Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Memories: Endings and beginnings in Scotland

Ruins of Lawer
One of the interesting things about looking back at memories is that we see things differently in hindsight than from what we appreciated in the moment.

For example, during my stay in Balloch I arranged to meet a facebook friend.  I had made part of my travel mission; to take advantage of opportunities to meet and have coffee with people I had met on social media.  But this was different; it was the first time I was meeting up with a man.  Woman meeting woman is less complex, for obvious reasons, but a woman meeting a man in a platonic / friendship kind of way is a different thing.  The usual fears run through the mind, fears that are perpetuated by the events enumerated in the news.  Even though I knew D.G. for several years and we enjoyed chatting about our mutual interests in nature and hiking, meeting in person to go for a drive and a hike was a new adventure for me.  At age 59 I put on my brave face, reminding myself that the vast majority of people are good people and that only a few “bad apples” spoil it for the rest of us, I looked forward to this meet up.

It was all that one could expect from meeting a friend!  We enjoyed conversation and a drive into the Highlands, we saw waterfalls and drove beside a loch.  I got to see mountains (Ben Lawer) and walk in the Scottish countryside.  The walk we took together was to a now abandoned village of Lawer by the shores of the loch.  Once again, a place I would never have found on my own, but was able to enjoy because of the kindness of a friend.   As we walked through this now overgrown, devolving back into nature place where people used to live; we mused on the way of life that is being lost to the world as everyone races to live in cities and built up areas.  The ending of an era has been slowly encroaching upon humankind in the past 100 years as fewer and fewer people have any desire to live the “old ways” existing by the strength of their brawn and ingenuity in the bosom of nature.

So as I look back on this day in my memories I am reminded that endings are a way of life.  Whole villages have ceased to exist because of changing times just as relationships change because of changing circumstances.  

Endings and beginnings are simply part of the ever changing fabric of life.  We don’t really have it in our power to alter endings, they happen usually because of things outside our ability to control.  We do however have a say in new beginnings, they only require us to look closely at our fears, ascertain their veracity and then choose to act in such a way as to explore the possibilities.   

Healing is like that, overcoming the fear of what we might become when we choose to become other than what we are. When we choose the unfamiliar as the direction we are willing to explore, we become open to the possibility of new beginnings, even when those new beginnings arise out of the ashes of inescapable endings.

My happiness memory, aside for all the beauty of that day of adventure, is my willingness to embrace the new while at the same time embracing a longing for and a mourning of that which has passed.  Happiness is the ability to embrace change; the sadness of that which is over as well as the joyful anticipation of that which is yet to be.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2019 – 03 – 18

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Monday, January 21, 2019

My Daily Reflections: Do I miss you? or Do you deserve to be missed?

One of the healing forums I attend asked this question:  do you miss people when you are not with them?

I pondered that question because I find that there are people that I do miss and yet there are those that I don’t miss, or rather that I have learned and accepted that have not earned the right to continue to be missed.   

I do believe this is an important question to ponder because there is something to be learned here about relationships and why some relationships make us feel more comfortable than others.  Why some relationships build us up and others tear us down.  Why some relationships feel like a duty and others like a joy.

As I heal I am learning that I don't miss "some" people.

I have learned, during time spent in introspection, that the people I don't "miss" are the ones that have / had a track record of "using me".   
  • Those people who whenever I was with them, I came away feeling emotionally drained.  
  • Those who left me feeling exhausted and I felt relief to get away from!   
  • Those where the time apart is restorative and so I remained relieved not having to deal with them.  
Those are the people that I have discovered that I don't miss them when I don’t see them.  Not only that when I do think about them I feel this negative shudder about anticipating seeing them any time soon.

I do miss people who behave in such a ways that makes me feel loved or accepted or validated because in their presence I am authentically me and that "feels good" so I miss the "feel good" when I am not with them.  

I struggle to accept myself just as I am.  I worry that I am not good enough, that I am not lovable. These are the false core beliefs that I am constantly working on.  As I think about this aspect of myself I recognize that those people that most help me on my healing journey of self-acceptance are the ones that I miss; for they reflect back to me what I am striving so hard to feel about myself.  Naturally I also miss them as a person because they are the kind of people that lift others up.  They get joy from making others feel good.  They don’t need to put others down to feel good about themselves so they spread good feelings to others.  They feel like souls at peace.  I miss being around souls at peace because they show me what it feels like to be a soul at peace myself.  They show me clearly what I am striving for.

