Ambition Anonymous Weighs in Again! Tell Us What You Think.


We’ve been having a battle of words and thought here today.  Maybe that is why it’s called wordpress.  Though, I should change it to ‘wordstress.’ Either way, Anonymous wrote me to say this about my piece:

Writing this kind of material and putting it up on the web is going to invite a lot of different opinions and perspectives, not everyone is going to clap for pure artistic merit and shower you with sympathy – no offense. You’re a great writer, but there is a lot more to the story than the eloquence of the words.

In response to my comment that my kids are freaking awesome – he had this to say:

The flippant “freaking awesome” response, is just a sign that you’re not yet willing to take responsibility for the negative effect you’ve had on those around you – most unfortunately the kids who will never know what their lives would be like with a mom who was there for them instead of battling her own demons. And unfortunately this is typical of the bi-polar illness.

I’m going to chalk this up to him being ultra-serious and not understanding my dark humor as a way of coping.  I’m going to chalk this up to someone who is bitter and angry and turning it around on me and others who have been commenting all day on this subject.

However, there might be someone out there who agree with Anonymous. I’m going to take my wounded artistic pride and shove it (for the moment) and open this discussion up more.  Thoughts? Ideas? What do people REALLY think? Anyone in Anonymous’ corner?

Read all the threads here: SMILE (Part 1)


15 Responses to “Ambition Anonymous Weighs in Again! Tell Us What You Think.”

  1. Make love not war.

  2. Now that Mister Ambitious, (May I call you Ambi? I feel like I know you.) has elaborated on his original statement, I can totally understand. Really, life would have been so much better if my mother had been perfect. It really sucks (pardon my. . . Oh forget it.) that people who become mothers have problems of their own. A passport to perfection should be issued in the hospital. It’s not just manic depressive mothers, either, you should know. I went on a bunch of dates with a man whose mother had Lou Gehrig’s disease. Wow. Talk about a lousy mother. She never ran around outside with him when he was a kid. Worse yet, do you know what this bad mother did? She went and died on him. Boy, did he ever have issues. Would have dated him longer but all those issues got in the way. Collateral damage, I was. Depressed mothers, schizophrenic mothers, diabetic mothers, mothers with ADHD, mothers who are too young, mothers who are too old, blind mothers, deaf mothers. We have a virtual epidemic of imperfect mothers. Call the cops! Or the CDC.

    It gets even worse. The epidemic affects fathers and siblings as well. I know someone who had a less than perfect brother. His brother was in a wheelchair and had a progressive disease and died. Do you know what a number the dead brother did on my friend. It was really bad of him. How dare he have a disease like that.

    You know what Ambi? Maybe I’m too old, but I’ve found that a lot of my friends who had parents with problems – they eventually grew up, learned to accept that their parents are human beings with flaws and problems of their own. A surprisingly large number of people found at the point they could accept and forgive their parents, they became happier people. Maybe you’re not there yet. Most people needed some help, like some talk therapy, to get to that place. It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to make some feel like shit for not being the world’s most perfect mother, especially since there are no perfect mothers.

    • Hear hear!! I was trying to empathize that maybe he was dealing with some pain of his own and lashing out, but the attack on a sick person’s motherhood is totally uncalled for. Did someone in the thread say Anonymous is a Counselor? Good grief he’s probably causing more damage than he’s fixing.

  3. The only thing I can say about your commenter’s thought that mental illness has become “fashionable” is that this is the nature of people trying to bring attention to an issue that affects millions. I remember when Down’s Syndrome was trending in the 1980s and got a great deal of attention. Now it’s autism. It’s a natural news/political/pop culture cycle when an issue is brought out into the light. And there are so many more opportunities for people to connect and talk about these issues. And I believe that’s a good thing. If it’s not his/her issue, or interest, or even an area of expertise, there’s a lot of other sites that might be.

    As a relatively new blogger myself, I tend to let some comments stand on their own merit. My silence serves as my response. If they’re personal attacks, I delete them. They just don’t add to the conversation.

  4. And that’s what you call “schooled”

    • I really liked AndrewM and his comment (not just cuz I know him!) I think he’s right. I need to let this thread DIE. I do think, however, it’s important to know that there are people out there in the world who know little or next to nothing about compassion regardless of what the struggles might be. I’ll leave these comments up for a while if people are interested. But I’m done with Anonymous. I need to go to AA – Anonymous-Anonymous!

  5. 8 MBC

    Screw him….I love your reads! You have a special gift. Keep going.

  6. 10 BehindMyBooks

    Alright, here goes. First of all, I won’t be at all offended if you don’t feel like sharing this, as I doubt I will be able to completely contain my absolute loathing for this sort of idiocy, and I know I will not be able to contain my language.

    I am that kid. My mother tried to kill herself 23 times (I think, I always loose track at 23 or 27…either way it was a lot). I spent plenty of time in hospitals.

