I classified this as a rant, but as rants go, it’s not really that vehement. It’s more like old Andy Rooney’s, “You know what I don’t like?” Armchair psychoanalysis. I have been given a couple of doses of it recently by people who don’t know me all that well, nor do they know much about the situation they seek to advise me about. Even more interesting, however, has been the wealth of opinion on the subject of mandatory reporting of abuse over at Steve’s site. Heck, I understand what they’re trying to say, but most of them were looking at what they thought was best instead of what was actually legal. Sometimes, indeed, those two things aren’t the same. In this case, I’m not convinced that’s true, however. I just find it a bit alarming that so many people seem to think they have the ability to psychoanalyze others to the degree that they do. I suppose a site like Steve’s invites it. I guess I don’t wax controversial too much over here, and that’s fine with me.
Truth be told, my husband is one of the worst as far as armchair psychoanalysis goes. I think he’s aware of it, and I think he actually enjoys it. I don’t think it even bothers him so much when someone else does it to him. However, I admit to becoming if not angry, then certainly peeved when some schmoe who doesn’t know his or her ass from her armpit tells me what’s wrong with me and how I can fix it. There was a famous rabbi once who said, “physican, heal thyself.” If it’s annoying coming from Steve, then you can bet it’s incredibly irritating coming from a stranger. Especially a stranger who appears to be mentally unbalanced in his or her own right. I think the best thing a friend can do when someone close to them is going through something painful is to be there and listen. On the other hand, I think if you don’t really know the person all that well, perhaps you ought to bite your tongue — there are just so many layers to people, and you probably don’t have all the facts. No matter how much you think you know or want to help, you just wind up being a nuisance — sort of this “I know what your problem is, here’s what you need to do.” If done in the wrong way, I think it can be harmful, and I shouldn’t wonder if real mental health officials don’t get extremely upset over this issue.
Update: My fault for not being clear, but I had reasons. If you think this applies to you, ask me first before you assume.