I do think that all this in some way also goes back to attachment issues.   What I know so far is that attachment style reflects what we learned about relationships as a child.  

I believe I learned early that relationships are unsafe.  That sometimes I was wanted and at other times I was in the way, a nuisance.  And I was confused about what was expected and when; and so I learned to withdraw.  

But it was a withdrawing accompanied with thoughts such as; “what is wrong with me now that they don’t want me around”.   

When I am with those people who send me this subliminal message; one that I receive on an intuitive level, that “sometimes I am a bother in their lives, or that I am not meeting their expectations in some way", I feel distinctly uncomfortable.  It is that subtle pushing away that I sense, and I have come to believe that this is what contributes to my discomfort when I am around them.  They reinforce my “unworthy feelings”.   So when I am not around such people is it any wonder that I don’t miss them?  I don’t miss the way they make me feel inadequate, their words, their tone of voice, their looks and even their thoughts seem to penetrate my intuitive awareness leaving a dark cloud of disappointment.

I am new to working out my attachment style and my attachment issues; but I think the bottom line is that I am tired of trying to attach to people who are not good for me.  I am learning that if I don’t miss someone when I am not with them, then subliminally I am getting the message that something about their behaviour, their character is not a good match for mine.  And I am learning that when I feel that way, such a person must be put in the acquaintance category rather than the friend category and I must have higher walls of self-protection when I spend time with them and above all, I can’t trust such people with any vulnerability. 

These are the kinds of people that use vulnerability to manipulate and control.  They are fine to be around for some lighthearted moments but they are not the kinds of people that offer emotional sustenance.  I no longer feel any guilt or regrets over not missing such people when I am not in their company. 

When I spend time with people who see good in me, who encourage me when I have moments of doubt, who express their joy of seeing me as much as I feel joy at seeing them, I feel I am in the company of people of good character, who have done inner healing work.  It is reflected in their body language, in their words and the tone of voice and their actions. When in the company of such people my intuitive awareness becomes filled with light and airiness.  My heart and spirit feels light and buoyant in their presence.  And when I am not with them I miss how two light souls interacting with each other feels.  

These are the friends that I find are in my thoughts regularly and I look forward to seeing them again and I miss especially those who live so far away that I rarely see them.  These people are showing me, teaching me, what healthy attachment feels like.

The more I attach in a good way to the right kind of people; the more I miss not being with those kinds of people....and conversely the less I miss those people with whom I was in an unhealthy attachment relationship with.

I would love to hear from you dear reader, about how you feel about missing or not missing the people in your life. 

Renate Dundys Marrello
2019 – 01 – 18

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Post Estrangement: the Hazards of Being Dutiful

“Distance yourself from the people who; lie to you, disrespect you, use you, put you down.”

Permission to distance myself from those who caused me harm never occurred to me until I was well into my healing journey of recovery from being estranged. 

Looking back now, I think one of the root causes of estrangement was that my estranged daughter saw how I tolerated the subtle abuse from my family; the little put downs, the jabs at my ability, the condescending remarks, the barely hidden sneers of derision, how my efforts were not appreciated etc.  

She saw the pain I experienced at family events, where I was taken for granted, ignored, pushed aside, laughed at, teased etc.   She learned that I tolerated abuse and thus she had no reservations about emulating that behaviour and becoming the same category of abuser, the subtle kind, the paper cut kind, the kind where you don’t bleed to death but you do bleed and hurt with each cut.

Maybe if I had been less ‘duty bound’ to stay loyal and obedient to family I would have set a different example.

It is one of those things that I am learning in hindsight; it is not always best to do the ‘duty’ thing believing that it is the right thing to do.  Being obedient to duty alone does have repercussions because in showing what we are willing to tolerate for the sake of family; we teach our offspring that we don’t value ourselves.  They learn by watching that in not respecting ourselves we don’t demand to be respected, and they learn that they don’t need to respect us either.   I have come to believe that maybe if I had had boundaries and knew how to communicate those boundaries I would have set a different example. 

I often hear estranged parents say "why do my children do this to me when I stayed loyal to my family of origin even though they were not a nice family, I did my ‘duty’ why don't my children do their duty?”  

