psychology

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Ghosting or Honesty? Which Do You Prefer?

Published September 10, 2019 by Maryanne

GhostsPhoto by Maryanne 

Unless you married your high school sweetheart, or were very lucky in love with one great romance after another, you probably had some (or in my case many) ugly break-ups until the right one came along.

While getting dumped hurts, I truly believe it hurts more to dump someone, because even if you’re the one doing the dumping, you still go through a bit of a mourning period before that feeling of relief happens. And you’re doing the dirty work, which is harder.

There are two ways to get dumped (or to dump). The best policy of course is honesty. Then, there is ghosting. Ghosting is the easy way out. Have you ever been ghosted? It’s when you are left hanging, and then finally figure it out, you’re not going to hear from a certain person anymore. The person stops returning your phone calls just like that.

I admit, back when I was dating, I’ve ghosted. Back in the old days (in my case, the 1980s), guys would just show up at your house without calling! Imagine that?! I’d say to my grandmother, “Tell him I’m not home!”

I was only in my teens then, but as I grew older, I grew a conscience.  If I was no longer interested in a guy, I’d tell him directly.

Of course it’s easy to break up with a guy who is a jerk. But what about someone who is a nice guy, but he makes you cringe? When you’re single and not getting butterflies in your stomach when you think of someone, that’s reason enough to break up. Hell, I’ve broken up with a guy just because I didn’t like the way he said “cheddar.” This is acceptable and there’s nothing wrong with it. He wasn’t the one for you. End of story.

But what about friends? Did you ever have a friend that no longer excited you? 

Ghosting happens not only in a romantic sense, but in friendships too. We politely call it “drifting apart.”  Wouldn’t it be more adult if we were all just honest with each other? Easier said than done.

A few years ago I met someone I thought would end up a great friend. At first it seemed we really liked each other. We hung out a few times and it was fun. Then the friendship fizzled…just like that. I started avoiding her because after the initial friendship infatuation wore off, I realized she was…uh…boring. I tried spicing the friendship up by adding other friends to the mix, but she always stood out as the conversation killer. Whenever the conversation got good, she drew attention to herself by making dumb grandpa jokes. Or started talking about tragedies like car accidents or cancer. Or whipped out the phone to show photos. (Remember the old days when no one wanted to be that boring person who whipped out the vacation or wedding photos?!) Her friendship bored me to tears. I was getting nothing out of it. Simple as that.

I replayed the last time I saw her over and over again in my head. She wasn’t a BAD person. She was actually sweet. However, over the course of a year and a half, I began to feel like I was being choked. It was weird and uncomfortable. I just wasn’t happy being around her. I compared the friendship to being in an unfulfilled romance that I wanted to escape. She did nothing wrong, but I didn’t like her.

I felt so guilty for my feelings. How can I not like a nice person?  I felt evil.

Then I read this in Psychology Today online:

“We’re no more in control of our attraction to friends than we are our attraction to lovers. And to reject someone as a friend isn’t to declare them unworthy of friendship any more than to reject them as a lover is to declare them unworthy of love…
We are who we are and shouldn’t criticize ourselves if we find we want to end a friendship. We’re not evil because we no longer like someone, or because we never did. Or never liked them as much as they like us.” — Alex Lickerman, M.D.

 

That nailed exactly how I was feeling! So now what? 

I spoke to two trust worthy people about the situation. They supported my decision and suggested ghosting; or more nicely put, drifting apart, as mentioned above.

Bottom line, I couldn’t ghost her. If I didn’t invite her to events, she’d see photos of me with my other friends on Facebook. Sooner or later she’d call me to talk; or send an email (and she did!). Eventually I’d have to face the music.

Plus, my honesty was eating away at me. I felt I had to let her know that she irked me. Her grandpa jokes were not funny. I prefer talking about fun things while dining, not awful things that can turn my stomach. And at the dinner table, I don’t want to keep digging my glasses out of my bag to look at pictures. Let’s just drink wine, eat, and laugh. Put the phone away, please!

Of course she got defensive and there was some back and forth phone and email banter. Then I got what I set out for; it was all over. At first I was sad because I’m human and I have a heart. I mourned. And now I am relieved.

If a friendship isn’t going anywhere and either party is not getting anything out of it, it’s time to end it — now matter how nice the person is. You do not have to feel guilty or bad about it.

I’m far from a perfect person, but one of the things I am most proud of is my honesty. Friends never have to second guess how I feel about them, because I will let them know.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. People know when I’m happy with them; and when I’ve had it with them. If only others would be as honest.

Which do you prefer, ghosting or honesty? Share your experiences! 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

 

Gaslighting: Sneaky Emotional Abuse

Published March 17, 2019 by Maryanne

high-blood-pressureDon’t Let Them High-Blood Pressure You! 

Hello Happy Person!

Everything in your life is so right!

Maybe you just met the love of your life. Or you got a promotion at work. Or, I know, you just adopted the cutest little kitten. LUCKY YOU!

Then BANG! Some psycho comes along to try and steal your joy. Most likely it will be a jealous relative, or maybe a former so-called friend or ex coming back to haunt you after you made it very clear you don’t want that person in your life.