    Mothers who are sick are not somehow shitty mothers. Parent’s and doctors who can’t explain why Mom(or Dad) is sick are shitty. My father was a brilliant man and I understood the difference between the Illness and my mother at a very early age. (I’ve actually been working on a post of my own regarding just that.)

    I knew how much my mother loved me. I know how much my mother loved me. And yes, I am pissed–completely furious–that she killed herself. That she tried to kill herself so many times. Yes, it screwed me up somewhat. Yes, it would have been lovely if I could have grown up in a daisy infested home. But the hardships I’ve dealt with helped me deal with life. Helped me avoid bad life choices, and make brilliant ones. They made me more intelligent, they made me more empathetic, and they made me more informed about the world around me than dip-shits like this supposed Counselor.

    Who the hell gives someone like that a degree in psychology and therapy anyways? Jesus Christ, he must have gone to my college.

    Furthermore, I don’t know why he would feel the need to contact you personally about this or attack you. He doesn’t have to approve, he can think you are a shitty parent all he wants, but he doesn’t actually know the situation or everything about you. I highly doubt that in the month that you have been posting these you have revealed every insight into your life, your children’s lives, and your husbands lives.

    I’m taking a page from Ebenezer Scrooges book, this man should be “Boiled in his own pudding!”

    With that, I’m stopping. I’ve refrained from replying to any of his comments again, because I’ll become deranged and my Prozac-free anger will come out.


    • Damn, Ms. Books. Go! I would never NOT post something (from you especially) because of swear words or raw emotion. In a way, I thank him for this debate because so many people have come out in droves and shared their side of their story. I knew you had quite a story – and this is only the beginning. I’m sitting here totally blown away by the support and great comments from so many people. One dick doesn’t take away from those of us who are trying to share our stories in order to relate or even help others. I’ve had 245 hits today and twenty plus comments that are thoughtful and deep. There are more of us, at least here and now, than him. Let’s celebrate that victory!

  7. Jennifer, I read this post today while on my lunch break at work and I could not wait to get back home tonight to reply to this post! Firstly, I just want to say that I’m a fan and I applaud your acceptance of yourself and laud your courage for being so brutally honest about yourself and your history!!! I think you’re just like your kids…I think you’re freakin’ awesome! 🙂

    Anyway, so I thought that Ambition Anonymous’ comments were…’interesting’ to say the least, and highly judgmental and lacking in compassion to say a little more 😉

    I’m a psychologist and I am fascinated by people. I have days were I absolutely hate the whole human race…but at the end of the day, I’d help my enemy if they required my help and I do care a great deal about all people. I can be a little intolerant of people like Ambition Anonymous…and I hope they read what I have to say about them 🙂

    As a psychologist I have come to understand a great deal about mental illness and happiness. One of the things I know for sure (there is a whole movement on the topic – it’s called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), is that the first stanza of the Serenity Prayer hold the key to happiness. The ‘accepting things we cannot change’ part of the prayer is key to happiness and it’s something you intuitively live by, Jennifer. There is only so much that medication and ‘mental health professionals’ have been able to do to treat your bi-polar…but they sure as hell couldn’t cure it. I can see that you’ve somewhat embraced bi-polar as being an intrinsic part of your story and who you are…I personally think you’re a very articulate and very nice person 🙂 I try to teach people this concept of “acceptance” (of the things they cannot change) everyday in my work. I try to practice what I preach too 😉 As a therapist I would never, ever respond they way Ambition Anonymous did to you. Her comments lack empathy and compassion for you (not good traits for a psychologist to have) and are incredibly invalidating. I could also see through her comments and see in her summation of you that she has quite significant issues herself. Her comments about you were personal. When you highlighted this to her, she responded defensively and unapologetically and without empathy for you by stating that her comments were personal because your post was about your personal experience…nice way to not acknowledge being a critical creep, Ambition Anonymous! What a champ! Jennifer, I wouldn’t take it personally, because AA’s comments were more personally about her own history than yours.

    I have this rule of thumb in life because I’ve often found it to be true…if someone really rubs me up the wrong way and they make you feel really bad about who you are or stupid for what you’ve said, this person is not very nice and they probably have a personality disorder. I suspected that AA might have OCPD so I checked her out to see if my suspicions were correct.

    I did my research on Ambition Anonymous to see if my suspicions about her hold any merit. Here’s what I learnt.

