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Old 03-09-2013, 04:58 PM
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 451

I recognize something of myself in your last post here, Matt, though I have never gotten quite to the point you've reached.

For whatever reason, the venting of your raw feelings about your marriage and your household seem to have hardened into Policy, and the more people try to help you, try to give you some perspective, try to give you a chance to slow down and think critically about your reaction, the more you get your back up about the essential rightness of the Policy.

I've had my back up like that, before. Sometimes it's because of a conflict with my wife, sometimes because of an online forum thread gone horribly wrong. I reach a point at which I say, "I've made up my mind, and I cannot bend!"

Sometimes, then, I feel calm and sure of myself. But, really, it's not the calm that comes with genuine peace, with a true resolution of conflict. It's the calm of dogmatic insistence on the one true idea, the calm of detente, of mutually assured destruction.

Usually, in such circumstances, there's a kind of minority report in my head, a nagging doubt about the one true idea, or about the wisdom of my position.

I find myself on the barricades, and what one does when one finds oneself on barricades is to defend the barricades to the last breath. But, I wonder, how did I get on just these barricades? Did I choose them, or did I just stumble onto them by some odd circumstance? Are these barricades worth defending? Is defending these barricades worth sacrificing my marriage, my children's security and happiness, even my own happiness . . . or my own life?

If I listen to that voice, I sometimes experience something extraordinary: What seemed to be the most important battle of my life, the Last Stand, the Big One turns out to be a small pile of furniture I've thrown out onto some anonymous street somewhere.

I don't want to downplay the importance or the seriousness of your situation, or of your feelings about it. I only mean to suggest that the intransigent position you've taken, defending the Last Barricade, seems on its face unlikely to do you or anyone else any good, in the long term.

There is no shame in backing down from the barricade. Doing so does not mean you have to slink back and meekly accept the status quo ante. This is not an all-or-nothing situation; you are not faced by a simple either-or choice.

I only suggest, as one who has abandoned more than one barricade, that maybe you should listen to your doubts about the Policy, look carefully at the furniture you've piled up in the street, and consider that there might be a better way to get what you need without hurting people you care about or losing relationships that are important to you.
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