Two days ago, I found myself in a situation where I had a great deal of time to myself. When you’re a wife (to an amazing husband), mom to two (equally amazing) boys, a volunteer for several school/community groups, and someone who works outside the home 50+ hours a week, time such as this is an EXTREME rarity. Finding the time to add to this blog has been equally rare.
So, realizing that the equation of “free time + wanting to write more” directly results in actually writing more, I decided to sit down and get some shit out of my head and onto a page.
Because I had so much time, I actually got a TON of writing done. Yay me! As I was getting ready to actually begin posting for you lovely people, I realized that the sheer amount of what I wrote was waaaaaayyy too long for any sane person to sit and read at one time. I know I’m a little (ok…a lot) whacked out in the head from time to time, but I wouldn’t expect any of you sit through the entire diatribe that found its way onto the page.
My first post from this writing, “Pick and Choose” was put up that evening. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, feel free to click here and check it out. Just don’t forget to come back to this page to finish reading this entry.
This is Part 2 of the “series”. I’m not entirely sure how many parts there will end up being…you’ll just have to keep coming back to see.
Being part of a “forced” group is never easy. We have all had school or work projects where we find ourselves assigned to a partner or group. If you have not already developed a working relationship with that person(s), tensions can build. Only once you have earned the respect of the others will the work come together and the project be completed well. If that doesn’t happen, one person is left completing the project themselves.
Being part of a family is similar in that way. All of the people involved need to earn the respect and love of the other people. I do NOT buy into the bullshit concept that you “have to” love someone in your family simply because they are part of your family. It just doesn’t work that way.
I am raising my boys to be respectful of each other and what it means to show love and respect to one another. I don’t tell one to love the other because they have to. There are times when they argue and, since they are only 7 and (almost) 4 right now, there are MANY more of those times to come. However, part of my job as a parent is to teach them how to work things out for themselves and resolve their conflicts. (It is NOT to consistently side with one over the other, making the “other” one feel unimportant…but I digress…sort of.)
Any time that any group of people is “forced” together, there will be disagreements and conflict. That’s just the way it is. There’s yelling and screaming, slamming doors, crying, hurt feelings, anger and frustration. Hopefully, though, there comes a time of talking, resolving, working things out and, (sometimes) agreeing to disagree.
Here’s the thing, in ANY relationship, there will be issues that need to be addressed. The strength of that relationship depends solely on the ability and willingness of those individuals to communicate their needs. Truth be told, that is always easier said than done. But trust me when I say that moping around when you’re in the presence of someone who has upset you does nothing to fix the issue at hand. All it does is make the situation much, much worse.
If you have an issue with something that is happening in your family – or any other relationship – YOU (and only you) have the responsibility to put your big girl (or boy) panties on and address the situation. Directly with the person (or people) with whom you have the issue. If you can’t (wo)man up and communicate, you can’t expect the other party to make any changes.
Talking to other people about it doesn’t get you anywhere either. Don’t get me wrong, chatting with someone else about the situation can be extremely beneficial. There have been many times when I’ve talked to a person about a situation and
- the other person has helped me figure the best way to approach a situation
- the other person has told me just how unreasonable I was really being about the situation
- me listening to myself talk about it made me realized just how irrational my feelings about the situation are or
- some combination of the above.
I mean that constantly talking to someone and never doing anything about it (aka whining) does nothing but frustrate you more about the situation. And, quite frankly, it makes you seem like someone who makes it all about you. You’re victimizing yourself when you have just as much responsibility to mend the situation as anyone else.
If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.
If you won’t communicate, you’re just as much at fault as anyone else.
When I say “communicate”, I mean actually sitting down and calling or meeting face-to-face with the person who has upset you. I say to my (almost) 4-year-old, “Use your words” when he’s whining about something his brother did. To an adult I’d say “talk to me if you have a problem with me.” Don’t talk to everyone else about it, don’t give me the silent treatment whenever we happen to bump into each other, don’t play your passive-aggressive games until I give up and walk away – thereby making you the victim you always wanted to be.
Communication, however, is a two-way street. When you finally have that conversation with the other party, you need to be prepared to (a) hear what they have to say (b) actually really listen to what they’re telling you and (c) be ready to act on any concerns they brought to the table. News flash….it’s not always all about you. No matter how much you think it may be.
In order for any relationship to be successful, you have to be open to a little give and take. Usually, when there are issues, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for some part of the issue.1 If the other person says “I reacted this way because of this thing that you did”, you need to ready to look in the mirror and remember that it takes two to tango.
1To be clear, there are exceptions to this statement. If you are the victim of an abusive relationship of any kind – physical or emotional – you are NOT responsible for any of the abuse you are taking. My statement refers to those relationships – romantic/familial/platonic – that do not involve consistent hurt from one person to another.