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Asshole for rent, $300/day.
polydad
Damn. Got a lot on my mind and the headache is closing in again.

Spoke with my Dad about the Men's weekend he went on. He thinks it would be good for me to go on a similar weekend, but refuses to tell me *why*, which I find frustrating. He does say it's experiential rather than knowlege-based, and that the reason he won't tell me is that he doesn't want to encourage my forebrain to get in the way of my experience.

Problem is, he also affirms that the guy who leads the weekend is an arrogant, melodramatic asshole, who leads workshop weekends because he makes a good living for himself doing so, as opposed to wanting to help people, or some such. My father is a very well-behaved, quiet man; this is the first time in the 48 years *I've* known him that I've heard him describe anyone in such negative terms.

I can't imagine anything I could hear from an arrogant melodramatic asshole that would be a positive life-changing experience. Can you?

Anyone? Please? How is it possible to go to a weekend retreat that you have to pay to be there for, and have an experience with a complete jerk of a human being, and get something of great positive value out of the experience?

More confusing; my Dad thinks that being a jerk is a *necessary characteristic* to being able to lead this kind of weekend; Dad says he can't imagine anyone he could respect being able to do a good job of it. Me, I'm confused. And also ouchy.


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Sounds to me like it's not so much listening to the arrogant leader your dad thinks would be good for you, but the experience of sharing a weekend with other participants - that's what I get from the "experiential" statement. I find conferences/retreats aren't always exclusively about speakers and topics, but just as much about the other people and ideas you exchange there, if not moreso.

It may take an arrogant asshole to be able to present the material and "push" the participants in the ways that get results.

Hell, maybe part of it is about wanting to *not* turn out like the leader... :-)

Based on some workshops I've attended (none being a "men's weekend," mind you), I can see some value in a leader acting as a provocateur or in being somewhat confrontational with the participants to get them past their own BS or denial or just to get them to dig deeper within themselves or to push themselves beyond what they thought they could do (e.g., a drill-sergeant type). This may come across to some as being a jerk/asshole/prick (take your pick). So, yes, I think it may be a "necessary characteristic" for certain types of programs. It just depends on whether the potential outcome of the weekend could be valuable to you and therefore worth the risk/investment. At least you're forewarned. LOL

I don't mind arrogance as much as "asshole". Some are simply not productive with me. If they are assholes to setup staff or "backstage" fine. If they have something else like a drive and a side that shows they give a damn, all good. I don't know that I'd want their "wake up" call. Sometimes I need one but for a "weekend" "retreat", I'd have to pass. If I was in a shit-hole and needed someone to smack me out of my despair, fine but if I weren't, why bother with a jerk? Who needs that kind of stress?

I can't get the gist via 2nd and 3rd hand information. Maybe it was a general impression your father has. (my father is dead so I haven't anything to relate to right now with this situation and I avoid group retreats typically). I hope it goes well, it sounds scary. Make the call after getting some more information. It sounds to me like you are not well informed enough about the situation to make a good call. That's all I can offer by way of suggestions. Other than that, good luck, be on guard though. :|

It sounds like your Dad thinks that have ideas and/or behaviour beaten into or out of you is the way to go.. At least, I can't think of any other reason why going on a weekend run by an arsehole would be productive, unless it's to remind you just how much you hate people like that and reaffirm to yourself your vows never to become one :) I'm with him on the experiential bit though..

As others have said, one example is a drill instructor; they aren't there to be your friend, they are there to push you past whatever limits you feel you have. Many think that a transformational experience almost requires someone who can (and will) incur your wrath before you make the transformation.

Or, to put it another way, if you're always comfortable there, what motivation do you have to change?

Having said that, there is a fine line between a "good" asshole and an asshole and sometimes the transformation is into something that you really don't want to be (e.g. a cultist). I'd check out the organisation that puts these on and see if they have a reputation for being more interested in money than in people, for example.

Use the Internet, Luke!

I agree with this. More information is needed to ascertain the nature and purpose of said asshole-dom. :-)

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