Sometimes, a situation might come up that leaves you feeling angry or out of sorts. Maybe your son comes home and announces that he’s marrying someone you don’t like or don’t know. You have a meltdown in front of her and act like she’s the devil incarnate. She and your son sit in stunned silence while you have a selfish tantrum worthy of the most miserable two-year-old brat. You’re entitled. I mean, how dare they do this to you?
Your sister (and best friend) takes a job hundreds of miles away and you feel abandoned. You spew nasty accusations and sling mud, a reaction intended to hurt her the way she’s hurt you. After all, she deserves it, right??
Whatever it is, you’re angry, hurt, you disagree, think it’s stupid, don’t understand, or in some other way are adamantly opposed. And you have no problem letting everyone know about it.
So your son stops calling. Your daughter-in-law doesn’t dare. Your sister has enough on her plate; she’s worried about the fate of your relationship but she isn’t interested in going back for more verbal abuse. So she doesn’t pick up the phone or send a text to say she loves you, even though that’s how she feels.
At some point, you end up in a room with the person you perceive as having hurt you so deeply. You feel wounded. You’re offended because they’ve travelled from another city and are staying at a hotel instead of asking if they could stay with you.
And there you are, pouting and feeling rejected and abandoned all over again.
What did you expect? You pushed them away. You caused a scene. You said nasty things or hurled insults. You played the wounded martyr. You were so busy living in “poor me,” you didn’t pay attention to how your anger and your unkind and selfish words draped themselves all over your relationship, and they’re still there. Front and center.
Stop glaring at these people and saying, “Oh, you called your father but not me?” or “You’re staying with your friend but not me?” Stop acting like it’s a personal attack for no apparent reason, and behaving as though you didn’t do anything to deserve it. Because you did.
If you’re going to be prickly, negative, and self-absorbed about other people’s choices, if you can’t support your loved ones in what they need or want to do with their lives, then it’s too damned bad if they avoid you like the plague. It’s what you’ve earned from them so suck it up, Buttercup. They don’t owe you a bloody thing.
This post was previously published on Liberty Forrest.
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