Friday, November 30, 2018

What Should She Do with Her Shame?

Imagine that you have made a mess of your life. You are 35-years old and female. You thought that life was an adventure, so you went out to seize the day. You seized the day, day after day… and you have ended up with nothing. You feel that you have failed. You feel like the life is draining out of you.

Let’s say that you want to top it off with one last futile gesture. What do you do? Why, you write to the notably mentally challenged advice columnist called Ask Polly. (via Maggie’s Farm) You must know that Polly will come up with something soul-deadeningly stupid. You will not be wrong.

And yet, if you think that Polly can will help you, then we should start by questioning your judgment.

Anyway, here is the latter, written by a woman who calls herself Haunted:

I feel like a ghost. I’m a 35-year-old woman, and I have nothing to show for it. My 20s and early 30s have been a twisting crisscross of moves all over the West Coast, a couple of brief stints abroad, multiple jobs in a mediocre role with no real upward track. I was also the poster child for serial monogamy. My most hopeful and longest lasting relationship (three and a half years, whoopee) ended two years ago. We moved to a new town (my fourth new city), created a home together, and then nose-dived into a traumatic breakup that launched me to my fifth and current city and who-knows-what-number job.

For all these years of quick changes and rash decisions, which I once rationalized as adventurous, exploratory, and living an “original life,” I have nothing to show for it. I have no wealth, and I’m now saddled with enough debt from all of my moves, poor decisions, and lack of career drive that I may never be able to retire. I have no career milestones and don’t care for my line of work all that much anyway, but now it’s my lifeline, as I only have enough savings to buy a hotel room for two nights. I have no family nearby, no long-term relationship built on years of mutual growth and shared experiences, no children. While I make friends easily, I’ve left most of my friends behind in each city I’ve moved from while they’ve continued to grow deep roots: marriages, homeownership, career growth, community, families, children. I have a few close girlfriends, for which I am grateful, but life keeps getting busier and our conversations are now months apart. Most of my nights are spent alone with my cat (cue the cliché).

I used to consider myself creative — a good writer, poetic, passionate, curious. Now, after many years of demanding yet uninspiring jobs, multiple heartbreaks, move after move, financial woes, I’m quite frankly exhausted. I can barely remember to buy dish soap let alone contemplate humanity or be inspired by Anaïs Nin’s diaries. Honestly, I find artists offensive because I’m jealous and don’t understand how I landed this far away from myself.

Also, within the past year I’ve had a breast-cancer scare and required surgery on my uterus due to a fertility issue. On top of that, I’m 35 and every gyno and women’s-health website this side of the Mississippi is telling me my fertility is dropping faster than a piano falling out of the sky. Now I’m looking into freezing my eggs, adding to my never-ending financial burden, in hopes of possibly making something of this haunted house and having a family someday with a no-named man.

I’m trying, Polly. I am. I’m dating. I’m working out and working hard. Listening to music I enjoy and loving my cat. Calling my mom. Yet I truly feel like a ghost. No one knows who I am or where I’ve been. I haven’t kept a friend, lover, or foe around long enough to give anyone a chance. What’s the point? I don’t care for my job. I’m not building toward anything, and I don’t have the time or money to really invest in what I care about anyway at this point. On top of that, society is telling me my value as a woman is fading fast, my wrinkles require Botox (reference said poor finances), all the while my manager is asking for me to finish “that report by Monday.” Why bother?

My apathy is coming out in weird ways. I’m drinking too much, and when I do see my friends on occasion, I end up getting drunk and angry or sad or both and pushing them away. And with men I date, I feel pressure to make something of the relationship too soon (move in, get married, “I have to have kids in a couple of years”; fun times!). All the while still trying to be the sexpot 25-year-old I thought I was until what seemed like a moment ago.

I used to think I was the one who had it all figured out. Adventurous life in the city! Traveling the world! Making memories! Now I feel incredibly hollow. And foolish. How can I make a future for myself that I can get excited about out of these wasted years? What reserves or identity can I draw from when I feel like I’ve accrued nothing up to this point with my life choices?

