I just figured out that I’m passive-aggressive. The reason I discovered this is because I was describing one friend’s behavior to another friend who said, “She’s passive-aggressive!” We got in an argument about what that meant. I thought it meant a person who seems gung ho about something to your face and then later sabotages it. My friend disagreed and as the discussion heated up, told me she thought I was just plain aggressive.
Lil’ ol’ me? Aggressive? The very thought of it sent me racing to the all-knowing Google to prove her wrong. Instead, I found out that I have the personality traits of all mentally skewed behaviors. I am passive-aggressive, passive, and aggressive! Plus some other traits that boil down to almost being crazy except that these behaviors aren’t classified as mental illnesses. I wiped my brow and breathed a sign of relief on that one. The mental illness thing had me biting my nails – bad behavior I can deal with.
Or can I? There is a huge obstacle to my improving – summed up in the great axiom, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The word axiom is perfect here, or at least I thought it might be, but I couldn’t remember exactly what it meant so as not to appear stupid I again consulted Google, who said, ”An aximo is a tool for verifying knowledge in dynamic multi-agent scenarios. The underlying engine is based on the algebraic axiomatics of dynamic epistemic …” Huh? Then I realized I’d typed in aximo rather than axiom.
Nonetheless, the paragraph above demonstrates that it’s not as easy as it looks to change a behavior. According to Google, you have to first identify the offending behavior, then start writing in journals whenever you do the offending behavior, and then write how you would have done it if you weren’t a person with the offending behavior, and then write down something else that I glossed over because I knew when I read the word, “journal” that I wasn’t gong to be able to do this.
Even though I love to “write” per se, like what I’m doing right now as we speak, I’m not into “recording” everything I do. This is one of the reasons I can’t lose weight in that easy way all websites tell you. They usually start out with, “The first step is to keep a food diary…” I know this is where I will break down in the process.
Lord knows I’ve tried. I designed all these wonderful charts to hang on the refrigerator when my kids were little. Chore charts, for example. If my daughter made her bed, she got a star. In theory, over time, if she got enough stars she earned a dollar or other age-appropriate bribe. I was gung-ho with this for about three days, and then there weren’t any more stars on the chart. Soon the corners of the chart started curling up and the paper yellowed. The few stars that were on it dropped to the floor and became attached to someone’s bare foot, ending up in the shower drain. I have a behavior disorder that disallows me from keeping records of any kind. Some people might call this laziness, but I prefer to use the scientific name, “lacka followthroughius.”
I’m a person who loves starts but is not so good with finishes. There isn’t anything in the world I can’t start: diets, classes, New Year’s Resolutions, home improvement projects, scrapbooks, photo albums, blogs, exercise routines – I think I can say without reservation and with a certain measure of pride that there probably is no better Starter than I am. But because of some mental incapacity wrought from childhood experiences in your atypical dysfunctional American family, I am not a person who is going to see something through to the end, especially if I can come up with a good enough excuse.
Now, lest some of you think I’m a ne’er do well, I have in recent years forced myself, kicking and screaming, to finish what I started. I got my college degree after a ten year lapse, and I have kept being a mother after all these years, even when I didn’t think I could face diapers and smart aleck teenage comments another day. I accomplished these and other successes by refusing to commit to anything that requires a journal.
So I promise to work on my very bad mental behavior, but I can’t promise to improve because of that stupid journal thing. Still, it’s a start, and that’s what Google says I need to do – identify the problem. Heck, according to Google, that puts me halfway along the road to success! That means already I’ve improved by 50%. With a success rate like that, who needs a journal?