I wrote this in August 2009, but from the traffic I'm getting on this blog these days, I figure it's worth sharing here...
1. Anyone who hates my dogs, yet expects me to automatically give deference to their kids just because they're humans.
2. Anyone who thinks people in troubled marriages who have kids should stay together "for the kids' sake" no matter what. I know divorce is painful and unpleasant, especially for kids, and I can agree that people with kids should try to work out their marital problems before they split up. But sometimes divorce is a necessary action. Besides, lots of people grow up children of divorce. It's not the end of the world. Leave America sometime and you might find out what kids in less privileged countries have to deal with on a daily basis. If divorce is the most painful thing a kid ever goes through, he or she will be very lucky.
3. In the same vein, I can do without people who disparage someone for marrying a divorced person with kids. Being a stepparent is hard enough without some jackass making comments about how stepparents "knew what they were getting into" or "that's what they signed up for". No one "signs up" to be treated with disrespect just because they're a stepparent. Marrying someone who has kids is not necessarily a selfish action. Some stepparents deserve the "evil stereotype", but a lot of them don't.
4. People who think their child's wants should always come first. Yes, there are many times when a child's best interests should supercede the interests of adults. However, there will come a day when your little darling will be an adult and people will expect him or her to be able to function as such. That means occasionally being able to put their wants and needs aside for the common good. If your little darling grows up with everyone catering to their whims, when will he or she learn how to compromise? Won't that inability to compromise set them up for failure in future relationships? And how will your adult child feel when he or she is suddenly no longer a child whose affections are jealously coveted by people trying to assuage their guilt?
5. People who use their children to fight their battles with their exes. You may hate your ex, but you still chose to have a child with that person. Don't make your child pay for your poor choice. Leave your kids out of your disputes with your ex.
6. People who don't respect my right to remain anonymous in the interest of self-protection.
7. People who expect me to respect them, yet don't act respectable.
8. People who are unable to handle disagreements gracefully. Not everyone is going to see things from your point of view. Learn to deal with it without resorting to personal insults and ad hominem attacks.
9. People who automatically label someone without even trying to understand where they're coming from. Sometimes people have good reasons for taking a certain position, even if their reasons happen to be politically incorrect or unpopular.
10. People who tell me my thoughts or feelings are invalid or that I have no right to think or feel a certain way. I have every right to think or feel whatever I please. I respect your right to the same.
11. People who blanketly suggest that psychotherapy is the answer to all interpersonal problems. I myself benefitted from the services of a competent psychotherapist. One thing I learned from psychotherapy is that in order for it to be successful, the person has to want to undertake the process. Psychotherapy is not effective if a participant is unwilling; moreover, deciding to get therapy is a very personal decision. Besides, sometimes psychotherapists are worse off than their clients.
12. People who blame their problems and mistakes on other people. Nobody's perfect, including you. Take some responsibility. The victim route will only get you so far. And please don't teach your children to be victims, too.
13. People who hate my laugh. It may be loud and raucous, but it's mine. I'm not going to stifle it just because you think it sounds like a cackle.
14. People who think that animals have no right to be what they are. Cats sometimes hunt. Dogs sometimes bark. Birds sometimes crap on your windshield. That's just how life is. The world isn't just for humans, you know. That's not to say that I think pets should be allowed to wreak havoc on a neighborhood; I just think that people shouldn't blame them for their instincts.
15. People who expect me to address them by a title, yet insist on calling me by my first name.
16. People who can't handle their kids becoming adults. You have no right to cripple your children because of your inability to let go or be alone. Let your kids learn how to be adults while they're still young and their mistakes won't affect as many people. Allow them to get an education and interact with others. Maybe someday they'll even think to thank you for it. On the other hand, maybe they won't.