This happened to me a few days ago. Oh, I was in such a great place! As a writer, I was high on the fact that I’m half-way through helping an all-time favorite client write his book. And the fact that I have a new client. My writing and blogging with the new client may lead to more speaking engagements. I also joined a new spiritually aware group that had me especially stoked. AND, I just started healing after the loss of my cat. Boy, was I on Cloud 9!

Then out of the blue, I noticed an email in the box of my business page. It was from a former so-called friend who was reaching out. He said he wanted to “apologize.”

Five years ago, this so-called friend and I had a huge argument via emails. It got ugly. I couldn’t figure out what I did that triggered his anger to the point of no return. And check this out …He stooped so low to insult my deceased grandmother. (It was painful to type that…but I need to let people know if they are a victim of bat shit crazy, they are not alone).

So, five years later…

I’m a positive, look on the bright side kind of person, so I returned his email, with caution. I simply wrote something positive, accentuating this person’s good points, but equally illustrating my frustrations with his judgement five years ago (in a compassionate manner, not at all insulting). It was reasonable, I thought.

In his email, five years ago, one of his gripes was that I was bitching at him while he was jobless. I figured he was jealous because my first book was selling pretty well and he got on my case saying that I was over-promoting and “forcing” people to read my books. (I guess in his twisted mind I was holding a gun to heads screaming, “BUY MY BOOK!”) Heh. Not!

So, in this new email, I apologized for what happened back then and wrote, “I’m sure you’re rocking it now!” As well as other encouraging stuff, like I was sorry I let him down because I always admired him.

The punch line?

A returned email with venom! The same exact emotional vomit from five years ago, he was now stirring up again. He quoted word-for-word and also misquoted word-for word the entire fight from five years ago! He tried to make me feel small. Called me negative things and AGAIN brought up my deceased grandmother. (Thanks for reminding me my grandmother is dead, dude! You’re such a charmer!)

Man, it was all pure poison. Actually, the term is “gas lighting.” That’s when someone tries to manipulate you into believing that you are at fault and there is something wrong with you. Nasty people nail the whole gas lighting thing. Cool people don’t do shit like that. Cool people talk their problems out. They don’t attack and make the other party feel like shit — or try to.

I knew in my heart I wasn’t at fault because: A. I didn’t insult him, my email came from a place of love and forgiveness (though he certainly didn’t deserve it). B. When someone is constantly putting you down, it’s on THEM, not you. Sane, nice people don’t deliberately set out to hurt others. Sane, nice people are too busy doing great things for others, being creative, elevating their careers, or just having fun.

When someone is mean and defensive and doesn’t have anything good to say, they are “zero.” Nothing. (I wrote in the past, that it’s okay to fight. You can fight with your friends. You can fight with your significant other. You can fight with clients. But it’s HOW you fight. If you’re just arguing to make a point, and not hurting or insulting each other, chances are, it’s a wonderful relationship and you will make up!)

Anyway, I simply wrote back to the dude, “This is not a good friendship. Please don’t contact me again. Have a super duper fantastic day.”

I ended it with class and dignity.

Did I stew over his negativity? No! In fact, I welcomed it. Yes, that’s right, I WELCOMED IT! I’m of the belief that anything that happens is for good reason. A way to grow. And grow I did! It was a great test from the universe to help me know that I was in control of my brain!

Five years ago when the shit hit the fan, I was sad for weeks. But this go ’round, his gas lighting, and making me feel like I was “wrong” and attacking me like it was all my fault had ZERO effect on me. ZERO!

It only took 10 minutes to get over it! YES!!! JUST 10 MINUTES!

What did I do?

First, I took a deep breath.

A lovely new friend called me.  I told her what happened. She was sweet, listened, gave a few words of encouragement and emailed me a pretty song she wrote.

Her kindness led me to counting my blessings. I thought of all the beautiful friendships I have. In fact, the day after, I had a great lunch with two guys I was friends with since the 1980s! It was all positive, and inspirational.

I took 10 minutes to think about all the successful, happy, cool people I know and do things with on a regular basis.

Then I thought about my beautiful, supportive husband and how blessed I am to have him! (And how he thinks that ex “friend” is a nut case!)

And finally, I found a happy song that was stuck in my head. It’s an old song by Peggy Lee called, “It’s a Good Day” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If82O1e0bow

I put the song on and did a cute dance!

Yes, it’s a good day!

Is someone is trying to gaslight you?

DO NOT LET THEM STEAL YOUR JOY! Re-train your brain. It’s not easy, but once you get the knack of it, it will get easier in time. You owe it to yourself, and the good people in your life not to let the shit heads get you down. Life is short. Cherish the lovely ones around you, and let the crazy ones go.

Share your stories below!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of the memoir “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” which is about her experiences growing up being bullied. She is available for public speaking engagements. Contact her for availability and rates at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Links to the book are here: 

HGBM Store:  https://highergroundbooksandmedia.com/product/i-dont-want-to-be-like-you

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536446696&sr=8-2&keywords=maryanne+christiano+mistretta

Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H6H4CY1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536446756&sr=8-1&keywords=maryanne+christiano+mistretta+kindle 

Her next book, “Be (Extra) Ordinary: Ten Ways to Be Your Own Hero” will be out October 2019. Pre-order your copy today! https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

 

Decadent Therapy!

