Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You Make Me SO MAD!!!!

"So in searching deep inside, dredging through the swamp to discover what really creates this massive stronghold emotion is in my life, I discover it's caused as much by other people as it is by me. In my reaction to these people. And I may not be able to change them, but there is one thing I can change, and that is what I allow their actions to do to me."

I was trolling through the blogs that I read every day and this came up at the end of Leah's post. And I thought, wow, that is exactly the kind of thing that I should be thinking right now.
I have heard many, many times in therapy and from other people and from self-help books that it is healthier to change the way that I react to people instead of trying to change other people. It's a powerful thought. It's also hard to do. Because really, no one else can make you feel anything or any way, but we believe that they do, don't we? Our emotions come from the way we react to other people and to the events in our lives. But the fact of the matter is, unless someone physically punches you (in which case, you have a more serious problem than handling how you are reacting to events), you control what you are feeling in response to anything anyone else does.

Directly relating this to my own situation at the moment...

I have lived across the street from this woman for six years.

For six years, she has tried to convince me that if I do not have her religion, I will never be a happy person.

She is now resorting to lying to me about what my autistic child told her to guilt me into buying into her religion.

She made me very, very angry by this and by a number of other things that have happened. No, wait.

I reacted angrily to many things that she and her husband (and her children) have done over the last six years.

I think the last statement is more true than the one before it. She cannot make me feel anything. If I am angry about her actions, I have two choices. I can remove myself from the situation permanently or I can tell her exactly why I am angry and see what happens.

Being the passive-aggressive total wuss that I am, I will probably elect to walk away and distance myself from her as opposed to confronting her about what has happened. It's not just that I am a passive-aggressive wuss. This situation presents itself summer and summer. Summer after summer, it's an issue. And when fall comes, it ceases to be an issue because her children are 5 and 7 years younger than my youngest child, so they go to different schools, meaning the amount of time they are really able to spend together decreases directly in proportion to whether or not school is in session.

Once the daily contact between the kids stops, so, mostly, do the issues. So if I can make it just one more day (since school starts tomorrow) by breathing deeply, the situation is about to diffuse itself in 24 hours.  Since I don't actually spend any time with this woman, other than when our children are getting together, tomorrow this will no longer be an issue. Until next summer; but maybe not...

Joey should be hitting puberty any time now. Even with the autism, I have to believe that he is going to eventually lose interest in "playing" with children who are so much younger than he is. I have put up with a situation to which I would normally not expose myself because he enjoys the company of her children a great deal. Because Joey is still learning what it is to actually "be friends" with someone, the advantages of his spending time with them have (mostly) outweighed the disadvantages.

Am I still angry? Yes. But I can choose how I am going to feel about the situation. I have a lot of other crap that is way more important going on in my life than what is happening with this neighbor right now. I think that because of the other crap, I am feeling more vulnerable and have allowed this person to believe that I might be more open than I actually am to what she believes. Maybe this is because I do not know what I believe and what she believes looks like it makes her really happy.


If I don't feel it in my heart and it is not speaking to me as "truth," then I think it is time to walk away from it and not allow her to believe that I am open to it any longer. Whether or not this will require yet another conversation remains to be seen. I am really leaning towards the distance thing at the moment, because is a confrontation really worth it over something that I have managed to "manage" for six years?

This does not mean that the actions that have annoyed me and angered me are okay. It does not mean that lying to me repeatedly is okay. And technically, I should be hollering foul. But I talked to Joey and it would appear that she has not been preaching to him, nor have her children. With that being the case, I can let things lie as they are for now. The next time I start to get the religion lecture, I will cut it off and let her know that I am no longer open on the subject and that I consider it closed. I believe in diplomacy if possible and I see no reason to make an enemy of a neighbor.

Plus, the fact is, that if I did get angry and confront her, she would simply tell me that she will pray for me...and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that.



1 comment:

  1. I think that you are taking great steps in combatting your anger. You're right - you need to pick your battles. And it isn't easy to control our responses all the time, but the reality is that we CAN'T control (change) others. The ONLY thing we can control is our response to others and how they behave.

    Seems like this situation will go away for a while now that the school year is here. This will help get beyond the point of confrontation. I think you'll be the better person for rising above it and taking the high road.

    And yes, she's wrong to be pushing her religion on you like that. I used to have a sister in law that was born again and she was always acting like she was so much more enlightened about everything in life because she had "come to know God personally."

    I hate that. I don't push my lack of religion on you, don't push yours on me.

    Hang in there Chelle - you're doing the right thing.



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