One feels, because one does have a few feelings, that Haunted was living the life that therapy had prescribed. And that feminism had been touting. She was liberated from classical roles. She made her own rules. She went for the gusto and she just found out that this new lifestyle, this new life plan, was a ruse to dupe the gullible. She discovered that it does not work.

Of course, she does not know that it didn’t work. She does not tell us who led her down this path. She threw off traditional rules and rules, only to discover that this left her with nothing.

Dare I say, Polly does not understand any of this. Polly does not even consider why this woman feels like a failure. Polly thinks that it’s all about shame… presumably because Polly read a book about shame. Since said book, I assume, was as vapid and worthless as the average Polly column, she found it illuminating. To the point where she feels qualified to pontificate on the subject… the better to make Haunted’s life worse.

As for Polly’s inability to understand shame, she wants to make friends with it. She wants to show this woman how to diddle with her shame in the dark. And Polly has no idea how to overcome shame.

Anyway, here is a snippet of her heartfelt response:

Shame is the opposite of art. When you live inside of your shame, everything you see is inadequate and embarrassing. A lifetime of traveling and having adventures and not being tethered to long-term commitments looks empty and pathetic and foolish, through the lens of shame. You haven’t found a partner. Your face is aging. Your body will only grow weaker. Your mind is less elastic. Your time is running out. Shame turns every emotion into the manifestation of some personality flaw, every casual choice into a giant mistake, every small blunder into a moral failure. Shame means that you’re damned and you’ve accomplished nothing and it’s all downhill from here.

You need to discard some of this shame you’re carrying around all the time. But even if you can’t cast off your shame that quickly, through the lens of art, shame becomes valuable. When you’re curious about your shame instead of afraid of it, you can see the true texture of the day and the richness of the moment, with all of its flaws. You can run your hands along your own self-defeating edges until you get a splinter, and you can pull the splinter out and stare at it and consider it. When you face your shame with an open heart, you’re on a path to art, on a path to finding joy and misery and fear and hope in the folds of your day. Even as your job is slow and dull and pointless, even as your afternoons alone feel treacherous and daunting, you can train your eyes on the low-hanging clouds until a tiny bit of sunlight filters through. You are alive and you will probably be alive for many decades to come. The numbers on your credit-card statements can feel harrowing, but you can take that feeling and keep it company instead of letting it eat you alive. You can walk to the corner store to buy a newspaper and pull out the weekend calendar section and circle something, and make a commitment to do that one thing. You can build a new kind of existence, one that feels small and flawed and honest, but each day you accumulate a kind of treasure that doesn’t disappear. Because instead of running away from the truth, you welcome it in. You don’t treat what you have as pointless. You work with what you have.

All sensible thinkers know that the way to get rid of shame is to apologize and to get back on the road to propriety. Has this woman been acting indecorously? Has she been engaging in too many hookups? I suspect that she has. Women feel ashamed of themselves when they give it away too cheaply. Haunted does not mention it. Polly does not mention it either. So, I assume that Haunted is ashamed of her behavior.

What do you do when you are ashamed of your behavior? You do not diddle with the shame. You change the way you behave. You begin by learning to play by the rules. You might even buy a copy of a much and unjustly derided volume called The Rules. She should try dating and courtship.

Surely, Polly understands nothing of this. She thinks that shame is like something you look at under the microscope, like an amoeba:

Living in reality means becoming a scientist of shame. It’s an investigation. I can look at my shame, consider it, lament it, celebrate it, treasure it — how it changes the atmospheric pressure, how it makes it possible for me to reach out, to other people, in the hopes of making some connection, how it opens my eyes to the beautiful little awkward minutes of this day. My shame is the fuel that keeps me writing. My shame is the fuel that makes me exercise. My shame gives me a lens for understanding my husband and my kids. My shame makes my work possible. My shame — when I invite it in and forgive it — builds my empathy for others.

You should certainly rid yourself of shame. You do not do so by making it into art. You cannot do so by toying with it. In the end, it will beat you. It counts as the most corrosive emotion, but it cannot be dealt with by introspecting and feeling your feelings.

