Monday, February 13, 2012

Communication for the remedial student

In my life, I have ping ponged from being overly polite to overly direct and blunt.   These have been responses to extremes in my life.  Lack of balance previously and then while learning how to stick up for myself in an effective way influenced my communication styles.  I have to say with my donors and my step monster only nasty convinced them to keep the emotional and verbal abuse to themselves and among themselves.   I do not regret that, it was a necessity in order to disengage from them.

The direct and blunt me is more me, but had been more harsh than I wish to be later on in my life.   Pent up anger came out in a whoosh.   I guess it had to.  Is there another way for something held, suppressed, and held in a head lock to the floor to come out?   It was an angry beast waiting to eat the villagers that tormented it for so long.   The villagers were more than deserving of that anger, but internally in me that is not the way I want to feel in any long term way.

Now that I have managed who I have contact with, and how those relationships develop or don't...   I am a much happier centered and balanced person.   I'm not saying that the instinct to take down a toxic person with a lawn mower does not rear it's head, but the knowledge that I control how and whether I react at all (that I do now have this power, and am not powerless to the onslaught of emotional and verbal abuse NOR do I need to abuse my power in my ability to hurt back) helps me not be sucked into a void where my power and energy is being sucked into someone else's endless void of need(especially when they are literally a virtual stranger).

I have to say that I still have time being blunt about my boundaries.   I have an acquaintance for instance that tends to come over at the last minute for favors.   No thought that they are not expected, they might be interrupting my day or my plans.   Also to make matters worse, not in the interests of (always) paying an actual visit.   Instead of being honest with the person, which I could have been, I simply was sure to send them away when they called without explanation.   My husband was finally upfront with them, and we all had a nice talk about it. 

Relationships are hard, and I was avoiding the communication portion of this relationship.  BTW, before anyone claims it is so, I DID communicate with my donors and step.   That is the reason that our relationship cut off, because they could not respect boundaries like this.   This acquaintance, however, does respect these boundaries, and I did them a disservice by not talking to them directly about it.   Probably because of my prior history with how these conversations go with people who are less than empathetic towards others.

I just need to remember to extend my courtesy to those that may care about me, while also remembering that I do not need to engage with those who truly don't.

6 comments:

upsi said...

"I'm not saying that the instinct to take down a toxic person with a lawn mower does not rear it's head, but the knowledge that I control how and whether I react at all (that I do now have this power, and am not powerless to the onslaught of emotional and verbal abuse NOR do I need to abuse my power in my ability to hurt back) helps me not be sucked into a void where my power and energy is being sucked into someone else's endless void of need(especially when they are literally a virtual stranger)."

This is a very timely post for me - thanks for putting words to this ping ponging. I'm learning a lot about where to draw the line. Sorry if the stuff on my blog in the last week negatively triggered you - being taken back to a time before healthy boundaries is not a good trip. Thanks again for this post. You rock, keep workin it.

Winterskiprincess said...

Toxic people are not about to disappear from anyone's lives anytime soon I am afraid. So the potential to be triggered will always be there.

It did remind me of the first time I found out about my mother's blog about me. Someone e-mailed me wanting to know answers about their situation. They said they understood that I wasn't talking to her because I didn't get the wedding I wanted. And down the rabbit hole I went to search for this blog.

In the end, it has been a good thing to see her thoughts right there in front of me. Horrifying, but very helpful to allow me to move on.

Then as such ugly and toxic people find me, I consider it practice in my communication skills to reach my objectives and goals. Not engage in their agenda.

mulderfan said...

I have been desperately trying to remain calm in the extemely limited dealings with my NFOO.

The NPs are pretty easy because they have respected my request for communication only via snail-mail. In it, they simply act dumb and pretend all is well between us which is basically of no consequence to me.

Lately, I was informed the NGC mounts daily email attacks against my credibility in an attempt to have some extended family members ostracize me. I tell myself the NGC is nothing more than a fly-speck on the wall of life who is fishing for a reaction but I'll admit the lawnmower idea has some appeal!

Winterskiprincess said...

He must be feeling the pressure of being the only one they got left. All aboard the crazy train, right?

mulderfan said...

The NGC is an addict/alcoholic who simply doesn't "do" pressure and disappears when there is a crisis. He even let his own wife go to emergency in a cab then sat at home moaning how scared he was for her!

Via the grapevine, I have heard, he recently had a drunken fall and broke his arm, an injury which he describes as a "debilitating illness". In the final throes of his addiction(s) he has been having blackouts and now seizures during which he soils himself. He is refusing medication because he would have to stop drinking in order to take the pills.

Seems to me, my NPs are left with EXACTLY the kind of caregiver they deserve!

Anonymous said...

I hear you on the not respecting boundaries. My mother is likely Narcissistic, with some Borderline traits. Any time I've tried to enforce boundaries, she tramples them. The worst part is the way they drag other people into it with the smear campaigns.