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Thursday, September 23, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Okay. It's time for a heart to heart. This is dedicated to all of my "readers," friends, and family who don't truly understand how to value and respect themselves or others...

I have seen faaaaaar too many people lately--people I care about dearly--who are either being used as doormats or treating others as if they are. Just because.

I don't get it.

Sure there are days (far more than I care to admit to) where I rant and rave and treat my family less than lovingly. We all have those days. That's not what I'm talking about here (although those days do leave me feeling miserable and regretful at the end of the day and I often have to go "untuck" my kids to tell them sorry again.)

What I'm talking about is this constant, consistent needling. Incessant (and usually passive agressive) behavior that clearly says, "your feelings are not my main concern." or "My needs are more important than yours...or anyone's."

At first I try to analyze it: "It must be insecurity and a lack of fulfillment somewhere in their life. Maybe they grew up being tormented that way and it's carried over...blah blah blah.

I don't look for a reason anymore.

If you're old enough to understand right from wrong, you're old enough to know that no one deserves to be treated like an afterthought. Like an insignificant, unimportant accessory.

I've had enough of watching it. I experienced it for long enough that I grew out of that "Oh, it must be me" and saw the light. "No, it's not me. It's them." Luckily, I don't have that same sitution in my life anymore, but it sure does leave scars. And those scars ache all over again when I see someone I care about going through the same thing. And having experienced it makes it all the more apparent when someone else is living it.

To my friends who are receiving this line of crap: You ARE more valuable than that! You DON'T have to take someone else's bull and swallow the lie that you are not important and valuable enough to have hopes, dreams, aspirations, and beliefs of your own. You should NEVER feel guilty for having outside interests or friends. You should NEVER have to accept comments that are hurtful, disparaging, or untrue. Don't settle. Don't buy into the lie that you somehow deserve this or it's okay to be treated this way. I don't care if it's a husband, a friend, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a parent, a sibling, or a boss...they are wrong.

Even if you recognize this person is wrong, but you think the easy way out is to "take it" or even go so far as to acknowledge your "part" in it...when you clearly know you didn't play a part...only to keep the peace, you are only postponing the inevitable and giving the person permission to treat you like that. Stop it.

Stand up for yourself. Get angry. Draw some boundaries. Stick to them.

Don't allow yourself to be the victim. Be the survivor. Start calling the shots.

If you're in danger--GET OUT! If you don't have a trusted family member or friend, there are women's shelters who can lead you in the right direction.

I think the hardest step is the first one: Acknowledging that you are FED UP with the way things are and that you want a CHANGE. Usually the misery that we are in is more comfortable to us than the unknown of striking out and removing ourselves from the situation.

Once you're out--stick to your convictions. Usually that person will do and try anything to get you back in their life. Don't fall for it. I'm not saying people can't/don't change, but it should take a lot to feel confident in that change.

I've also noticed leaving the situation is a lot like the "saint complex" after someone dies. For some inexplicable reason, the mind tends to soften the sharp edges of our memory and those things that infuriated us before now merely annoy us. We start to justify them or maybe even forget some. The good times are elevated and higlighted so that we start to question why we felt the way we did or why we left.

Be prepared for that and maybe it won't take you by surprise or fool you.

Lastly, confide in someone trustworthy. You need a safe place to vent. Everybody needs a "vault." Find yours and use it.

Am I an expert? Not by ANY means. But, I've been there in experience and sadly by watching others who I care about struggle through. I don't know why we allow that lying bill of goods to be sold to us, but it's time to stop accepting it.
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