Warm Cookies With A Whiskey Chaser

The Perfect Mix of Comfort and Shenanigans

Blogroll Me!
100 Things About Me
Tinmen Don't Dance
Humble Sandwich
A Son from Another Mother; Matt
Auburn Pisces
Splenda In The Grass
the bokey chronicles
Jeffrey Ricker
Rocket Man
The Beauty of All Things
No Milk Please
A Life In The Day
Shadow Footprints
Scott B Blog
Seth Hancock Photography
Famous Author Rob Byrnes
Watersea's Ocean Bloggie
Cheap Blue Guitar
Does This Mean I'm A Grownup?
Upside Down Hippo
Loose Ends

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Standing My Ground

I recently read an article about relationships wherein the author reminds the reader that one cannot correct what one is not willing to confront.  That really resonated with me with regard to some really difficult changes I've made in the past year.  In 12-Step programs, one of the steps is taking a fearless and moral inventory of yourself.  Followed closely by being willing to change any defects in character.  There's a higher power in there somewhere, but for the sake of this particular post, I'm going to say that the power in these changes has been me.  I decided to make changes.  I decided that it was time.  I decided to begin to hear the voice of my soul that would be the catalyst for change.  I decided to stop being an apologist for bad behavior, whether it was my own, or someone else's. I decided that I was worthy of respect.  I decided to stand up for myself if I felt I was being disrespected or if someone hurt my feelings. I decided to listen to the experiences of those who had gone before me in any given situation. Really listen. 
Hearing is different from listening.  Hearing involves the ears, which are sometimes deaf.  Listening involves the heart.  This can be a problem for people who have a wall around that vessel of feelings.  This wall may have been built purposefully for self-protection after having been hurt too many times, or perhaps, it just grew organically on it's own.  These poor people who are afflicted by the latter are the ones we've come into contact with in our lives that make us utter under our breaths that they must be heartless.  We know this to be biologically untrue, but they do seem to function quite well without putting any feelings into anything.  However, for someone like me, empathic to the core, accused regularly of being too sensitive, this hearing thing is something I feel like I've had a Ph.D. in my whole life.  If there can be a problem with that, it is being too vulnerable to taking on other people's pain.  Which brings us right back, full circle, to standing your ground if someone hurts you, whether they know they are doing it or not.
It's easier said than done.  There is great risk involved.  You may stand your ground, but you may end up standing alone when all is said and done.  You have to be willing to lose that person in your life.  No one wants to lose friends.  Life is hard, and when it's hard, you want to have someone to walk through it with you and share the load when it's heavy.  Life is also joyful, and when it's joyful, you want to have your friends there to celebrate that part of the journey.  It's funny that when you consider the relationships in your life, if you say that you think you may be in a toxic relationship, people instantly think it's something to do with your significant other.  They don't think about friendships.  But I can tell you that a long time ago, I was in a relationship with someone I considered a trusted, lifelong friend, that was so completely textbook mentally abusive, that it took many, many years to recover.  During recovery, I had built a wall around my heart that for years after, was impenetrable.  I didn't let my guard down with people.  It took me a long time to trust in friendship again.  I did learn to let go and realize that not everyone was out to take advantage of me, and that I could take chances in the good.  But I became very picky about who I let in my sphere of influence, and trust is something that must be earned. 
There's another side to being a victim/survivor.  It's where that moral and fearless inventory comes in.  You have to come to terms that somewhere, at sometime in your life, YOU yourself may have been a perpetrator of some sort.  You may have caused someone pain.  It could have been without malice or intent.  If brought to your attention, they may have seemed insignificant or small to you.  But to the person who was hurt, it isn't small.  If they're like me, they were quiet, they let it pass, they made excuses for you because they loved you or cared about you.  They told themselves that you cared about them too and they would never do anything to cause you pain on purpose.  
Unfortunately, over time, those situations happen again and again.  A casual, "playful" jab.  A remark made "in jest".  They build up.  Stronger, more emotionally healthy people would easily stand up for themselves and say; "No, that's not how that went.  It happened like this."  But, if someone who is less equipped to stand up to an artful bully, points out a hiccup on the part of the bully, and that bully does what that bully does best and turns it around to make it that person's "lack of comprehension" to the situation at hand...well guess what?  The person takes it.  They take it again, and again, and again.  Until one day, after years go by, someone much wiser and much stronger says to them; "Why do you take that from them?  Why do you not stand up for yourself?  I SAW what happened.  I HEARD what happened.  Don't take that from them.  Don't let them do that to you!"  So, one day you gird your loins, you gather your courage, and after they do that thing they do, you speak up for yourself.  No surprise to you, they get angry and hostile, vilify you, make themselves the pious sacrificial lamb, and when all is said and done, leave you standing in the rubble, quite happy with their handiwork. 
One day you woke up and you said; "I'm going to stop smoking." And you did.  One day you woke up and you said; "I'm going to stop eating animals." And you did.  One day you woke up and you realized you had hurt people, so you went to them and you came clean and you apologized for ever having hurt them and you promised that you would never do that again.  One day you woke up and you said; "I'm going to lose weight."  And you did.  Okay, you gained it back, but that is entirely on you and you own it as part of that inventory.  One day, quite recently, you woke up and said; "I am NOT going to let anyone bully me ever again."  And I won't.  If they never take a fearless and moral inventory themselves and take responsibility for their own failings, that's on them.  Not me.
For anyone in a situation where they aren't sure whether a relationship they may be in could have the earmarks of an emotionally abusive relationship, here are some things to consider.  Please remember even friendships can be emotionally abusive.
Be brave.  You deserve respect.


Blogger Pam Emerson said...

*hugs* Did you ever think you'd have 15 years of archives here? :)

-Matt Emerson

12:15 AM  
Blogger Puamakana said...

Actually Matt...I think of you often. And no, I never thought I'd have so much to look back on, thanks to you.
I'm grateful. The depth of which, you may never really know.

11:17 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home