When I was a young girl, I used to hide from my mother’s rage by sitting quietly in a closet. The doors were closed and as tears ran down my face I could hear her calling for me in the distance. I can remember asking the wind why my father never rescued me. The rage that consumed filled her heart with hatred of the men who had abused or abandoned her. When she became fraught with the evilness of it, she would explode and whoever was in the surrounding area would pay the price for her outrageous behavior. She was sick then, and I was the child who lived through that sickness.
When she would call out my name through terrifying screams that sent me into a horror I can barely describe in words, she would also announce the reason to which the particular eruption occurred. It was always about a man. It was always about how a man hurt her. The blood curdling screams of painful declarations would shout, “No man is ever going to love you! No man is ever going to want to take care of you like I do! No man will care how you feel!” As you can imagine, that would go on and on and on until all the proclamations concerning men had been said or she actually found me. We won’t go there.
In my “Father’s Day” blog a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I did not grow up with a father. There were no men consistently in my mother’s life. She would use what men would succumb to her charms as long as she needed them and then she’d toss them aside like day old trash.
Naturally I was determined to find love. I was determined to be a great example for my kids, and to have a life that I’d only ever seen in movies. The problem with that I’ve learned is that even if you set it up that way there’s no script for you to follow. There’s no manual that tells you everything’s going to be okay, and for the most part I spend my life flying by the seat of my not so capable pants trying desperately to let those people who mean the most to me know how much I love them. That is my ultimate goal. Peace, freedom and the ability to feel the joy around people I respect and love. Who doesn’t want that?
I believe that as an adult you’re pretty much responsible for how you view your world. Your choices are your own, no matter what happened to you, and the fact that you were forced to listen to the brainwashing ranting’s of a sick woman should have no impact on your emotional wellbeing in your future relationships. That’s what I believe, and then life throws that curve ball, something goes terribly wrong and everything I know to be the truth just goes out the window. My knee-jerk reaction is to run; to survive. I have a family that needs me and that’s not an option. So what does somebody like me who struggles every day to surround myself with peace and joy do when there is anger and fury around me?
If you can imagine, in the beginning I get quiet. My memories implode without my consent. It’s my life and I lived it. So when someone becomes furious with me and my sense of injustice about it all has been triggered I find my adult self – standing there quiet, impervious, and pensive. My first thoughts are is my life threatened. Can you even believe that is my first thought? Then I try to make sense of why my injustice button was pushed. There are no words until I process through why I am angry. Then I try and talk it out. I may not come across logically or even without emotion or steam myself but for the most part I desperately try to get the offender to see my point of view. Sometimes our views clash and we can work it out through some mature dialog. But on those occasions when someone who I love dearly decides to be uncontrollably selfish and downright mean; that’s when I lose all control over my emotions. I begin to cry, because to me, there’s nothing more important that making someone feel loved; and when it doesn’t come back to me, I feel a sense of fury that’s not quite to the level of rage but I am willing to fight for what I believe. I call it shaking the sugar tree.
Usually that makes someone who is acting inappropriately calm down enough to talk things out. Rarely does it become an argument that is unwinnable. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t work after a long history with someone. The process develops kinks and people take each other for granted. They want to hold on to misunderstandings of the past and they want to blame everyone for the happiness that has long been lost because they’re so worried about controlling every aspect of their lives that they cannot get to the joy that sometimes a little chaos brings. That’s been my experience.
What do you do when you’re sitting there and your Ah-ha moment tells you that it’s not going to change? You find yourself stuck in a routine of destiny that you’ve tried desperately to improve and there’s no way it’s going to change? I tell you what you do. You tell yourself, “No man is ever going to love you the way you need, no man is ever…” and it’s a slippery slope.
To me, the kind of man that I need; require, is the kind of man who is strong. I don’t mean physically. I mean a man who is capable of seeing through the dramatic emotion of a woman and narrowing it all down to what makes sense. A man who is logical in his approach, puts other’s first and always roots for the underdog. A man of character, a man of faith and a man who is so highly intellectual with opinion and fact that he can tell me something I don’t already know or inspire me to be a better person. That’s the kind of man I wanted and in all reasonableness the kind of man I married.
With all things that God created there is a balance. There is good and evil in all of us. The levels of each depend on our character and our choice to either improve or wallow in the despair of our mistakes. With my husband this rule is no different. At times I feel like I married my mother. Other times I feel like I married the most respected man in the world. Either way I have the intense understanding that he is admired, respected and loved regardless of his actions which is a skill that I have not easily learned.
I’ve grown into a strong woman. Capable and formidable and for the most part feel like my words impact lives. There are moments though, that I would love for my husband to encourage me and not give me that reality check all the time or blame when something goes horribly wrong. I’ve learned that when we argue now, breaking our pattern is to process the pain or sorrow on my own because I am no longer willing to live with the laundry list of my offenses or misunderstandings whenever we fight. Silence in my home has become the norm. It hurts too much to fight for what’s right because it’s really not ever going to change. Years of the same has finally taught me that. It hurts, but that’s a pain I guess I will have to just live with. Now, I just walk away.
The point to all this for me is that sometimes bad things happen along our path. Sometimes people point unjust fingers and are intolerant of others. Sometimes kids misbehave and people you love disappoint you beyond what you could imagine. Sometimes, relationships are cruel and unjust. But if you can stop a minute to remember that we’re all just people. We all feel exactly the same things just not at the same time. We’re all trying to earn respect and adoration from the people we place the most faith in. We’re all trying desperately to be accepted.
If you can find someone that for the majority of the time you respect them you’ve won. Give them their behavior and let them own it. Go to a movie or take yourself out of the equation. Last night I saw Snow White and the Huntsman. I loved it. It’s a great movie to see when you’re upset. The bottom line is that you have to find peace with your choices even if for a moment those choices are a little painful. Because when you get to the other side of it, the joy and the happiness that follows is a result of the time you put in to be consistent, to show your love and to respect those whom you adore. Pause, because it’s not over. Remind yourself that you have a voice, but sometimes you don’t have to use it. Sometimes your own silent process can bring you right back to seeing the great things about a man you know.