I don't approve of guilt. It's a waste of emotional energy and a waste of time. Certainly, people need to be considerate of others they have contact with. Absolutely, people need to think about the effect their actions will have on others. Yes, people need to be aware that their behaviour has consequences - for themselves and anyone in close proximity. But guilt? Forget it!
I have spent so very many years reducing myself so that others were not inconvenienced by my wishes or needs. My exes are a list of the universe's most selfish and controlling individuals, frankly. People who were more than happy to whine, bully or demand their way through life. One wanted to 'rebuild' me. Make me into something 'better' than he thought I naturally was. He used all sorts of browbeating and pseudo-supportive games to 'craft' me into the person he wanted me to be. Like a bonsai gardener, he clipped and pruned those expressions and attitudes which stood in the way of his personal comfort and public pride. I was to be cleverer. I was to be interesting; I was to have opinions (which suited him). And then I was to be shown off like a prize cow.
He was most upset when, having created his monster, a younger and more exciting man at a party asked me why I was with him. The would be poacher told me I was so pretty, so much fun, he couldn't understand why I was the sulky, unfriendly man I had arrived with. I had no answer, and at that point I started questioning it myself. I left him soon after, having looked at our life from every angle - the shouting, the growing violence, the pressure to be his vision of me. Shame. He created a monster, newly confident in her intellect and social skills, and she took herself off to grow her own way! I am not a teeny tiny tree to be shaped and forced. I am not rhubarb or cucumber to be grown to the perfect design. I am not a project.
I don't feel sorry for him.
He wasn't the only bad choice I made in partnership. One partner wanted me to shine on her arm. A trophy with no choices except to be taken out and shown off. It didn't suit me and I left after a couple of years! One partner was threatened by my intelligence. I dumbed down for eight years - to keep the peace and her ego intact. I left for another reason, but, oh, to stretch those metal muscles again was bliss!
And, to be honest, it is this stream of manipulative partners which has taught me my disgust of guilt. I refuse to 'knuckle down' because someone makes me feel bad about who I am or how I am. I am a reasonable human being. I have extremely high moral standards in respect of how I leave other people feeling. I don't ask for much more than the right to remain myself and express myself as I see fit.
I am well on my way to half century. I see no reason to suspect that I am not fully capable of executing life in a decent and considerate manner. I do not need to be corralled by negative interjections and suspect emotions.
Here's the thing. If you don't agree with my plans, decisions or actions? Negotiate. Talk to me. Put your points. Air your views. I am more than slightly skilled at negotiation. I am willing to listen. I am willing to hear. I am even willing to consider the impact of my behaviour on you. I may not change my mind, but I will listen to you as though you are speaking the truth and with full attention. Then I will make a judgement call based on my own understanding of the situation, full facts now in front of me. And, should we be in a situation where my decision still aggravates you? Well, I will take full responsibility for my actions and choices. I am a grown up. That's how it works.
So - to those who think I should change my mind because their argument is 'But you always get your own way!'; to those who think I should stop being so clever because they feel stupid around me; to those who think whining or sulking is the way towards a harmonious understanding; to those who think there is something wrong with me being strong, opinionated and decisive.
Fuck you for thinking I will be manipulated in any way! I have lived under other people's yokes and needs for too damn long to do that any more.
Fuck you for thinking complaining replaces negotiation! Give me the facts as you see them and then allow me the liberty to decide for myself.
Fuck you for thinking anything about my personality needs changing! I am the only person with the right to decide that and I shall make that decision, on a continuous basis, with regard to how people react to me on a day to day and one to one basis.
Fuck you for trying to swerve my path, in any way, big or small, by making me feel wrong; bad; less than; selfish; or unfeminine.
I am opinionated by education. I am determined by experience. I am powerful by right. I am self-oriented by need. And I am not being someone or something else because you don't have the balls; intellect; argument; whatever, to deal with that!
And get yourself a decent debate!