When you get caught with your pants down, you feel shame. You should not contemplate the experience, and become a scientist of shame. You should not even make it into art. You should, if you have a modicum of good sense, pull your pants up. If you don’t, if you decide not to do so, but prefer to get in touch with your feelings of shame, you will be defeated, if not destroyed. That's what happened to Haunted. She does not understand it. Polly understands less.

Hillary Clinton's Cult Followers

Herewith and henceforth you are hereby prohibited from ever saying that women are too emotional to lead. It is a vile and disgusting sexist slur. You are also forbidden from ever saying that women are not perfectly rational beings, from whom the light of reason shines forth like a beacon.

After all, we have the eminently rational Hillary Clinton running around the nation whining about how maybe she didn’t really lose the last presidential election. Her Hillaryness gives special meaning to the term sore loser. Emotionally overwrought Hillary continues to show us why she lost an eminently winnable election.

As though that is not bad enough, Hillary’s supporters, her cult followers, have taken to caterwauling over the gross and obscene injustice of it all. The cult to Hillary has begotten the #MeToo movement, whereby women who had been sexual assaulted feel compelled to go public with accusations against famous men. And whereby all other women, especially those who had been assaulted themselves have joined the outrage chorus. For those who had not been assaulted, their empathy placed them firmly on the side of those women who had been.

But, it did not just make them empathetic. It made them into emotional basket cases, filled and consumed with rage, spewing hatred against all men, even the men they had chosen to marry. You see, New York Magazine, has offered us a series of illuminating portraits of women who have just lost it… emotionally, that is. Who have become so completely outraged that they are, in some cases, breaking up home and family. Is this current wave of outrage more or less likely to believe that women can exercise cool headed leadership.

For what? For Hillary Clinton.

Of course, it’s totally irrational. To make Hillary Clinton the leader of a cult against sexual harassment is risible and absurd. To blame Donald Trump for their lack of self-control is equally ridiculous.

But, our journey into the ridiculously incoherent is just starting. In the world of pungent ironies Barack Obama’s statement that Hillary Clinton was the most qualified candidate ever to run for the American presidency stands forth. I hope you did not believe that he was being serious. Obama was also being ironic when he declared that Hillary Clinton was likeable enough. If there’s anything that she has never been, it’s being likeable.

The most colossal, world class irony lies in the simple fact that Hillary owes her political career, such as it was, to her ability to enable a serial sexual predator. Two decades ago Hillary and the feminist sisterhood took up arms and womanned the battlements in order to protect Bill Clinton against charges, among other things, of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The message was clear. Any man who supported feminism would be allowed to do whatever he wanted to women… up to and including rape. Collectively, they gave a green light to sexual predators. Great job, ladies!

The notion that women are taking a stand against sexual harassment and sexual assault in the name of Hillary Clinton is thoroughly irrational. Women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted by media figures like Harvey Weinstein should be outraged at the fact that this friend of Bill and Hillary understood that he could get away with anything, as long as he supported the right causes.

Today’s outraged women would, if they were thinking clearly, direct their ire against the Clintons. After all, the Clinton sex scandals lowered the standards for acceptable behavior… and contributed to the assaults that the new outraged feminists are now blaming on Donald Trump.

Fair enough, Trump bragged about groping women. He got away with it because he was running against Bill Clinton’s wife. You cannot make the case against bad personal behavior when you have spent the better part of your adult life condoning, excusing and defending someone who manifested bad sexual behavior. It was like running an election campaign against Obamacare while nominating a man who was the architect of American socialized medicine. By nominating Mitt Romney, Republicans gave away the Obamacare issue. By nominating Hillary Clinton, Democrats gave away the sexual harassment issue.

In any event, New York Magazine shows us some women who have become emotionally overwrought about Trump.

One woman finds the Trump election more trying than ending her marriage:

What’s funny is talking about the Trump election makes me more emotional than the end of my marriage. I’d been drinking the data Kool-Aid on how utterly unavoidable Clinton’s win was, and I volunteered to be an election-site partner. I was going to be part of the process that elected the first woman president! This is so dorky, but I even wore white in honor of the suffragettes. By the time I walked out of the polling center, though, Donald Trump was the presumptive winner. It was crushing.

