Ok, this is my rambling Monday afternoon post.
The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.
My theory is that men & women come from different places in the "making everybody happy" area. We have talked a lot of times about divorced men who don't want their exes to be unhappy because 1) they don't want conflict, 2) they are afraid the ex will somehow use the kids against him or 3) they feel guilty for ending the marriage. It's fine until he gets another woman who then wonders why he's doing so much to help the ex, maybe instead of her.
I'm only speaking for myself but I was one of those "I want everybody to be happy" people. I don't think I was manipulative. I do like to avoid conflict, which is funny since I specialize in litigation! I have no problem w/ having conflicts w/ people in a work situation because most of the time it's handled in a professional manner--it's not like the other lawyer can start yelling at you and calling you names in front of the judge. But it was more that I was afraid to stand up for myself because maybe I was afraid of being left. Now I don't know where this came from--you explained your fear of abandonment. I didn't have the same kind of issues.
But in my 1st marriage, I didn't speak up about a lot of things because I figured that if I did everything that my DH wanted (to make him happy) then he wouldn't want to get a divorce. He wasn't a terrible person, just kind of clueless sometimes. LIke I really would have wanted him to spend more time at home after we had a baby, but I didn't tell him, then I resented him. So the not telling didn't work out very well for me, did it?
Funny part is he was one of those guys who did everything for the ex (me). Now he knew I would never keep the kids from him and I never once asked him for help, but he mowed the lawn for years & helped w/ the pool. But then again, it's kind of mutual--Fri night he went to a baseball game w/ our DD, his car ended up getting towed because he had an expired registration, so I picked them up at the subway & drove him home car her car was at his house.
You know - I am one of those "make everybody happy" people. I realized it the other day with my mom. My mom is ... well she's sort of obnoxious, truth be told. She's sort of loud and acts really goofy - which can be so funny. But it can also be very rude, to be quite honest. The other morning, I was at the kitchen counter, and she grabbed my niece's hand and started hitting me with it!
Honestly - she really drives me nuts a lot of times. So ... I said "Hey, that's not very nice. That isn't nice at all." And I said it calmly - but also disapprovingly ...
... So of course, she tells me that I'm crabby.
ay yi yi. I think that is what is frustrating for me. I try to avoid "being crabby" but I also want to set boundaries. I really did not like her hitting me! But I also did not like being called crabby!
I think the bottom line is that my mom does not respect personal boundaries very well. I dunno - I'm living with my family for the time being - for probably the next few years. I think living with my birth family as an adult has taught me WHY I'm so afraid to set boundaries with people - Because they aren't respected anyways - and then I get called crabby!!! HA!
It's very frustrating, but what I realized is that I'm NOT crabby! I'm just asking not to be hit. Probably my mom will continue to act that way - and probably she'll call me crabby all the time - but I'm going to keep setting my boundaries, calmly. Because I usually just stuff-it. That is my modus operandi!
I hope I am not off-topic - but I think that's why so many people avoid conflict. It's because saying no or setting boundaries always got us labeled as Selfish <---- that's a big one for me. Or Crabby!
Reflecting on my own life, I think much of the drive to please others and the need to make everyone else happy started in childhood. Being raised in a farm environment,the older of 10 children,strict religious views,and 1950's child rearing which stressed that as a "GOOD GIRL" you would put others needs above your own and in the end the reward would be acceptance and love of those around you. The trying and hard times were meant to be a challenge in life that you endured and best not complain openly about.And what ever you do- never let the outside world know that your household is anything less than the "Cleaver family" It has taken counseling, and aging to get to the point that I put balance into the equation. My SIL's favorite saying is"It's all about me" which I hope I never become but I never again want to feel like everyone's doormat either. Also, maybe aging and menapause has something to do with my change in attitude.I look at life and make decisions more as if my time here on earth is limited. My DH relationship with ex and children has been a lifetime of turmoil and problems. I keep them out of my life,just as I would the stranger down the street with whom I had nothing in common. If I were to ever see them I would be polite and then go about my business as the stranger down the street. If I have 10 yrs. left to live I want to spend it with the people who enrich my life and not with the ones that take. It took many yrs. to evolve to this point and to feel ok with accepting the idea that there are some people and causes that just are not worth my energy and time. These limited resources are better spent elsewhere.It took a long time for me to learn that I had the right to say "no" and the conflict it caused was often painful.Change is seldom easy.
It is so "funny" that in your job you are strong and assertive.
Thanks Pam, it's a mutual admiration society--I have learned a lot from you.
I admit, I had to chuckle at the topic. I always recall this book I read (can't remember which one) which say how all the things you love and fell for in your SO, are probably now the same things that drive you crazy.
He's so nice...yup and he's nice to everyone, including people you dislike and he's also sometimes a doormat.
He's so sweet...until you realize he dislikes conflict and basically is the avoidance type
He's so outgoing...and you hate that he talks to everyone, makes chit chat with any person on the street, in line, etc....especially those other women.
My point is, we all have traits that have good and bad to them. Some of you may be conflict avoiders, but then, I also bet people feel you are the sweetest and most giving people. People believe I'm strong, others think that makes me hard and cynical. People think I'm honest and upfront, others think I'm just mean.
Unfortunately, we all have to remember that the qualities that we love in ourselves or others, also apply to other people. Your SO maybe nice and giving, but most likely, he'll be like that with the people you're not fond of too. It could mean he's passive, or a conflict avoider, it could also mean he's just sweet and doesn't see the world like you.
What can we do? You got me!!! LOL.
Yes, and it's pretty well true of any personality trait.....
I love the fact that my SO is "decisive"...he can just make a decision, and go with it.