Wanting catharsis
December 8, 2011 7:15 PM   Subscribe

When I was a a teenager, my mom would stand with her face six inches away from mine and say things to me that struck me as being absolutely dreadful.

She woud stare at me in a completely intimidating fashion and say them in a terrible way, and I just couldn't block her out at the time; I felt every word and awful stare sink in. Of course, she never cursed or yelled. God forbid I could accuse her of such a thing. She was way too far above that (unlike me, the scum of the earth.)

But I can't remember what exactly she said; not only can't I remember now (decades later,) but even shortly after the episodes, I couldn't remember the worst things she said, just the way she looked and my general reaction of overwhelming oppression, anger, often fear, etc.

Basically the gist was usually the unspeakable, unimaginable, unfathomable, stupendously shocking immorality of my behaviour, or lack thereof. She rarely clarified what she was so angry about, but essentially I just wasn't living up to expectations. I didn't smoke, drink, do drugs, date, have sex, anything like that, and I certainly never "talked back" to her. I was just a depressed, essentially friendless teenager with social anxiety having a hard time in school and too embarrassed about my health problems to talk about them.

She made sure to make me feel like I was a mass murderer and she was the Pope, untouchable in the righteousness of her opinion.

Did I actually block the words like you block a bad memory, or do I just have a poor memory for verbal detail? How can you tell if you blocked something out, or if it was just hard to remember due to the stress of the circumstances? I mean, there were times she said just one thing to me, and I did remember, but simply eventually forgot over the years, so that would seem to indicate that I wasn't blocking stuff out.

This may be a stupid question and I know I could use therapy (unless venting here is good enough)...everybody has always thought she was more or less a saint, even some members of my own immediate family, plus she's mild mannered now, and she actually really is a good person in a ton of ways (thoughtful, caring, just probably with a big ego and some blind spots like we all have) so this is bothering me particulary now because decades have passed and I can't even remember so much of what was so terrible, so therefore when I feel angry, as I do a lot lately, now I have nothing to say for myself.
posted by serena15221 to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I am so sorry for what you went through. You don't use the word abuse in your post, but that is what your mother did to you, and you have every right to feel upset and confused about it, especially since it sounds like you're also trying to maintain a relationship with the person she's become.

For your question, I don't think it's a sign of an actual block, as in some sort of distinct psychological reaction; I think you've just forgotten because, in general, the memory that sticks isn't exact words, but the feelings they inspired. True for both good and bad things.
posted by kagredon at 7:29 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Therapy will help with this.

My guess is that a couple of things are going on here: 1) your mother's behavior was about her, not about you. 2) You may have dissociated from yourself during those events by shutting part of yourself down / literally "going somewhere else" to protect yourself, and that might be why you don't remember the specific words. 3) Part of you may still be relating to those events as a child would have, which is to be frightened and uncomfortable.

It sounds like you're finding yourself angry with her in the present and like you're connecting that anger to these events in the past. It also sounds like you feel some need to process your memories of those past events, and maybe to overcome or at least understand your present anger at her. The best way to explore that connection is probably therapy. We're just strangers on the internet, with our own problems and agendas.

Good luck, though. It's tough to carry that stuff around for decades.
posted by gauche at 7:32 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'd say you dissociated.

I went through similar as a child and teen, and I reacted in much the same manner.

I didn't even know that the various ways I used to "leave the room" mentally when crap like that happened even had a name.
posted by droplet at 7:33 PM on December 8, 2011 [11 favorites]

The standing close in, staring, and verbally shaming you--I suspect that those were responsible for the scars. What she actually said kind of doesn't matter: she wasn't communicating appropriate correction, or expressing healthy anger, or even making accusations you could evaluate for yourself. Whatever her words might have been, she was actually saying, "You should be ashamed, you should feel worthless."

I don't think venting is good enough. How she treated you was not just wrong, but damaging. I think you deserve to work out strategies for dealing with the lasting impact of your mother's intimidation and shaming.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:34 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't think anyone here can tell you whether you are blocking the memory of what she said or whether you've forgotten the words in the (so called) "normal" way.