I tussled with that for a long, long time.  I stayed loyal to my abusers because I did not even realize I was being abused!  That is how normal that kind of talk and behaviour was in my family.  It was so normalized that I thought I was deficient and therefore deserved to be spoken to that way!  I never realized that there is a down-side, a hazard to being dutiful! No one talks about this!  They only talk about how important it is to be dutiful! Being dutiful is praised and glorified and because of this we never look at the dark side!  I challenge you; find a single quote that warns about what negative side effects being blindly dutiful might incur. 

And because I thought it was ‘normal’ I allowed my children to watch me being abused!  Was that really the outcome I wanted from staying loyal?  Did I really want them to learn that you stay connected to abusive people?
Of course not!  I thought I was teaching them family values; that you love family even when they misbehave.  I thought I was teaching them that love means you accept people’s negative personality traits by overlooking them.

Of course that is not what they learned at all.  What they learned is that the peace keeper, the people pleaser, is receptive to being mistreated, unworthy of respect. What they learned is that I tolerate neglect, thoughtlessness, criticism in silence.  They thought that my acceptance of such treatment made me weak.  They did not see loyalty, they saw weakness.  And they chose not to be weak; they chose to follow the example of the ones they saw were in their estimation the 'strong ones'.

That meant that they felt they could get away with being mean to me.  I remember well being afraid of my own children when they were in their teens. I was afraid of their anger when they did not get their own way.  I was afraid when they hurled abusive words at me when I set guidelines for their safety or for cordial behaviour.  I continued my learned pattern of backing down instead of affirming boundaries because I feared losing their love.

Instead I lost their respect.  How can you respect a mother who appears weak to you?  How can you respect a mother who tolerates put downs?  How can you respect someone who is kind to you even after you have pointed out to them that they are inadequate?  That is how my children treated me throughout their teens.  And I accepted it because I thought that is how I showed them my love!

Early estrangement cut me off from all three of my adult children.  They agreed that I was the problem.  They agreed that there was something wrong with me, that I insufficient, that I was not enough, that I was unworthy of their love.  They already had no respect for me, so why should they love me?

Over time, 2 of my adult children changed their minds. They started to see what I put up with, when the hurtful behaviours that were always my lot were now also extended to them.  They started to experience the judgmental and critical side of our family. 

They made peace and reunited with me.  Interestingly; once the healing work I did included having boundaries, once I started sticking up for myself, my relationship with my returning adult children improved. To what extent, it is still too early to tell. But they do know that I no longer tolerate abusive comments to be directed at me, and their behaviour is changing in response.  Instead of toleration; I now see glimmers of love and respect in the way they treat me.    

To me this serves as a reminder that as we change due to our healing process, we also affect a change in others.  We inevitably push away those who resent the changes in us, those who resent that we no longer are a push over; and we draw in those who appreciate the kindness that lead us to being such a push over in the first place, who now find a new reason to respect and love us.  

Renate Dundys Marrello
2019 – 01 – 13

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

My Daily Reflections: Beware Glib Avice!

Often we read quotes and memes these days and we can see a kernel of truth, something to live better lives by if we take this advice to heart.  And yet at other times, the advice that we are given seems to actually cause us harm if we apply the advice without a good measure of common sense as well. 

For example this is the quote that started my train of thought today.

Quote:  Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves.  When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, on is instantly empowered.
~ Wes Angelozzi

On the surface nice friendly advice to be less judgmental, to be more kind and loving right!?  But dig deeper as I did today and there are some significant concerns. 

Here is my thought process:

What if your natural state is to love people exactly as they are without reservation and without boundaries?

What if because of this nature, you enable others to continuously use and abuse you and you constantly forgive them without holding them accountable?

What if your silence about exposing how they have hurt you is seen as acquiescence that you are okay with being treated badly on a regular basis?

What if you one day wake up and recognize that this is not good and you create boundaries and you do have reservations and want to hold them accountable?  And you start to have expectations of them that they could be better people if they learned to treat others with compassion and kindness.

Does this quote then imply that you should go back to allowing their abuse because you accept them for who they are? Do you accept their meanness,  do you accept their verbal abuse, do you accept them treating you badly all in the name of loving them as they are? 

Don’t I then empower bad behaviour in the name of loving someone just as they are?

To me such advice, given in a statement of “this is what you should do” is very confusing and even challenges all that I have learned on my healing journey. 

It implies that I should accept harm doers into my life and that my “loving them” will somehow magically encourage them to become good doers.  This has not been my experience.  

