Thursday, September 19, 2013

Confrontational...and All That Implies

As a child I was very shy. In know that child that hides behind her mothers leg when talked to? That was me. As I grew older I was comfortable with my friends but still very non-confrontational. I never spoke up or stood up for myself because I was never taught to. My mom was always there to fight my battles and speak up for me. This served me well until I was shoved out the door to attend college away from home. I deliberately or at the very least subconsciously sabotaged myself before I even left home. Once I left I had no adult problem solving skills so it was not long before I was back home.

I think my mothers need to control all in her hemisphere because she felt so out of control was part of what kept me so co-dependent for so long. There was a part of me that fought and rebelled at every turn, but not in the areas I needed to be fighting. I had no idea what I was fighting for or even against, all I knew was I didn't like being controlled by my mother....unless of course someone was mean to me or confronted me on something. Then I was that little girl hiding behind her mothers leg again. What was cute at three was not so appealing at 23. I think this was part of the reason I got into an abusive relationship. I was running from my mother but I ran straight into the arms of someone who wanted to control me just as badly as she did.....and I let him. Where Mom was doing it with my best interest at heart....he was doing it for his best interest.

When I met my husband, he started making me stand on my own two feet. It was a good mix of being there for me and making me be there for myself. Little did either of us know....he was preparing me for a time down the road where he would no longer be there and I would be completely on my own. I was learning though and maybe in some ways....I learned a little too well.

The first time I ever remember standing up to someone and down right getting in their face was over some bill of my mothers. It was when she was going through chemo and she just didn't have it in her to fight anymore. She had gone around and around with this particular company and she thought she had it taken care of....only to find the next month that she was still charged. She was near tears and I couldn't handle that. I grabbed the phone from her hand and I lit into the representative on the other end. I was on that phone for nearly an hour chewing out every supervisor I could get a hold of while my mother looked on in shock. She had never ever seen this side of me before. Neither had anyone else. By the time I was finished the bill was taken care of and they had promised to send Mom a hand written apology for all the grief they had put her through. Did they? I have no idea, but it was the first time I had taken control of a situation and seen it through to the very end like that. I remember feeling a little bit empowered. Again....little did I know that this would be great practice for when I was dealing with insurance companies and medical agencies. Who knew?

Eventually I was on my own with just the kids and I had to face the world without a leg to hide behind. I learned that a single mother with kids is a target for every shady car salesman, the IRS, insurance companies and anyone else who wants to pull a fast one. I found myself having no choice but to stand up for myself and fight so that people knew I was not someone to take advantage of. I also had to learn what my mother never did where my kids were concerned. Kids have to be taught the skills and be empowered to stand up for themselves and fight their own battles. They also have to learn to take the consequences for their actions both good and bad. However, there are times as a parent that a situation is out of their skill set or you have a child without a voice (like David) and you have to step in. Perhaps this is why I am fairly well known amongst some teachers and personnel in the school district. That is not a bad thing!

In the last few years I joke about the fact that I have little or no filter where my mouth is concerned but the fact is true! I have gone from hiding and fearing conflict to jumping directly into its path. I have even been told that I am a very confrontational person...and all that implies. Whatever that means! I do however, find it very difficult anymore to just let things be or not say something when I feel something should be said. Perhaps it is age or maybe I have just found my voice. Maybe it is a combination of the two. With this new voice though, I have had to work really hard on when and where to use it. I am learning to pick my battles carefully. Trust me....this lesson has come from trial and error.

Politically I have lots of opinions and just as many hot buttons that can set me off. I have learned you have to know both your audience and your topic and again....pick them carefully. You also have to be careful of how you word things. The old saying that "You can tell someone to go to hell and make them look forward to the journey," applies here. People don't have to agree with me, but I would like to be eloquent enough to make someone at least think. The same is true for family situations. You can't brush something under the rug time and time again and then suddenly get pushed to the point where you go off on the wrong thing. I have done that. It is a shock for my family too as I still try to stay pretty non-confrontational with them. I have learned that it does no good to make a point if no one is listening or no one cares. However, there have been a couple of times when the buttons where pushed and my mouth over rode my good sense. It is kind of like going from Lisa 2.0 to Lisa 10.0 without any filter at all. It is not pretty and I usually come out defeating my own purpose when this happens. I am learning to avoid the people and places that can bring out these strong opinions.

Anymore I try to avoid the hot buttons of both politics and family. I will speak out if I feel like my words will be heard or have an effect, but otherwise I really try to reign in the confrontation. Every once in a while though......

Trust me, the filter is far from in tact. My health insurance company is quite aware of this as are several doctors offices. I have learned though along the way that beating a dead horse doesn't make the horse any more or less dead. You can only say so much and either you make your point or resign yourself to the fact that it has fallen on deaf ears and you have done all you can. Case and point.....a certain sports editor of a certain small town paper. At a certain point you just realize that you can't fix stupid, egotistical or brainwashed....and to continue trying is a waste of time, breath and a good blog.

So now you know a little more about I suggest you do your best not to piss this filterless old woman off! ;)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really think having no filter is an age thing. We get to the point where we have bitten our tongue for so many years that we don't want to anymore. I don't have a filter anymore either and I would bet I am a lot older than you. I can really relate to this blog.