Sometimes you will be confronted with unreasonable demands from others. People at times set conditions for relationships that are grimly unfair: whenever I’m upset with you, I get to confront you immediately; you have to patiently respect my right not to deal with your hurt until some time far in the future. I cannot be patient when I’m in great pain, you must always be patient and calm with me when you think I hurt you. Shit like that.
You can say these kinds of conditions are endgame scenarios, they are imposed when everything is so fucked up betwen people that all they have left is their reflex to defend themselves at all costs. I wouldn’t argue. In a mutually empathetic relationship you will not encounter these kinds of unreasonable asymmetries. They arise from long held grievance, which accrues until the weight of it becomes unbearable to one party, who then feels compelled to inflict it on the other party.
These childish conditions are imposed in an unthinking attempt to make things right, somehow. Everything harmful that I do is purely unintended, a mistake, forgivable human weakness, for godsake, and everything bad that you do flows from your disrespect, malice and sadism.
“You are a reflexive sadist, I realize you can’t help being a sadist, probably, but that is your default setting for treating others, or at least for treating me. You’re aggressive, threatening and mean as a goddamned snake.” If you have a productive response for that, one that will change the view of the speaker, you’re more inventive than I am. When someone frames things to me that way, in stunning black and white, it’s time to move to the next car.
I have a friend who listens patiently to my horror stories. He is sympathetic, offers whatever insight he might have, tells me a related story from his own life. That is truly all a friend can do when we are up against it, listen, relate, offer his best ideas. Our need to vent sometimes has us persist, once a friend has done all these things. At that point my friend would nip that shit instantly with a simple “wee, wee, wee!”, said in a mocking, singsong cadence reminiscent of a crying cartoon baby, or piglet.
“Wee wee wee!” is a great, shorthand evocation of this kind of childish need to insist, beyond the limits of all reasonable conversation. It makes me laugh, snaps me out of it, as I realize I’m now behaving like a fucking giant baby — and that I don’t have to.