Sunday, September 7, 2008
Good Fences Build Good Neighbors
How do you relate to & live with someone who states they hate you? I do believe that God puts people in our path for a specific reason and sometimes it is a challenge to figure out what that reason is? Sometimes I think I spend way too much time asking why, when why really is not important. I have spent my whole life trying to figure out what lesson I am supposed to learn from certain bad experiences. Is it patience? Is it tolerance? I always look at myself when people act a certain way or treat me badly by saying "what did I do to deserve this"? I hate to relate things I am dealing with now to things I delt with in my past but I seem to always open up that file in my brain and activate the past when something happens in the present. OK, here I go with regards to my past...... I grew up with a mother who, when she was drinking, had evening episodes of rage where she would scream, throw things, slam doors and pick the "lucky" victim of the evening to be the recipient of her rage. She would explode taking out all of her anger on different family members. I used to think I was the scapegoat in our family as I frequently was the recipiant of her rage. I thought I was a "bad person" because she seemed to pick me to yell at more than anyone else in the family. Recently I realized, my bedroom was the closest room to the place where she drank so I was just more accessable. I was the victim of bad archetecture nothing more. Her rage had nothing to do with me as a person!!! WOW, years of trying to understand why she hated me finally understood; she didn't, she was ill, I was just more available. I finalized a divorce in December of 2007 from a man who raged against me on a regular basis for years. He was verbally and physically abusive. He slammed doors, screamed, threw things and periodically hit and pushed. I finally drew a line in the sand during a very abusive episode and called the police...poof he was gone. In January 2008 my entire life changed. I have been working very hard to see my role in that horrible relationship. I realized my only role in it was "Accepting and Allowing" that sick person to treat me badly. For not valuing myself as a precious, important woman who did and does not ever deserve five minutes of someone elses rage. Again, I am not a bad person and I did not deserve that. I made a firm commitment to myself in January that I would NEVER allow anyone into my life ever again who was verbally or physically abusive. Sounds great huh? So why is someone in my life now who yells, slams doors, and throws tantrums when she does not get her way? Maybe, the lesson now is to assert my importance, to be honest about my feelings and attempt to work through an issue. I have learned that I am not responsible for how another person acts or behaves. I cannot control whether someone likes me or not. I can say today, I am important, I do not deserve to be treated badly and if you are going to act in an abusive way....you are not welcome in my home. I have done that and put the ownership of another person's behavior back on them. Maybe, God wanted me to learn this lesson. It sounds pretty simple but with all of my historical files open and activated.....it is incredibly difficult. If I however, am going to live a life without fear, happy and healthy, free of addiction, I have to set healthy boundaries. As Robert Frost said "Good Fences Build Good Neighbors". I have to build those fences, paint them a beautiful shade of white and maintain them through the wind and the rain. Without those fences on a cold winter's night, the wolves begin howling at the front door.