Don’t Leave Banana Peels on the Stairs

Slippery Things + Steep Things = Broken Things

Likewise, don’t leave tacks on the floor by your bed.

Sharp Things + Unseeing Feet = PAIN

There are so many ways of saying this but I think the best way is to shout really loudly the following words:


Self saboteurs are a smug lot.  I speak from past personal experience*.  They like to go around the world blaming everyone for why they spend their lives fucking up and falling down.  They create an atmosphere of dangerous accidents they can get righteously angry about and then not take responsibility for.   But to an outside observer, it is generally obvious that they’re setting themselves the most clumsy and obvious traps imaginable very much like Coyote who continually thinks Acme will definitely maybe someday make a contraption that WON’T backfire on him (smash him, cut him, blow him up, break his bones, or drop him from the sky).  He keeps buying from Acme because he can blame all the malfunctions on a genius fake cartoon company instead of asking himself why the hell he doesn’t stop trying to catch that same road runner every single day and move on to something else or move to a city where there are lots of kittens to eat and trash cans to ransack for food less stringy and tough than that wily hateful bird**.

So my advice to you, if you are a self saboteur like me, stop putting banana peels on the stairs and admit that you’re trying to fuck yourself up so that no one else can do it to you first.  Living in the world never knowing where the next punch is coming from is more frightening than setting constant traps for yourself so that the blows are always coming from yourself, but there comes a point when these old gags  become ridiculous and lose their effectiveness.

It’s time to take the punches like a man.  Or, better yet, a kick-ass resilient woman who can not only take the punch but parry it before it ever hits and pin the pugilist to the floor.

Underlying message: no need to hurt yourself, there are plenty of people out there waiting for their chance to hurt you and the less time you spend trying to hurt yourself first to take away the sting, the more life you’ll get lived and the stronger you’ll be, making you perfectly able to take the blows when they come.  The other message here is to take responsibility for the things you’ve messed up on purpose and stop looking for ways to deflect all the blame outwards for your mistakes and falls and breaks.

*Two days ago.

**I really hate Road Runner.


  1. Ann says:

    I have a wondering about something that is similar to your topic above. I have a person that used to be a good friend. Then, she started dumping all her problems on me. Then, she didn’t want to hear about any of the stuff we were doing, because she wasn’t able to do them. She and her husband do own a piece of property on family land that they could do anything they want to on. Her husband makes a very good salary, so it wasn’t as if they couldn’t afford to do things. She’s a martyr. It came to the point where if we were hanging out, there was nothing I could talk about that wouldn’t offend her or make her pout. Very tiring. I know her husband is a prick, she is over burdened and unhappy. I was willing to make allowances for her problems. I think she was and probably still is in a nervous breakdown. In January 2010, she started to get more aggressive to me. I was having problems of my own, so couldn’t really deal with her endless litany of woe is me. I just couldn’t even respond to it in her emails. I was there to listen, but I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. As the year progressed, she become more and more hostile. I said something joking to her and she was very upset. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings and apologized. She was really out of line in the things she said to me. But making up wasn’t enough for her. Every time I saw her after making up, she was very aggressive, angry even. When we went away camping, she and her children watched our chickens for us. The matriarch chicken was getting weak and old. I asked her expressly to leave her alone and not mess with her. When we came back from camping, she told me she had let her small children pet and handle this old chicken. I was livid. That was it for me. I watched her dogs after that, because I said I would. We haven’t spoken since. She has made me into a bad guy to mutual friends. She’s the martyr again. Now, she lurks on my blog. What is up with that? She’s like a bad penny. I saw her at a bulk food pick up last week and she just marched past me like I was this evil thing. I don’t get her at all. I hate that martyr complex. My estranged sister is the same way. You can totally delete this if you want to. Thanks for reading my rambling.

  2. angelina says:

    Why on earth would I delete this?! I have experienced friends like this and it is so much better that you two aren’t talking- you can’t help someone like that. I used to let that kind of thing drag on and on and let people use me like their free therapist, sucking all my energy away and giving nothing in return, but eventually I realized that it was really unhealthy for me and anyway- nothing I ever did to try to help such situations made any difference. You must cut them free. The downside is exactly what you’ve experienced and there’s no help for it really, the bad mouthing she’s doing to you is part of her whole thing. She’s obviously a deeply unhappy person and she’s looking to everyone but herself to fix her problems and is also BLAMING everyone else for her problems.

    I have had a habit of inviting such people in my life before realizing they’re going to be intensely high maintenance people. Philip wishes I wouldn’t do it but if I wasn’t willing to listen to people I wouldn’t have some of the awesome friends I do too. So it’s a price to pay.

    I remember you saying something about her on your blog a while ago. That super sucks. I think what you have to do is trust that your mutual acquaintances are smart enough to know who you are and read between this woman’s misrepresentations of you- not always easy to do.

    I have made and then lost several friends here in my town. Some of what happened was definitely my responsibility but some of it definitely wasn’t. The best thing you can do (the only thing) is to ask yourself how you might handle the situation differently (all of the situations that came up in that friendship) next time you meet someone like that. You can’t fix people like that but you can forgive them for the damage they’ve done to your feelings, your things, or your reputation or whatever else they might have done to you unfairly.

    Then you just let them go. If she ever comments on your blog you just delete her comments without discussion or apology. If any of your acquaintances confront you about things she’s said, evaluate whether it’s worth discussing with them. Anyone who really knows and likes and values you is going to give you plenty of credit for having a different side of the story to tell.

    I am a self saboteur but not a martyr. There are many many similarities between the two models of being, and both are negative and destructive. I am now inspired to give some advice specific to people with the martyr complex.

  3. angelina says:

    You know, having written all that, and this post, I have to say that while I am constantly getting in my own damn way and then pretending I didn’t actually set myself up for failure, I DON’T go blaming others for my failures. That part is something I witness all the time but is not my personal mode. I take hyper responsibility for everything because then I can flog myself silly- this way no one else can do it first. I am, of all things, most terrified of being hurt by others and will do everything in my power to get there first so that when others try to hurt me it will pale in comparison to what I’ve inflicted on myself. That seems to require a different line of advice.

    So while I do put the banana peel on the stairs, this advice is for those looking outward for blame when they slip and break their necks, not to those who look inward.

    My head is spinning with thoughts now. Thanks Ann! (No, I mean it for real, not sarcastically!)

  4. Ann says:

    Ah, what kind and thought filled words. Thank you. You hit the nail on the head when you said, “…drag on and on and let people use me like their free therapist, sucking all my energy away and giving nothing in return…”. People sometimes do that to me, too. Definitely in this instance. I won’t say that I didn’t do or say stupid things sometimes… really who doesn’t?

    I’m more of the self saboteur, too. I’m working on that. Yes, negative and destructive, but martyrs are definitely manipulative. They like to work people. Not nice.

    Thanks for reading and for your excellent reply/advice.

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