Published October 15, 2017 by Maryanne

Cake PhotoThat couch! It’s a beautiful thing!

(Me at Cake, NYC in the 1990s, the decade of Prozac Nation)

It always cracks me up when someone tries to win an argument by suggesting that the person they are arguing with needs therapy. Therapy-shaming is ignorant. Therapy is something everyone can benefit from, and only a narcissist would think they don’t need therapy.

Every successful, truly happy person I’ve ever met has been clearly vocal about their therapist. This leads me to believe that people who ain’t too proud to admit they could use a little help are the ones that learn to move mountains in life.

“Asking for help is always a sign of strength” – Michelle Obama.

“It’s really a wonderful thing to be able to talk to someone who doesn’t judge you.” -Katy Perry.

Since the 1960s, therapy has been in vogue. For part of the ’60s I wasn’t even born, but I became aware of the power of therapy in the 1990s. I was in my early 30s — and we were in the musical age of grunge. Back then, it seemed like everyone was depressed. Books like “Prozac Nation” were top sellers. Kurt Cobain killed himself and it was documented that some fans followed suit and killed themselves too. People started to become aware that depression and bipolar and stress were real things — for real people. And all the cool people started going to therapy.

Jumping on the band wagon, I tested the waters with a few therapists back then. The problem is, like anything else good in life, it takes some time to find a good one. But the effort is well worth it. Over the years I found a couple good ones — and from time to time, their wisdom still seeps into my brain and it’s very helpful.

Earlier this week one of my favorite friends took me to a Katy Perry concert. I wasn’t familiar with her music; then during the show, I fell in love with it. Every song was amazing — and empowering. And her stage show was epic.

I Googled Katy Perry and was incredibly impressed by all she did. She wrote all her songs; songs that had hooks, songs that were clever and fun, and told me Katy Perry could be an old soul. It made perfect sense to learn that such a super high achiever goes (or went) to therapy.

And here I am relating, because I’m at a time in my life where my career took an incredible turn for the better, which goes hand in hand with stress. Then when it comes time to “down time” you have to spend it more wisely, being more choosy about the people you want to connect with.

Once things started getting super good, career-wise, I took the advice of a few friends and started letting go of things that no longer served me. Life was always precious to me, but now even more so. Each waking moment has to count. I needed to manage my personal life like I manage my career.

So, by the advice of a psychic, I cleaned out my Facebook page, getting rid of people I’m not relating to and probably would never see again in my life. (And in their favor, they probably wouldn’t care if they never saw me again; so if they want to be snarky about it, they can post those unoriginal memes that say, “The trash took itself out.”).

I also let go of writing for two freelance publications I felt were holding me back; whether it was the stress of not liking a particular editor, or always chasing after checks that were notoriously late. It was just something that was no longer necessary to my being. TW = time wasting.

It’s a huge relief knowing that I’ll never get an email from either publication again. And I take even more comfort knowing that there are people I really can’t stand and I’ll never have to see them in my Facebook feed again!

If only every problem everyone had could disappear with a “delete” button or just saying “I quit.” But, no, that’s not going to happen.

I look so good on paper. I have the most amazing, adoring husband; the most creative, loving girlfriends; and I get to make a living as an editor, writer, and public speaker. How cool is that?

The bottom line is — I’m human. I get nervous. I get scared. I have bursts of unhappiness. I terribly miss loved ones who passed and are waiting on the other side. I worry about things that may never happen. I am too sensitive for this world.

So what do I do about it? Call a therapist. Unfortunately the one that helped me the most 10 years ago has long retired.

I found another I really like. She wasn’t in my benefits network and offered to help me find others that were. When she sent an email with names and numbers, after researching them, I wasn’t feeling it. I shook my head. I wrote back to her, “But I want YOU!”

It made no difference to me that I’d be paying out of pocket. From my short phone call with this woman, she deserves my top dollar! And, I’m worth it. My first appointment is in two weeks.

I can’t wait to get on that couch, put my cute feet up, and have some girl talk with an intelligent age-appropriate woman who wowed me over the telephone in a short consult session.

God bless that good ‘ole glamorous indulgence called therapy. If it’s good enough for Katy Perry, it’s good enough for me! ❤

I feel better already!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a three-time author. Her second book, the fictitious “Love Cats” deals with the issues of selfish people. It’s available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confidence and Self-Love Isn’t Narcissism

Published July 9, 2016 by Maryanne

beyond-the-blue-horizon-my-photoBelieve in yourself.

“Narcissist” seems to be the catch-insult of the 21st Century people use when they can’t disagree like an grown adult and instead resort to name-calling.

Since I’ve caught a few people — college educated ones at that — misusing the word as an attack, I’d like to examine the word further.

Number one, let’s be clear, once and for all … a “narcissist” isn’t someone who rightfully defends his/herself. Nor is it someone who has high self-esteem and confidence.

The true definition of a narcissist is someone who has an excessive — or erotic interest in one’s self or one’s appearance.

Loving your appearance isn’t exactly a bad thing. It was said that Marilyn Monroe was caught looking at herself lovingly in the mirror. I’d love to be so beautiful that I could look at myself in the mirror and says, “Damn, I’m a fox!” Who wouldn’t?!

kitten lion

Yeah, I got it going on! 