Rather what I have learned is that when I accept harm doers into my life, they feel they have the right to continue to be harm doers because I have not protested and I have therefore enabled them to continue doing the same harm over and over again.

Also, it seems to me that the very people who should be taking this kind of advice to heart are the very people who think it is their right to control and manipulate others with judgmental comments, criticisms, implications that you are only worthy of love if and when you change.  I find it interesting that these are the very people that eschew such advice claiming that they don't need to accept people as they are because they have the right to tell people how they ought to be.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2018 – 11 – 16

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

post estrangement: confronting the "toxic normal"

Quote:  “what you allow is what will continue.”

What if what you have been trained to allow is not in your best interest?  What if you have been taught to accept “toxic” as “normal”?

I think this is the dilemma that faces most people who are forced on a path of emotional breakthrough!  We walk around for most of our lives allowing others to disrespect us, to put us down, to tell us how we ought to be, and what we ought to do to make others happy. 

And we think that this is how relationships work simply because it is all we have ever known. 

We accept the negative comments about us and assume that we are at fault and that we deserve it because of some deficiency in ourselves!  We strive then, to fix our own inadequacies to meet the standards that others imply we are not meeting!  And we fail over and over again.  We begin to believe on some level that we really are the problem and that if only we could get it right then we would be treated better.

Usually the reason we set out on a healing journey is because some incident happened in our lives that made us say “stop, no more!”

I know that is what happened for me.  I was in a situation where all the issues were my fault.  Everything, that was wrong and every problem was because of my inadequacy.  I was to bear the full burden of being not good enough.  And then, instead of talking to me about how to resolve the problem (which would have meant listening to my side of the story), it was easier to discard me.  That was the beginning of my estrangement journey. 

Being totally broken and abandoned and told that I was defective is the rock bottom place from which I had to pick myself up from. And now that I am this far along in my healing journey, the saddest thing is knowing, that I allowed it to happen!  

I allowed myself to be disrespected in little ways dozens of times for so many years that disrespecting me was considered normal.  A normal way to manipulate me into doing what others wanted of me. A normal way of demeaning me so that I would always see myself as the problem and not the hurtful words of the other person.  I had been conditioned to accept toxic behaviour toward me as normal! 

For me; what others claimed was me having a break down (because I finally said no you don’t get to treat me like that) was actually a break through!  

For the first time in my life I questioned the toxic normal that I had been conditioned to believe in!  

I was able to start to hear other kinds of input about what normal ought to be!  And the process was then of breaking down false core beliefs based on this new insight!  That changed what I was willing to accept.  I was no longer willing to allow myself to be treated in the fashion that others had conditioned me to accept, I was no longer like Pavlov’s dog salivating to the bell sound.  I learned to hear the bell instead as a warning to look for the sting of the subtle criticism, the innuendo of insufficiency, the toxic barb designed to keep my compliant.

I think that one of the biggest lesson that I have learned in my healing journey is that I no longer have to accept when others seek to push me into that old compliant mold.  I can’t of course change those who conditioned me, nor can I change those who discovered how to use that conditioning against me.  My power is recognizing and understanding the behaviours for what they are, (attempts to control me); analyzing what  the implications are for me should I comply, and then responding in a way that preserves my dignity based on how I deserve to be treated or spoken to. 

“You have zero control over anything or anyone in the outer world. Your power lies in understanding you have 100% control in how you respond to everything, what and who you will allow to occupy space in your mind and life. Choice is your superpower.” ~ Barb Schmidt

I discovered my own power when I realized that all I had to do was choose how I allowed myself to be treated. When I stopped allowing people to speak to me with old toxic normal vocabulary, I changed the way I responded to the same old patterns. 

Of course changed responses created changed outcomes.

There were two kinds of outcomes. 

The first is the positive kind, the one where the person confronted with what their words actually conveyed were jolted out of their complacency and recognized that their choices were actually demeaning and that they wanted to change because that is not what their intentions were.

The second reaction is the negative kind and for a time this one surprised me until I started to understand the game of control better. 

I learned that some people are assertive and mean no harm; they just have a different, also faulty message that they learned and were conditioned to utilize. They also were not taught how to consider other people feelings in response to their words. These patterns worked for them so well that they simply continued to use them. There is no malevolent intent, just lack of awareness.  When made aware of these patterns, they respond with acceptance, gratitude for having been given an opportunity to change, and they then start the process of change.

