Books for Everyone!

August 2020

The Ultimatum

I have never dealt well with an ultimatum being given to me, either professionally or personally, and I doubt that I ever will. Some people can tolerate the situation; I find it infuriating, and vulgar. In some cases, the ultimatum from a person ended “my” relationship with him or her, with the sad realization that the “relationship” had been more than a bit surreal, and carried out by a fraud. I then got real about what really went on!

Typically, the ultimatum is the last demand in a string of demands; it feels, to me, like a scared act of desperation. In truth, it is. Once an individual utters “Do this, or else,” there is not much else where I am concerned with such a person. I’ve known people who kow-tow to ultimatums, and I sadly regarded them as too weak to fight for their own lives, or for their own freedoms in life.

The bully knows well the likely response from a weakened person to his threatening demand, one which, if not met, will bring a crashing halt to whatever it is this other person believes she needs or wants or simply has to have, regardless of the cost to her of obtaining it. This confining, constricting “box” is precisely what the accepter of the ultimatum places herself in. She does not fully enough realize that the ultimatum-order is given to her by a person who is in an even more confining and constricting “box.” He operates from a position of weakness, cagily wagering that his captive will not realize her own strength.

This position of weakness is also one of cowardice. It’s the ages-old tactic of forcing someone else to do your bidding through the use of an ultimatum. In world affairs, the tactic is skillfully used in warfare. In the personal realm, the same tactic is used to arrive at the capitulation of a person to the needs of another. It’s a maneuver that debases both parties involved in this dis-ordered transaction, although the threatener is more degraded by the ultimatum than is the threatened person. The moral deterioration of the coercer is typically already in play long before the ultimatum gets decreed.

The war between the sexes does not involve this mercenary treatment of one another. The war between the sexes persists because, basically, the architecture of love is built in such a way that a man and a woman are not meant to live together, happily, and in close proximity, for extended periods of time. I told my future husband this belief of mine from the outset of our engagement, and we have been happily married for many years, even decades! (Separate bathrooms is vital for spousal-unit success.)

At that time, I was warned by several male friends, and at least one ex-boyfriend, that I was going about this engagement-and-marriage thing all wrong. My honesty was going to ruin my chances of becoming a married woman!

In my defense, I stated that my honesty has always been my strength, even though it has also been a handicap, and I was not about to sacrifice it for the sake of marriage!

A woman must look at love in the way that a general oversees a great battle, one that never fully comes to an end. Only then can a female remain in a state of bliss with her beloved. The woman who thinks that marriage is a capitulation to the opposite sex is not thinking in logical terms. Actually, she is not thinking!

There is no inferior or superior in a good marriage, but rather a meeting of two equals who do not try to compete or one-up the other. Two strong individuals entering into the world of matrimony strengthen each other, and the alliance. Any ultimatum in a marriage is not only useless; it’s immoral, more than it would be in any other union because wedlock aims to join hearts, minds, and souls.

In the personal sphere, the ultimatum is given by any person jockeying for the superior position over someone at a disadvantage. The power-monger filches personal power from this other person, largely through her ignorance of her own personal power!

The truly vulnerable, and weaker person is the ogre handing out the ultimatum. This gross imbalance in the sphere of human events is often seen too late, if it is seen at all, by the individual who has, often unknowingly, handed away segments of her sovereignty. It’s a loathsome state of personal affairs. This wretchedly lopsided arrangement between individuals occurs between adults, between adult and child, and, most sorrowfully of all, between child and adult. (Personally, I have found the abusive child/passive parent bondage to be the most alarming of sick associations.)

It’s how we get victimized women, exploited men, detested parents, and out-of-control wicked children. The process is lengthy, sometimes life-long, but the basic strategy for the power-monger is to emotionally blackmail, through ultimatum, the person who capitulates to yet another ultimatum, thereby diminishing, yet again, her own sense of self, her own belief in the autonomy known as independence.

“Negotiating with yourself” is the phrase used to describe the wish, or desire, to palliate the always-vexing situation between a person who has no intention of playing fair and the person who hopes, beyond hope, that there will be, at last, some fairness in dealing with a cheater at truth, dignity and decency. All too often, this cock-eyed arrangement is called a marriage. Appeasement, in world affairs or in private domains, tells the same twisted, tortured tale that, for some, is tragic. As for me, it’s become a bore! After decades of watching women get educated, get jobs, get money, get power, get get get — and they are still victims??

