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Thursday, March 27, 2014


 Schadenfreude is the pleasure that is derived from the misfortunes of others.

The prevalence of present day gossip is astounding to me. Why are people so incredibly interested in how other people live, who they are dating, how much money they make, if they are happily married and the list goes on and on and on.
 The imminence of gossiping coming to a halt in our society is extremely unlikely. The responsibility falls on each individual in our society to not compare our lives or ourselves to others in any respect- to include and not limited to personal relationships, financial matters, our children's accomplishments, how big our homes are, what kind of cars we drive, how much are taxes are, who's having an affair, and what we are going to do now that- you can fill in the blanks.
 I have been personally drilled by people I hardly know about my divorce, my children, their father, my financial status, my cars, my cleaning people, my divorce and the list UNFORTUNATELY goes on and on.
Having grown up in Fairfield with a father who was a doctor, a mother who was very involved in fundraising, two brothers that excelled academically- and of course me being me - it is fair to say that our family was well known and respected in the community. Im not saying that everyone loved us but I am confident that my family had and continues to have a positive reputation.
My parents were active in the community and supported the arts- such as the Bridgeport Symphony, the art and musical performances at the local universities such as Fairfield U, Yale, University of Bridgeport and Sacred heart University. They also actively attended fundraisers and were involved with the zoning board. All in all, they vigorously supported the community in which they lived in.
One thing that I especially admire and respect about my Mother is that she does not gossip- I mean she truly does not gossip- at all. While she has many friends and Im quite sure hears many stories- she will not utter a word about anyone's personal business. 
She shares information about her family but unlike most people, would never ever put down or gripe about anyone who is a blood relative. If Im agitated with a family member, she won't even indulge me- her only daughter!!
My Mother always told me to keep my ears open and my mouth shut. It is one of two tidbets of advice that I think have benefited me the most. I will share with you the other on another day. Anyone who knows me or who has ever shared a secret with me knows that I will take the information or knowledge to my grave. 
Im extremely trustworthy no matter how "juicy" or scandalous the information may be- I will not utter a word. Im grateful for learning this at a young age as Im never in the middle of a she said, he said festival. People have faith in confiding their innermost thoughts and fears as well as desires with me. They know I will neither judge them nor speak of them to others in a malicious manner.
As I previously stated, I am truly astounded with the questions that I have been bombarded with in my adulthood. So many questions about my divorce, my alimony, the status of my children's relationship with their father. People that Im not overly close to and some have even asked my children about their relationship with my ex-husbands wife. Really, my ten year old daughter needs to be questioned about that, and in front of me no less. 
Let's just say she will never do that again to another child, Im quite sure.
Zero sensitivity to my family unit and complete ignorance for anything but their desire to be nosy. This has been the case with my divorce- people have had the audacity to ask me about child support, alimony, visitation. These are people that are not in my immediate circle of friends. If Im driving a different car- I hear- did you sell your car, is this new, what happened to the other one... it is endless as well as predictable.
Im a friendly person and Im all for engaging and indulging in conversation, however there is more to this than friendliness. 
There is an expression in German that has made it's way into the English dictionary. SCHADENFREUDE - Schadenfreude is the pleasure that is derived from the misfortunes of others. 
When people ask all about my divorce and my housing situation etc... they are not concerned for my well-being. I believe that they are seeking a negative story or outcome. More people have inquired about personal information in times that would appear difficult- divorce, moving, death etc.... than when all appears to be flowing flawlessly.
 Im doing great right now- all the questioning has come to a halt. Why is that? - I believe I have it all figured out. It is simply my own conclusion and opinion based on real observation of the people around me.
Thank you Mom- for teaching me the importance of minding my own business and not being an instrusive and nosy person. This is yet another aspect of life that I have already addressed with my children.
 I have taught them to worry about themselves and not others. I have taught them not to gossip- about anyone. They have been encouraged to celebrate the success of others as life is not a zero-sum game.
 Rejoice in other's happiness, it does not deflect or detract in any way from you or your goals or dreams. Have confidence in yourself and your individuality and do not expect the world to celebrate you. Keep the meaning of Schadenfreude close at bay and it won't take long before you will understand the inquisitive nature of those around you. Most importantly keep your ears open and your mouth shut. xo

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