Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Need to Fight

Growing up, I tended to be pretty quiet.

I had the usual neighborhood tiffs with my little friends, and, given enough time, play would resume and past grievances forgotten.

Except with Emily.

For some reason, there was something about our relationship that made me want to fight her. I also wanted her to be my bestest friend in the whole world, but that wasn't on her bucket list...which is probably why we fought...

The other reason we fought was absolutely because I wanted her to change.

I wanted her to step in line with my ideas.

Also something not on her bucket list.

This tense relationship lasted until she moved here a few years back.

We'd politely (and not so politely) disagree about things, and I would come away seething.

It all came to a head one day (spurred on by one of my friends), and I ended up yelling at Emily on the phone.

And then I hung up.

At some point, Emily (being the more mature type) called up to check on me.

Something about that blow up and subsequent call completely changed our relationship. The air cleared, and I realized something.

I couldn't change Emily. No matter how much I tried. No matter how much I pushed and made a good argument for all the reasons why she should.

That's when I stopped picking fights with her, and let her be.

And then she became my bestest friend in the whole world. *TING*

And thus ended all my fights with people.

Just kidding!

No, I just found other people to fight with, or in a lot of cases, they found me and picked a fight.

I had some friends in college who were like sisters to me. We lived copacetic-ally  in our little world. When I look back and contrast my relationship with them with relationships I have subsequently had, one thing dominates: those few sisters I shared a close bond with took me as I was. They never ONCE tried to correct or change me, and I felt safe, loved, and complete. The other relationships I developed were, unhappily, not the same.

I don't know if it's the way I hold myself that I look guilty to people, or what, but I've had a lot of people accuse me of things that I just plain didn't do.

I was constantly told I wasn't good enough, and that everything I did was wrong. I started to believe them.

Those were some of the worst years of my life.

It was about that time that I started to become more distrustful of people, and more prone to lash out.
After years of this happening, I started to live my life with my dukes up.

Everything became "fighting words."

 Jeremy is also a fighter. I think it came from him being bullied for years. Anyway, when issues come up with people we know, he'll stand in the back ground, coach me, and periodically throw gasoline on the fire. I told him to stop it a while ago, since I keep burning bridges with people, and he now just stands behind me and tosses sticks into the fires of my own making when he thinks I'm not paying attention.

This attitude of mine has gotten me into trouble, and that's probably why I only have 8 friends on Facebook.

I have a hard time finding a balance between defending myself and what I know to be right and true and doing so in a way that all involved come away feeling edified and non-threatened.

And this problem only gets worse when I am el prego.

All of the sudden it's like I have blood in my eye for anybody who breathes incorrectly near me.

Which is why I spent 20 minutes following Jeremy around the house yesterday afternoon yelling at him over something completely stupid while he tried to escape.

Which is why I end up saying things to people that neither uplift or strengthen my relationships with them.

I think I've figured out why I do this.

I'm again trying to change people.

That's probably the stupidest thing anybody could ever attempt. And it's something I have despised ever since it was done to me.

And I think that for me trying to change others is the attempt to divert my attention from what needs to be changed in my own soul. The whole mote/beam things once again. And that's probably why others tried to change me, because they were also aware of their own foibles and took it out on the nearest object.

Some words by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland come to my mind again and again during those times when I have confrontations with people:

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.

He never says that doing this will change people. Because that's a fool's errand. Because that's not our job. Our job is to be loving and kind, and to speak up with that love and kindness when we feel impressed to.

This is something I strive for. And it is so hard.

So, friends out there, if you have become embroiled in one of my sad attempts at correction, I apologize. I'm so very, very flawed, and it leaks out on a regular basis....all over the place.

Like a snail's shiny trail of goo.

Or like that stuff grasshoppers throw up on your hand when you pick them up....


Katscratchme said...

You'd probably throw up too if some giant picked you up and their attempts to be gentle squeezed your fragile little body...
Funny how I don't remember the specifics of that phone conversations... Dare I ask?

Love your face!

Anonymous said...

All I remember is I was irrationally mad. Don't remember much except that I was a mass of tired crankies, and I thought I was justified. Which I wasn't. Ha ha! ♥

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