    Ambition Anonymous is approx 45 years old and was quite poor growing up in the USA after immigrating from a country that was in a state of crisis. She suffered her own traumas as a young person. If you read a lot of what she says she really harbours a lot of resentment of the way her parents raised her. She hold particular resentment toward her mother and considers herself to have become a mother to herself…the mother she longed for but never had. I guess this is why she is so critical of you as a mother and wife. AA’s parents were poor and limited finances meant that she could not achieve her goals and pursue her dreams, such as becoming a gymnast. She still dreams of what she might have become if she had grown up in a more validating, nurturing family with the finances to help her achieve her full potential. She’s an idealist. Her very username ‘Ambition Anonymous’ tells us something key about her…that goals, dreams, success and ambition are of high value to her. Her job is likely the most important thing to her because it proves to the world that despite her disadvantaged childhood, she is a success! It proves to people that she is worthwhile and intelligent. She is most likely incredibly proud that she managed to obtain degrees and work in the arts and film industry with all the women who value vanity above all else (just like the kind of girls she grew up resenting at school for the social status that their cheerleading outfits declared to everyone around and made her feel more poor and unfortunate in comparison). AA would probably say that she hates superficial people because those people are the ones she compared herself to that made her feel so small in comparison…not because she wasn’t as smart or talented as them, but because she saw herself to be just as smart and talented (if not more so) but no one acknowledged this in her because her family did not have the money to really let her light shine. Paradoxically, AA would probably say that she does not highly value money (because a lack of it made her feel inadequate and unseen as a child), but she probably saves it and has a lot of nice things to show for it. She is perfectionist which is a characteristic of idealistic dreamers…just read her blog and you’ll see what I mean. She desperately wants people to acknowledge and validate her without judgment, but she is highly moralistic and judgemental herself (just read her comments to you). There are many references on her blog to being nurturing of other and non-judgmental. She lacks insight into how judgmental she is. She thinks she is right…even if she is wrong, she is right. You will always be wrong and so will any who oppose her. She is a very sensitive person, but she would unlikely show this side of herself to many…but her sensitivity presents itself in the kind of comments she has made to you, for example. She’s hypocritical, but who isn’t?! She is very black and white about things and assumes that she is more clever than younger, less experienced types such as all the do-gooders of this world 🙂 She probably craves unconditional love and real connectedness with other people that she would see as being worthy of her time. Her personality probably pushes people away and makes her hard to be close to. She thinks that having control in life will protect her from all the crud she endured growing up. AA would be very organised and meticulous. She thinks that perfection as a mother or a human is attainable, but knows this is not possible at the same time. She thinks everyone should be more like her, but desperately fears that she is so inadequate at the same time. Honestly, I could go on and on all day, but I think you get the point. AA has her own issues. That much is very apparent to me. Look up OCPD and AAs blog and you’ll see what I’m on about.

    A lot of people study psychology for some terrible reasons, such as “to figure people out” for their own amusement, or to diagnose themselves or prove themselves in some way. To me psychology is about helping people, not making them feel worse than they did before coming to see you. And so that I’m not a hypocrite, I try to practice what I teach others. I try to embrace the persona of a psychologist in all aspects of my life and not just drop the unconditional positive regard for people at the door as I leave work for the day (like AA seems to have done with her judgments of you). There are a lot of psychologists who are lovely, but there are a lot who are horrible people who should get a job where they don’t have human contact…do no harm is rule number 1!!! It’s 50/50 with psychologists…half of them are nutters!

    I honestly have no idea what is going through the minds of people like Ambition Anonymous! Communication is meant to be something that ‘builds’ rather than ‘destroys’. Ambition Anonymous’ comments weren’t said in a way that would inspire anyone to change or grow. They were said without compassion and they wreaked of her unresolved issues. If she really does care about the welfare of your kids she would have said something more compassionate that would inspire you to be the best mom you can be…hmm, her lack of regard for you tells me a lot about her.

    Reading AA’s comments reminded me of how redundant and damaging random people’s opinions could be. I recall that when I was 17 a friend of mine who was the same age lost all her hair through chemotherapy. She chose not to wear a wig. Well, stupid jerks in shopping malls would shout out dumb random things like, “What did you shave your head for?!”, to which she replied, “I have cancer”. People would always share their insensitive thoughts with her. They didn’t know her or care about her, so why did they bother opening up their mouths? Idiots!

    I like your blog and I certainly don’t think it makes mental illness look “fashionable” at all! You are brutal and raw in the way you write. You’d have to fancy it up a bit more to make bi-polar look more appealing to me! Good on Catherine Zeta-Jones for having the courage to stand up and say she has bi-polar and is not “perfect”. This normalises mental illness, not glamourises it. The founder and pioneer of a fantastic treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD), Marsha Linehan, only came out that she had too had BPD in 2011, probably 30 years or so after becoming an expert at treating the condition. It took her that long probably because of the stigma. She is brave to admit that she too has the disorder. I certainly don’t think she’s glamourising it in any way.

    A great quote I found yesterday says, “It is more important to know the person with the illness than the illness the person has”…your blog does this very thing. I don’t see ‘bi-polar’ in your posts…I see you 😉

    A final note to Ambition Anonymous…this is what my borderline personality disordered mother taught me, “Opinions are like assholes…everyone’s got one!”

    • Wow! Thank you for such a thorough, well researched post. I’m pretty blown away (having had no coffee yet!) So I will look more in a while. Thanks for the kind words, the support, understanding, and honesty. Truly.

  8. 15 lisakmallon

    FYI – your kids are FREAKIN AWESOME. The results of your dedication, creativity, passion, and tenacity are evident in their character.

    On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 5:05 PM, What’s Broken

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