Ducks Don’t Roll Out of Bed Like That: Being Tough Isn’t Always Effortless

a mallard duck swimming in the water, preening its back feathers
Image by Paul VanDerWerf / CC BY

I’ve always envied people who are impervious to criticism, thick-skinned. Tough people. Insults seem to roll off them like water off a duck’s back, as the cliche goes.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that having thick skin isn’t always as effortless as it seems. Sure, some people are more naturally inclined that way.  » Read more

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Any Particular Person: On Growing Up Catering to Difficult People

a close up of piano keys, bathed in red light
Image by Juan Antonio Segal / CC BY

Born with a Target on My Back

I wasn’t allowed to be particular.

Growing up, only two people in my family were allowed to be particular. One was my sister Alice. Her default state was disgust. Dismay.

Alice was nasty. Particular. And catered to. She was consulted first on where she wanted to go whenever the family went out to eat.  » Read more

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PQ 7.4 — Do I perceive criticism in my partner’s statements even if they aren’t directly critical?

a black and white photo of a D20 (20-sided die) with the 1 pointing up, aka a "critical miss"
Image by Scott Ogle / CC BY

PQ 7.4 — Do I perceive criticism in my partner’s statements even if they aren’t directly critical?

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There’s always something to work on in a relationship. Because it doesn’t matter how perfectly the blinding light of New Relationship Energy washes over the creases and cracks like a giant flashbulb.

Eventually,  » Read more

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