Bullies and Burdens…and Getting Even

A person who works with my husband had clipped this article, written by Laura Pritchett, from 5280 magazine (July 2013), and it caught my attention:

“Although both men and women can be bullies, [Huffington Post writer Yashar] Ali argues that women in particular are susceptible to gaslighting; it’s much more common in our culture to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of women. “It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it,” he writes. “We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.”

Here’s a clip from one of my favorite films, Amelie, about a man who gaslights Amelie as a young girl, and her delicious revenge.

A definition of Gaslighting from Pritchett’s article:

“‘Gaslighting’ is a widely used term these days. It comes from the play and movie Gaslight, in which a husband flicks a house light on and off and then teases his wife for observing it, thereby making her think she is insane and ultimately achieving his sinister goal of having her admitted to a mental hospital.

In real-world gaslighting, bullies do something malicious to create a reaction. When the targets comply, the “gaslighters” make them feel uncomfortable and insecure about their responses. If the poor souls feel absurd or start to second-guess themselves, the bullies have gained even more power. The term once described an extreme form of bullying; now, it’s become commonly used in clinical and research literature.”

whiskey tango foxtrot

Talking to a friend recently, he told me that one of his wealthy buddies, divorced for the fourth time, was simplifying his life.

I immediately pictured a man cleaning up his act, eating lean meat and more vegetables, maybe hitting the gym a few more times a week.

“He sold his plane and his boat,” my friend confided, “and he’s having sex with prostitutes.”

Before I could think of a suitable rejoinder, my friend chuckled and said, “He has a new motto in life: if it flies, floats, or f$@&#s – rent it.”


Typically tongue-tied, I managed to grimace and flee from the conversation, but here are my witty and clever retorts, over twenty-four hours later. Which one should I have used? Can you think of something better?

a. I’m going to cross-stitch that onto a pillow.

b. Impressive alliteration. Is your friend a writer?

c. With that financial acumen, he should be selling Ponzi schemes.

d. If he buys, rents or rapes to f$@&#, ARREST him because it’s ILLEGAL.

Beauty & the Beholder: SpongeBob SquarePants

Most people think of metamorphosis as an improvement – ugly caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies – but this episode of SpongeBob SquarePants provides a different perspective. (Strap on your seat belt: it’s a speedy video.)