What is Schadenfreude and is it sinful?

Scha·den·freu·de- noun\ˈshä-dən-ˌfri-də\:taking pleasure out of someone else’s misfortune.

My husband and I were talking about this earlier today. I know the definition of four-syllable German words I’ve beaten to death might seem like an odd topic to discuss over spaghetti, but it was something I was thinking about in regards to the kingdom of God. I wanted to settle a debate, if only in my own head.

Exactly what constitutes Schadenfreude? I’m not sure it’s always capitalized

One question was is it an active or passive term? The idea is that you didn’t cause the misfortune, but you like the results of it. Exactly what does that mean, though?

I’ll admit to having indulged in this a bit. Actually, more than a bit. In some cases, a lot. I know it’s wrong, but sometimes it can’t be helped.

Is it poetic justice? For instance, I had a boyfriend in college who was a Class A jerk. Not all the time, mind you-there were some good things-but generally he’s not someone I’d associate with today and only stayed with because I got sucked into his dirty black hole. To be fair, there were a lot of good things, mostly his family and the way he’d say I was beautiful-I was shy and awkward growing up, so I did *not* hear this very often. I wasn’t always an angel either. He was in the Air Force and, one summer, had to go to ROTC field training-basically officer-training boot camp. Being a total sexist pig, he made some comments that were directed at and heard by a female superior. It was one of those cases where you only hear half of what was said, but apparently it was the wrong half because he was called in front of her and two (male) superiors and had to explain himself. This is probably bad of me, but I was glad he “finally got what was coming to him”…he’d made very sexually-tilted comments to me and about other female cadets and, thus far, had gotten away with it because they weren’t heard by anyone in charge.

I know that “qualifies”-in fact, it’s textbook. But what about pleasure taken at something you could have done, but didn’t? The knowledge that you could have caused a lot of harm to someone who hurt you, but never really would?

A conversation with my dad-a career Navy man-over ten years later told me that I could have really screwed my ex over because his ex-wife-not my mother-caused a lot of trouble for him by telling his superior officers all these lies about things he did to her (cheating and verbal abuse come to mind) for no reason other than to hurt him. She was a civilian, by the way. My ex never cheated, but he did do a lot of other things that I did not realize were actionable at the time-harassing my friends and other potential suitors behind my back, begging off coaching PT the next morning so he could fake a suicide threat that night, turning in one of my English papers as his own etc. Some of it illegal, but all against the rules of his program. I got confirmation from some former cadets and officers I spoke with when doing research for other projects, although that wasn’t what I was looking for. Most importantly, all of it true. If I had known about this and were vindictive enough, I could have effed-up his career big time. Sometimes I wish I had. 

Nothing happened with my dad, by the way. His supervisor knew she was nuttier than a Snickers bar and basically ignored her.

I *did* manage to let superior cadets know about things he did or said regarding them, but that was only because I called their attention to it while it was happening. Don’t ask.

My point is, what level of schadenfreude-if any-was acceptable in this situation? Was my being glad he got into trouble for running his mouth? Were the “I could have gotten even” thoughts I had after talking to my dad? Would it have been sinful if I  *had* gone to his superiors-I wouldn’t be lying, after all. I’d have been believed, too, since I’d have witnesses. But would my intent be at issue?

When does it become sinful, or does it? The impression I got was anything beyond laughing at Chevy Chase fall on Saturday Night Live or saying, “I told you so” was wading into that territory. Perhaps it’s referring to a spiteful kind of glee, the kind you might have if someone “gets what they deserve”. The kind of smug satisfaction I see in the eyes of some Christians when things like the earthquake in Haiti or the 2004 tsunami happen in places with “pagan” beliefs (voodoo and Islam come to mind)? I know a lot of people are excited about the End Times, where all of God’s children will be saved while the rest of the world suffers. Exactly when and in what order these things happen varies by doctrine, but the idea is that 1/3 of the world’s population will be ravaged by disease while another 1/3 dies in some kind of conflict. As happy as I’m glad for my Savior to come back, I just can’t get past all the suffering. Maybe something’s wrong with me. I don’t know.

I don’t really have an ending for this, so I’ll leave it here. My fingers are tired anyway. Later on!

 

 

 

 


Christmas list?