Another woman is up in arms because her husband did not feel as deeply and as irrationally as she did:

We’ve been married 25 years, and we’re both lefties, and he thinks Trump is as much of a blight on the world as I do. But throughout the hiring of the Steve Mnuchins of world, the white privileged men, and with every single Cabinet member and Jared Kushner and Ivanka, he had much less rage than I did.

She claims that her toxic rage has not yet broken up their marriage:

It hasn’t broken up our marriage. But the rage that I feel, the toxicity I exhibit is something he often doesn’t understand.

Another woman explains that her emotions are so out-of-control that she cannot even hear the other side of any argument. It is not improving marital communication:

Part of what causes fights is that I don’t want to hear his side, and he hates that. Mostly I tell him he needs to think about this more clearly before he talks to me about it, and then I walk away. I’ve heard his side for 30 years. I’m ready to hear new points of view. Change can’t happen if we keep talking about excusing behavior.

We respect another woman’s anger about her own experience, but we would respect it more if she showed any understanding of due process.

My friends, a man and a woman, took the position that a man shouldn’t have his reputation ruined because of an allegation. I disagreed, and as the conversation kept going, I got upset. Finally I said that it’s obvious none of them had been sexually assaulted, and I think that the statistics bear out that women never get due process when they’ve accused someone.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but due process is for the accused, not the accuser. But, don’t let that temper your outrage.

In the end, emotional incontinence is theatre. It's not even good theatre. It's all for the drama. It's so thoroughly divorced from any sense of reality that it brings to mind a Hamlet soliloquy... one he utters upon watching some actors. In place of the male actor, substitute a female actress, and you will get the message.:

Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing—
For Hecuba!
What’s Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba….

What's Hillary to them or them to Hillary. The thing is, Hillary Clinton does not care about women. She cares about Hillary.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Another Last Word on Psychoanalysis

From The New Yorker:

Image may contain: one or more people

The Real American Anti-Semites

For reasons that defy reason, Marc Lamont Hill commands respect in the mainstream media. He teaches at Temple University and began his career as a public intellectual on shows like The O’Reilly Factor. Currently, he is a commentator on CNN.

Being a loser, Hill is inexorably drawn to anti-Semitism. Yesterday he addressed the U.N. International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and called for the destruction of the state of Israel.

Naturally, many people have called on CNN to fire him, but, since he is not a Republican or conservative, the chances are good that it will not happen.

At a time when anti-Semitism has become more common in America, it is good to identify the real anti-Semites and to note the source: what Roger Simon will call an unholy alliance between the Democratic Party and Islam.

For the record, here are Hill’s words.

If we are to operate in true solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility. If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself. We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it. We must advocate and promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing.

We must promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but cannot endorse narrow politics that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in ethnic cleansing.

Justice requires a free Palestine from the river to the sea.

The last is thinly disguised code for the complete destruction of the state of Israel.

Roger Simon took up the subject of anti-Semitism on Pajamas Media a few days ago. He wrote about an event that occurred in his old Los Angeles neighborhood. There, a few days earlier. a Somali man had tried to run down Jews with his car. Naturally, the story received no attention, because Muslims have a constitutionally protected right to persecute Jews.

Simon explained:

For most of the last three decades, until my recent move to Nashville, I drove up and down Los Angeles' La Brea Avenue at least once, often many times, a day. I ate at restaurants there, bought supplies there, drove to the offices of PJ Media along that major urban artery

Almost always I saw ultra-Orthodox Hasidim walking around the neighborhood, often with dozens of kids in tow. (They take the Biblical dictum to be fruitful and multiply quite literally.) But never did I see a vicious anti-Semitic attack like the one caught on video last Friday night when a 32-year-old Somali named Mohamed Mohamed Abdi, yelling "F**king Jews," tried to run down worshipers in front of their synagogue on Shabbat. Where did he think he was? Paris?

