The “Secret”

A short post today… but one I firmly believe:

The secret to life is in the journey. You can look and plan but one day you find yourself standing in the middle of what you never realized you wanted so much.

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Bullies Among Us

Tomorrow is the return of my personal bully.  She has been living quite some distance (read, multiple time zones) away for a few years.  It’s been nice.  We have a great relationship when we don’t have to spend any time face to face.  Or talk on the phone, or email, or… Well, as you can see, communication is our biggest problem.

About this bully, she is not your typical bully.  It is highly unlikely that she sees herself as a bully, even if/when her actions are pointed out to her.  And, I have been called a bully too.  I don’t intentionally do it, but I’ve a strong personality, I voice my opinions, and some people think I’m trying to force them to see things my way.  Usually, I am not.  Occasionally, I’m un-yielding in my opinion, and the other person’s desire to act on that opinion and (in my opinion) potentially hurt or endanger someone else in the process does result in me being more forceful than usual in sharing my opinion; and this is when I’ve been called a bully.

So, I’m trying to see my experience through her eyes.  Does she feel the same?  Is she a bully when she thinks I’m going to potentially hurt or endanger someone?  In this latest (which was 3 years ago), I can say that yes she did.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, she crossed a line.

So who’s opinion/point of view is more correct?  I guess that depends upon your point of view.  (By the way, I should comment, I still say my point of view is more correct).

The background ~

Hubby was out of town, had been for a few months (work) and would be for some time to come (another month: work).  Kidlet was 18 months old. It was easter, which is a big deal to my in-laws and a blip on the radar to me.  My MIL wanted us to travel 4 hours to visit them for easter.  MIL and I are not the best of friends.  We don’t see each other a lot.  She doesn’t really like me, but she loves her grandchildren (Kidlet and his older cousin).  I also have a fear (read: phobia) of travel (I’m working on it and getting better, but it was pretty bad back then).  So I declined the invitation; however, there was the suggestion that I send 18 month old Kidlet.

Let’s clarify ~

My MIL, Kidlet’s grandmother, loves him dear, but does not see him more than a couple times per year.  Kidlet was missing his daddy, and momma was being asked to put him in a car with an Auntie (whom I trust very much, but Kidlet was 18 months, and has never spent a night away from us) and travel hundreds of kilometres to visit people he doesn’t know very well.  I felt that Kidlet would see that as abandonment, and I was not doing that.  I would never do that.

So I declined again, knowing that MIL would be upset.  And I let my two SILs (Supportive SIL: S-SIL and unsupportive SIL: U-SIL) know.  S-SIL took the info as I’d hope: as information.  U-SIL freaked out.  Apparently I’m a mean, unfeeling, horrible person for putting the Needs of a Child ahead of the Wants of an Adult.

And U-SIL still seems to believe that in that case, the Wants of an Adult (her mother) out-weighed the Needs of a Child (my child). 

So I can’t trust her with my child.  She’s not a horrible person, and she is good with S-SIL’s son, but U-SIL does not respect my parenting (nor my husband’s) and she has proven that she will put the wants of an adult ahead of the needs of a child.  And I have felt bullied by her in regards to this ever since.

But soon after the incident she moved to a land far, far away.  It was nice.  Tomorrow she returns.

So the discomfort begins again, and once more, family gatherings are something we’ll have to decline until she can sort herself out.

Happy Birthday, Self

My biological birthday is not January 8th, but two years ago today my world shifted plains. Someone said and did the unthinkable, the unmentionable. As the words that rolled out of that mouth, the positioning of the body, the look on the face, the dialogue presented in the non-verbal communication all screamed: “You’ll do what I want you to do because you always have. I’ll get my way because that’s the way it’s always been.”

Two years ago, it clicked. The message that I had ignored for too long finally registered in my brain. And what to do about it was simple: Walk away.

Walk away; don’t argue, don’t look back, and don’t expect things to change by changing nothing. I had been changing for years. I had been trying to grow for years, and in many ways I had, but this was the last big step. Actually, it was the biggest step. I had to draw a line in time and move to the other side of it. I had to recognise, actively recognise, that things were not going to improve unless I either walked away or forced the other parties to change.

Let’s face it, you cannot change people. People have to want change, and then they have to change themselves. You can encourage, you can support, you can beg and plead, but change isn’t going to happen until they’re ready. You cannot force people to change.

Walk away. It was the only reasonable option. I don’t even remember what those words were that came from that mouth, but the message that finally clicked told me to close my mouth, take a breath, finish buckling Kidlet into his car seat, and get behind the wheel to calmly, purposefully, drive away from that person, and metaphorically, walk away from the negativity.

Two years ago, my Self began to live. I didn’t realize it at the time, and I’m still getting to know my Self, but what I know for certain is that my Self took a first breath that day.

Happy Birthday, Self.