If you are able to arrange it, I really think that it would be helpful to talk to a psychologist about this. Whether you end up considering what happened to be "abuse" or not, it was clearly a strong, scary, and unpleasant experience for you at the time and that's really all that matters.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 7:34 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Memory's a tricky thing. Very tricky, and science is only beginning to understand how it works and what the brain can and can't do. What would the distinction be, really, between "blocking" and not remembering because of the stressfulness of the incident?

It feels like you're probing an either/or --- either your mom was right and you were a terrible person, or your mom was off her nut and other people's belief that she was a saint is misplaced, and if you knew exactly what was said you could tell the difference. But that's a false dichotomy --- it doesn't have to be one way or the other. Could be both, could be neither. And even if you could pinpoint which side to come down on, that wouldn't erase how you feel about it.

What's important is that she made you feel awful. And that you're still bothered by those awful feelings today. That, you need to fix, and you probably could use some help from a pro to fix it.
posted by Diablevert at 7:35 PM on December 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

You weren't a bad kid - you know that, right? I mean, sure, you weren't perfect, but you did not deserve the shit treatment your mother heaped on you.

It was abuse. She was sick to treat a kid like that. And I can't blame you at all for wanting to shut that pain out of your mind, then or now.

Unfortunately, shutting it out doesn't help it go away. So, as you said, therapy is the next step... and work, to dredge up unpleasant memories, and figure out how to deal with them so you can stop reacting to the ghosts in your head.

Peace, from another child of a vindictive mother.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:38 PM on December 8, 2011 [6 favorites]

Stress and trauma affect memory. It could be that the stress of the moment made it impossible for you to lay down the memory of the events. You got the emotional content--which was the bigger part of the message anyway--but didn't record the words. Severe trauma actually causes physical changes in the brain akin to brain damage, which also affects memory. Or, it could be that the those events were so traumatic that you won't let yourself remember them now because the memories are too painful.

A therapist would definitely be able to help with this. You can explore it a little on your own, by sitting quietly and trying to pull up the memories. If you concentrate on the physical sensations you experience as you throw your mind back, you may find more of it comes to you. Be aware, though, that catharsis can be pretty elusive. You may just open up a can of worms that is really too painful to deal with on your own. Seriously, this is what therapy is for.

Try googling combinations of memory, memory loss, anxiety, stress, trauma, and see if anything comes up that rings a bell for you.
posted by looli at 7:51 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Learning about dissociation (which is a known response to trauma) can actually trigger dissociation, so please do not be alarmed if that happens.

I think talking to a therapist would be a good idea. They're much better at this stuff than we are!
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:02 PM on December 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

I would assume that you have dissociation. I say this as someone with severe dissociation; I thought I was losing my mind for the longest time until my therapist told me that I have dissociation.

This is definitely not a stupid question. You need therapy, I can't recommend that enough for dissociation. Even if you feel like things aren't that bad, the reality is that you blocked it out so that way it wouldn't feel that bad. It was your mind's way of overcoming emotional abuse (i.e. a trauma) which is why you don't remember many of the things that she said.

Therapy will also help because of how your mother treated you in general. Even if you can't remember some of the things (if not most of the things), it will help to release all of those emotions, especially in a safe place such as a therapist's office.

Feel free to MeMail me.
posted by sincerely-s at 8:11 PM on December 8, 2011

It doesn't sound odd that you don't remember the words. For one thing, it's natural to try to mentally check out when somebody's deliberately trying to make you feel bad (which she was; even if she thought it was corrective somehow, her method was deliberately punitive) while they have you physically trapped. Furthermore, a certain degree of eloquence and specificity and either repetition or shock value (sometimes the shock of recognition) is usually necessary to get people to remember the actual text of something you said 15 years later. And then you said yourself that she rarely clarified what she was so angry about, which is part of why this was so bad for you: there was nothing to latch on to and argue with, just a wave of shame/ill will/confusion/anger/unhappiness with no structure or meaning in it.