And then there are some people who learned that using their assertiveness to control others was in their own best interests.  They associated with the power this gave them.  And they don’t want to give up that power.  

These are the people that doubled down and insisted that  I was the problem and that if only I would allow myself to be disrespected then our relationship would be fine.  

These are the people that I discovered would rather stop interacting with me than accepting that their words had been toxic and negative. And more interestingly I discovered, they would rather play the victim, insisting that I am at fault for not making the first move to reconnect.  Implying that I ought to condone their behaviour, overlook their behaviour and even allow them to get away without apologizing, thus ensuring that they could repeat the same bad behaviour again whenever it should suit them.

Once you break the cycle things change.

Once you stop going back willing to accept more mistreatment through negative words, you get either people who are willing to work with you in a relationship that is growing and changing and becoming more healthy, or you get people who would rather remain estranged so they don’t have to confront their own misdeeds and acknowledge that in some areas they too need to change.

I am glad that I have broken they cycle.  I am glad that I am no longer conditioned to accept disrespect as toxic normal.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2018 – 11 – 06  

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

You are not a kind person if.....

After writing yesterday about kindness I realized that there are a lot of people out there who actually think of themselves as kind people.  They don’t let their mean days or their mean actions affect their self-perception. 

These are the people who when confronted with their meanness; shrug off the need to apologize for their meanness!  

You know the ones I mean; the ones who call you names, then say you deserved it or it was for you own good etc.  They really don’t believe that their wounding words make them unkind! 

They are the people who yell at store clerks or restaurant servers and say they have a right to complain when they don’t get what they want, but they don’t see that the “way” they complain is mean, they don’t seem to realize that you can lodge a complaint without being cruel.

Of course there all the people that are kind and nice when they get their way.  As long as everything is going in their favour they are pleasant and speak nicely.  But as soon as they are not getting what they want, as soon as life throws them a curve ball, they are ranting and blaming and belittling others.  And yet they don’t see those actions as unkindness, they actually feel they are entitled to criticize, to hold grudges, to sit in judgments of others and to say some of the unkindest words and take some of the most hostile actions in retaliation and yet they still think they are kind people.

There are the people that let vitriol pour out of their mouths without a second of thought as to how the other person, the one hearing those words might feel.  Or they choose actions that harm others such as excluding them or neglecting them.  And then they make a justification citing all the reasons why; they deserved being treated with cruelty!  Thus t
hey distance themselves from the cruelty of their actions and still see themselves as kind people! 

Well as someone who has been on the receiving end of the delusions of these people, these people who think they are kind, I am here to tell you; the people who experience your unkindness do not think you are a kind person no matter what you believe.

I am here to tell you that:
  • If you are only kind when it suits you, but you lash out in unkindness when you feel thwarted you are not a kind person.
  • If you are only kind when you get your own way, but as soon as YOUR expectations are not met you retaliate with unkindness then you are not a kind person
  • If you are kind as long as you get what you want but change into rage and spew vitriol the moment you don’t get what you want; then you are not a kind person
  • If you don’t consider how the other person might be feeling on the receiving end of your verbal assault, then you are not only unkind but also thoughtless.
  • If you get revenge on other people for not meeting your standards and expectations by punishing them with rejection or neglect or exclusion or any other kind of withholding behaviour you are not a kind person.

You don’t get to be a part time nice person. 
  • The test of a kind person is not during the times when things are going smoothly. 
  • The test of a nice person is how they behave during the difficult times. 
  • The test of kind person is how they act when they don’t get what they want, when things go wrong, when mistakes are made. 
  • The test of a nice person happens when they confront a shortcoming and how they respond in a non-combative way to work toward a solution.

Being a nice person is a commitment to be kind even when you don’t get your way, even when your needs have not been met, even when you feel aggrieved. 
  • The test of a nice person is how they handle disappointment without flying into a rant and a rage. 
  • The test of a nice person is how they handle a correction or a complaint without resorting to a fight or or the need to destroy the other person. 
  • The test of a nice person is how they confront those not so smooth moments in life with communication and problem solving skills without the need to defeat the other person with slander and lies
If you are only nice and kind when the times are easy and you get what you want you are not really a nice person.  
You are an entitled person who believes that you deserve only the best all the time. 

