Over the past 13 years I have gotten quite used to my daughter’s behavior. That is–kicking and screaming and freaking out over every small incidence in her life. I had grown accustomed to the slamming doors, the crying jags, the frustrated yelling at me because her shirt wasn’t washed or her hair looked like hell or the temperature outside didn’t suit her. I had handled it in many different ways, most of which didn’t work or actually exacerbated the the problem. I had made allowances and side-stepped arguments, yelled back, ignored, laughed, cried or just left for work.
Last night I got a text from my daughter after she had gone to gymnastics that said, “Sorry for yelling at you, I was just rushing a lot”.
This was a turnaround moment for her. This was the first time she had acknowledged her irrational behavior and looked outside herself for a moment–long enough to see how her behavior might effect others. Fabulous. Wonderful. But this is not the real problem.
The real problem with this moment, was that I realized that I hadn’t even NOTICED that she had been rude to me. It never even registered. I had become so used to her behavior that it had become commonplace and accepted.
It happens all the time–in marriages, work settings, families-sometimes it starts small, a jab here, a snide remark , and before you know it you are living with someone who doesn’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated. And like a dripping faucet on a porcelain sink, little by little you become worn away. I don’t mean serious physical abuse here–just small changes that we accept daily without noticing. Sometimes its someone not acknowledging your accomplishments or reacting sarcastically on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s someone taking advantage of your goodwill. Condescending remarks or the ever-dreaded eye-roll when we mess up. Behaviors we accept from those around us. Why? Because it’s easier to walk away? Easier to avoid conflict? Maybe, but eventually your porcelain wears away and the rust comes through. That rust will spread and become ugly–and you don’t want that.
I know I am not alone here. I see this happening to so many of my favorite people. Some say it’s a natural occurrence, when we are around certain people for so long we take them for granted. But it doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be.
My daughter came to an understanding of her rude behavior because she is growing up. Those around me who are already adults–well you are already grown and I can’t change you, I can only change myself. The first step here is to understand that I deserve to be treated greatly.
Therefore I will start to speak up when I am not treated properly–to the eye-rollers and negative nellies and the sarcastic souls I say “be gone”. I will surround myself with only those people who truly love me for who I am.
Won’t you join me?