|I LOVE this guy!! |
photo by Imagerymajestic
You may be reading these posts and thinking I'm Pollyanna-crazy.
"That works just fine in fantasyland," you might say, "but in MY world, there is no way I could go to this person and talk to them about our conflict!" Yep. That happens. What if you have absolutely no expectation that the person can deal with you in anything resembling a healthy way? What if you've tried to talk to that person and they absolutely refuse to come to the table to work on a compromise?
Forgive anyway. Write it off. Let it go (With or without singing the "Frozen" song).
Do not let that person control you with their refusal to acknowledge fault or even that they might have hurt you inadvertently. Do not give them power over you by letting them make you nervous that you might run into them at a family function or at the grocery store. Stand right up and be relaxed about it. After all, THEY are the one that should be uncomfortable.
Own your boundaries.
What if they come to Christmas Dinner? So what. Be pleasant. Be polite. Be generous, and wish them the same happy holiday you would wish the bell-ringer at Wal-Mart who is a total stranger. Genuinely wish that Bob has a pleasant time. Because that will make him a healthier person for you to deal with in the long run. Don't let fear that being nice to them somehow makes you vulnerable turn you into a crunchy, cranky, uncomfortable version of yourself. BE YOU. Smile. Say "Hi Bob." Let Bob squirm. Because let me tell you, unless Bob is truly clueless, he is ready for the fight. He's ready for you to let him have it and give you his pre-prepared defenses. When you don't give it to him (and this applies equally to Barbara), he is off-guard. He is wondering what happened. He is uncomfortable. Because now, he has to let go if whatever grudge or anticipated conflict he made up too, or at least wonder when you will lower the boom. Who has the power now? That's right. You do. Because at the end of the day, no one will have anything to say about it because you didn't act like a jerk and give Bob the opportunity to play the victim.
What if Bob thinks he's off the hook? What if he thinks you've forgotten his evil deeds, or given him a get-out-of-jail-free card? WHO CARES. We're talking about YOUR emotional well-being here. If Bob labors under the misperception that he's off the hook, you can set him straight if and when he tries to engage you on a deeper level. Then? Step up with the limits to clarify your boundaries. (See previous post) Until that moment? Think of yourself as gloriously, blissfully IMMUNE to Bob and his narcissistic short-sightedness. Karma, as they say, is a bitch. Bob will get his.
Don't let someone else's unhealthiness drag you down. If a person is unwilling to mend a relationship, the relationship isn't worth mending. You're not missing THAT relationship. You're missing the fantasyland picture of the relationship you have in your head that doesn't exist anymore. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again, all the while feeling GREAT about the fact that you rose above the petty BS that gives me job security.
Bask in it. Wallow just a little, if you will, in the knowledge that you didn't participate in the passion play that erodes human relationship. Shoot me an email and tell me about it. I will be proud of you.