Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Long Awaited Drama Post

So Sybil and I are lying the bed watching The Nativity is on one of the movie networks. We come to the end of the movie, and Jesus is born. Sybil says, "God must like sin."

To me, that is a bold statement. I ask what does she mean? Sybil explains that in her bible study (which she went to all of twice) they studied about a prostitute whose decedents went to become an important group of people. I've read the bible, and I was racking my brain trying to remember who that was. I felt that by understanding this example of her statement, then I could understand her statement. Sybil is sadly uneducated about the bible and chooses to live in ignorance. She could not give me a name or any more of the story. As I began probing her about who this person was, she became more and more agitated. Finally, she gave up on that line of thinking and turned to the issue that started her thoughts: the conception and birth of Jesus.

Sybil felt that an unwed mother is a sin in God's eyes, and He used this sin to save the world. I explained that, actually, there was no sin committed at all. Jesus' conception was without sin. She stated that to everyone around Mary Jesus' birth would seem sinful. I said, "Yes, but sin isn't defined by what people think." I went on talking about how man's perception of right and wrong has little to do with what actual sin is.

By this time, Sybil is quite angry. It would seem that I was attacking her. I replied that I was not attacking her personally, but yes, I was attacking her position. There is a distinction. I never called her stupid or ignorant or anything. Instead, she kept saying that focusing on the facts and not how she came to her conclusion means I was attacking her. I answered her by saying that I was debating her statement, because I thought that was one way to discover truth.

Nope. I am attacking her. I am a sad man. I only live for facts. I cannot feel or have emotion. Sybil feels sorry for the person I am. I pointed out that her statement was a personal attack. Of course, that went over like a Lead Zeppelin. In the end I could not make her see that I was not taking the conversation into a personal level. Since Sybil is all of the time accusing me of not paying attention to what she says, I explained that I was taking great pains to understand her.

I guess I am not allowed to challenge her beliefs. I should just let her go about her life in ignorance. If I try to show that I am truly engaged in the conversation and really trying to understand how she feels, I am attacking her. Is it possible that her insecurities have made her a sad, superficial person? Any challenge to her beliefs or thoughts is met with personal attack. How is one supposed to have a meaningful relationship with someone like that?


By the way, Happy New Year.


Phyllis Renée said...

The woman in the Bible was Rahab. (Joshua 2:1-21, Joshua 6:17, Joshua 6:22-25, Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31, James 2:24-26)

I read an article about a year ago by a woman who realized she had surrounded herself with narcissists. She describes the narcissist as:

. . . nevery fully outgrowing a phase in infantile behavioral development, essentially living in a world that is one-person big. Therefore, when a brilliant, charming, elegant, and grand narcissist honors you by allowing you entry into his or her very elite cadre, it is kind of like being annexed by an imperalist country. Your borders have now been erased. The subtext of all future interactions will be "What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine. Welcome to a world where there is no you." When you are with a narcissist, her needs must become your needs. It's not enough for a narcissist to be the center of her own world; she must also be the center of yours . . . If you are not mirroring her or praising her, you are proving you are a separate person , and thus a threat . . . Narcissists are people who cover up feelings of shame and worthlessness inflicted during their own screwy childhoods by doing whatever it takes to maintain the false sense that they are very special . . . This requires them to surround themselves with people who will constantly pump them up by agreeing with them about everything.

I think of this each time I read about Sybil.

Sai Hijara - Ferraris said...

Wow. the post and the comment. ;)

We can never be with somebody we comes to agreement with us most of the time...yet, relationships I believe has nothing to di with compatibility but with how we deal with incompatibilities.

Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Not that I am defending Sybill here, but just from reading your post, I would guess a LOT of how it would be taken would depend on the exact tone of voice you were using.