This post was originally published in December 2010, but I thought it could use an update. Even though I am working now, I still can’t help but feel like crap because half the time I forget things that are easy for everyone else to remember and I seem to always be doing something wrong. I’m not saying that because I get constant criticism, although it feels like that sometimes. I’m saying that because I’m oversensitive and tend to respond to things like the tones people use when sometimes it’s better to remember that that’s just how someone talks or that this isn’t a good time of the year for me in general. It’s better this year than it has been because I’m working and making money, although I do wish I could see my family and friends more often. Anyway, back to your regularly-scheduled whine-fest.

My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. The first things I thought of were a Bible with the Apocrypha in it and/or one of my favorite party games. Of course, we’d actually have to *have* parties in order to play said game, but that’s something else entirely. I can think of a few things I’d like, but I don’t think they would be something he could give me. For instance:

-He can’t give me my brain back. One thing I hate to no end is that I feel like I am ‘slipping’…everyone else ‘gets’ things that I don’t, and I keep missing and forgetting things. I don’t want to immediately say it’s because of my bipolar and/or ADHD, but that’s probably the most likely scenario. My doctors have told me that it affects the way I think; I test lower on IQ tests than I did before because my brain works differently (well, assuming it works at all😛 ). Seriously. I’ve been told over and over again that I ‘don’t think’ or whatnot, but that’s not true at all. I *do* think, I just tend to think so fast that nothing really ‘sticks’. My last few employers-you know, the two jobs I was fired from in two weeks-can attest to that. It’s just so frustrating, because I feel like everyone else is smarter than me and understands everything much better. Maybe this is true, but maybe I’m just *different*, not any less or any more. I don’t know.

-He can’t help me lose weight. Maybe he can in terms of eating more vegetables and less fatty stuff, but he can’t exercise for me or stop me from liking things like soda and cookies. I feel like I’ve nagged him enough about that in terms of getting him to buy veggies and fruit for produce, although truth be told I really don’t push anywhere near as much as I could. Still, I know that money has been really tight for us and that he feels like the stuff we can afford is often the stuff that’s really the worst for us. He doesn’t say it like that, but that’s what it comes out to. We *do* get canned veggies but It’s up to me to actually *eat* them, or to choose them over other stuff when I have a choice.

-He can’t help me get motivated to do, well, anything. I have so many projects I’ve started that I haven’t finished and don’t really know if I will. A children’s book, a novel of sorts, a few other writing projects…at least I’ve had some stories published, although they haven’t sold yet and *ahem* aren’t the type of stories you let your dad read. I have a couple of tabs open in my browser right now for things I keep meaning to read, but somehow never get around to it because I’m so easily distracted. Maybe at some point I’ll stop playing Facebook games long enough to read the stuff I’m supposed to read on Beliefnet for my job, and Slater, get off the counter,then do some writing I get paid for and Dr Phil’s head looks particularly shiny today….oops, got distracted again.

-He can’t get me to stand up for myself the way I need to.

-He can’t ward off my depression or make other people do stuff with us. They have their own lives and I totally appreciate that, but sometimes I just get bored with the same old thing. Boredom often leads to depression with me and, since I don’t work outside of the home, I get bored quite a bit. It’s gotten better now that we’ve paid the car off and I’ve been doing more stuff at church. Just to get out among other people-especially more women since most of my friends here are men-really helps. Even so, sometimes I still feel really “meh”. Which leads me to my next point:

-He can’t make me feel like less of a piece of crap because I get disability even though a lot of the time I feel as though I can work. I know from experience that my mental issues cause major problems and my physical issues aren’t much better, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I’m one of those “sponges” or “cheats” some people rant about. I would never, ever say that to someone else, but I’ll say that to myself. Hmm.

He can’t change the past, which is ultimately what it would take to ward this off.

That’s just it. He can’t change the past. I know he would if he could, though. The only thing that can be done is to get to be more comfortable and content with the way things are and to try and improve things from there, but that’s something I have to do for myself. I have to ask God to help me with that every day, if I remember. That’s really sad, ‘if I remember’, but the point is that he can’t do it for me because it’s not *for* him to do. It’s for me, with God’s help. And I need all the help I can get.

*sigh*

Maybe I should just stick with new jeans and some bras to replace the ones I can’t wear anymore. That would require a lot less explanation.


Project Runway, S14 E5-Who Left, Who Didn’t, Who Should Have

(Disclaimer: Let me say that this is just my opinion-I wasn’t there. If you saw what I’m wearing right now-pajama shorts and an old T-shirt-, you’d see I have no business talking about fashion. Even so, I have a keyboard, which apparently makes me qualified to comment in some circles. I’m just writing this for fun anyway.)