Don't worry about missing the words. More will probably turn up, but it sounds like you have a line on an important thing: the words she used to attack you weren't memorable because what she said didn't really have anything to do with anything you did or were or are. It was just your mom senselessly attacking you, which is not what's supposed to happen. Probably taking her shitty feelings about herself out on you, but what's wrong with her isn't something you have any particular obligation to care about at the moment. Find a therapist you feel OK about, open up as often as you can, and look into it; eventually you'll find your thoughts and feelings can sort of clarify themselves.
posted by Adventurer at 8:16 PM on December 8, 2011

For what it's worth, it's been said that when we often don't remember a lot of details that are spoken in our relationships, but we rarely forget how we felt when we were with someone. Our memories of people are often associated with feelings, and are not necessarily around propositional content. I think how you felt became a higher priority to what you remember.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:28 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Did I actually block the words like you block a bad memory, or do I just have a poor memory for verbal detail? How can you tell if you blocked something out, or if it was just hard to remember due to the stress of the circumstances?

I feel like everyone has a poor memory for verbal detail. Listening is the most passive way you can communicate, and when you're trying to shield your ego from the verbal onslaught, I'd imagine you're less likely to commit specifics to long term storage. As a personal example, I missed some deadlines at work recently, got verbally taken to task by a superior this afternoon. While I damn sure remember the emotional content and the outcome of the meeting, I probably couldn't tell you more hand full of snippets of the conversation, and it happened less than 10 hours ago, much less 10 years ago.

And I will second what Spacemanstix and hal_c_on and juffo-wup said in public, and I will me-mail you why exactly I am seconding their sentiments. For the record, as normal as it is to forget the specifics of an episode like that, I feel uncomfortable deciding if its dissociation or not via forum, because the term means different things to different people.
posted by midmarch snowman at 8:37 PM on December 8, 2011

On second thought, I didn't mean to come down on one side or another as to whether you were dissociating. It's just that you're not wrong.
posted by Adventurer at 8:58 PM on December 8, 2011

How can you tell if you blocked something out, or if it was just hard to remember due to the stress of the circumstances?

False dichotomy. Those are essentially two ways of saying the same thing.
posted by flabdablet at 9:20 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's been said, but please find a therapist to discuss this with. When I was younger, my parents gave me this sort of verbal treatment quite a few times, & if you're anything like me, you may be surprised by how much anger you've built up over the years.
posted by biddeford at 9:33 PM on December 8, 2011

Even if you thought you remembered the exact words your mother used, there is an excellent chance you'd be completely wrong.

Many people, prompted by unrealistic portrayals in movies, seem to think that memory is like a video camera capturing an exact record of a moment. They have the idea that this pristine original recording stays stored away somewhere in the brain, that it can be hidden away by trauma or brought out and examined in detail through hypnosis.

This is pretty much completely incorrect, based on everything researchers have learned about how memory works. Memory is an unreliable, creative process. Our brains act like detectives or storytellers, piecing together a remembered scene using a variety of clues and cues. Most of the time the reconstructed scene will have significant differences from what a camera or a tape recorder would show.

The odds of you remembering exactly what your Mom was saying to you even under normal circumstances would be somewhat low unless you were carefully listening with an intent to commit her words to memory. Since you were probably going through a fight-or-flight stress response as she was berating you, I strongly suspect you were not calmly listening and trying to make note of her precise words for later recall. Given the circumstances, remembering the general gist of what she was saying is about the best you might reasonably expect.

(It is possible to learn to stay calm and listen carefully and dispassionately as someone throws verbal abuse at you, but that's not a skill I would expect too many teenagers to have. It's rare enough in adults.)
posted by tdismukes at 9:37 PM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Even if you remembered exactly what she said, it won't be the same as the feeling you had, with the way she was yelling at you and your stress response to the situation. You mention having had social anxiety, and I'm sure that made it extra painful - being able to tell other people what she said won't make them understand how it felt to be a socially anxious, friendless teenager (emotions already stirred up) being yelled at by one of the only people you were close to. Even though I'm sure part of you wants to know what she said, I'd advise that what's more important is working through those childhood feelings of being attacked.

Maybe she really did yell something horrible and unbelievable; maybe it was something normal that you wouldn't think twice about today but were particularly sensitive to as a socially anxious teenager. For some children the feeling of being attacked can be overwhelming and just shut you down, regardless of what exactly is being yelled at you. Dissociating or not doesn't answer that question - it tells how stressed you were, not how stressed you 'should have been' if you had been a non-anxious adult.