But even if you’re not the prettiest, looking in the mirror and thinking you’re simply A-OK, is definitely something to aspire to. Feeling good on the inside transcends to feeling good on the outside. The world needs more of that.

Some of the most confident people I know are most generous in complimenting others and giving to others. Whereas a narcissist — an inflated sense of self-worth — has more to do with insecurities than confidence.

Of course people who have no love for themselves are going to be haters towards those who do. Hence misuse of the catch-word “narcissist.” So if someone calls you a narcissist, they are most likely subconsciously reflecting on his/herself and his/her exaggerated sense of importance in making someone feel “little” about his/herself in order to feel “big.”

Devaluing another person as a weapon is narcissism in the worst degree. I always say to belittle is to BE LITTLE. 

So you see, narcissism isn’t about confidence, but rather insecurity. Narcissists are the ones who add “friends” on Face Book just to show off what they have, rather than taking the time to get to know someone. They hide behind a shield of false friendships or anything else that is false. I’ve known one who hid behind a false sense of empathy, expecting a “medal” for being “so upset” over the news of the world. However, when I shared my concern about a sick relative, she showed no compassion.

Narcissism is someone who constantly talks about his/herself and doesn’t give others a chance to talk.

Narcissism is the person at the party who won’t say “hello” unless someone says “hello” first.

Narcissism is being obsessed with money and bragging about it.

Narcissism is always trying to one-up someone.

Narcissism is the person who expects people to chase after him/her and never initiates phone calls.

Narcissism is someone who fishes for compliments (with excessive photos of his/herself on Facebook) and never gives anyone else a compliment.

Narcissism is a taker. Someone who won’t attend an event if it isn’t about him/her. Someone who will expect others to do things for him/her and not give back in return.

Narcissism is someone who is too jealous to compliment someone on his/her success because it isn’t about him/her.

And, most narcissistic of all is attacking someone by using the word “narcissist.” Because like my grandmother once said, “It takes one to call one.”

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats.” The selfish lead character was inspired by witnessing many takers on Facebook. “Love Cats” is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513

 

 

Alcoholism … Face Book … Same Difference

Published April 24, 2015 by Maryanne

facebookstatus

Did you ever go to a party where everyone else was drinking except you? Maybe you were on a fast/diet, or maybe the designated driver … or maybe, you just don’t drink — period.

Well, it just dawned on me, it’s the same experience when everyone else is on Face Book, except you. The party just doesn’t make sense.

A few dear friends have told me, “I miss you on Face Book!” and in an endearing way, I have to admit I rolled my eyes. Why not just say, “I miss you” and leave it at that. I get it, I’m a positive person and people have always told me: “You have the best posts on Face Book!” But isn’t it even better to have a real life conversation with me, then?

Two nights ago, we received a phone call from a friend who sounded disappointed that we didn’t go to an event their child performed at.

“I thought you’d see it on Face Book?”

“I haven’t been on Face Book in several months.” And even if I was, I don’t have time to read everything! I tried to be a good friend. I tried to read everything. But then I noticed people weren’t reading “everything” I was posting either. That’s probably the only thing Face Book and real life have in common — blink and you miss something. And it’s not the end of the world. You really didn’t miss anything.

What’s really bizarre about Face Book is that once you get off, you have to deal with all the weirdness. People, right away, think, something “happened.” Yeah, something did happen — I decided not to waste my time anymore. That’s what “happened.”

Another weird Face Book thing occurred not too long ago, and I can’t say I didn’t see it coming — it was my worst Face Book nightmare come true. And I predicted it would happen, which is why I didn’t want to be on Face Book in the first place. A friend died. And it wasn’t until several months later that I found out. I was sad and upset that I missed the funeral.

“I thought you knew,” is what I was told.

Of course I didn’t know. I wasn’t on Face Book.

But even if I was … why does everyone ASSUME that every person sees everything that is posted? As much as I love my friends and mankind, it irks me to no end what a “me-me-me” world we’ve become and how Face Book intensifies it.

Can I beg anyone reading — if someone dies, please go the old fashioned route and CALL! Or even better, go to the person’s home, to make sure they are sitting down and comfortable when you share  the shocking news! Please, cruel world, can we go back to being humane?

While I was on Face Book, I took an extra hour each morning to read what my friends were up to. If I didn’t hear from someone too often, I un-friended them so I could pay more attention to those who were more in contact with me. I called that “maintenance.”

But, unfriending someone on Face Book is like taking car keys away from a drunk. I’ve had curses thrown at me, so bad they were like death threats! Oh, and those 15-inch Face Book messages when people list all your “faults.” Well, if I have that many “faults” — you should be glad I unfriended you, right?

People are just so silly. You could go a whole year without conversing with someone on Face Book, but once you “unfriend” them, the party invites stop. So do the phone calls, the luncheons and the emails. My husband — who is not on Face Book — pitied these people and said, “Unfriending someone on Face Book is like burning their house down!”

Yeah, exactly.

