Sweet As Pie (I’m Not A Nice Person)

My kindness is conditional. Will you pay the cost?

Breakfast as of late has consisted of Shreddies and a tablespoon of sultanas, hold the sugar. I tried them with sugar and hold the sultanas, but something about that combination felt too… kiddish; it simply wasn’t complicated enough for somebody who normally prefers simpler things. Sultanas would work, but then I also wondered about shredded coconut and I realised that by that point, I was sort of already half way back to granola. Damn him.

I had two weird experiences yesterday. For the first, Matt decided NOT to side with my mother and completely blasted the kitchen.

“You’re right. It’s not fair on you and I want to help change that” he said. Oh how my little heart sung with joy – I just knew he was a good egg!

For the second, I thought of him – my ex- but I didn’t miss him. Maybe I did miss him, but not the way he treated me, and that was what held me away now. I could be grateful for the kick up the ass he gave me in realising my worth, but that didn’t mean that he deserved a second (seventh?) chance. My worth now is defined by staying away, by coursing my own path, by staying strong and finding new and better things. I won’t win at life right away, but I am winning still. I know I am, I can feel it – and my stats tell me so.

I’ve been going through a bit of a thing mentally lately – with the Heard-Depp case going on – on the subject of “mutual abuse”. It’s a weird thing, because it’s something that Amber’s lawyer liked to bring up and it’s something that I sort of know I probably stand accused of now. It sucks in a way, and yet, it’s perhaps not bothering me as much as it could of because while I may not be perfect, I also know that:-

  • I was always honest – with Matt, with my partner, with myself
  • I encouraged the best, for everyone (I wasn’t the one being unfaithful)
  • I committed myself to learning and growth, and to doing better, or different
  • I tried my best, and I sincerely apologised when I screwed it up
  • I didn’t try to control another – I have a policy of “live and let live” when it comes to others’ lives
  • I may have been unkind, yes, but I was never vicious

Do I believe Johnny Depp is innocent of physically assaulting Amber? Like the millions, yes, I do. Do I believe he is innocent of all wrongdoing? Sorry Johnny, but nobody is perfect, and you do like running your mouth! Provoke a vicious person and… well… I think that’s what we’re seeing play out now. I’ve testified against a (female) abuser before, and while she got community service and a hefty fine, he wasn’t entirely innocent, either. If you call somebody with violent tendencies, and I quote, a “fucking cuckoo loonie bin” – and to their face – then you’re not really helping to resolve matters. In some many ways, you’re only going to make matters worse.

But I digress.

I”m not a nice person, and I realise that now. But you know what? I’m okay with that.

I’m not a nice person. I’m a genuine person, and there is a difference.

Yesterday, I folded and damped down the ends of the bathroom loo roll. It’s a stupid thing I learned from a Youtube Short, but it takes a minute and it keeps the bathroom looking tidy. Almost Instagram-worthy, in fact.

But that was when I realised it – my intentions.

Every time my mother visits and my home is looking close to perfect, it taps into an insecurity of hers that her home does not. Part of me takes a guilty pleasure in that.

For all of my life, my mother has always loved to criticise me – room/home isn’t tidy, hair is a mess, need to lose weight, need to wear less revealing clothes (she once openly called me a slut for wearing a knee-length denim skirt with black opaque tights and told me that I was asking to get raped), need to not play so rough with the boys (on the odd times when I’ve had one or two bruises). Reasons for their otherwise being so don’t matter to my mother. Lovely though she can be, she is also dismissive of other’s views. She is, some might say, “toxic”.

And quietly, I’ve always been aware of that. I hate it, but life gets simpler when you at least learn to accept these facts.

So then, what to do about my “toxic” mother? Sure, calling her out and speaking out against her criticisms is one solution, but remember, Mum likes to dismiss opinions that don’t match her own, so that one is sort of dead in the water. Suggesting therapy (together or separately) would be another, but I know so many therapy-adverse people (mother included) that it’s not even funny anymore. So what do I do?