Paris, you say. France, for having welcomed a multitude of Muslim migrants into its midst, is beset with its own anti-Semitism problem.

Who is fomenting today’s anti-Semitism?

Pittsburgh aside, today's anti-Semitism is largely, with minor sporadic exceptions, the product of an unholy alliance between the left and Islam. (No, I don't mean radical Islam, bad as it is. I mean Islam. That religion has, with some notable and thankfully growing exceptions, long been anti-Semitic in action and in doctrine.)

This alliance between the left and Islam, exemplified — although far from exclusively — by Linda Sarsour, who refuses to abjure the notoriously anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan while telling Jews she is "sorry," leads to mind-bending behavior by "feminists," like support for the hijab and patriarchal Sharia law. What next? Clitoridectomies? Evidently.

The last is a reference to a decision by a federal judge to throw out a case against a woman who genitally mutilated girls as young as seven years old. He declared that the federal government had no business passing laws about such matters. Unless your state has explicitly banned the practice, female genital mutilation is fine in America. As for why some states still do not ban it, the reason lies in their respect for different cultures.

Anyway, Simon explains the prevalence of anti-Semitism on today’s college campuses. It is led by the Boycott Divest Sanction movement and Students for Justice in Palestine, both anti-Semitic outfits. Yesterday a Columbia professor found red swastikas painted on the wall of her office… but, no one dared suggest who might have done it, in such a Muslim friendly university.

Simon explains:

Meanwhile, the BDS movement on American campuses has become chic, with resistance, at best, sporadic. Jewish students feel threatened at many of our colleges as social justice warriors with no knowledge of the Middle East (or anything, for that matter) blame them for what the SJWs think is happening in Israel. UCLA might as well be an outpost of Tehran or Mecca, even though Los Angeles has a half-million Jews. Columbia University, the city with the most Jews in the entire world, is even worse. Call it an outpost of Hamas.

The American left holds as an article of faith that anti-Semitism is being fomented by Nazis and by Donald Trump. They are blind to reality and obsessed with their hatred of all things Trump. The Anti-Defamation League was happy to see that the shooter in the Pittsburgh synagogue was a straight white male, not a Muslim or a minority group member. Of course, it turned out that the shooter hated Trump and hated him especially for his pro-Jewish and pro-Israeli leanings, but no one really wants to talk about that:

Groups like the sclerotic ADL almost seemed relieved when this Bowers character went and shot people up at the Pittsburgh synagogue. The old days of redneck KKK anti-Semitism (even if the perp hated Trump) were back, temporarily anyway. They didn't have to confront the reality of how things actually are now. They could still blame Trump for the supposed rise in anti-Semitism, even though all the evidence that we were told pointed to POTUS turned out to be bogus and even though he is the most pro-Israel president ever, with Jewish grandchildren.

Rape Culture Arrives in France

Rape culture has arrived in France. You can hear the feminist protests… but you will have to turn up the volume very high. Inexplicably, people who have militated against rape culture will hide in the shadows when they hear about how a French court acquitted a Muslim refugee of raping a French high school student. Again, we are struck by the silence of the feminists.

What were the grounds for acquittal? Simply, the refugee’s cultural norms permit such behavior. Thus, France had best get used to allowing French women be raped by Muslims. And to pay no penalty. It looks like human sacrifice.

World Net Daily has the story.

A French court acquitted a refugee from Bangladesh for the rape of a high-school girl after the defense argued the immigrant had “different cultural norms” that may have caused him to misinterpret his contact with the girl.

It was not the only time:

The refugee also was charged with sexually assaulting another young girl. Both incidents happened in 2015. He was given a suspended sentenced of two years in prison for the sexual-assault charge, reported Voice of Europe, citing the French news site La Manche Libre.

The report said experts who investigated the refugee, who was not named, pointed out that in the male culture of Muslim-majority Bangladesh, “women are relegated to the status of sexual object.”

Voice of Europe said the accused, age 18 at the time of rape, went for a walk with a 16-year-old girl who attended the same high school in Saint-Lô, France.