My own husband of nearly 19 years can sometimes use a very condescending tone without even realizing that it's coming out that way. It can raise my hackles in a hurry, lol, but at least I can say to him "Hey, do you *mean* for that to sound the way it does?" (*usually* the answer is no ;-))

It sounds like she feels like she has no other recourse than to go on the attack....perhaps she hasn't learned how to debate a topic, and feels like you are putting her down -- in fact, you did call her ignorant in your own post.

It kind of sounds like you had her under questioning, and she resented she did the only thing she knows will derail you, and that launching a personal attack against you.

Just wanted to throw out a possible other side to it...

Bunny said...

She could also have been referring to Tamar, who pretended to be a prostitute in order to be impregnanted by her father-in-law Judah. Her son Pharez (Perez) is believed to be an ancestor of David.

But that's not really the point, is it? The point is, she was threatened by your challenging her view. Are you sure about how you sound when you are talking to her? Not to take her side, because I think she is way overreacting, but my spouse has a way of saying things that make it sound like I am the stupidest person ever in the history of the universe. He doesn't actually say that, but it is in how he says it. Just be sure that your tone isn't condescending when you have these discussions.

Phyllis Renée said...

Yeah, if your tone is condescending, then that would explain her reaction. Like the others who have commented, my husband can do that to me and it makes my head spin and I start spitting pea soup. Well, almost.

aphron said...

Thanks for the comments.

It's possible I was condescending. It's hard for us to hear ourselves. I was trying to NOT be condescending. Who knows? I definitely was not attacking her personally. Although I may have said she was ignorant in my post, I did not say that to her. I'm not THAT stupid. I think she may have felt ignorant because I was asking for more detail to better understand her position, and she was unable to give it to me.

It isn't my fault Sybil chooses to live in ignorance. I do feel she was dealing from an emotional stand point, and I was coming from a more factual point of view. It is impossible to be totally in tune with someone else's emotions.

FTN said...

Like the others, I don't know exactly HOW you said the words you said. But as a logical guy, I'm most likely going to side with you on this one. Still seems like a ridiculous thing for her to get so upset about. And it's funny, because I actually WISH there was more Biblical/social/political debate in my marriage. Autumn rarely has much to say about such things!

But if a spouse is gonna go so nuts over a little discussion, maybe I'd rather be without it.

Steff said...

I think she is referring to Rahab. Yes, she was a prostitute, but I think that story focuses more on the fact that God can transform and bring exceptional good from our worst mistakes. God doesn't like sin, but I do believe that He understands that we are human and sin is going to be a part of our lives. Very thought-provoking post!

Digger Jones said...

I don't know if you've been following my posts, but Sybil and you are classically emotionally fused/enmeshed. Phyllis's comment fits well, except it's a two way street. You get to her but she also totally gets to you, too.

Mariposa is right: we grow most by dealing with the imperfections of others.

I agree with you in that you were merely trying to clarify a confusing statement she made that is totally at odds with her own established Christian beliefs. And then she twisted and mangled the virgin birth story so badly that it really does sound truly ignorant. Does she think she is committing cannibalism at communion by drinking the blood of Christ and eating His flesh? Just askin'!

I can see you two really pushing some serious button there. That's why I like reading you because I like to see how you deal with such things whether you deal well or badly with them. And honestly you do a lot better than I would under such circumstances!


Desmond Jones said...

This (along with Phyllis' first comment, about narcissism) reminds me of my eldest son. He only marginally lives at home these days, but he's been around more over the holidays. And more than once, we'd be having a very decent, low-key family discussion, and he'd say something that someone else would disagree with, in a pretty neutral tone of voice, someone else would second the disagreement, and all of a sudden, he's yelling about how we all hate him. What??

Pretty Hyperbole said...

I am a new reader, so hello.

But I feel very similarly to your situation. My husband and I have become a bit more distant due to religious-osity (?). From a wife's perspective, I can see how the interjection(s) of yours might have thwarted her logical thought process (God knows I get irritated when my husband does that). However, I see your side of the matter as well.

Good luck and Happy New Year! :)