I have to admit, I kind of hated this episode. It’s not the challenge I didn’t like or the clothes that came out of it, but that it was waaaaaaaay too much like high school for my comfort.

The premise was kind of strange-they broke into two teams and played a game of Capture the Flag, only the flag was rolls of fabric and the tagging was done with paintball guns. After the game was over, they were told that the material they’d be using for this challenges was what they were wearing, paint-splattered and all. The fabrics they “captured” were supplemental, but the bulk of what they used had to be the jumpsuits. O-kay. At least they got to paint what was left over.

Instead of using the button bag to pick the teams like they’d done before, the judges let Candice and Blake pick first. For some weird reason, Ashley was picked last. I know Candice picked Amanda first because she wanted to make her feel better and couldn’t have helped who the other people chose, but the girls were doing the exact same thing we would have seen in junior high-picking their friends as opposed to who would actually be good for their team. That’s not to say that the guys were any better; they could have picked her too. But both Blake and John pointed out that they were acting like the high school “popular crowd” asserting their “dominance” over the class nerd. That is not to say that Ashley is the “class nerd”-she most certainly is not-, but that’s how they made her feel. As “that girl” in high school, I feel for her.

Even Heidi called them out on this-Ashley had won *two* challenges out of the five they’ve had, so it was absolutely insane that she would be the last picked. Like I said before, I get what Candice was trying to do. Her heart was in a good place, and I don’t see her as being nasty at all. But the others-including the guys…I know a lot of the impressions we get is editing and things could have gone down completely differently, but I think this was part of why the girls’ team had so many problems communicating at first. When you have somebody with good ideas feeling as though she can’t express them without being shouted down-whether she actually was or not-, you can’t help but have a problem coming up with good group project. I didn’t see anyone shooting her down so much as her confidence being so damaged from being picked last that she wasn’t as upfront as she would have been otherwise. Again, I don’t know. Editing.

I can’t say I’d do any better. Hell, I can barely sew a button on correctly, much less an actual garment. But it was obvious to me that the guys (and Merlene) were communicating so much better because they focused on the task at hand and truly worked together on every piece of their collection;  Swapnil the Gorgeous (middle, leather jacket) even tells the judges this, and you could tell they appreciated it.

I just wish we could have seen his eyes. Blue. Maybe contact lenses, maybe not, but blue. Nice.

Here’s a slideshow of the completed looks: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/photos/season-14-episode-5-final-looks#id=1

By the way, Edmond won.

Regardless of which lady made which look, you could tell that something bad was going to happen. Closer to the runway show, we see Laurie telling Ashley that the others planned on throwing her under the bus for their collection. Ashley, obviously upset, starts talking about how she can’t trust anyone and doesn’t really know what to think. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her that she could trust me. Yes, it’s a competition, but I don’t play games with people. I don’t know-Laurie doesn’t, and maybe the others don’t either-but I don’t because I know what it’s like to be That Person.

None of their garments was very good, but that wasn’t any one person’s fault. Considering that a) they’d only grabbed orange and purple fabric, and b) they color-bombed all of their white fabric before deciding what to do with it, they did the best the could with what they had. I wonder if it might have been better to make the garments first and *then* use the colored paint, but whatever. Like I said, I can barely sew. After their stuff went down the runway (you can see it above), each one was asked who they thought was responsible for it-in short, who should go home. Sure enough, three of them picked Ashley. What’s bad was she had absolutely nothing to do with it-she kept telling everyone, no, don’t splatter the paint yet; no don’t cut the fabric yet; no, don’t [fill in the blank], but no one listened to her. Even so, three of the others threw her under the bus. I give her props for keeping it together-hell, I would have been bawling, at least somewhere backstage. Even Kelly Osbourne, who was judging, suggested it was a “bitchfest”, and I think that had at least something to do with their decision. Don’t get me wrong-Ashley *was* in the bottom, but hers wasn’t the worst outfit out there. The person they *did* send home-Amanda-was one of the “bus-throwers”, as well as having been in the bottom in the past few challenges.

I’ve said over and over again that I would be the most boring contestant ever because I wouldn’t want to talk crap about the other designers or their work on camera. That, and I’d be so bad that I wouldn’t be in a *position* to criticize anyone else. I think that last part might have been in the back of the judges’ minds as they decided who to send home and who to keep. It makes sense.

So:

Who left: Amanda.

Who didn’t: Ashley. Kelly was also in the bottom, with an outfit that reminded me of an action figure. Edmond won.

