“ungrateful bipolar”

4 Jan

I’m trying to understand why you searched for this. Is your wife constantly pissed off at you? Is your husband unable to appreciate what you do for him, everyday despite him turning from a loving husband to a huge prick no matter what you do? Did you give a gift and they were unable to appreciate it, unable to articulate their thanks?

My MIL called on a day I was woefully unprepared to be on the phone, and I stuttered and blathered and sat quietly through the conversation, unable to pick up on or even find the cues she meant for me to find. I stared wildly at my computer, at my child, my husband. I passed the phone off to my child a few times, and she handed it back far too quickly. The MIL couldn’t get the hint, and I started to panic.

I’m not ungrateful. I wouldn’t have a new orbital sander if it wasn’t for them. I just don’t always know what to say, especially if “thank you” doesn’t quite suffice. I am at a loss for words quite frequently, and maybe your person is as well. Sometimes, you’ve already said thanks, and you don’t quite understand why you need to say it again.

We’re not ungrateful. We just don’t get it.

When I was about 18, I used to get into actual arguments with my writing teacher about why I hated being asked/asking people ‘how are you?”. He argued it was an accepted insincere statement meant as part of a greeting ritual-I viewed it as something mindless and unneccessary-why should I greet someone I have no interest in, soliciting information I don’t even pay attention to? I hate it when people do it to me, and I end up forced to lie and say ‘fine”..

No one wants to hear “Well, I had the runs last night and I’m still feeling a bit incontinent, but other than that, Great!”.

Maybe they’re ungrateful because they just don’t get it. Much as I don’t understand the “How are you-Fine” exchange, they might not understand how to suitably demonstrate gratitude. I have to force myself to show it sometimes, even when I do love something. I’m so used to trying to hold a cynical front, that it’s become difficult to really be me. And perhaps your person has that trouble too.

Be comforted in the knowledge that they likely know they’re being asshats. They just don’t know what to do about it.

11 Responses to ““ungrateful bipolar””

  1. Nat January 4, 2007 at 11:12 am #

    I have a hard time saying thank you’s when they are due. Not because I am ungrateful, but more because I can’t really express into words the gratitude that I feel. I always feel like it’s coming off as fake, even though it’s not. I know where you’re coming from. As far as MILs are concerned… well, that’s a whole other problem. hahahahaha

  2. katsplace January 4, 2007 at 1:25 pm #

    My MIL and thank yous are a real joke. She does the “Your efforts are appreciated” Whatever lady.

    Before I was married and had kids, I worked in DC. There the Hi, howareyou” is really ritualized. The only proper response is “Fine and you?” I didn’t grow up with that coming from total strangers that I happened to make eye contact with on the street and was at a total loss. I quickly got the reputation for being a rude bitch. I wasn’t trying to be rude, I just didn’t get it. After about 7 years, I got to be ok at it. I knew enough people in my building to not feel like a total idiot asking a stranger how they were when I really didn’t want an answer. A friend of mine who was much more accustomed to it told me that it’s really just one very long word for hello – HiHowareyou

  3. Gina January 4, 2007 at 3:43 pm #

    I love to hear your “take” on these subjects. Reminds me to relax a bit when my son’s “take” on the world is different than most. Heck, I’ve always been a bit different, and yet I need reminders to have patience and understanding and tolerance and yada yada.

    And by the way, I’ve never used “asshats” in conversation or online (before this post) and yet it’s by far my favorite insult ever to date. *giggle*

  4. thordora January 4, 2007 at 3:52 pm #

    Asshats is the best thing EVER. A customer used it on the survey I work on, and it made EVERYONE’S day.

  5. Marcy January 4, 2007 at 6:33 pm #

    I hate “how are you” — impossible to answer. At this minute? This hour? The day so far? Last few days? Too changeable, and too instant. My usual answer — when it’s obvious the person really wants to know — is “I don’t know.” Another one I find difficult to answer is “what do you want.”

  6. liprap January 4, 2007 at 9:17 pm #

    My current workplace (where I teach art – one of three current workplaces, actually) is full of people who don’t give you the standard “fine” answer when you ask that question. Katrina may have had a hand in that, but it IS a close group of teachers, and they all get together regularly for lunch in the same place at the same time. It’s all bound to pull down SOME barriers.

    I am inclined to see the answer “fine” as an acronym: fucked-up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional. How’s THAT for a polite response? 8-)

  7. Caitlin January 5, 2007 at 1:21 am #

    I pretty much reserve how are you for my friends and family, ie the people I want to tell me what’s going on their life. Be glad you didn’t grow up in the bible belt. It’s either over friendly cashiers or accidentally picking the really lonely elderly lady.

    I usually go monosyllabic when the cashiers try to swap life stories if I respond to their “How are you? with a “Fine, how’rya?”. I usually end up listening to them for longer than I should, because I honestly feel bad for someone who’s so lonely that when you say “Fine, how’rya?” and are obviously expecting a “good” or “fine”, or maybe even “god damned hip is acting up again, how the hell do you do think I am?! Don’t you got eyes?!”… but instead launches into petty gossip that’s 30 years old. I haven’t figured out a way to gracefully extricate myself from that situation.

    I always worry I come off a little insincere when I’m thanking someone for a gift over $50. I was pretty poor growing up, so it still weirds me out that someone would spend so much money on me and I always feel so awkward thanking people for it.

    My ex was bipolar and everyone thought he was an ingrate. His normal tone of voice always came off as somewhat snarky/sarcastic and he had a hard time sounding really excited about anything. Even if you know most of the time they aren’t trying to be an ass, it still gets to you after awhile.

  8. choleric January 5, 2007 at 1:54 am #

    Man I dunno what they were up to but it sounds like a great name for my new band!

  9. thordora January 5, 2007 at 9:17 am #

    His normal tone of voice always came off as somewhat snarky/sarcastic and he had a hard time sounding really excited about anything

    Yeah Caitlin, that would be me. There’s a disconnect between my brain and mouth, and I’m always surprised that people actually like me because of this.

    It IS an awesome band name come to think of it. Or, Ungrateful Bipolar in mexico. :P

  10. Tom Dandy January 14, 2007 at 12:55 pm #

    heheh, I chuckled at this post. In order to escape my current mental-isolation, I’ll add my personal preference on the “how are you?” issue.
    I always answer with either, “fine”, “ok”, or “I’m good”.
    However, my tone of voice is always true to character.
    This gets me 3 types of responses.
    1. The guy who thinks you’re “fucking” with him/her.
    2. They’re just plain confused.
    3. They think the contrast is funny (my favorite).

    ah… back to my life. or whatever.
    -Tom Dandy

  11. Suzanne May 26, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    Yeah but once you push the person with the insensitivity and mood swings, they have to say enough is enough. Because telling them they never help even though they go more then out of their way help you. Your bipolar even effects their friendships, relationships, school and health. Yet, it is their fault and you do not give two shits. I believe your ungrateful at that point.

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