Real Housewife of New Jersey Melissa Gorga's Love, Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage is one long, elaborate and very public rationalization for her abusive relationship. She's taken behaviors and feelings that she knows are not acceptable and has created what she thinks are logical, rational explanations for them.
Who am I to label her marriage as abusive? Well, I’m a survivor of one. I sounded just like her ten years ago. I recognize her reasoning and her desire to convince others that she's happy... because I did the same thing. I could have written this book back when I was in my own dysfunctional marriage. Rationalizing, or telling yourself stories to protect yourself from getting hurt, is a powerful defense mechanism. The more you repeat these things, the more you believe them. In order to make her situation tolerable, Melissa has to tell herself lies like these:
1. Telling Herself It's Okay Makes It Okay.
Melissa describes Joe's behavior and many of us would find it appalling. Yet, she quickly follows up with an insistence that she's fine with it. She's rationalized that if it doesn't bother her, it's not a problem.
"Joe never wears a wedding band. Joe has really chubby fingers, (he will tell you so, too) and he thinks a ring is the most uncomfortable thing ever. It used to bother me, but now I just tell myself that a wedding band is more of a chick magnet, kind of like a guy walking a cute dog or pushing a stroller."
"The idea of sending Joe home by himself while I stay behind partying without him? It's unthinkable. He'd never allow it and I wouldn't want him to."
2. Pride — She Doesn't Need Any.
Melissa states that pride doesn't belong in a marriage. I think it's more likely that she's lost touch with what it feels like to have any.
"In the first couple of years, my pride always seemed to get in the way."
"I learned that there is no pride in marriage, and that personal flaws and weaknesses have to be accepted on faith."
"You have every right to have pride outside in the workplace, but when you come home, lose the pride."
"He tells me, and I comply. Put your pride down."
3. Keeping The Peace At All Costs Makes A Good Marriage.
When you live with a husband who is volatile, it's natural to want to avoid setting him off. It's easy to say that you are "choosing" to not react, when in reality, it's a not a choice at all: it's called walking on eggshells, and it's a survival technique.
"When I make a correction to Joe, I speak softly…"
"Does Joe help? Uh, not on your life! I could hold a grudge that he has never once scoured a lasagne dish, but my philosophy about that is — don't cry over it."
"There is simply no point to arguing about something that requires all of five seconds of my time, and next to zero energy."
"If someone ripped Joe off that day, he comes home a different person. If he gets one ounce of flack from me, he flips a switch and goes off. I know it's not really about me, so I don’t get riled up. I suppose I could get angry back with him for getting the bulk end of his problems. But then again, that's what a spouse is for."
"As soon as I changed my perception about Joe's wants and needs, things immediately improved." Keep reading...
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