What should have happened is that your mother should have noticed how you were feeling and toned it down. But she may have been taught that children have to be 'scared straight' and not known better, or might have not realized you were shutting down due to being hurt (as opposed to just ignoring her). You will probably never be able to 'prove' that she was in the wrong, and in general assigning blame is not a great focus to have in relationships. If she's doing things today that remind you of those childhood feelings, that's what I would focus on: how to express your feelings and ask her to change so she'll listen.
posted by Lady Li at 12:11 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

There is a psychological concept called "weapon focus". If someone threatens you with a knife, your entire focus is on the knife because that's where the danger to you lies; afterwards you'll be able to describe the knife better than you can describe your attacker. Though your mother may not have been armed she was making an attack on you; what you're remembering are the bits that your mind picked out as the most dangerous to you - her manner and the overall message, not the detail of the words.

It does sound like therapy would be useful to give this an airing - it sounds like every time you meet your mother you'll be smiling on the outside and raging on the inside, which is a very unpleasant state to be in. And as the various answers above show, memory is not a straightforward thing, and so therapists expect people not to have 'perfect' memories for bad things which have happened to them.
posted by Coobeastie at 12:37 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Absolutely therapy, it will help so much. I'm another child of an abusive mother, who did exactly what you describe, and I was a child almost just as you describe, the only difference being that I always did well in school, largely because I had friends there and the excellent luck of always having good teachers (it was totally my escape, to the point where I took zero-period courses and after-school activities just so I could stay away from home, and with friends and kind teachers, for as long as possible).

Therapy has been wonderful. My therapist has focused on gently prodding me to express my feelings, which I didn't understand for a while, but once I got to a certain point in therapy (the therapist needs to get an idea of your context), she started explaining things to me in more and more detail. It's been a couple of years now, and, just, wow. So many things are going better for me now, especially emotionally, and I'm finally starting to understand why. Children are not inherently "bad" or "good". Children need to be guided and taught. Even if you had had "bad" behaviors as a child, it was not your mother's right to get in your face and freak out on you for it. After all, what good did it do? You don't even remember what she said! (This is not your fault! In my case, my therapist pointed out that I never remembered what I was punished for either, when it was violent punishment from my parents, but on the other hand, I remember very well all the patient guidance I've had from teachers and the two kindhearted grandparents I had... who we rarely saw since my mother hated them.)

everybody has always thought she was more or less a saint, even some members of my own immediate family, plus she's mild mannered now, and she actually really is a good person in a ton of ways (thoughtful, caring, just probably with a big ego and some blind spots like we all have) so this is bothering me particulary now because decades have passed and I can't even remember so much of what was so terrible, so therefore when I feel angry, as I do a lot lately, now I have nothing to say for myself.

I thought people saw my mother as a saint too, until I finally stopped talking to her. Then people came out of the woodwork, tentatively, carefully, to tell me how they had always thought something was cruel and cold about her, but they could never quite put their finger on it. They remained polite and warm with her in front of others, but they absolutely saw through her "I'M SUCH AN INCREDIBLY LOVING MOTHER DENY IT AND YOU WILL PAY".

With abused kids, anger is very often put off until it's safe to feel and express. You weren't able to express it openly as a kid; it would have meant even more danger and abuse. I don't know where I got my own headstrong behavior from, but I did actually get in my mother's face as a kid, never insulting her, but pointing out that she didn't have the right to do/say certain things (like I said, I had good teachers :) ). Holy crap did I ever catch hell for it. On the other hand, I avoided getting angry with my father, because he had a tendency to explode and go nuclear with physical punishment, which my mother was more reserved about since she'd been beaten black and blue growing up. (It is sad. I wish I could have a relationship with her, because I understand why she became the way she did, but well... she told me one too many times that I deserved to die, despite boundary setting etc.) So, now, in my mid-thirties (sigh), I'm more dealing with anger I feel/felt at my father in therapy.

tl;dr yes, therapy :) It will very much help. The first few sessions may feel a bit shaky, but that's not necessarily a sign of a bad fit, in fact it may be very good if the therapist is genuinely listening and taking notes. Mine waited several sessions, just hearing me out very patiently and gently, before she started venturing into more concrete territory. It's been worth it. So very worth it.
posted by fraula at 3:16 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

I can't remember big chunks of my childhood except in vivid flashes or stories told to me. Every now and then, something new will pop up, but a lot of them lack the words - just visuals and associated physical sensations. It's definitely different for traumatic memories to regular memories.

