts? Not so much.

Given that breasts are the second most powerful erogenous zone in a woman’s body (not in a man’s, though, so I can see why this blogger is getting so confused), it might be a good idea to leave the decision as to how important they are to each individual woman to that woman. Because people who see women as “attached to their breasts” are probably not the best experts on the complex balance of sexuality within each female body and cannot have any idea whatsoever how that balance might be disturbed by a mastectomy.

Do you see me write any posts advising men to just lop off that cancerous testicle because it isn’t that important anyways? No, you don’t. Because as a person who has no testicles, I don’t believe I’m entitled to an opinion as to how important they are to those who have them.

For some women, losing a breast is a tragedy and the end of the world. For other women, it definitely isn’t. Nobody has a right to screech that other people’s breasts “are not important.” They might not be important to you, but their owners might have a very different opinion. Women are not a monolith. We are not robots who all have the same specifications. We care about different things and value the same body parts in different ways.

There is overall too great a drive to shame women who refuse to have a mastectomy. Television shows love to depict such women – who do nothing more than exercise their authority over their own bodies – as vain and stupid. However, the attempt to impose one’s values and one’s vision of what is right onto another people’s bodies is always – and I repeat, always – a way of exhibiting a deep-seated aggression towards those people.

Narcissist, Part II

To give some real-life examples of actual narcissists I’ve met, here is a list of things narcissists are likely to do:

  1. Call you at 8 am on a Saturday and say, “What do you mean, you are still asleep? Get up already, I totally need to share this super funny story with you.”
  2. When you say, “It’s the end of the semester and I’m exhausted,” they respond by saying, “You are exhausted? Let me tell you how tired I am and then you’ll see what real exhaustion is like.”
  3. When you are comforting a weeping student in your office who has shared that her mother’s cancer has metastasized into her brain, they barge into the office and start sharing a joke they heard recently and really enjoyed.
  4. When you tell them you are getting married, they burst into tears and say, “How come you are getting married before I do?”
  5. Make demeaning comments about your new hairstyle, new dress, a recent publication, anything that makes you the center of attention, albeit momentarily.
  6. Expect you to guess and anticipate their wishes and get very angry when you can’t do that.
  7. Constantly share stories aimed at demonstrating how they are much  better than somebody else.
  8. Often use the sentence, “But what about me?”
  9. When they hear that X finally got pregnant after years of trying, they exclaim, “How could she do that to me? I was going to ask her to be a bridesmaid at my wedding this year!”
  10. Exhibit an insatiable need for compliments, accolades and praise, especially the kind where the narcissists come out as better than somebody else.
  11. Don’t care who they are competing with for attention. They are as likely to begrudge the attention given by others to a newborn baby as they are to resent the attention offered to a terminal patient on his deathbed.
  12. Take your things without bothering to ask for permission because they need them.
  13. Often accuse others of selfishness.

Now that we know how to identify narcissists, the question is, how do we deal with them?

The most important thing is that all of the tantrums, tears, heart attacks, fits of hysteria, headaches, etc. that the narcissist exhibits whenever s/he is thwarted in the attempts to be the center of attention are completely fake. They don’t take place when there is no audience. The narcissistic rage only occurs when spectators are present.

This is why the most important thing you need to do is stop being a spectator. Whenever the narcissist goes into a narcissistic rage or throws a tantrum, you need to remove yourself from the situation (leave the house, hang up the phone, etc.) immediately. Believe me, they will switch off their weeping and hysterics easier than it is for you to turn off the electricity.

Many people mistakenly believe that reassuring a narcissist, offering him or her enough attention and praise will finally sate the narcissist and put and end to the tantrums. In reality, however, it works the opposite way. The more you participate in the narcissist’s shows, the more likely s/he is to repeat and intensify them.

Remember, you cannot help a narcissist change. S/he is very happy and content with being a narcissist. You are the one who’s unhappy with being used, so it’s up to you to remove yourself from the narcissist’s field of  vision. A narcissist always has a group of enablers that tolerate the rages, the tantrums, and the performances. Do us all a favor and stop enabling the narcissist in your life.

A disclaimer for people who love to misread: the preceding description of narcissistic behavior had to do only and exclusively with adults. If you have a child who behaves this way, you need to ask yourself what possessed you to teach this form of a dialogue as the only possible one to your own child.

Narcissist, Part I

I just read a story on College Misery that reminded me about a topic I’ve been planning to discuss for a while. In the post, a prof shares a story of how his students were writing a final exam when, five minutes before the end, they heard a very loud bang on the unlocked but closed door. The prof went outside and discovered a student who mistakenly arrived late for the exam and vented his frustrations in this uncivilized manner:

Having made an error that was entirely the result of inattention or sloppiness (the schedule is perfectly clear), he then interrupted a room full of people who were stressed and trying to concentrate. HIS problem was so important he couldn’t wait even 5 minutes to have it addressed. Those other people obviously didn’t exist for him, and nor did the concept of taking responsibility for his action.
When I said, “I don’t see how this problem of your own creation justified interrupting everyone else’s exam,” it was like I was speaking an entirely foreign language. Other people don’t matter, and he wanted attention right then. 5 minutes be damned. Opening the door and coming into the room quietly be damned as well.

The student in this story is a perfect example of a narcissist. I now want to share with you how to identify narcissists in your life and how to deal with them productively.

A narcissist is a person for whom other humans exist only as spectators in his or her never-ending performance. The idea that other people might have thoughts, wishes, and desires of their own that have nothing to do with the narcissist and don’t serve the narcissist’s purpose are intolerable to her or him. When a narcissist is in a situation where s/he is not the center of attention, s/he:

  1. gets bored (if you are dealing with a mild case of narcissism);
  2. gets upset (a moderate case);
  3. gets angry (a severe case.)

A narcissist is likely to go into a rage whenever s/he discovers that, yet again, the world has not bent over backwards to accommodate the narcissist. In the story I quoted, this rage took the form of a student hitting the door as a way of attracting attention to himself.

A narcissist is always searching for a way to make other people useful to him or herself. When people are not directly engaged in servicing the narcissist, they become very annoying.

[To be continued. . .]

Arguing with Anti-choicers

Arguing with anti-abortionists is a waste of time. The idea that there can be a definitive logical argument that will convince them is deeply flawed. Anti-choicers don’t operate on the level of reason. They are driven by such powerful psychological needs that no argument will be potent enough.

Anti -abortionists are precisely those unwanted children who are obsessed with punishing the symbolic Mommy for not wanting them. Have you seen them rage and throw tantrums in front of abortion clinics? In the depths of their psyche, every woman who is walking into that clinic represents that eternally rejecting mother of their own. They go into such fits of fury because they are terrified that – this time – Mommy will finally manage to terminate them. Just imagine the plight of the guy who murdered Dr. Tiller. In his mind, the symbolic Daddy conspired with the symbolic Mommy to negate him on a regular basis. Of course, he blew up.

The good news is that the very existence of legal abortion makes it easier tor women to prevent such unwanted children,  children who are filled with rage and hatred they don’t even understand themselves,  from coming into existence.  The longer abortion exists as a legal and accessible procedure, the fewer unwanted children will be born. Of course, there will always be brainwashed and browbeaten women who will not dare to confess that they don’t want some or all of their children and will keep having unwanted children.  Those children, though,  will be a minority with no actual power.

Why do you think they are getting so rabid? Because they lost their fight and they know it.