Reducing how often I see her has, sadly, been one such move. I see her now for a few hours once every two weeks and that’s usually more than enough of having my shortcomings chewed out for my liking. I’ve also tried talking and tried to repair our relationship, but it’s hit and miss and the juice isn’t always worth the squeeze. Instead, I’ve combined my passive-aggressive “perfect home” behaviour with empathy and listening – it’s stick and carrot. It’s manipulation admittedly, but it’s manipulation for the right reasons: To use guilt to curb out the criticisms, thereby steering us, hopefully, towards a mutually more empathetic and respectful relationship.

So like I was just saying, I’m not a nice person, since nice people don’t manipulate.

I also wouldn’t want to be a nice person, because usually, the “nice” people aren’t very nice people after all. Everybody is capable of being nice, and everybody is capable of being a complete dick, too. Genuine people don’t tell you that they’re nice, because they also know that there are times when they might not be.

No, I’m manipulative sometimes, and I own up to it, but it’s manipulation for the right reasons: To be treated with the respect that I – as a simple human being – deserve, all without instigating World War Three.

And if you treat me with respect? Then fine, great, and I’m sure we’ll get along swimmingly. To the people who are kind and do treat me with respect, then I’m sure I am just as kind, or nice, or just an all around lovely person to meet. I buy Belgian waffles and ice cream or drinks for friends who treat me with respect, I’ve baked figoli (Maltese Easter biscuits) for a therapist after she was curious about them and I’ve been to court for the same people who were there for me in my hour of need. I’m not a complete ass, but I am a force to be reckoned with.

I am, because I’ve had to be.

Psychology is one of those things that, once you have it under your belt, you become a very powerful player. The problem with psychology (and by proxy, manipulation) is that, used too often, you can overplay your hand. Think about world leaders and nuclear threats – used too often, people just see them as angry people not to be taken seriously yet – and on a much smaller scale – making others uncomfortable can be very effective. People will, hopefully, begin to treat you with respect, you treat them with respect, and all being well, good things start to happen.

Oh bugger, she’s revealed her hand now!

Last night and before sleep, Matt and I divulged in some of the silliness that is commonplace in our marriage.

“Goodnight cupcake” I said sweetly.

“Goodnight treacle tart” he replied. I looked at him quizzically – that was akin to a declaration of war.

“Goodnight, moon pie” I proceeded.

“Goodnight my little tiramisu.”

I growled. I was rapidly running out of pud names at one thirty in the morning, but I won’t be beaten.

“Goodnight my sweet baklava” I said, kissing him on the shoulder for good measure. Ha!

“Goodnight, my jam roly poly”. Ooh ooh, now it’s personal!

“Goodnight, rice pudding.”

“Rice pudding?!” he laughed.

“Cos you is white, sweet and vanilla” I said proudly, soon realising what I’d just said. Oh shit!

Having promptly realised my choice words and my post-showered naked state, I quickly grabbed the duvet around myself and settled down for sleep.

“Goodnight Daddy” I giggled.

“Goodnight, Kitten” came the stern reply.

2 thoughts on “Sweet As Pie (I’m Not A Nice Person)

    1. Thank you slave sindee. You’re definitely right, but I think being nice sets you back, right across the board. I used to be a very quiet and shy child and I’d never say no to anyone (least of all my parents), so people were always confused when I was unhappy and I was often bitter because I wasn’t getting the opportunities that others had. Then I learned to start saying no.

      My younger brother (who now fits the bill for textbook narcissism in oh so many ways) also used to provoke me and we’d both get told off, then he’d be very kind and sweet to our Mum and ask her off-topic questions (“did you know the London Eye is the biggest ferris wheel in the UK?”) to essentially gaslight her into believing that it was all me. Of course that used to annoy me, so when we used to be told to sort ourselves out and to play a board game together instead of fighting, I’d just politely refuse. She couldn’t make me play the game and I was perfectly reasonable to say no without being rude, thereby setting boundaries. Still, by leaving him to stew with his own emotions for a while, I effectively taught him that “I’ll only engage with you if you are kind to me”. Et voila! I’m essentially using some of those same techniques that abusive people use, but for good things – to set boundaries and to bring about a healthier, more constructive relationship – at least sometimes!

Leave a Reply