And don’t even get me started with business. Begin doing business with someone on Face Book and you’ll never get a phone call or regular email again. Everything is conducted via Face Book messages. Then if you need to find a phone number or address, it takes forever trying to find it. Face Book doesn’t make your business life easier by any means. So don’t buy it if someone tells you it’s for “business.” That’s just a “cover-up.” It’s like when an alcoholic keeps vodka in the cupboard “for house guests.”

I’ve gotten more work via my website and WordPress. Not to mention respect, as it seems people who prefer WordPress, Twitter and/or Linked-In behave more professionally by being supportive without going “tit-for-tat.” And I’ve never gotten a death threat for unfollowing someone on WordPress, Twitter, Good Reads, or Linked In. (Plus, it’s so cool I’m at a point in my career, that excessive marketing/promotion just isn’t necessary anymore!)

Just like going too far with your alcohol intake, going too far with Face Book is similar. Nothing good ever comes out of it. I tried to fit in by consuming, but it just wasn’t for me. Just like the old drunken cliche — I never woke up the next morning and said, “Gee, I wish I spent more time on Face Book last night.”

Years ago, when I consumed alcohol more than I should have, someone told me that there are more people in the world that don’t drink than people that do drink. I just couldn’t grasp that concept. How could people not drink? It’s the same way with people on Face Book. It’s their lifeline. When all people know is Face Book, they can’t believe others don’t want to partake.

Quite honestly, I’m sick of dealing with “drunks.” Face Book is not conducive to good business or good friendships. And by not being on there, I’ve weeded a lot of bullshit out of my life.

To Say “Don’t Judge” IS Judging

Published April 17, 2015 by Maryanne

judge

I’ve noted in the past how much modern lingo annoys me, which is why I love watching television shows from the 1990s like “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Melrose Place” — the last time English language really was hip.

Over the past year, maybe a little longer, I’ve been hearing a phrase that makes me cringe: “Don’t judge.”

Other writers friends have agreed with me that it’s just so condescending. Oftentimes I feel like I’m walking on eggshells. Because in this day and age of everyone being in competition with each other, you are just not allowed to speak freely of what annoys you or it’s translated as “judging.”

The first time I heard this phrase, a client was sharing a quality about herself that wasn’t too attractive. And immediately afterwards said, “Don’t judge.”

I immediately felt belittled. (And as I always say, “To belittle is to BE LITTLE.” But a lot of people still have to learn this.) What did I do? I didn’t say anything? And who the hell are you to assume I’d be judging you?

I am the most open-minded person in the world and freely accept people as they are, as long as they are not breaking the law or hurting others — or themselves. I’ve always been of the live and let live mindset, which is probably why so many people share their secrets with me. They know that I understand that people make mistakes and that life isn’t always a bed of roses.

But if someone thinks of me as a friend and asks my opinion — he or she is going to get it. There are things I feel strongly about and the biggest one is to not put yourself in a complicated situation. That is when you definitely make your own misery.

For instance, if a woman wants true love and keeps dating someone who is obviously unavailable, I will tell her that she’s making a big mistake and wasting her life. Or if someone comes to me asking for my permission to cheat while they are in an unhappy marriage, I’m sorry, you’re not going to get it. Get out of your unhappy marriage first. Then you can do whatever you please.

It’s not a matter of morals, but a matter of common sense.

And if someone wants to “judge” me for what they feel is “judging” then it’s the pot calling the kettle black.

Can we please go back to having heart-to-heart discussions where we can learn and grow from each other without using hipster cliches like, “Don’t judge.” If someone is sharing something with you, hear him/her out first. Maybe you’ll learn something if you, yourself, “don’t judge.”

Nailing the Last Four Commandments with Common Sense

Published April 4, 2015 by Maryanne

10 CommandmentsCharlton Heston as Moses

While Easter weekend is a time to honor Jesus Christ, it’s also a time to reflect on God and the Bible in general. I got to seriously thinking about The 10 Commandments and how easy it is to follow the last four if you simply mix psychology, common sense, and love for your fellow man.

7. You shall not commit adultery. There’s an old saying that when you cheat you cheat yourself. This couldn’t be more true. Whenever someone confesses to me that they are unhappy in their marriage and thinking of cheating, I remind them of the consequences. For example, if you already have a partner who is jealous, imagine how much more tragic your situation would be if you got caught cheating? Especially in divorce court!

Before you even THINK about other people, it’s best to end an undesirable situation first. Cheating is always a lose/lose. When people start putting others (and themselves) “second” nothing good ever comes out of it. Sneaking around isn’t “real” just a mere fantasy. When you cheat, no matter how much you think you’re “connected” you’re not. And while there’s the possibility that one party could decide to make it “real” and leave one partner to go with the other — the other will most likely lose interest because he/she didn’t really want you, he/she just wanted to play.

Cowards lie, sneak and cheat. Adults discuss things and find solutions to problems. If leaving is a solution, go for it; don’t drag an unsuspecting party into your mess because karma is a bitch and the truth always comes out.

When I met my husband, we were both available. No sneaking around, not hurting others, and no baggage! Just being together as much as we wanted was heaven. Almost 10 years later and we’re still so in love! And that’s about as real as you can get!

Mind you, we’re no better than anyone else; people fall in love every day. But you have to be in it to win it, so be a winner by starting with a clean slate.

