dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

"If I enjoy this, it'll be all your fault": the high cost of nagging.

What really irritates me about the saga of Michael and his trumpet is not that Phil is saddened and disappointed that a boy who looked so happy to get a trumpet mysteriously not only gave up on it, he looked at the uncle who was trying to help him as yet another tormentor. Phil might be a highly-strung perfectionist with no real tolerance for Michael's tendency to be an attention seeking wise-ass but at least his impatience with goofing off is grounded firmly in an understanding of real-world consequences. He might not get why kids do what they do but he does know what the results will be.

This puts him light-years ahead of the person who made practicing into yet another tedious, soul-crushing chore that got in the way of having anything like fun. As I said yesterday, Phil might know that Elly also has high expectations but since he shares with Marian the inability to understand how his sister's mind really works, he doesn't realize that she never says anything positive ever. Were we to have had a camera in the Richards house, we would have seen a normal woman getting along reasonably well with a seemingly normal child. Since we can't really see thought-bubbles, we wouldn't have known that while Marian did praise her children and encourage them to do well, she had no idea in Hell that her older child has a blind spot that makes her forget this. Since Elly's need to obsess about all the bad in her life blinds her to the good, she thinks that berating, threatening, nagging, pleading and grounding are how you raise good kids and that saying anything nice or positive will make them spoiled because she won't remember that her parents praised her when she did well and gave her pep talks when she felt low.

The reason for this is two-fold. First off, we have to remember that she simply does not have the ability to take a compliment at face value. You can't say anything nice to or about Elly without her raging paranoia forcing her to find the "real" meaning. I'm convinced that when Marian said that a Bachelor of Arts would help Elly later in life, the dreary nutbag twisted her mother's words around to mean "Well, YOU'LL never get married" and decided to show Mommy by marrying an asshole. Secondly, she thinks that too much praise leads to the sort of awful life she thinks Phil leads and the torment she thinks he's inflicting on their parents.

This fear of destroying Mike by complimenting him in any way means that what will end up happening is that after month upon dreary month of being called a lazy, selfish, ungrateful so and so who wants to waste his time enjoying himself, Michael's ardor cools. Since Elly doesn't understand that her non-stop bitchery and imbecilic belief that she cannot show him sympathy lest she make him fail is why Michael is so unmotivated, she intensifies the same counter-productive behaviour.

What I see happening in the long run is best expressed as a vignette in that Unauthorized Liography I did for the Pattersons. What I see happening is Phil, having noticed what a skilled guitar player April is, asking Michael why he wasn't that dedicated. While Michael might not wish to speak ill of the dead, someone with a lot less patience for her sister-in-law's blubber-skulled stupidity and self-defeating antics might cough politely, point towards the Night Of The Living Dead sized photo of Elly that's been stood up behind her urn and hint that he had a lot of help. Since Phil is a stand-up dude, he'd probably say "Aside from Sis, that is......" I'll get to why that is next and drop a hint of my own: it plays with trains.
Tags: elly patterson: complete monster, mike versus elly

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