The teen kissed the woman and groped her genitals, according to the complaint, and she managed to leave the room. She reported the incident to the principal of her school who informed police.

Police closed the case after the refugee insisted the girl was consenting. She later attempted suicide and was hospitalized for a week.

As for the question of who to believe: French authorities believed the rapist when he said that the girl had consented. So much for believing women. It resembles the reasoning that allowed British authorities to ignore the grooming gangs that have been operating unmolested in their midst.

Vive la France.

Blog Appreciation Week Continues

It seems appropriate to issue another reminder, namely that Blog Appreciation Week is continuing. Thus, I humbly request that you express your appreciation for my efforts by making a monetary contribution. For those who have already donated, my sincere gratitude.

Producing posts every day requires some work. For those who wish to support my efforts, I suggest a donation. Perhaps you will feel even more gratitude this year… because I have finally figured out how to moderate the comments section and have silenced the trolls that this popular blog has attracted.

If you click on the orange Donate button, on the left side of this page, the folks at Paypal will help you to contribute as much as you would like. This year, as a special service, you can also contribute to the blog by doing your Christmas shopping at Amazon. If you enter the Amazon site by clicking the Amazon ad at the left, a percentage of your purchases will be given to yours truly. Thus, you can do good for the blog-- at no extra cost.

As they say: It's more blessed to give than to receive.

If you do not wish to use Paypal, I gratefully accept checks or cash sent to my address:

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If you have a friend or a relative who is a psychoanalyst or who still clings to Freudian theory, you can do him a great favor by sending a copy of  my book, The Last Psychoanalyst. It’s the perfect holiday gift. See the link at left.

Since this is a weeklong fundraising campaign, I will be repeating this post several other times throughout the week. Be prepared.

Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Case of the Invisible Girlfriend

Yesterday, I posted about two college student lovers who wanted to go away for a weekend. Her parents strongly disapproved. We do not know why they disapproved of the trip or whether, as is more likely, they disapproved of the relationship itself. Without further information we were left to speculate.

Today, we find a letter about a cross cultural relationship, written to Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond in the New York Times. The young lovers are thoroughly in love. He is a Muslim. She is a white Christian. His parents strongly disapprove… to the point of threatening to disown him. He found a solution: he told them that he had broken up with his white Christian girlfriend. Only, he did not. Now, he is living at home, with his parents, and continues to see said girlfriend on the side. She feels invisible... of course.

So much for multiculturalism.

Here, first, is the letter:

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for more than two years. We’re in our early 20s and head over heels in love with each other. We plan to live together and eventually get married. He’s from a Middle Eastern Islamic family; I’m white and Christian.

Although we have no issues with our differing religions and backgrounds, his parents do. My boyfriend finished college last year and he’s still living at home. When his parents found out about me shortly after we began dating, they threatened to kick him out and cut him off. Instead of standing up for our relationship, he told them that we broke up. I’ve been his dirty little secret ever since. I’ve put my emotional needs on the back burner to placate his family, but I don’t want to continue making this sacrifice. I’m tired of having to hide and I’m becoming resentful of my boyfriend.

Is it selfish for me to want him to stand up for me and for us? When I try to talk to him about it so we can finally resolve these issues, he apologizes and then brushes me off by claiming there’s nothing he can do. Where should I draw the line? I love him and I want to be with him, but I don’t know if our future is viable because of his family. When should I walk away?

I trust that you are thinking the right answer to question in her last sentence. The answer is: Now. If his is a traditional Middle Eastern Islamic family, you know and I know that his parents will set about finding him a suitable wife. One who is also a virgin. And he will have very little choice but to accept. His white Christian girlfriend is consigning herself to the status of chief concubine.

What does Cheryl Strayed say about this? Unsurprisingly, she thinks what we have all been thinking. As they say, great minds think alike:

Your boyfriend may tell you he wants to marry you, Dirty Little Secret, but his actions tell a different story. It’s this: His reluctance to disappoint and possibly defy his parents is greater than his commitment to you. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and allow that he may have had good reasons to keep you a secret early on in your relationship in order to keep the peace at home. Perhaps he needed his parents to pay his college tuition, or his status as a full-time student made it difficult to cover the expense of renting a place of his own. Or maybe he opted to avoid stirring the pot on behalf of a relationship that might turn out to be short-term.