Of late, this Final-Notice-Edict defines the tailor-made style of “governance” by the tinpot-dictators in America, and elsewhere in the free world. Laggard Non-Leaders, insulting the citizenry, through dozens of dime-a-dozen ultimatums, those vacuous words of unoriginal origin and flaccid construction, currently bring a yawn and a lawsuit, and not much more, to those of us in the boonies and in the fly-over country that no longer gets flown over, but to — as people go in search of peace and quiet and enough miles and miles and miles away from the crumbling cities and endangered suburbs. Yet chaos still reigns supreme in the urban blights known as major cities in the United States, and in many nations of Western Europe.

Threats and ultimatums and edicts and decrees that defy natural law, constitutional law and common sense reveal only the nooses tightening around the necks of the feckless fonctionnaires, elected to positions that demand decisiveness, honesty, integrity, and the dignity that displays an absolute distaste for the ultimatum. For the honchos in their empty suits and dresses, speaking in sound-bite tongues has only gotten those forked tongues tangled around their own lies.

The type of blatant honesty that calls a spade a spade, and which rebels against ultimatums — it is a facet of human nature that used to be more forcefully and freely expressed. It is certainly a facet of my nature. I’ve been remarkably consistent in my response to any ultimatum shoved at me. I shove it back at the person, and walk away. It’s a wager that the other person very foolishly gambled on, and one that I intended to win.

Years ago, this behavior of mine was called gutsy. Nowadays, it’s been looked upon by one too many a person as hot-tempered or impulsive. Nothing could be further from the truth. I might flare my nostrils in the face of the nasty ultimatum, but my brain quite cooly understands that there, before me, is someone who thinks I cannot walk away from this obscene treatment of my own dignity — I cannot afford to walk away.

No matter what the cost, I have walked away from any person who has connived to put me into a position where the time will come when I truly cannot walk away.

Times were when the ultimatum came at the tail end of a series of questionable requests that I’d met, albeit, half-heartedly. The final straw was then seen coming — by my vigilant eyes. When the ultimatum was the FIRST, and only, demand, well, that final straw was merely fuel for my flame of fury.

In either scenario, I felt what I consider the cruelest cut: for someone to take advantage of my disadvantage. Such a person is, in my book, the lowest form of humanity.

And it seems to me that this stand to take regarding the infringement on your own sense of self — is not taken often enough, in the face of too many people standing on the toes of others, and stomping on the feet of others, to the point of breaking the phalanges. To be called a trouble-maker when all you are doing is defending yourself, and championing your own self-worth and self-respect — that’s a way of further extorting from you a type of submission to someone who would do you nothing right, and every kind of wrong that she can perpetrate.

Whenever I read about the masses of humanity and the messes they find themselves in, I opine that those ugly horrors began, long ago, with the individual who let slide an offense for the sake of keeping the peace. There can be no peace, whatsoever, whenever civility is chucked out the window for the “sake” of maintaining something that does not exist. For if a person must disavow his own civility to sustain civility, then the very word civility has been abused, and badly.

The rights of the individual always eclipse the rights of the group. In any nation where the Group has become the only “good” to be served, then the individuals fomenting that illusion are the parasites who use the Ultimatum as the ultimate weapon to defeat the individual, often from a very young age. Whoever would join a group to gain an advantage over the rights of the Individual, that person has traded in his dignity for a debasement of self. There’s no turning back after a certain point for such a person who views life in terms of getting, not giving. He becomes the freeloader that is never free.

A sturdy backbone gets built, in part, because of strengthening the muscles surrounding the vertebral column. The individual is strengthened by the moral muscles of standing up for himself, often enough, so that the activity becomes a happy reflex to the storms of life. The storms of life are, time and time again, fabricated by the counterfeit creatures who hand out ultimatums (but can’t take them), solely for the purpose of blocking the pathways of any individual to freedom.

The pathway to liberty is the one that leads away from the ultimatum, a threat that is a measure of last resort for the loser. Because only a loser traffics in ultimatums.