Ground Rules for Family & Friends

I’m sorry to see it’s been so long since I’ve been here. Several things have kept me away, not the least of which is you — or should I say my fear of you — the reader. At this point I realize that most of my readers know and (I’ll go out on a limb and say) love me. Based on some previous comments and solely for my comfort, there are a few things I need to tell you before you read any more of what I post on this site.

First, it’s not your fault.  My writing for the most part comes from my wounded-ness, because that’s where I find things that make me go, “hmmm.”  Therefore, it gets messy when I’m relating an experience that involved someone else, perhaps even you. You may think my pain was caused by something you did or said. What I want to say about that is this: when I use writing to explore a feeling or a situation or a memory, I am not looking for a scapegoat or for someone to blame. I’m simply looking at things as someone with more emotional skills than I likely had at the time of the original experience. I take full responsibility for my own action or inaction that led me to be in situations that I later find to have been uncomfortable, or at least worth investigating. Most often in these cases I had the option to disengage, speak up, or not show up in the first place. When I review these times it is so that I can learn how my behavior did or did not serve me at the time and consider if those types of behaviors still serve me well now. What I am learning from this exercise is that while a particular reaction in the past may have gotten me through a particular situation, continuing that behavior today  often creates barriers to the types of relationships I desire.

Second, as well as not beating up on other people, I also do not intend to beat up on myself. Just as I am not seeking apologies, I  also do not seek your words of comfort. Again, if I find that a scenario merits looking into, I am not trying to turn a finding of personal fault into “failure,” rather, I hope I may learn from a particular mistake and do things differently in the future. If I may be blunt, platitudes in the face of an honest admission of guilt or fault offend me. I once had a priest try to convince me (as an adult in my 40’s) in the confessional that I had not actually lied when it was clearly not just a little white lie that I had confessed. And even if it had been, it was something that was weighing heavily on my conscience. Offended doesn’t begin to express what I felt in that moment. Dismissed, may be more accurate. How can I receive mercy and forgiveness if what I acknowledge as a fault is swept under the rug as a mere nothing? So when I muse about wishing I had done something differently, I ask you the courtesy of letting me sit with my discomfort for a while to see what comes of it. If appropriate, I do wish for your mercy and forgiveness, but please, please, keep the platitudes.

Third, I am learning that I can only control myself and no one else, so I realize that you may throw these rules out the window. I hope you don’t. Anyway, I much prefer honest, if perhaps painful, interactions to you seething at home with hurt feelings or plying me with kindness to make me feel better. Do let me know if something I post merits further private discussion, because that’s ultimately where I hope to go with all of this: to deeper, more genuine relationships.

There, I feel better. I hope I see you here again soon.

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