Now, more than two years in, those possible explanations are no longer valid. If he were serious about wanting to have a functional long-term relationship with you, he’d be the one trying to talk to you about when to break the news of your existence to his parents. He’d be the one working to resolve the divide between his parents’ opposition to cross-cultural romance and the fact of his true love for you. He isn’t. You are. This spells doom.

Happily, Strayed did not go all multi-culti on us. It is frankly refreshing to read some advice that is clear, direct and to the point. And that states forthrightly that the invisible girlfriend should exit the relationship. It’s the only way that she can maintain her self-respect.

Of course, it might happen that her exit will bring him to his senses, but if his parents refuse to compromise, and if he wants to continue living with them and to continue interacting with members of his family and of his faith community… the chances are good that he will write her off.

Sad to have to say it, but Srayed and Almond offer sound advice.

The Case of the Whipped Husband

Here’s a slice of today’s American life. It shows a thoroughly modern marriage… one where the husband is, to use to vernacular, whipped. He is so whipped that Carolyn Hax is at a loss for words. She understands clearly that this man, who, in the interest of a marriage of equals, goes grocery shopping with his wife, only to be berated in the store, should quickly find a way out of his marriage. When you are married to a shrew, the only solution is the find the exit ramp. Of course, Hax cannot quite say so to someone she does not know, but still.

Anyway, here is a picture of a pathetic man who has drunk the feminist Kool-Aid:

My wife and I often grocery shop together. My wife will predictably identify something among my few items and ask that I return it to the shelf. It reminds me of a mother telling a child to put back the Lucky Charms. Yet she may have a few similar items.

I typically put up some resistance but relent to avoid an in-store argument. These episodes have taken their toll on me.

I have voiced my feelings to my wife in the moment and during therapy. These small issues have become a metaphor for what I feel is belittling me and my role.

I was recently disappointed to see this behavior continue. I can calmly explain again to my wife that this behavior humiliates me and makes me want to avoid shopping together. I am certain, however, she will accuse me of being oversensitive and painting her as a monster, and nothing will change.

Should I simply stand down from shared shopping excursions? Is "giving up" a healthy strategy? I will need to explain why I no longer accompany her.

— Disappointed

How he ever allowed this relationship dynamic to become entrenched, I do not know. You will note that this pathetic fool is also going to therapy. He has learned to express his feelings. It does no good whatever.

So, he should stop going to therapy. And he should stop their couples shopping excursions. He should not explain himself. He should tell her that things are going to change: either she will accept his standing up for himself or he will walk away from the marriage.

As often happens in these cases, we do not know whether the couple has children.

Anyway, Hax tries to give the man a little backbone:

That she’s still correcting you after you’ve said your piece about feeling belittled says she (still) believes she has a right to tell you what to do, and therefore will keep doing it.

So you’re married to someone who is controlling and who apparently would rather gaslight you — “she will accuse me of being oversensitive” — than challenge her own behavior.

And also:

Again: Quietly refuse to be controlled. Make this your blueprint for finding the words and actions in the heat of a moment that preserve the right to self-determination due any competent adult. Take this blueprint with you to the store, to the kitchen table, in the car, on vacation. Apply it with a two-part strategy of holding firm and then, as needed, declining to act in her scene.

Quietly refuse to be controlled.

This is your start. Therapy solo is next. That’s how you navigate wherever your marriage goes next.

Controlling is much too mild here. The woman is emotionally abusive. If she continues to belittle him, she is not just controlling. She is hostile and abusive. She wants to diminish and demean him, most likely, in order to feel empowered. Of course, this man did marry her. And he seems willing to put up with his wife’s behavior. We know nothing about either of their careers. One suspects that he is not a world beater.

And yet, it’s a feministically correct marriage. God help us all.