Re: therapy, it's worth doing for your future relationships, not just romantic, but friendships and possibly when you parent. I have actively worked through a bunch of it, but just this week, have been surprised by my reaction to one of my kids experiencing painful migraines - my instant reaction was to yell at and shame her for not being stoic and suffering silently, because a migraine with no visible physical signs couldn't be "real" illness. I had to consciously bite back words and check in with my husband on what is the sane parenting to do, rather than copy my parents' crazy.

I say this because I couldn't then imagine therapy/helping myself recover as something worth doing for me, only as something worth doing because it will make me a better wife/mother/friend - framing it like that helped me get started with outside help over the childhood voices saying "just shut up and be better by sheer force of will, you wimp."

I made lots of excuses for my parents growing up, and why none of our friends wanted to come to our house, and why we were "interesting", rather than damaged. One nice thing about talking about the full story to a trusted friend or therapist is that they can 'scale' things for you - yes, a broken arm going unnoticed for three days is bad parenting, and not at all the equivalent of being spanked for talking back. Abused kids often downplay or minimize the abuse and idealize/demonize different caretakers. Be careful who you choose - I had an idiot ex tell me that his being groped in an elevator was equally as traumatic as repeated childhood rape.

It gets better. It really does. Good luck - remembering and talking about it are powerful tools.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:44 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

"so therefore when I feel angry, as I do a lot lately, now I have nothing to say for myself."

This jumped right out at me. If you're feeling angry a lot more lately, and starting to think about what you can and can't remember and why, my strong feeling is that those things mean you're ready -- and need -- to work on what happened to you when you were so vulnerable. It's almost impossible to do this on your own; you need someone to listen, and, as viggorlijah said to confirm that what happened to you was 1) not normal and 2) not caused by your actions. And I even more agree with the advice to be careful who you choose. There are a shitload of bad therapists and psychologists out there. Ask for personal recommendations from people you know, and make the first appointment an interview by you. Don't open up too much the first time, ask the therapist questions, and trust your instincts. Often people who were abused as children have difficulty in recognizing situations where their needs have priority over other people's expectations. It's okay to stand up in the middle of a session and say, "Thank you. I have to go now."

That said, there are wonderful people in the field who do the work because they're good at it, and want to help other people heal. When you find one you trust, you can stop carrying all that old pain around in your heart. You can never be someone who had a happy or sane or safe childhood, but it CAN be something in the past, that doesn't keep coming up and knocking you sideways or confusing you in the moment.

I also wish you luck, and second that it gets better. It really does.
posted by kestralwing at 5:50 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

You don't use the word abuse in your post, but that is what your mother did to you, and you have every right to feel upset and confused about it, especially since it sounds like you're also trying to maintain a relationship with the person she's become.

OP, I just came in to add, since a lot of people are using the word "abuse" to describe the events you mention, that you are free to adopt that word or not to describe your childhood.

It may be helpful to keep in mind that calling an event "abuse" doesn't have to radically change your relationship to your mother or your memories of childhood. I am coming to terms with some similar things in my own past: while I have resisted using the term "abuse" aloud, because I am not sure that I want to think of my parents as "abusers", it has helped me to set boundaries in my own mind. I am allowed to say, "that thing my mother did was not right. It wasn't appropriate for an adult to do that to a child." I am allowed to experience that as a deficit or a loss without having to have, unless I want to have it, a big confrontational event where I drag up the past to my mother and change my relationship with her.

And so are you. It may be helpful for you to be able to say, in your own mind, "that wasn't okay. That wasn't something an adult should do to a child," or even "that was abuse" if you want to. And then to never mention it to your mother if you don't want to. You dealing with this is about you getting what you need.
posted by gauche at 7:00 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Once you choose therapy, I'd suggest a therapist who specialises in trauma. PTSD doesn't only happen to war vets and victims of disasters or crime. Sustained psychological trauma on a child can create a rash of problems later on, and a trauma specialist would know how to help with strategies on how to cope with the anger and .