8. You shall not steal. Of course if you steal goods and get caught, the law will take care of that. But what about stealing other things? Like time.

I’m a stickler for being on time. It says a lot about a person’s character. It says that you care about other people’s feelings. It says that we’re all equals and no one should wait for another person — not even a doctor. I’ve walked out of doctor’s offices if they made me wait too long.

Life is short and while you can do some amazing things while waiting (perhaps for some, finding comfort in their own thoughts or reading a book; perhaps for others, texting) it’s the most awesome feeling in the world when things run smoothly and on time.

I don’t like when people have to wait for me, it’s embarrassing. And when I wait for others, it makes me question how they feel about me: Does this person really want to spend time with me or am I a chore to them? But no matter how much others make me wait, I will never steal time if I can help it. It just feels like good karma! So I love this commandment. Thank you God!

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Gossip and storytelling never sat right with me. So much so that I created my own business just to get away from that.

When I was still on Face Book, I had a musician friend who was having a hard time with an ex wife who was bearing false witness against him. My heart truly went out to this man and his wife for having to deal with such garbage, in and out of court. I was once acquainted with another man who went through something similar and it was hell on earth for him. My heart bleeds for those who have had false witnesses against them. I couldn’t imagine ever doing such horrible things to an ex. Trying to destroy someone’s life, especially if they are no longer in yours is the most psycho thing ever. Man, I had some disturbing exes, but my best revenge was that I married someone a billion times better! And the exes that were good ones, I always wish well and have nothing but kind words for them.

But as I said earlier, the truth comes out and the good guy always wins. So if you can’t love one another, at least mind your own business and don’t start trouble.

10. You shall not covet. I’m nothing special, nor do I have much, so it hurts me deeply when others covet the little I have. I always said jealousy is an ugly disease. So is begrudging. When someone has something you want, don’t be jealous or begrudge — be HAPPY for them. This is the greatest lesson in life my Mom taught me early on. So many people struggle with jealousy, so I feel blessed that I’m not a jealous person. But honestly, not being jealous is the easiest thing to do. Just live in a state of love, where you like to see good things for others because that is when others will be best for you — when they are happy! It’s just a win/win. Not everyone has the same path in life and we can’t always be on top. While many people insist misery loves company, I’m the opposite. When I’m down, I want my friends to share their good news with me — because that always makes me happy. And, hey, isn’t happiness better than war?

Happy Easter!

Whether you celebrate or not, embrace the contact high,

for He has Risen!

Jesus LambJesus Christ, the Lamb of God

 

Stubborn Intellectual

Published March 3, 2015 by Maryanne

maryanne-1211Looking smart in my glasses

People have called me “too sensitive” more times than I care for. But my general make-up goes beyond sensitivity. “Smart” plays into the factor too. This is the first time I’m admitting this in public, but I truly feel if I wasn’t as smart, I wouldn’t be so sensitive.

I took this test on Face Book where they analyze your personality according to things you “hate” (the choices aren’t anything intense, just minor nit-picky things such as ironing). Turns out I’m actually a “stubborn intellectual” which makes a lot more sense than just being stereo-typed as “too sensitive.”

Here are my test results:

When you express hatred, it comes from a place of intellectual frustration and the belief that the world should make sense. There is nothing worse than people and things that waste your time and rational energy.

You are remarkably smart, but more than that, you are adept at analyzing and understanding situations and people. More than anything, you are concerned with understanding the world around you and grasping its ideas and functions. You should continue making thoughtful choices and the world will follow your lead!

It’s true I want the world to make sense more than anything! I don’t like when people waste my time. I want life to run smoothly. Some may ask, “who wouldn’t?” but many people do thrive on drama and disorganization. It’s the American way.

It’s also so true that I am adept at analyzing and understanding situations and people — to a fault almost where it backfires on me. I can see right through people who are jealous and I have a keen sixth sense when someone is not on my team. So that always makes me the person who can say, “I told you so.” But most likely I won’t, because, well, I’m sensitive and don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. Then on the other hand, I hurt more deeply because I always “just know.” It’s a very intense feeling to pick up on people’s vibes like that. Though on the flip side of the coin, I know when I’m loved too.

I don’t like the word “stubborn” as I do feel I’m very flexible. But I guess I admit I’m stubborn about the most important things in life. My standards are very high and I like to be around the same kind of people.

If you’d like to take the test, visit here: http://www.playbuzz.com/sammccarty10/can-we-figure-out-your-personality-based-on-what-you-hate?ff=1

And let me know if you’re a “stubborn intellectual” too!

Why Are Women Catty?

Published June 25, 2013 by Maryanne

catty Why are women catty?

I don’t know, I can’t relate to that mindset. I’m a lover not a fighter. I’m a person who compliments to your face, not one who stabs you in the back.

But nevertheless, it goes on and on and on.

Years ago, I read a letter to Dear Abby. A woman said that she was very attractive in her younger day and that women were always taking cheap shots and throwing digs to make her feel worse about herself. She wrote that now she was a middle-aged woman and happily married. And while she was still attractive to her husband, people viewed her as a middle-aged woman and she wasn’t subjected to cattiness anymore, so on the whole she felt better.

