Bitch on the Blog

October 1, 2016

A game people shouldn’t play

May have mentioned this before. What unsettles me more than anything else in relationships with humans, THE COLD FISH.

The cold fish has power to break me like no other creature. I suspect it’s because I don’t understand the cold fish’s approach, their detachment. That’s it: Detachment. Shout at me, criticize me, give me a hard time, tell me what you really think of me but don’t give me the cold shoulder, wrap yourself in silence.

The few times in my life I have been shown that cold shoulder, that silence, have crept me out. Made me feel a despair foreign to me. Years down the line I should have learnt; I haven’t.  I cannot even begin to describe to you how helpless (and humiliated) I feel in the face of those shrugging you (and others) off. Them walking away with not so much as a backward glance. It literally defies all I myself stand for and believe in.

To give the cold fish the benefit of the doubt: Those who apply that approach are either on a power trip or are scared of life. What the latter do, first and foremost, is protect THEMSELVES. A bit like snails in their shells. Except, of course, that shells are easily crushed. Unless those shells are so calcified that little can break the barrier. Beware your bare foot being cut when, inadvertently, you step on sharp edges along the beach.





  1. Why do you get so upset about it?

    Comment by cheerfulmonk — October 1, 2016 @ 19:43 | Reply

    • If I didn’t respect you, and considering your age, I’d say: “Only a cold fish can ask that question”.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — October 2, 2016 @ 11:17 | Reply

    • 😀 It sounds as if you’re not a believer in emotional intelligence.

      Comment by Cheerful Monk — October 2, 2016 @ 16:28 | Reply

      • I do believe in emotional intelligence. Anyway, why not just say what you really mean, namely that you don’t think me emotionally intelligent?

        You do have a way of turning round some conversations I don’t understand. Including a smiley emoticon doesn’t make it better, Jean. Reminds me of “backhander” compliments delivered with a smile whilst landing a blow where it hurts.


        Comment by bitchontheblog — October 2, 2016 @ 16:57 | Reply

      • “Only a cold fish can ask that question”. Sounds to me like a statement from a person who doesn’t believe in emotional intelligence. Choosing our reaction to a situation doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings about it. To me it means focusing on what’s going on inside ourselves rather than giving the other person so much power over us.

        Good conversation.

        Comment by Cheerful Monk — October 2, 2016 @ 17:46 | Reply

        • Two interesting phrases you have used in our exchange here, indeed a concept that often comes up in your writing: “… why give them satisfaction”, “… giving the other person so much power over us”.

          That’s where you and I differ. I don’t care about about denying someone “satisfaction” and “power”. Whatever floats their boat. If that is what they derive from my disappointment or hurt so be it. To use some more “new age speak”: I “own” my disappointments. And if something aggrieves me then I do reserve the right to be aggrieved. Why should I pretend to shake something off in order to NOT give the other “satisfaction” (if indeed that was their aim at all; probably not; in most cases I think thoughtless reigns over maliciousness).


          Comment by bitchontheblog — October 3, 2016 @ 09:25 | Reply

      • PS The smiley was my genuine reaction to your, ” ‘If I didn’t respect you, and considering your age, I’d say: “Only a cold fish can ask that question’.” That did sound like a clever dig. Are you saying you didn’t mean it to be?

        Comment by Cheerful Monk — October 2, 2016 @ 20:19 | Reply

        • Jean, it might have been “clever”, I quite agree with you. But it wasn’t “a dig”. At most a provocation. Because, and please smile with me, “only a cold fish can ask that question”. But then, lots of questions are asked (see above) to “provoke”. A lot of rhetoric based on the same principle. So all we can deduce that you, Jean, like to test the waters. As befits a scientist and questioning mind.


          Comment by bitchontheblog — October 3, 2016 @ 09:35 | Reply

  2. If they’re on a power trip, why give them the satisfaction? If they’re protecting themselves, why not show some compassion?

    Comment by cheerfulmonk — October 1, 2016 @ 19:56 | Reply

    • I did say that I give them “the benefit of the doubt”. Let me know if you aren’t familiar with the expression.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — October 2, 2016 @ 11:17 | Reply

  3. Feeling scolded. The lake temperature is dropping so I will reflect on this while doing my morning swim. The cool morning air causes the coldest part of the lake to be the shallow shore area where we get in, thus all the trout are attracted to this area just before dawn and swarm around me. Fish are happiest when they are cold.