Who should have: They picked the right person. I didn’t hate her dress so much as understood why the judges felt the way they did. She *had* been in the bottom two times before.

Anyway, I’ll stop my rambling now. Like I said above, I have no business talking about fashion when my usual outfit consists of gray flannel shorts and an aging T-shirt. I just like the show and figured my opinion was worth as much as anyone else’s. Okay, maybe not, but at least it’s interesting. I thought so, anyway.

 

 


Happy People & Positivity: An Annoying Trend

This post from a friend of mine is spot-on…It’s not that happy or positive people annoy me so much (I’m often one of them) so much as that some people speak as though positive thoughts are the be-all, end-all of healing…while I know how destructive negative thoughts can be as they mount up, it’s not always a *matter* of thoughts. Sometimes it truly is a physical, medical problem. Good thoughts certainly help, but to imply that someone with a medical condition only has the problems they do because they lack faith/don’t think the right way/etc is beyond insulting. Like La Sabrosona states, no one would ever say that about cancer or learning disabilities. It’s really easy to sum something up as being due to “laziness” or “thinking badly” when it doesn’t affect you or someone you love.

Come to think of it, I *do* know of some people who would say that about at least *some* learning disabilities. I’m just glad I’m not their kid.

my spanglish familia

Do you ever come across blogs that read more like infomercials than motivational or educational resources?

Do your teeth hurt because they’ve caked on adjectives like too-sweet fondant over top their Leave-it-to-Beaver-message of how best to approach life’s great challenges?

Meet Dawn Gluskin, author of Type-A Zen. I came across one of her Huffington Post articles titled, Are Positive People Annoying?

My response? Yes Dawn, you are annoying. I’ll tell you why.

Because when you say things like this:

You see, happiness is a choice, but we sometimes forget. There are plenty of things in life that are less than perfect and we could just as easily choose to be happy or unhappy about them.

It makes my blood boil. I can’t “easily choose to be happy or unhappy” about my life’s circumstances because a symptom of my illness is negative thinking. Not just a whimsical idea of…

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Sh*t People Say to People with Mental Illness 

A very entertaining but sadly true post.

wehaveapples

“We all get the blues!”

You: Um, so… I can’t function on a daily basis. I’m on the floor right now, unable to move. I’ve been sobbing for so long that I can’t breathe. This is my everyday. This is NOT “the blues.”

“Just be strong and put on a smile.”

You: Obviously I’ve tried that. I’ve gone to the Olive Garden and eaten breadsticks and spaghetti like a champ, talked about the weather, and smiled my best smile (while simultaneously losing it inside) 30 mins at table smiling, 4 mins in bathroom crying, back to table smiling for another 15. “Check please.” I’m trying so hard. Thanks for making me feel worse about myself and like I’m weak. I’m already ashamed.

“My cousin cured her depression by eliminating gluten.”

You: Ya, so you’re making me feel worse. *cries and eats almond flower cookie*

“This will be your new doctor-…

View original post 772 more words


My Thoughts On Life and a Plug For a Friend

I was reading a devotional book this morning from a pastor friend of mine who has bipolar disorder when something really caught my eye.

The book was Delight In Disorder-Ministry, Madness, Mission by Tony Roberts. Here’s a really cool website about the book and its author: http://awaywithwordsforyou.com/#

Here are some other quotes from his book: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/40808173-delight-in-disorder-ministry-madness-mission.

Anyway, I was reading one of the devotionals where he talks about his experiences with suicide attempts. In one of them, he says that he felt a strange blend of “both shame and gratitude”-gratitude that his attempt to kill himself didn’t work, but shame that he’d tried it to begin with.

Although I am doing well now, I can relate to him. I myself have never actually tried to commit suicide, but there were times in my life-both as a teenager and as an adult-where I wondered if my life was really worth living. At one point I thought that it would be easier on everyone else if I had died in the accident I got into in 2005-my husband wouldn’t had to go through all of our savings to pay for my medical bills and equipment; we wouldn’t have had to struggle so much financially because of the loss of my (meager) income; I had a lot of other medical bills later on down the line because of some health conditions the doctors couldn’t figure out…do you see a theme here? Yes, I know it’s not about the money, but as someone who’s struggled to the point of having to file bankruptcy because of credit card debt, I know how stressful money problems can be and how it can infect every other area of your life.