I wish I could say that this was me who wrote that letter. But sadly it wasn’t. Just a few weeks ago I was once again victim to catty behavior. What did I do? Nothing. I let it go, as always. I continue to be pleasant and nice to these women who I can’t figure out why they have to go out of their way to try and make me feel bad. Sometimes I think if I be very nice (not phony, but just giving my best shot) sooner or later I might get through to their thick skulls that I’m not the enemy.

Since I am not close to them, I can only guess why they see me as such a threat. Maybe their husbands don’t give them enough attention. Maybe they didn’t get enough attention as children. Maybe they don’t like the way they look. Maybe they are jealous of how I look. Maybe they hate my tattoos (which is ridiculous). I don’t know. And I don’t think I want to know either because catty people scare me and I don’t want to figure them out. I only want to be in their company as little as necessary. Maybe enough to see if they changed, but they usually don’t. Catty seems to be a way of life for some.

You can try anything to make it stop, but I choose to do nothing because catty women are often in denial. Nothing works anyway. I’ve tried everything. If you confront them, they may apologize to high heavens, but only to do it again in the near future. Or they’ll pull the “I was only kidding” card. But honestly, what is funny about hurting someone’s feelings and being mean?

Women who have mastered catty are very smart. They have a secret way of getting away with being cruel. They will fool their own husbands (some of the worst offenders have wonderful husbands) their family, their friends … They will make up lies about other women just so others can share in their hate. And they know exactly who to target: girls who are sweet, girls who don’t do catty, girls who are happy, girls who are unique, and yes, girls who are probably prettier than them and even if they aren’t they will still hate someone who has a little extra they believe they don’t.

You know the deal.

Years ago, when I just turned 31 and was working as a waitress at Cozy End in Montclair, as I tried to get my writing career going, one of my customers was a gorgeous young woman named Delilah (I think her real name was Deborah, but we all knew her as Delilah). She was one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my life. Delilah had perfect posture and always wore her jet black hair pulled back in a severe high ponytail. And she had eyes like a cat with a piercing stare. And boy, was she stylish! Like a retro Hollywood movie star. Delilah was the kind of girl that when she walked into a room, everyone turned around to look.

Delilah and I got along great and I always looked forward to when she came to eat at Cozy End because we’d have amazing conversations and she was an absolute doll. I also loved that she was a strong woman. I was in awe of her.

One day, out of the blue, Delilah said, in a voice loud enough for the entire eatery to hear, “Why are women catty?”

I knew I heard her correctly, but asked to make sure. “What?”

“Why are women catty?” she repeated in the same loud tone.

She had the undivided attention of the entire little restaurant.

“What do you mean?” I asked again. I knew what she meant, but she was obviously looking to me to be a part of whatever she was about to aim for, so I went along because, yeah, I was con-catty women too. Whatever she was about to say, I was all for it. I waited for her next words with baited breath.

“That group of women over there …” She pointed to the table. It was a table of middle-aged women. They all shut up to listen to Delilah, who continued. “Their friend just left and they all started talking about her! C’mon, that’s your friend!”

I was so proud of Delilah for speaking up, not just for the friend, but for all women who are victims of catty behavior. She shut an entire table of women up. No one dared argue with her because they were wrong and she shamed them. Little by little, the women got up and left, quietly.

Perhaps that is what needs to be done. If a person is a victim of cattiness, defending herself may fail because like I said catty women are sly as a fox, but if someone else defends the victim, it could be a well deserved slap in the face to the offenders.

Delilah, where ever you are, I still love you for what you did, fall/winter of 1994 to 1995!

If you know someone who is catty, try not to be in a situation where you are alone with them. Always make sure another women (one who isn’t catty, preferably someone like Delilah who will defend you) is in the room with you. But definitely do not be alone with a catty woman and a man — even if he’s the greatest guy in the world, guys can be clueless when it comes to women being catty with each other. Sadly, the dig will go right over a guy’s head in 90 percent of the cases and he won’t understand why you’re upset. Guys, even the great ones, need to be taught how catty women operate in order to be more compassionate towards a victim (who could be the woman they adore).

I don’t know how to make the hurt any easier. It’s just so difficult when someone has it out for you, or just dislikes you for no reason, when you are always nice to them. It’s something a good person just doesn’t get.

You can always vent to caring friends. Or even blog about it. Perhaps they will see this blog some day and think, “Hey, that’s me” and either get professional help or make a conscious effort to make a positive change in their life.

When women resort to drastic measures like making other women feel bad about themselves, it’s truly pitiful. Jealousy is ugly enough on it’s own, but when you throw catty into the mix, it’s absolutely hideous.

Someone once told me that if someone is catty toward you, take it as a compliment because it means they are threatened by you. I will not take such disturbing behavior as a compliment. The best I can do is just erase such people from my psyche. People who behave like that do not deserve a ranking of “co-star” in my life. I consider them mere “extras” — background people that don’t count. And they put themselves there so I don’t feel bad. I mean, really, how much hostile behavior can a person take? And that’s exactly what a catty woman is — a hostile, frustrated person who is holding something deep inside her. Think about it … will a catty woman tell her husband what she is doing to other women? No, she’s keeping a secret. She’s letting her ugly behavior manifest inside her. So ashamed of what she is doing, of course she won’t share with her husband.

