Most of us are suspicious and distrustful of people we meet on FB, with some well-founded reasons.  However, it is beyond me how, with all the extreme couponers around, I have been unable to interest anyone in the coupons I am willing to give away..  I have tried giving them to neighbors, to extreme couponing website operatiors, to FB friends.  So far as I know, nobody has responded.  Is it because I ask for a mailing address?  Is it because my form didn't work?  Nobody even wants to leave a record of visiting my website apparently.  Well, guess what?  If someone gives me their address and asks for some coupons, they're going to get those coupons (unless someone asked first & they were gone already.  I have literally 100s of coupons I will never use.  What am I asking in return?  Nothing. Oh sure, I'll accept Coveted Coupons off my list if they are sent to me.  And after all, my return address will be right on the envelope with the coupons I send out..  Is it required?  Nope.  Will I be more inclined to continue sending coupons to those who send something back? Sure, who wouldn't be?  However, I can probably offer all comers some of what they ask for.

I'm also thinking about this because I am dealing with a family member who has clearly developed an intense paranoia as part of a bipolar disorder.  This relative keeps complaining about not having any money, but all suggestions about saving money are seen as attempts to "control my life."  The latest manifestation is a belief that I and another cousin are "breaking into my house and going through my papers when I'm not home."  This is actually laughable, and dreadfully sad.  From my readings on this disorder, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking are part of the illness.  The reason I say this is laughable is that, to be blunt, neither of us has the time, nor the inclination, to figure out when she's not home (her hours are irregular), rush over to her house, commit a crime, and get out before either she returns or someone notices and calls the cops.  In short, we have our OWN lives to live, and plenty of activities to fill up the hours of those lives.   That's another characteristic of bipolar disorder apparently -- self-absorption to the point that one thinks everyone else's activities revolve around them.  That nobody has anything to do except pour their time down the drain marked "How to make life difficult for her." That, and the fact that with my SLE, the scenario she has imagined is literally impossible for me.  I don't move that fast, and if I ever did break into her house, I'd probably fall asleep on the floor before I could rifle through her papers!

Not that I don't have sympathy for her troubles.  I rather imagine that living with a constant belief that others are trying to control one, sabotage one, or make one miserable has to be hallacious.  I really cannot, and do not want to, put myself in those shoes.  Normal life, in which people, through their clumsniess, preoccupations, and dsitractions hurt each other's feelings and create problems, from minor to major ones, is bad enough.  To be completely honest, I have also encountered people with horrendous streaks of "I don't get mad, I get even."  Now that sounds clever, but in my experience the getting even from these people is usually magnified by several times over the original affront.  IF that affront is a misinterpretation of events and intents, you may be dealing with someone with emotional imbalances.

I maintain a general distrust myself of certain things.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  My employers weren't interested in my well-being as much as in the bottom line, so I didn't trust them to protect me.  Politicians are more interested in serving their parties and their pocketbooks than serving the people, so I don't trust them to protect the people.  There'a a lot fo things I don't broadcast on FB to any and all.  (Sadly, I'm sure the government and most employers and any good hackers could find them out, and probably have).

We live in a society built on distrust.  Republicans and their voters distrust the motivations of the poor. We are told to be afraid of terrorists, hackers, sex offenders, yada yada yada.  Blacks mistrust whites, and while to some extent that is with good reason, it can also be carried to the extreme.  Hispanics distrust whites and, at least in some places, Blacks.  Then there's the distrust of Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Catholics, Baptists, and just about every religion in America, and "secularists,"  which many oddly seem to see as equivalent to "atheists."  It's not.  Remember when Jesus said "Render unto Caesar tjat which is Caesar's?"  Jesus was saying there are things of the Spirit, or God, and things of the world (Caesar) and each has their place.  If that wasn't a clear statement of the separation of church (Spirit) and state (Casear).  "Secular" simply refers to those things which are of the state:  schools, taxes, government, public roads, etc.

Isn't about time we learn to take some informed risks?  Or do we want to resort to becoming a nation where nobody trusts anybody and we are all paranoid?  It will certainly make the job of those who wish to control us easier if we all distrust each other.  Freedom is self-governance.  
 


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