Sunday, March 18, 2012
More people read my blog than I realized, several of whom thought they were "Pat." Including the real Pat. (Remember, Pat is a gender neutral name, as I don't feel comfortable using this person's real name or gender.) In some ways this is good. I mean, probably many of us have acted like Pat in the past, ignoring our friends, making a mess of our lives, and being generally jerky. So if you were one of those people who saw a little of Pat in yourself, then that might be a good thing and you can work on your weak areas. (Heaven knows, I have plenty of areas to work on, so I would never presume to suggest that I am above all of this.) Or if you have a friend who has acted like Pat, perhaps you might email them a link to my blog so they might see themselves in a mirror, so to speak.
But the real world Pat about whom I wrote in my last blog post was, in typical Pat-self-centered fashion, very upset about that post. Pat did not want to end our friendship and promised to do better. I believe in second chances, so I have tried to give Pat the benefit of the doubt and have observed Pat's actions both toward me and other members of our group of friends. And here is what I have noticed:
Pat is a horrible listener. Pat will ask you about yourself and then turn to look at a photo on someone's cell phone. Pat likes to talk more than listen, but Pat is a horrible communicator. Pat cannot complete a full thought in any cogent way either speaking or writing, which makes it very hard to have much of a conversation. Now, I realized this is not entirely Pat's fault. I think Pat has some kind of neurological problem, maybe adult attention deficit disorder or some kind of asperger's syndrome. So I can accept that Pat is not perfect and I have definitely put up with this for years upon years, always making excuses. But what I have noticed is that Pat doesn't listen very well because. . .
Pat is completely, 100% self-centered. Even when things happen to other people, Pat makes it all about her/him. Recently, another member of our group had to make a very difficult decision--part of life, right? Well, Pat clearly felt that this mutual friend had based his/her decision on Pat's actions, and that everyone was going to hate Pat because of it. So Pat went into fix-it-make-it-better mode, talking with members of the group about how the other person just had to do what was right for her/him, and that Pat was shocked by the whole thing. (Note: If Pat had listened more and talked less, he/she might have been able to help our mutual friend avoid the decision, so Pat does have a role in the whole drama, but nobody blames it on Pat, per se. Several of us did try to talk to this friend about other options he/she could have taken, but none of us were able to stop this person from the final decision she/he made. And we know it was made with full forethought and not out of anger at Pat.)
Pat can't stand thinking that anybody in the world doesn't like her/him. So whenever we are together as a group, Pat constantly harps on his/her innocence and victimization in Pat's problems. Pat-think says Pat didn't do anything wrong. Pat-think says Pat is always careful, thoughtful, and dedicated. In reality, Pat is none of those things. Pat doesn't want all his/her friends to abandon Pat, and Pat says he/she will try to do better, but never really does.
Now, I know Pat's life in the past few years has had some major problems. What Pat fails to recognize (because he/she is so self-centered) is that this happens to lots of us, and that it is not the universe particularly picking on Pat. However, Pat contributes to Pat's own problems by not listening to others, by not caring about anybody but Pat, and by worrying constantly that nobody likes Pat. This is because, as I have mentioned before, Pat has absolutely no self-esteem.
As a result, I think Pat has begun surrounding herself/himself with people who constantly tell Pat how great Pat is, even when Pat is not being great. Which is kind of sad, because I think what Pat really needs is a good, old-fashioned come-to-Jesus kick in the pants. Pat can't take that, because Pat would assume the pants-kicker is being mean, or mad at Pat, and all Pat would be able to think about is how to fix that person not liking him/her. And because Pat is such a bad listener, Pat wouldn't really hear the advice anyway.
Pat also seems to like having drama in Pat's life. It has become clearer to me since I wrote my last post. Pat seems to create drama where there was none, either by the people Pat hangs out with (who are drama addicts) or the choices Pat makes. Pat doesn't seem to have any real impulse control, ability to delay gratification, or conscience. Makes Pat sound sort of like a sociopath, doesn't it? Could be. No matter how much our group supports Pat or encourages Pat or whatever, Pat will continue to make and bring drama to the scene, and I really don't like Pat's constant drama.
So, Pat, while I have continued to give you second, third, tenth chances, you continue to disappoint. I can see that you might have been making an effort at it, but your efforts are so lame, because you really don't understand what true friendship is. You think that by spending two minutes a week in a one-sided conversation that you are communicating. But you're not. You have absolutely no clue about the lives of those around you. So your efforts lack substance. You have not changed, and while I realize sometimes change takes a long time, I have not seen a real change of heart, which is the first step to lasting change. Instead of trying to make everyone like you and stop being mad at you, perhaps you should examine in what ways you have hurt these people and think about their point of view for a moment. If you can. Because you're really too self-centered that I have no confidence you'll be able to do this. Keep trying. Maybe someday you'll get there.