Friday, 13 February 2015

(letter of) Indulgence

The best posts are the blogposts of people sharing a dilemma in their personal lives. Of course there are books or other things that should be promoted and sold, events in daily life to be shared, naughty pictures to be seen. My hero Batman had no dilemma: the bad guys were bad and the good guys are good. The Democrats in the US have no dilemma: the Republicans are wrong, and the Democrats have it right. And vice versa. The political system anywhere has no dilemma: If East is wrong, West is right. Palistines/Jews. Russia/Oekraine All of them aren't dillema’s because the truth is (the eight o’clock news tells us so) that one side  is right so the other side  is wrong.

A dilemma is a choice between two goods or two bad things. No right or wrong here. It is between good and good or, most common, between bad and bad. And in her truly wonderful post: “Why do we give too much” from Ana(stasia Vitsky) she tells us very honestly about her dilemma. She is taking care of her friend that is very ill and bound to a wheelchair and she is really getting worse too fast, too soon. And her friends daughter and grandchild live in with her and treat Ana like she is the hired help that should clean and cook and change the bedlinnen. The grandchild is being impossible because she is allowed to watch television until she sleeps (at the age of 4) and gets over stimulated and Ana is thinking and showing she thinks this is morally a wrong way of raising the child.

So: let's begin with the Dr. Phil part:
It is in a strange way a competition of affection. Both want the affection of the one that is so much struggling with life and loosing the battle for all to see. They both love her and have a different way of showing that. Even though Ana will probably deny it, the daughter must love her mother. Maybe she is not capable of showing it but she does. evidence based on two things. One, she lives in with her mum and she would never do that if she was indifferent and two she is jealous of Ana. Men have a different way of solving such a problem. We would have a talk outside and believe me, he would not say again: No dinner today?  but would start all by himself. Women have other ways. No open violence and yet I'm not sure it is less violent. You may think you have taken over this household Ana, to intrude yourself into cleaning and washing and cooking, but do not think I will step aside. It is my mum and my mother-daughter bond precedes any friend-friend bond.

Ana shows the affection to her friend - and I’m sincerely talking about love in the most purest form – by actions, not words. Her friend needs practical help in cooking and cleaning so she will walk that extra mile to do that for her (And because when you work hard you do not have to think and grieve). And when she sees a case of child neglect, she acts on it even without thinking. Because cause and effect are so obvious to her. And then the mom makes it clear she is the parent and not Ana, Ana will radiate moral judgement even if she doesn't want to, even without saying a word. And the mum will feel even more inadequate and Waterloo might not be big enough for this battle.

The dilemma to take care of a loved friend and being treated like the hired help by her daughter can only really be solved by taking  a step back out of the situation and say: OK, what is really important? Really important is that the hours, days, weeks, month with my friend will be peaceful. A hired help can do all that I do. But I’m not the hired help. I’m her friend. And I help her because I can and because I feel I have to. But I am not a help, hired or otherwise. And so I am going to talk with Cruella the Ville (the daughter) we will divide household chores. You cook one day, I will cook the next. If you don’t want me to interfere with your daughter, OK I will not, but I am a human being and I want to be treated as such, even by your four year old. And oh yes, I’m only here to help, just like you are. And oh yes, I do care about her, as much as you do. So I feel for you and your mum, as much as I feel it myself.

And yes, Ana, the four year old will grow up to be the spoiled brat adult her mum is now. You cannot change that. The only thing you can do is  to show loving kindness to your friend and even to your friends daughter. So when your friends daughter has reached the age of her mum she will remember that in all those selfish moments of giref there was some one there that was not thinking of herself and only of her mother.

And that, my dear Ana, is enough.


  1. Very well said, Han.
    I agree with all you said.
    Please, Han, write comment in Anas blog,
    she will like it.

    Take care,
    Mona Lisa

    1. I made a comment on her blog, referring to this post. It is way too long to comment Mona Lisa.

      I always need a lot of words, you know that!
      Thank you,

  2. I agree with most of what you said Han however on one point I have to disagree...just because the daughter lives with the parents does not mean she loves her mother. She may very well love her mother but it may also be a case of living off of her parents rather than with her parents. Free room, board and childcare. I have seen this with several of my friends whose adult children have moved back home and expect mom and dad to pay for everything and care for their children while they go out and party with their friends.

    I agree that the four year old is going to grow up to be spoiled, self-centered and selfish if someone doesn't enforce discipline, boundaries and consistency on her soon.

    Hugs and Blessings...

    1. Yes, you have a point there Cat. It is a high Dr. Phil text: Many assumptions based on little information. But in the end, would it matter much if she stayed out of love or out of selfishness for Ana's dilemma? I don't think so. So I still think the best of people and think she honestly loves her mother.

      Thank you for your opinion Cat, you know I value it,

  3. You are a wise man, Han.


    1. Well Appy, like the great Shakespeare said: "A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."

      It sure is nice of you to say so,


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