(April, 1999)

P "Put-Downs"
from Jackie C.

Hi. I'm new to all this Internet stuff but was overjoyed to find your page. It has made me laugh about P, which I've never done before.

I have quite a bad flare up. Last year was very stressful for me ... I won't go into it, I wouldn't know where to start! ... anyway, through all that time, August 97 - June 98, P never showed itself. Then it decided to appear this January. Then again, I'm still going through some stress, but nothing to compare to last year.

Back to my reason for writing. This may be appropriate for your "Don't Say This" list. A very good friend a couple of years ago knew I was venturing on holiday, that I had P and was losing weight. She said to me, "You won't just be a beach whale on holiday, you'll be a scabby beach whale!" Nice friend, huh?

She isn't a friend of mine any longer. She seems to go through friends pretty fast.

Thanks again for cheering me up. -Jackie C.

*****

Ed's Response: Yea, it's going in the "Don't Say This" list. I'm glad your friend didn't deter you from losing the weight and going on holiday anyway.

I know two people like your ex-friend. People who communicate in put-downs. Honest to God, I think they believe they're building intimacy. When they say something that's just intolerably hurtful, and you respond defensively or in anger, they exacerbate the wound by implying you're stupid for not perceiving their "joke." I've known others who appeared to be growing the same interpersonal communications dysfunction (that's what it is), but somehow grew out of it.

Since the two I'm referring to who didn't grow out of it are unavoidable, I've developed this standard rejoinder to their jabs. It goes, "Ah, Michael. You skipped your meds this morning, didn't you? I can always tell!" It was funny the first time. Now they know when I say that it means I don't appreciate their jabs. But since they don't seem to know how to communicate without the put-downs, usually my line just brings an abrupt end to the conversation. Which is, by the way, quite all right with me. Stay in touch, Jackie. -Ed

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