Thursday, December 30, 2010

Do All Druids Act Like Me?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," sister bickering edition! I'm Anne Johnson, sister to one and sister-in-law to several.

Starting with the "several," my sisters-in-law led my mother-in-law to believe that she would be traveling with them this holiday. Alas, they stiffed her, and Mr. Johnson is now bringing her here to Chateau Johnson for the remainder of the Christmas holiday. Oh well!

The bigger quarrel is with my natural sister, and it's not so much a quarrel as me calling her on some Facebook behavior that she says I haven't given her an opportunity to explain.

In the past 18 months my sister has adopted eight pets: two dogs, five cats, and a tarantula. She already had a dog and a parrot. She is soon to be 47 and wants to adopt a child.

A few days before Christmas, a dog fight erupted in my sister's house. The first dog she adopted got mauled by the other two. This sort of thing happens when dogs try to establish pack order, especially in close quarters. Sis posted a photo of her injured dog on Facebook. She also posted a picture of her hand, swollen from the bites she received trying to break up the fight.

I scolded her severely, first for putting up a picture of an injured dog, and then for posting her plans to curb further fighting (plans include shock collars and obedience school). This is not the sort of thing a person puts on Facebook.

What got under her collar was my suggestion that she ought to take a look at her overall behavior pattern and ask herself if it seems logical -- everything in her life at this moment, and all the plans she has.

This is all the detail I'll give on this, because all of this is already on record on Facebook.

Anyway, she left me a message on Facebook that my behavior is abusive, and she wonders if all Druids act like me? This is because I would not sit and listen to her rationalize the behavior of her pets.

She calls it abuse, I call it tough love. If you knew more about our family history, you would know that I'm not mad at her at all ... only worried. And I wasn't abusive ... only elusive. Because I had to kowtow to my mom, but I sure am not going to do it with my sister.

I wrote her back and said that if she is happy, then so am I. What's bugging me is this nagging feeling that she's not happy, that she's anything but happy, and that the hubub around her is her distraction from unhappiness.

Sis has not taken down the picture of her injured dog, and I'm wondering how those who judge people fit for adoption will feel if they see it on her Facebook. Maybe the rest of you Druids know more about this than me.

Asking, especially but not exclusively Druids -- did I overreact? Do you want to see the photo?


Anonymous said...

I don't believe that this is particularly Druid behavior. If I had to characterize it, I'd say it falls more into the category of "I grew up and my sister didn't."

Your description of her situation ("trying to distract herself from her unhappiness") is absolutely spot-on. If you have any power left with her, suggest that your sister seek therapy: she really needs to understand what has made her so unhappy.

And if your truth-telling has robbed you of power, suggest that she absolutely, under no circumstances whatsoever, do any such thing!

Welcome to the ostracization of Those Who Tell the Truth. We're an unwelcome bunch wherever we go, but we can't, and we shouldn't, stop doing exactly that.

JaAnBe said...

Your actions seem like honesty and compassion. If that's the case, then, Druid-on.

Alex (a very Wiccan sort of) Pendragon said...

Actually, this is a behavior that is shared by South Eastern Wiccans and Western tree-huggers. However, it only happens in such extreme cases where Brothers have Sisters, vice-versa, and in rare cases, siblings of the same sex. And yes, speaking for the entire Pendragon Wiccan society, I think I speak for all of us when I say that pics of injured animals on facebook is an odd behavior even for Eastern Orthodox individuals, even those stationed in the Far East or Mexico.


I'm a pagan and I works for me

Sarita Rucker said...

I'm more worried about the number of animals she's got than about her posting photos on facebook. Does she have a LOT of space and other people to help love and care for the three dogs and five cats (and tarantula)? If so, then ok, maybe it'll work. If not, then that's a real problem.

And if shock collars are required to keep dogs from fighting, they simply need to be separated. I wouldn't expect them to live together.

D.C. Ash said...

I feel you're probably right about her not being happy . Your sister probably knows it as well, but doesn't want to or is not ready to admit she's feeling unfulfilled, which would be why she was defensive and made an illogical remark as to your religion.

I don't know if you over reacted, but I think your intentions were honest. I understand your worry about the picture , especially with her looking for adoption, but in all honesty if she's having those problems in her house, and she's showing behavior that would show her as unsuitable, perhaps she isn't ready to adopt anyway.

As for The animals, I'm worried that she's going to use a shock collar on dogs that have already been aggressive toward another animal. Coming from a dog training background, shock collars sometimes make the dog more aggressive toward the other animals because they associate the other animal as the cause of the pain.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I don't think it's abusive to state an honest opinion unless it's accompanied by name-calling or other hurtful acts which is not the case here. I too would be concerned about animal hoarding, which is a sign of a deeper problem.

~Illisse said...

OT - A band you may want to pass along to the Heir. They're weird and wonderful.


Only Five Months to Faerie Fest! Go Mountain Tribe!

Lavanah said...

No, I don't think that you over-reacted (especially considering your mothers history). It has nothing to do with being a Druid, although that did give your sister a convenient "you vs. her" handle. Sister/sister relationships are very interesting-sort of like a reverse baobab tree, you share roots, but the trees grow independantly of one another.

And no, I do not want to see the picture of the injured dog, please.

Maeve said...

I think your behavior is called having concern for innocents and being their voice. Whether it be animals or kids. As well as having concern for the person who is wounded- whether in body, mind or spirit.

That isn't something which is the province of any one religion or worldview- but should be the reaction of any decent person who happens across such a cry for help.

The way she seems to be right now, as described here by you, ... I wouldn't place a kid or an animal into her home at all. Too much chaos and aggression going on there already for my liking. Hopefully she works through her issues and empty spaces and finds some healing. And realizes that you did and said the things you did, out of love and concern for her.

Whether it is the 'Druid' thing to do? I have no idea, not being a Druid. I would think that Druids would be more inclined to truth-telling than avoidance of problems, though. To seeing things as they are, rather than how we wish them to be.

The Wizardess said...

I think you sound like a very reasonable Druid-sister. Or even just a sister-sister. I have no idea how this would affect her chances for adopting, but it always pays to be careful. I think you have done all that you can, since she is grown (or supposed to be). Now comes the hard work of letting it go...and I know that's really hard.

Intense Guy said...

I think your sister is substituting pets for 'missing' children...

Its not a good thing - but it is understandable.

What to do about it is another issue. Hormonal women are beyond the ability of this mortal man to understand.

M Pennanti said...

I think throwing a child into the middle of a group of dogs still establishing pack order is a very, very bad I do hope she leaves that picture up, honestly. But then, she's not my sister, and I generally get concerned for the child above the adult in any situation. You would have a different perspective.

I wish you the best of luck with a thorny sibling relationship...and calming thoughts. For the dogs, too!