Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Ex-Boyfriend" Needs "Closure" To Let Go; May Suffer From Erotomania

Dear Tazi:

My ex-boyfriend (and I hesitate to elevate him to that status) "Spencer" - who I only dated for a few months - has enough issues to fill a month's worth of your columns; thus the reason he is an EX-boyfriend/guy I briefly dated. As I mentioned, we only dated for a few months (not quite two); but he refuses to leave me alone. He keeps asking if we can "try again". He suggests that we get together for coffee to discuss "what issues each of us needs to address and focus on changing" in order for the relationship to work.

First off, I do not believe we were together long enough to define what Spencer and I had as a "relationship"; and second, I do not want to get back together with him, so why should I focus on changing who I am to suit him? When I pointed these facts out to him (much more tactfully than I do here) Spencer went off into a tirade about how I am refusing to accept my "share of the responsibility for the failure of our relationship" and that this issue is adding to his already heavy stress load. Tazi, our relationship failed because he is a self-centered dreamer who is all talk and no action. With his charming personality he can win people over until they discover the truth about him: that every word out of his mouth is a lie; that he suffers from a ridiculously inflated sense of self-worth; and that his charm is all that he has going for him. When I explained this to Spencer - in those exact words - he told me that I should get counseling, since I am obviously "deflecting" my own issues of low self-esteem onto him, and that he would be willing to accommodate me by attending couples' counseling with me. I do not suffer from low self-esteem, do not need counseling, and certainly do not want to attend couples' counseling with him because we are not - and never were - a couple! The relationship was never said to be exclusive, nor do I believe my actions led him to believe it was!

Tazi, I admit that I broke things off with him rather suddenly; telling him over the phone one night that I did not see a future between us and that I think we should make a clean break of things, but at least I told him voice to voice and not via text message. Spencer keeps telling me that I have "denied" him the "closure" he needs to move on with his life, and that I am not being fair to him by changing my phone number (which did not work; he managed to get the new one from a mutual acquaintance unfamiliar with the situation), ignoring his calls, and refusing delivery of the flowers he tries to send me. Short of taking out a restraining order against the guy, what can I do to get him to leave me alone? Should I meet him for coffee just this once to prove to him that there is nothing there?

Moved On

Dear Moved On:

Obviously, whatever occurred between you and Spencer meant a lot more to him than it did to you. What the dynamic was between the two of you is something you do not mention - did you see each other every day? Once or twice a week? A few dates? Hot and heavy? You mention that exclusivity was never discussed; but it appears that Spencer assumed it. For this one reason, it would have been more appropriate to break up with him in person, not over the phone. Should Spencer call you again, I think a quasi-apology (from you) expressing this fact would be appropriate. You do not have to get all remorseful; just a simple, "Spencer, obviously our friendship meant more to you than I realized, and I should have respected your feelings enough to break up with you in person. However, what's done is done. I have moved forward with my life, and it would be best if you did the same". Notice that the words "I'm sorry" do not appear anywhere in the above statement.

If Spencer continues to suggest that you get together to discuss where things went wrong, answer the phone ONE TIME, to simply repeat that you have moved forward with your life and think it would be best if he moved on, as well. If he continues to demand "closure" tell him that this is the best that he is going to get from you. Ignore any further phone calls from him, as well as any other form of attempted contact - by giving him your attention you are giving him what exactly what he wants. It does not matter that you are thinking horrible thoughts about him; the point is, you are thinking of him.

If Spencer decides to bring things to the next level by following you around in person or showing up at places you frequent at times he knows you will be there, do your best to ignore him. If he approaches you, report him to the management; they will most likely ask him to leave the building. If he starts creeping on you via social media, block him and/or turn your page private for a few weeks - eventually, he will give up on you.