    Comment by Looney — October 2, 2016 @ 01:00 | Reply

    • Why would you feel “scolded”, Looney? You may be swimming with fish but cold you are not.

      The finned ones are indeed happiest cold (and alive). Who wants to be fried?


      Comment by bitchontheblog — October 2, 2016 @ 11:19 | Reply

  4. The silent treatment (as meted out to a victim for some perceived slight) is designed to completely disempower the victim and you are right to be horrified by that type of behaviour because it is, make no mistake, abuse. It also says a whole lot about the (complete lack of) emotional health and communication skill in the perpetrator. This kind of person doesn’t need to see you upset, which at least allows you some voice, their aim is to shut you down completely as though you do not even exist. It is a much more powerful way to hurt a person than an active engagement.

    If you are referring more to a situation where somebody is generally cold and treats everyone that way, that is less pernicious but it still reflects an individual who has no skill or no trust. I pity those ones.

    The silent treatment power trippers have my complete disdain

    Comment by Kylie — October 2, 2016 @ 05:46 | Reply

    • Thanks for that, Kylie, very well defined, and good that you make the distinction between the silent treatment being used as a form of punishment; the other being a “cold fish” in general.

      Whilst I have bitter experience of the former, it is the latter I was referring to in my post. As you say it is “less pernicious” – and, in their defense, those who are cold fish don’t know it. If you tentatively hint at it they don’t know what you are talking about. It’s who and what they are, keeping everyone at bay, at a distance, and blissfully unaware. My interpretation that they don’t want to be “touched” (emotionally) – hence their detachment, a sort of protecting themselves mechanism. They show the world their tough underbelly, and to reinforce it are curt with it. To say that bewilderment is mine with these people is an understatement.

      I thrive on warmth. Some people radiate it, others don’t. Some clever clogs will, naturally, suggest I best avoid people like that. Sure. Except that there are certain circles you are part of you can’t avoid those you don’t gel with. Or, to put it another and rather convoluted way, because I am not a cold fish I don’t want them to be at the receiving end of their own way of dealing with the world.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — October 2, 2016 @ 11:16 | Reply

      • yes! as I thought to myself about this post I knew that the whole thing bamboozles you precisely because it is so far from your own style

        Comment by Kylie — October 2, 2016 @ 11:28 | Reply

  5. Alas, I am unable to either appreciate or comment because, I have not come across one yet. May be it is because my circle of friends and relatives is overwhelmingly warm, we live mostly in India or carry India wherever we go, and friendly. None of us has anything to lose by being so.

    Comment by rummuser — October 2, 2016 @ 13:06 | Reply

    • In your whole life you haven’t come across a cold fish? In blogging life you have, Ramana, trust me. Still, all that matters – and good for you – that you don’t see it that way.

      Zen greetings,

      Comment by bitchontheblog — October 2, 2016 @ 16:38 | Reply

  6. then can be people who wax and wane into the style…I have friend who when they have problems they disappear into their shell…and I think our friendship is over (after weeks of inquiring on catching up) they reappear and say “when this happens, it doesn’t mean out friendship has gone…” I never really find out why they disappeared!

    Comment by cedar51 — October 2, 2016 @ 19:53 | Reply

    • Yes, Catherine, I can relate to that. It has often been laid at my doorstep that when the going gets rough I retreat and fall silent. But that is largely because I do not wish to burden others with whatever is plaguing me. It has led to temporary misunderstandings. Luckily, because I am straight forward in my communication with others, they are encouraged to be the same with me. Thus little festers.

      If people need “space” it’s best to give it whilst letting them know you are there for them. I know, it’s a fine line to tread. Almost an art.

      Hope you are well,

      Comment by bitchontheblog — October 2, 2016 @ 20:28 | Reply

      • All well here, but now trying to consolidate what I want/need to fit into my new much smaller home – but I believe I will get there, just slowly…not that there is any rush anyway.

        Comment by cedar51 — October 3, 2016 @ 03:01 | Reply

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