I remember saying something about these feelings in 2007 and got a very bad reaction-I was accused of being an attention whore because I was mad that someone else was the center of attention in the group instead of me. Let me pause by telling you one thing: Probably the worst thing you can do to a suicidal friend is accuse them of something like this. They already feel worthless and unwanted; screaming at them and calling them names will only confirm this. It’s one thing if it’s a boyfriend threatening to hurt himself if you break up with him, but another thing altogether when your friend has a known problem that has a tendency to flare up. The people who said this knew I was having problems and, while something much more serious than this had just happened to one of our friends, anyone who knows me at all knows that I would never threaten suicide to get attention. Never. Plus, if I really wanted attention, I’m sure I could find a much more interesting way to get it. Damn, at least give me some credit.

Anyway, about the feelings…a lot of them probably came because my bipolar medication wasn’t working along with/because of the other health problems I’d been having, but a lot of it was feeling worthless because I couldn’t *be* anything-I couldn’t be a mom because of some, um, physical problems the accident caused, nor could I be a career woman like I wanted to be. I’d tried to be several times, but the mental stuff always got in the way. I did not always have these problems; bipolar often sets on in early adulthood, so it’s possible to go through school and set all these goals early on and then not be able to reach them. Ditto my ADHD. I know I talk about this a lot-probably too much. It’s not who I am. It may not run my life, but it definitely has had effects other bloggers can relate to. That’s how I found most of my follow list; they wrote a post I came across on another site and vice versa. They have it much rougher than I do, so my stuff is small potatoes.

A lot of the time you don’t feel depressed so much as numb. You want to reach out to others, but you just can’t find the energy. That’s how it’s been with me for a while now.  Like a friend once said, you’re not depressed so much as bored. That’s one reason you stay in your hidey-hole and don’t talk to people-nothing interesting is going on and you don’t want to drag your friends down. You don’t speak because you don’t have anything to say. It’s not hard to get confused.

You know what’s interesting? I think I always knew I wouldn’t do it…that I always knew that there was always life, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel-I just hadn’t seen it yet. I think I knew that Jesus was still there, I just couldn’t feel Him. It’s weird how I have to remind myself that His existence and care for us is not contingent on our ability to feel Him. I’m happy for people who feel His presence a lot and I certainly have too, but I don’t want to base my entire belief or spiritual “system” on this kind of emotion the way I did before. Sometimes it feels as though I don’t seek Him because I don’t think to the way other people do, but it doesn’t matter because I know He’s always there.

My brain and I are both doing very well now, so there’s no need to be alarmed. All of this happened a long time ago, but reading the devotional made me think about it. Thanks for listening to me ramble on like a freak. Have a good day!


My ‘Children’…Cee’s Oddball Photo Challenge

Many people know know me well know I love to take pictures. This is a relatively new finding-I started on a trip to England with some friends and haven’t stopped! Unfortunately the only equipment I have to work with is an iPod and the camera on my phone (or phones I no longer use). Still, I think they turned out pretty damned good. Others, not so much, which is why I might not have published or shown some of the earlier ones. Most of these were taken with my old LG for Verizon, but not all.  Anyway, here are the “weird” photos I’d like to submit to Cee’s Oddball Photo Challenge. http://ceenphotography.com/cees-odd-ball-photo-challenge/

Haley and Slater, two of the sweetest cats in the world!

Haley and Slater (from left)
Two of the sweetest cats in the world! They can often be found in various affectionate poses. Slater also likes to run around the house like a madman, chasing after nothing. Maybe he sees something I don’t

Hey, I told Daniel Tiger I’d scan him in if he didn’t move…:)

I miss my Daniel Tiger.😦

“Mommy, yoo-hoo! I’m waiting!!!!

Missy, c. 6 mos

Now let’s play Find The Kitty!:

Toby is a Manx…this breed of cat is born without a tail. He’s what’s called a ‘rumpy riser’, because he has a little ‘nub’ he moves up and down.  Strangely, though, he is the only one I’ve ever seen chase his ‘tail’….*shakes head*.  Freak!

He’s a total chunk, weighing what feels like 12-15 pounds. Believe it or not, he’s not the fattest cat we know. I know one who weighs 26 pounds. Yes, you read that right. 26. What’s interesting is that he feels pretty solid, although I’m sure there’s some fat under there.

Here are some other photos I just feel like posting:

“Extreme close-up! Whooooooaaahhhh!”

Oscar isn’t our cat; he’s the 26-lb cat mentioned above but, yes, that’s a pickle he’s eating…

Anyway, these are some of my “oddball photos”. I hope you enjoyed them!


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