And so, after a brilliant week of joy and happiness and complete positivity I ran into one of them. You know who they are right? Those people. The ones you run into from time to time. The type whose sole purpose in life seems to be to play judge and jury to other people. Those ones who think it is their right, nay, their responsibility to make sure that YOU understand that what you are doing is WRONG because it is not something they would ever do. Surely you've encountered them right?
Truth is, I rarely encounter them anymore. I see them around of course. I've witnessed it but generally when I'm in the room, I'm the peace maker, the diffuser of the bomb that's about to explode.
But not this time. Nope. This time I was the person on the receiving end of a barrage of curse words and orders to cease and desist my activities that were so offensive to them. An activity that several other people in the house were actively taking part in at that very moment as a matter of fact. I looked at the person that I barely know like they were a fool. Partly because I hadn't actually been doing what I was being accused of, partly because I have the right to do whatever the hell I want whenever the hell I want, and partly because I expect so much more of a grown adult person of a certain age. Mostly because of the last one.
Now understand this. I have a temper. I do not take abuse. I do not get bullied. But out of respect for the occasion I did something that was so opposite to what I wanted to do, (kick the effing shit out of the person) I did the mature thing. I walked away. I left. My family left with me.
I do not want my children to be bullied. I want them to stand up when others are bullied. I do not want my children to witness me being bullied. So I will not stay and be bullied in any situation. I explained to my sad children, who had been having fun until they ruined it, what had happened. They were instantly on my side and supportive. They talked about the bullying in schools advice and it was very productive.
Now I did take out my frustration and voice a response later on. I was entitled to it. I am still entitled to it. Oddly enough, that shifted the attention from them to me. Suddenly I was the bad one. Gotta love the blame the victim mentality of some people. It's common with them though. They treat someone like crap and the responder gets tossed under the bus for responding. I don't roll that way. YOU effed up, I GET to stand up and defend. Tough on you.
So. What do you do when you encounter them. Walking away, no matter what the ramifications might be, is the first step. It might not meet with approval by all but it's better than the other choices which are taking abuse quietly or responding with violent and negative behaviour yourself. Before I left, I did calmly try to state my case. It didn't work. It only served to ignite the fires of indignity in THEM even more. The cursing increased. The anger mounted. And there were children witnessing it. I left. My family were appalled at what they saw. They left too.
I was angry. And trust me I vented and vented and vented. But within hours I was pretty much completely over it. Still am. It might not seem like it, since I'm writing this now. But this post isn't about revenge. It's about only taking responsibility for what is yours but ONLY taking that responsibility. It is about dealing with negative, abusive people in a positive and effective way. By figuring out how to make lemonade out of lemons. How to take a stand without extracting revenge. There are many ways I could do so. But I choose not to.
I tried to think of the last time I witnessed such behaviour. I have seen it from drunks at bars. I saw a lot of it when my older daughter was in high school. When I was in high school certainly. But it has been a while since I've seen any adult feel they had the "right" to tell someone off. It's a long time since I was the one getting told off. It's the first time I've ever not smacked the person doing the telling off. And if you knew the minor nature of my alleged "offence" I think you'd be even further shocked that it ever even happened.
Dealing with negative people is always a challenge. Dealing with the self righteous is even more challenging. Being judged always makes you step back and look at yourself. That isn't necessarily bad. But it is actually more of a reflection on the person doing the judging. Because certainly everyone has something they can be judged on. Certainly all people have a few glass windows in their house and should keep the stones to a minimum. There are some that have entire walls of glass. They should probably banish stones from their property.
The key though is to not let them be effective. I understand that while that person chose to be offended, I actually did not intend to nor do anything that would have offended most people on the planet. That whatever bee crawled up their butt and stung was not from my hive and I'm confident of that. And so that makes it easier to let it go. I got angry. I was entitled. I responded. I was entitled to that as well. I accept my weaknesses and strive constantly to improve. Obviously my temper is under control compared to what it used to be. This is a good realisation. I have no anger left. That too is positive.
As to forgiveness. I don't feel the need to forgive because to do so is to place blame. And if I were to judge and place blame then I'm doing exactly what was done to me. I refuse to fall into that mindset. People are who they are, people do what they do and for me to judge them makes me one of them and I like being one of ME.
So, I move on. With dignity, with a lesson and with my pride and backbone still firmly intact, no matter what they think. No matter what anyone thinks.
Abram Maslow said that to be self actualized, one must be independent of the good opinion of others. This means you learn not to try to please others to gain their good opinion. Because to do so often means you let go of your good opinion of yourself. This is what I am trying to practice. I am doing well.
Of course I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said it much more succinctly. It said, "F**k what you think, I like me." with a great big happy yellow smiley face.
And so I am BOUNCY again! It's the NHL playoffs! It's spring. I'm alive. I had a wonderful day on Monday with a surprise that erased any stains on the weekend prior! The sun is shining! I'm going for a run!
Not even they can bring me down! Don't let them bring you down either! And don't be one of them. You're great the way you are!
Bouncy bouncy bouncy boingy boingy!
Oh wait..one more thing...being a fiction writer..i do base my characters on real life people. Just sayin'...
|Your reputation isn't important, your character is. You only have control over the second.|
Carolyn R Parsons