Monday, May 3, 2010

The Irish Psyche

"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever." -------Sigmund Freud (about the Irish).

Yeah, as someone who's about 90% Irish, I will say that this is definitely true.

I'm Irish on both sides of my family. Dad's family is working-class Irish-Catholic ("Black Irish," from Counties Derry and Donegal in Northern Ireland, no less, though they've been in this country for almost 200 years) and Mom's family is backwoods Appalachian "Scots-Irish" (otherwise known as Irish Protestants; in Ireland they're scathingly called "Orangemen" after their backing of William of Orange for the throne of England four hundred-odd years ago). "Black Irish" Catholics and Scots-Irish Protestants are separately two of the most stubborn, explosive, moody, bad-tempered and hardassed ethnic groups out there. Mix them together, and you get---well, me. So, you've been warned.

Here's a basic primer for dealing with a wild Irishwoman like me.

1) Don't ever lie to me. Seriously. Don't. Don't even do it out of politeness to save my feelings. Nothing ever infuriates me faster than catching someone in a lie, no matter how trivial. I'll respect you a lot more if you can always tell the truth, even when it hurts. (And I will always catch you in a lie sooner or later, and when I do, I'll be pissed).

2) Be a straight shooter. Don't play passive-aggressive mind games with me. The Irish in me does not like that one bit. Put all your cards on the table, don't hide anything behind your back. And most of all, don't say/do one thing and mean another, and then expect me to somehow be able to read your mind (and then complain about why I didn't get your hidden meaning somewhere down the road). Back when I was single I broke up with a lot of boyfriends over this very issue, and it's still something I have a lot of trouble with. Deal with me straight, or don't deal with me at all. (This would be a big reason why the Japanese and the Irish do not tend to get along. The same goes for the Irish and the British. 'Nuff said).

3) If you are a phony, I will tell you so. (And I'll tell everyone else, too.) My favorite fairy tale is "The Emperor's New Clothes." If you're walking around naked---literally or figuratively---you can be sure I'll be the first person to point it out.

4) Don't ever assume that I give a shit what you think. We Irish have based our very survival on thumbing our noses at all the people in power for hundreds of years now, so don't assume I'm going to change anything about myself or what I do just because somebody doesn't like it. And if you're powerful or important (or think that you are), that goes double.

5) Get to the heart of the matter. Whether it's relationships, art, or politics, the Irish in me wants your heart. All of it. If you aren't passionate about everything you do, you're wasting your own time and mine, too.

6) Have integrity. Be fair, be just, be compassionate when it counts, and don't tolerate evil, cruelty, bigotry, or general bullshit. And don't be a bully, either. We Irish hate bullies. (See our centuries of fighting the British for more information on that one.) If you are a bully, we will stand up to you, get in your face, and show the world just how much of a douchebag you are until you back down. And we don't give up easily, either. (See our centuries of fighting the British for that one, too).

7) Always have good beer and music available. I think that one's pretty much self-explanatory. (But if you need any clues, Guinness, U2, and the Chieftains are a good start.)

8) Oh and by the way, we Irish have most of the good writers. Joyce. Beckett. Wilde. Yeats. I could go on and on. . .


1 comment:

  1. LOL - #3 - I used this same analogy back in the MK SCA 90's. This got me so 'in trouble'(yeah right). They just couldn't handle the truth from the 2xPeer & 2xGoS remarking about their lack of clothing and reality concept in their fantasy hobby club game. [Which is quite telling on why I hardly play anymore] *shakes head and sighs*