That is why catty women are repeat offenders and you can’t trust them unless they get psychological help and try to change for the better. Catty women are like roller coasters: very moody, one minute they are nice and back stabbing or throwing digs the next. So  you never know what to expect from them. Stay away from them. They are poison.

Well, in the end I’m happy I’m not like they are. Thrilled, actually.

As Iggy Pop once said on his Metallic K.O. live record, “You can throw all the ice cubes you want, your girlfriend will still be in love with me.”

YEAH! Throw all the digs you want, I’m still fabulous Maryanne! HA!

UPDATE 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Make Someone’s Day — Ask a Question (or Two)!

Published May 10, 2013 by Maryanne

ask a question

I’m in a great mood because of one simple thing.

Today, someone asked me a question.

As a person who makes a living a journalist, I’m always interviewing people. I’m a curious person, so asking questions is fun and interesting. It always takes me by surprise when one of my subjects actually asks about my life. In fact, other than my husband, when anyone asks about my life I’m pretty shocked because we live in such a me-me-me kinda world where it’s rare someone is interested in what others have to say.

People don’t listen. They just wait for their turn to talk. People don’t care. People aren’t curious. People have agendas. Even in the world of blogging, people aren’t interested in reading others blogs, they just press “like” to get more people to read their blogs. It’s a silly marketing scheme and I don’t play that game. My “likes” are REAL. Just yesterday someone wrote me that the “ABOUT” section of a blog is “boring” (which I disagree with — as soon as someone new likes one of my blogs, that’s the first place I look). I find “ABOUT” sections a very good read, and especially love when bloggers share photos of themselves.

I find myself interesting because all my life I’ve asked questions. My curiosity made me a well-rounded, non-judging, thinking out of the box, free-spirited, open-minded kinda girl because I’ve conversed with so many different types of people in my lifetime. I honestly feel I’ve unlocked a few secrets of the universe.

To me, the most un-interesting person, the bore, the dullard, is the one who doesn’t know when to shut up or how to ask questions of others. The one who makes life all about himself or herself. The person that wherever the conversation goes that person has to change the conversation back to him or herself. The one who lives for simply being the center of attention and can’t handle someone else having a little bit of limelight. You could be dying and this person would be going on and on about her hair or kids.

I wrote about the perfect example of an ego-driven person some time ago. I used to work with a girl who talked so much about herself during the breaks that I’d finish my hot chocolate while she talked and there was her’s — still full, 15 minutes later. She yakked so much she didn’t take one sip of her hot chocolate! Years later she found me on Facebook. It didn’t take long for me to realize she didn’t change a bit. I listened to her go on about her life, her husband, her kids, her cars, her nails, blah … blah … blah … then I simply told her that I just eloped. She didn’t even say “congratulations” but instead wrote back, “Hey! I eloped.” With that I deleted her as a “friend.” I’m not 20 anymore and don’t have the energy to deal with someone so desperately needy. What sparks my curiosity though — is how these people end up with so many friends. Does this kinda person just happen to find a million people who are good listeners? Or are their friends just as desperate and needy and they are all in constant competition with each other for attention?

I don’t get it. Nor do I want to.

So, back to today …

I went for a chiropractic adjustment. There’s a new girl working as receptionist. She was sweet and friendly, but what really wowed me was our conversation after my treatment. I simply complimented her on her hair. I was going to ask her some questions about hair care, but then she asked about what I’d be doing this weekend. I said other than Mother’s Day, working on my book. Then bam! It was awesome. Not only did she ask me about my book, but specific questions about my book! I was all nervous because I’m not used to talking about myself, yet I was thrilled to converse with a young person who wasn’t self-centered.

Two days ago something similar happened at my bank where a young teller complimented my 45 rpm adapter tattoo and we got into a great conversation which lead to deejaying in NYC. I shared that I used to DJ at the Pyramid Club. The young guy did too and said he was honored to have deejayed in a place that was around so long and so popular.

Yeah, it’s the little things in life that provoke spark in a world that’s pretty spark-less. It’s just great when you get these unexpected little surprises. Because nothing is more exciting and refreshing than having a real conversation with someone, which is why I love being around my husband. From day one, he was great at making conversation. Not only did he embrace me, but my entire family. He knows their personalities just as much as he knows mine — including my late grandmother’s personality. That is how good a listener my husband is!

I always get high when I have a luncheon date with a girlfriend because it’s give and take. I have similar great conversations with my mom and sister (but not with my uncle who loves to rant for 45 minutes at a time without coming up for air and others like him).

Asking questions (And I don’t just mean the obligatory “How are you doing?” that gives another person 30 seconds air time and then back to YOU-YOU-YOU, I mean REAL questions that allows someone to excitedly share) is a very spiritual thing, which is why I love journalism. It’s like being the director of a mini movie of the moment. I wish more people would realize how rewarding it is to ask others questions. I ask people everything — from their favorite bands, to their favorite colors to their zodiac sign. I always feel elated after a great interview when I know in my heart I asked the right things to get the good article.

Have you been talking about yourself a little too much lately? Do yourself a favor, ask someone a question today — you may surprisingly find yourself very rewarded.