Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Post to Healing from Family Rifts Board on Avoidance and Dog World

I really appreciated a couple of posts here, especially as it related to a recent experience not DIRECTLY related to family estrangement but touching on some skills and realizations I came to regarding myself and my reactions to things.

My dad is incredibly passive aggressive and controling, so Idid "avoid" that most of my life after being beaten down (not physically but emotionally and verbally) over and over again for expressing my beliefs, feelings or emotions. This has leaked over into other aspects of my life.

I am a dog trainer, and people like Lisa, I also consider part ofthe dog world. The dog world is made up of very big hearted people with equally big opinions and prickly (understatement here)personalitities. The dog training and dog world is becoming more and more my family, AND it's a family in which you don't want to isolate someone important in spite of their "prickly" nature sometimes. Some of these people spend so much time with dogs, tha tthey may not have the appropriate human responses at times.

At this dog event I was at, I may have misinterpretted another's genuine like for seeing me and making a honest mitake in bringing up a painful subject for malice. I don't know this for sure, but was talking to a mutual dog person, and it made me see that I may have misinterpretted her actions, repressed it, and then come down hard after I came home from the seminar. In the past, I would have neither talked openly to this person nor to my friend/teacher/ and mentor about it. I would have simply avoided it and have it fester.

At the seminar, I don't honestly think I could have addressed it in front of the class to this person without completely blowing up right there. Her response back, if it is as represented by my friend and mentor, may have softened my response, but anything else other than an apology for bringing this up at the seminar would have set me off. See, we both volunteered training at the same shelter awhile ago. We both fell in love with the same dog, Jordan. I had a dog that was going to pass away from heart disease within immediately to a year. He had a good quality of life until his very last day, so euthanizing him for me, was not an option nor was bringing in a new stressor into his environment, though I would have killed to have Jordan be my dog eventually. I couldn't in all conscious ask them to "hold" Jordan there for me either.

Well, I had to leave volunteering eventually to be closer to home for my dog, and I was growing my business so I got very very busy.And, an incident, which I won't go into, happened at DRU to cause this person to leave. I had never enjoyed working with her or thought she was a particularly good person around dogs, and she seemed very jealous of me and my success with dogs. So I was friendly when I saw her at dog events, but only enough so I would't look like a complete witch in front of other people. In other words, I didn't encourage a friendship, but never really told her why. I always felt she was gunning for me, and I did in fact find out about something that she wrote about me on a public dog training board,which sounded both like she was missing me and dissing me at the same time.

See she didn't realize I was out there training in public already when I was talking to people, as I did not share that info with her, and she felt I was talking to others without the experience of handling dogs/clients one on one. I felt and still feel that out of jealousy she was trying to hurt me. So in the first few minutes of the seminar, she made a bee line for me, and announced Jordan was put to sleep, that noone thought to call me, and despite my telling her that I did not want to discuss this at this time (this was an important 9 hour a day, three day seminar to get through, and I had to force not dwelling on this at the time, though I felt like she just balled up her fist and slammed me in the gut). The next day, she AGAIN brought Jordan up, and how he wasn't the right dog for me. Again, I just immediately and obviously changed the subject, turned away from her, and just cut her right there.You might imagine, I was repressing and getting angrier and angrierat the time.

After the seminar, I got home and found some pictures of Jordan and the flood gates opened. Saturday night and all Sunday, I sobbed and sobbed for my good friend, though two years had passed since he passed. To me, thinking that he had found his home and been happy,it was like it happened that day, and that I had left him at the shelter just recently. It was horrible.

However, I did confront the situation rather at that time with theperson involved. I have not heard from her, and my intial comments were rather harsh, and MAYBE undeserved. I could not get her on the phone, but did let her know through e-mail, both before how dissappointed that I was in her to assault me so, and then after that I apologized IF I misinterpretted her actions. I am not so niave to give her the full benefit of the doubt. However, if I was wrong, doubtless we will hug and cry together and go on as a strong force in the dog training world.

See, in this world, it is so important to stick together because of the deterioration, thanks to the Animal Rights (as opposed to welfare) movement in the industry. if we don't stick and work together, we will be gone, and we all have something to offer. If I am right,there will be no hugging and crying , but at least I both let her know my feelings, and opened up the door to reconcile and not be afraid of me when we next meet.

Without dealing with my own family estrangement, I don't know that Iwould have had the strength to say that, nevermind to say out loud in the seminar "I do not wish to discuss this with you at this point". I have learned that while we need to act like adults,holding in your true feelings and not dealing with the issues does nothing to improve your relationships.Sorry for the long and boring post , but I wanted to share this reak thru moment for me as well.

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