As for the rest of your family thinking Mum was a saint, join the club. That's the modus operandi; maintain the facade so that the yucky stuff underneath can be ignored. I grew up without a hair out of place or a sock sliding down my calf in public. But behind closed doors, you can't imagine. If only her church pals, or even her siblings, knew what my guardian was capable of.
posted by droplet at 8:02 AM on December 9, 2011

"I can't even remember so much of what was so terrible, so therefore when I feel angry, as I do a lot lately, now I have nothing to say for myself"

Nothing to say to yourself, to justify how you're feeling? Nothing to say to your mother?

You don't need to remember the exact words she said to have something to say for yourself.

I know it's confusing to be so angry about things that have happened in the past with somebody who you actually have a decent relationship with now. But you have a right to feel how you feel. Even if you don't remember the details, you know that your mother intentionally shamed you. Whether you talk to her about that, talk to a therapist, or just deal with your anger on your own is up to you -- you don't need evidence.
posted by chickenmagazine at 8:03 AM on December 9, 2011

A lot of saintly appearing folk have anger issues that only reveal themselves to the close and vulnerable. I think sometimes the contrast in personality enhances the trauma inflicted. In any event everything you describe about how you feel and your lack of memory seems like a pretty normal reaction.

More important is how you cope going forward. Your mom obviously had some deep and troubling issues. For your own sanity you will need to find a way to forgive her. Without that you are doomed to replay these harms in your mind over and over again, with each replay inflicting additional harm. Therapy can help here.

You might also ask yourself whether you want an apology from your mother. I wouldn't bother, or at least make that a goal. She sounds like the type of person who would come to that with great difficulty. She also has probably forgotten much of this. Once you have forgiven her in your mind though, you could tell her this. It might lead to recognition and apology on her part. Remember, though that you do not need this for your own well being going forward.
posted by caddis at 8:07 AM on December 9, 2011

Check out focusing.
posted by BigSky at 11:33 AM on December 9, 2011

You probably did block out what she said, and no reasonable person could blame you.

Please understand that what she did was an expression of something very bad, troubled, bitter and supremely screwed up in her. Not you. She used you as a vessel to pour her pain into. She did this because she was too weak to deal with it herself, like a decent, mature adult should. So she coped with that by abusing and bullying you.

You did nothing wrong. The things she said and did were expressions of her frustration and fear, not of anything about you. You found yourself tossed and battered in a storm. Now you're out of it. You wouldn't feel you were in any way to blame for the actions of a storm, would you?

I am going to say this too, even knowing that it will be hugely unpopular here: "therapy" is just picking at a scab. It's a sort of vanity. It's self-regarding. Don't endlessly analyse a problem. Don't over-think your pain. Square up to it; recognise it for what it is, no matter how bad it makes you feel, then decide whether you want to move past it or waste your time agonising and analysing it.

I'm British, so perhaps this attitude is merely a cultural stance, but by God, I do not like "therapy". I do not think it's at all healthy. I do not think it encourages strength and resilience. I think it encourages wallowing in oneself.

What we must do with the things that pain and trouble us in life
posted by Decani at 12:56 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Umm... a superfluous phrase seems to have snuck onto the end of that. Please ignore. :-)
posted by Decani at 12:57 PM on December 9, 2011

You pretty much described me and my mother. A bit too painful to go into here, but feel free to memail me if you want therapy tips, etc.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 5:47 AM on December 10, 2011

Yep, my teen years were basically this. I don't remember any of the specific content either, except for a couple things. I don't really think about it as blocking those things out, so much as that it's more important to remember the provoked feelings and the content is largely irrelevant. I don't think this is unusual.

As for therapy: you may find it useful, or you may not. I thought it was fairly ineffective and pointless for a long time, and I was right. I'm in therapy now, I find it very useful, and I'm also right. I don't think you'll be displaying weakness if you decide to go, and you won't be doing something stupid or self-harming if you don't.
posted by Errant at 12:42 PM on December 10, 2011

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