As regular readers know, the last few weeks have seen the slow, ugly demise of a friendship of mine. On Wednesday, the whipped cream and cherry on the whole stinkin’ pile of crap arrived courtesy of the United States Postal Service. Not only was there an angry letter from my ex-friend, but also a meandering, shaming, I-told-you-so letter from her Mommy! (Shhhh, don’t tell a soul. She doesn’t want her daughter to know she wrote. Wink, wink. Oh my goodness! Does no one in that family have any boundaries!?!)
The best part was a poem her Mommy enclosed entitled It Matters Not. Reading it, I realized I’d stumbled upon the mother lode – pun intended. This poem must be the favorite poem of narcissists and abusers everywhere.
Now, for your reading enjoyment – scratch that – just fetch a bucket because you might vomit – I present It Matters Not.
It matters not if I’ve been hurt;
It matters not at all,
That sometimes from my weary eyes,
The scalding tear drops fall.
What matters most is if I’ve erred
And not confessed the sin
And through my lack – some needy soul
Has failed to follow Him.
It matters not if cherished friends,
On whom I lean in vain,
Have wounded me by deed and word
And left me with my pain.
What matters is – Can I forgive –
Again and yet again?
It’s not “have they been true,” but Lord-
Have I been true to them?
Join me now for the post-poem discussion – I’ll wait ’til you’re done vomiting. Now the mouthwash. A poem this fucked up, deserves a proper postmortem!
Argumentum ad Poetica
Just because a dogma is enshrined in poetry (or song!), doesn’t mean it’s not complete malarkey. Oh, it sounds so good, doesn’t it!? That nice rhythm – the rhymed couplets – ABCB.
It reminds me of the logical fallacy called Argument from Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam). Well, Argument from Poetry is just as false! I call it argumentum ad poetica (which is probably making Latin scholars everywhere cringe. Hey! Google Translate’s all I got.)
But seriously, just because words have rhythm and rhyme doesn’t mean they’re not shit — make that, diddly-shit! Take that schoolyard ditty for example:
Sticks and stones
May break my bones
Will never hurt me.
What utter nonsense! Bruises and fractures will heal. Words are never forgotten, never cease to hurt, haunt us to our graves. I prefer what my therapist told me:
Kind words are silk,
Mean words are Velcro®.
In other words, unkind words stick forever. It doesn’t rhyme – but it’s true! C’mon! We all know it, we all experience it, no matter how tough our swagger. Until death or Alzheimer’s, whichever comes first, cruel words remain in our memory. We can heal, we can apply the balm of truth but mean words can and will always hurt us. Why? Because words have meaning. You can’t exempt meaning from the cruel words, leaving only kind words to be meaningful.
Feelings Don’t Matter
This is like Trick #1 from the narcissists’ hive-mind playbook. A lesson my father taught me since childhood: feelings/emotions don’t matter. Oh, by the way, he meant my emotions. (Anger, as we all know, is not considered an emotion by narcissists, as long as it’s their own.)
To narcissists, our emotions have no validity. They’re merely pesky dramatics that put a stick in the spokes of their agenda for us. Now their emotions! That’s a whole ‘nother story!
The poem says exactly that. A friend is a friend is a friend no matter how badly they treat us. So suck it up, Buttercup! Only ungodly people leave the sacredness of a friendship. Tsk, tsk, tsk!
And speaking of God, I feel sorry for Him! People put a lot of nonsense in His mouth. That poem is a perfect example of the kind of Phariseeism Jesus fought tooth and nail during his ministry.
Just when the poem started playing the “God card” we realize we’re seeing another logical fallacy: a red herring. Logicallyfallacious.com defines a red herring (Ignoratio elenchi) as “a deliberate diversion of attention with the intention of trying to abandon the original argument.”
Your friend hurt you…oh wait! You must’ve done something wrong, sometime in your life. Down on your knees and grovel, you filthy wrrrrrrrrrrretch. Someone, somewhere, sometime may go to Hell because of you. How dare you dump a bad friend “on whom you lean in vain” when you have a speck in your own eye. Forgive seventy-times-seven. (insert sound of Bible-thumping here)
Well, guess what!?! There’s a difference between humility and stupidity. There’s a difference between being forgiving and being a gullible weenie! Nowhere does the Bible tell us to be pathetic knowing victims. What was that…something about “so be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16 J. B. Phillips)
And last, but not least…
Argumentum ad Amicitia
I made that logical fallacy up too. It translates “the argument from friendship.”
Since when was so-called “friendship” as sacred as marriage!?! It must be early onset Alzheimers, because I just can’t remember holding my friend’s hands, staring into her eyes and vowing before God to “love, honor and cherish” her.
Friends are like sailboats. They drift in and out of our lives. If we discover we have, yet again, befriended narcissists there is no shame, no guilt in trimming our sails to glide into safer harbors.
But not if you mistake that poem for Gospel! Not if you’re a narcissist who sees their friends as resources. Then, ending a friendship with them is paramount to, lemme think, ah yes! Being Benedict Arnold or Judas Iscariot.
I know we’re not supposed to exact revenge, none of that eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth thing. But what about poetry?
Here now is my rebutal to It Matters Not.
It Matters So
It matters so that I’ve been hurt
By words you now repudiate.
I bit my tongue so many times
So I did not reciprocate.
To sail away, go with the tide
To drift on quiet seas.
Was all I asked of thee and thou
But it was not to be!
With crash of waves and howl of winds
Down your halo you threw
Whipped out your three-pronged trident
And screamed up a hullabaloo!
Our friendship dashed on rocky shores
Of unkind words you said.
I have forgiven; I won’t forget
And now our friendship is dead.
This concludes the after poetry discussion. You’ll find coffee and cookies in the narthex. This has been a wonderful discussion and you’ve been a wonderful audience!
Thanks for reading!