If none of these tactics work - or especially if they make the situation worse - Spencer may suffer from a rare (but very real) mental illness called "erotomania", a very serious disorder in which the stalker believes their victim(s) are truly in love with them but are just playing hard to get; and the more you push them away, the deeper they believe that you really and truly love them. In a case such as this - and you will know it if it is such a case - legal intervention will be necessary to secure your personal safety and mental well-being. An excellent book on this topic is I Know You Really Love Me: A Psychiatrist's Account of Stalking and Obsessive Love, a first-person account by Dr. Doreen Orion. Included in the book is a chapter on resources for the victims of erotomaniacs. I wish you all the best. Please write back to me to let me (and my readers) know how things turn out for you.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Labor Day History Lesson From Tazi

Dear Readers:

Happy Labor Day! Are you enjoying your day off? Or are you receiving overtime wages for working today? Either way, I suggest that you thank a union member – it was their fight that brought the benefit of paid holidays, overtime wages, and this day of appreciation to the people.

The history of Labor Day is an interesting one, and today I will be sharing it with you so when you kick back with a hot dog and your favorite beverage at the barbeque, you can impress people with your immense knowledge of this celebratory day!

The actual origin of Labor Day is in historical dispute, but evidence leads to the belief that in 1882 a union machinist named Matthew McGuire suggested the idea of a holiday honoring American workers. What is historically factual is that the Central Labor Union of New York is responsible for the sponsoring and planning of the first Labor Day in America. Unlike today, it was not a day of festivities but a day of demonstrations – complete with a picnic lunch, as was customary with any large gathering of the time.

Why the need to demonstrate? As history shows, the 19th century was not a time of fair labor laws and workers rights. Even though unions existed, they were far from the powerful and respected organizations they are today. From the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s until 1913, when the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed to institute an income tax, Industrial “Robber” Barons held the purse-strings of the American economy and workers were bound to the rules they set, working in deplorable conditions for twelve hours a day, seven days a week.

Andrew Carnegie and the Homestead Strike of 1892

Never forget the horror of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

Children were not excused from labor back in those days; in fact, child labor was preferred as children could be paid less money than their adult counterparts and were more able to fit into small spaces to fix jammed machinery. Although Americans like to think of themselves as the collective protectorate of our nation’s young, the truth of the matter is that it was parents who sent their children to work instead of school, with both the expectation and blessing of the American public.

In spite of efforts in the early 20th century to improve child welfare by ending child employment it was not until the Great Depression when child advocates and union members combined forces to push for the passing of labor laws to enforce mandatory education of children up to the age of 16. It was reasoned that if a child is in school full time they will be unable to hold full-time employment, thus creating much needed job openings for adults and forcing employers to pay increased wages.

The argument against education was an argument against unions!

In 1883, the second Labor Day was celebrated; keeping with the original date chosen for the celebration it was held of September 5th – a Wednesday. It was not until 1884 that Labor Day took on its traditional date of the first Monday in September. The Central Labor Union of New York, still the only celebrant of Labor Day, encouraged other unions to hold similar celebrations and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in several industrial cities throughout America. Since Labor Day was not an officially recognized holiday participants were docked a day’s wages for being absent from work – an attempt by employers to discourage participation in what was seen as undesirable union activity.

Once introduced, the idea of Labor Day spread quickly and by 1886 a bill had been introduced in the New York state legislature to make Labor Day an official state holiday. The bill did not pass (New York City being the home of Tammany Hall) but early the following year the state of Oregon was the first to declare Labor Day an official state holiday. Even back then, the West was known for its progressiveness. Over the next several years, 23 more states passed legislation making Labor Day an official holiday and in 1894 Labor Day became an official Federal holiday with the passage of law by the 53rd Congress.

Originally, the celebration of Labor Day was designed to focus on parades and festivals as a celebration of and reward to hard-working Americans, but like any large gathering of the citizenry it soon attracted politicians and took on a more serious bent. As large industrial centers grew into the cities we now know, it became difficult for municipalities to continue to host such large-scale celebrations as their planning and execution disrupted the commerce that continued to take place. At this point Labor Day celebrations moved to the smaller cities, and eventually brought forth the backyard barbeques and park-based picnic celebrations we now know.