If the difficult times bring out your rage, your desire to inflict pain, your need to get even, your need to destroy others, then you are not a kind person. 

If the challenges in your life bring out the vindictive, judgmental side of your character, if they inflame your desire for retaliation, the need to punish and the need to get even; then you are NOT a kind person.

Kindness is not something that we get to practice only during the good times.  Kindness is what we need the MOST when things are not so good.  

Our character is not tested when we are happy and satisfied.  Anyone can be nice and kind during the good times!  

Our character is tested by how we respond, what words we say, what tone we take, what our reactions are and how we follow through on our hurt and frustrated and angry moments.  If in those moments of testing the mean spirited person comes out, THAT is who you really are.  You are only pretending to be a kind person when it suits you.

So please; don’t preach to me about what a kind person you are after you have demonstrated to me just how cruel and mean and heartless you were when you did not get your way.  What you REALLY  are is a selfish person who simply pretends to be kind as long as you get whatever it is that you want. 

Renate Dundys Marrello
2018 – 10 – 30  

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Monday, October 29, 2018

beware the blind side of kindness

I read so many memes about being kind. I seem to be inundated with them lately.  Be kind, be kind!

Here is the problem!  The people that take such memes to heart are the ones that already are kind! 

They are the people that smile at strangers.  
They are the people that watch their words and don’t say things that are unkind or meant to hurt.  
They don’t call people names and verbally abuse other.  They are the people that do good deeds to others like phoning or texting or emailing their friends regularly. 
They are the people who have tears in their eyes when they point out that you have inadvertently crossed one of their boundaries and caused them pain.

These people don’t need to be reminded to be kind! they already walk the path of kindness! 

I find it interesting that the people who need the advice to “be kind” are the very ones whose character defect is that they treat others with a distinct lack of kindness.  

  • They always show their grumpy face to the world.
  • They complain about everything and everyone.  
  • No service is good enough.
  • They find fault with everything.
  • They complain about every injustice whether real or only perceived.
  • They regularly ignore and neglect people and expect others to pick up the slack. 
  • They have no trouble using emotionally abusive language if they feel they have not gotten what they want or expect from others.  And they act like their expectations are entitlements.
  • They shun and reject anyone who does not meet their standards or especially anyone who dares to point out to them that they were unkind.

For some reason these people remain unaffected by all the reminders to be kind! 
  • Do they really think that those reminders are not meant for them? 
  • Do they feel that the world owes them kindness but they have no need to return any kindness out to the world?

For years and years I beat my head against a figurative brick wall being kind to people only to be casually shown abuse and disrespect in return.  

I am learning that this is called “toxic normal”.   It is when bad behavior / unkind behaviour / emotionally abusive behaviour is so frequently practiced upon us that we accept it as the way things are supposed to be. We accept it because we have never known any differently or any better.

I think I am a slow learner.   But finally, with my head bleeding from the pounding, I am learning that it is not enough for me to be kind, I have to also expect others to be kind to me.  If I don’t hold them accountable for their behaviour they will surely continue with their toxic normal because they simply have gotten used to getting away with it. 

I can’t force these people to be kind.  A million memes to “be kind” will not penetrate their thick skin of self-assuredness that they have a special right to be unkind simply because it suits them, or servers them in some emotionally depraved way. 

However self-kindness, the other side of the kindness coin, means that most assuredly I do not have to allow these people into my life or back into my life as long as they believe I, by my virtue of kind heartedness, am an easy target for their unkindness.  

Just because I am kind does not mean that I have to continue to be an emotional punching bag for others to work out their emotional pain upon.  I respect their pain, I acknowledge their pain and I even sympathize with their pain. However that does not give them the right to inflict pain upon me.  My kindness must stop when people start to think that my kindness makes me weak or makes me an easy target or makes me a convenient victim or makes me abusable.

So next time I see one of the “be kind” memes I will be kind, I will be kind to myself and maintain my healthy boundaries for self-protection.  And I will be kind to the people who treat me with kindness and respect.  And I will be kind to strangers and greet them with smile.  And I will even be kind to the people who come to me acknowledging their past unkindness and asking to make atonement.   Why?  Because I know that the act of wanting to make atonement means they have done some personal healing work. 

What I will not do is show kindness to people who abuse me with words or actions by making myself their victim.  I will with kindness however give them the space to feel my absence so that they can maybe realize that have some healing work to do.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2018 – 10 – 29

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