Today we must ask; has the significance of Labor Day been lost as union membership dwindles? This Labor Day, we face protests as those who call themselves “the 99%” fight to call attention to the plight of the shrinking middle-class. Have the “robber barons” of the prior century reappeared in the form today’s CEO’s? Or has the dynamic of the American workforce changed; with even CEO’s being forced to work like slaves, chattel to the stockholders, for exorbitant compensation but no leisure time to enjoy it? Have we as Americans become so beholden to our luxuries that to go without them is considered an inconceivable poverty? Have our first world problems left us blind to true suffering?

Ummm, isn't Twitter corporate?

Has the role of the union changed from one that looked out for the worker to one that looks out for the union bosses and their cronies? So often I hear from everyday workers who complain that their union dues do nothing but take a chunk of much needed money from their paycheck; they feel as though their unions are not representing them but lining the pockets of their leadership. Is this true? Or it is simply the complaints of one who thinks as a child; who would argue that Mommy and Daddy are mean because their allowance is not inflated beyond what their chores have earned them?

I am just a little kitty, and do not pretend to know the answers to such great big questions; but I think a national debate is in order. I offer up my comments section as the forum! In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this history lesson. I will now be resting from my labors of dictating this column to my Mommie and celebrating the day by taking an extra long nap! How will you be celebrating?


P.S. Remember that people in the service industries - from emergency to entertainment - will be working today so you can enjoy your day off. Please do not make lame jokes at their expense; if you do, I will have to paw slap you!

Sources: Historical information courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor, History.com, and PBS.org; videos via YouTube.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tazi Recommends: I Heart Organizing

Dear Readers:

Welcome to the Repost of Issue #3 of "Tazi Recommends...". (in case you missed it the first time!). As usual, I recommend you put down the Sunday paper and read something else, because your cat and I plan on napping on aforementioned paper whether you are trying to read it or not! However, in my desire to be helpful, am willing to provide you with alternate reading matter. This week, the blog I recommend is:

I Heart Organizing

by Miss Jen from Wisconsin, USA

As a cat, I love an organized home. As a cat, I am not the one who has to do the cleaning and organizing; nor do I have to go around picking up after a litter of little ones who like to leave a mess in their wake. However, I can sympathize with those who do since I am the "little one" that my Mommie often has to cater to, cleaning my sandbox, organizing my toys, and keeping my feeding station sanitary. I just don't know how she does it all! I can only imagine what it would be like if she had kids, too!

I love I Heart Organizing for several reasons, but first and foremost is this: Miss Jen does not expect you to have the time, budget, or talents of Martha Stewart. As the Mommie of three boys and a career as an Interior Decorator, Miss Jen understands what it means to balance the duel responsibilities of career and family, and she writes from that perspective. This leads to the second reason I love I Heart Organizing: FREE organizational tools!

I Heart Organizing has an entire web-page dedicated to free downloadable printables that are suggested on the site. Unlike some organization magazines/sites that suggest projects for you to make (like you have the time?) I Heart Organizing has done the work for you - all you have to do is print the charts, tags, calendars, etc. and remember to use them. From "My Daily Goals" to "A Peek at the Week" each printable is brightly colored and provides ample space upon which to write...and cross out and rewrite as your schedule changes.

Also available for a nominal cost ($3.00 & up) are custom printables - pdf files filled-in with your personal information and needs (from calendars to pantry inventory/grocery lists). Normally, I do not tout for-cost products, but the beauty of this one is that you only have to pay once - for the pdf file - and you can print it out as many times as you would like, indefinitely.

I Heart Organizing offers regular tips on how to get - and stay - organized; how to make the best use of space; and how to declutter both your home and your life. I Heart Organizing also offers an entire project gallery of ideas, from simple to more complex on how to get and stay organized, from make-up storage (try a cutlery organizer) to an organized hand-me-down clothes storage cabinet

I Heart Organizing offers direction, pictures, and humor to help you get the job done at a minimal cost. Miss Jen and her ideas have been featured on daytime television's The Nate Berkus Show as well as various websites on simplicity and home improvement.

I recommend I Heart Organizing to anyone who needs to streamline their busy life - Moms and Dads, homemakers, students, at-home business people, party planners, teachers, and the like. The site is a fun place to visit if you need ideas, or just to laugh at some of the "fantasy" pics Miss Jen posts (which I would swear come from Better Homes and Gardens magazine!).