Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tears and Mud

Sorta been one of those weeks. I had a big oral exam in my Spanish class and I froze up, mind blanked, even if I'd rehearsed what I was to say again and again and again and had a cheat sheet with a few words and graphics on it to remind me what to say. I froze like a guilty deer in the headlights of an eighteen wheeler. I didn't run out of the room crying, but it was close.

My daughter keeps telling me that as long as I'm participating in class and doing all the homework that my grade will be passing. Apparently she did just this, bomb tests but passed with an okay grade in her statistics (I think?) class because she participated in class and did all homework. I hope so because I am going mind blank in the tests. Brain farts.

Still struggling to conjugate irregular verbs properly.

One of the things that really rocked my week pretty horribly is that I had a disagreement with a close friend, a close friend I've watched struggle with moods in the wake of a serious health crisis. She's gone from someone with a joyous and wonderful disposition to one of the most fearful folks with a very unpleasant mood most of the time now. Add in that she keeps telling me that she thinks my moderation of No Longer Quivering falls under the category of 'sin' and I'm just about done now.

The change in her so great and so off putting. There's much she still does from our old church that rubs me the wrong way. But I smile and ignore most of it because she is one of my good friends. I rarely point out the things she does that aren't so kosher. She's moved into the constantly criticizing me thing, which I get enough of from various family members without adding in friends that do this. I cannot decide if I just need to give her space for awhile or give her a big dose of her own very critical medicine.

Whatever step I take I'm going to have to have a serious discussion with her, which I'm dreading because the last time I tried to talk to her about her complete change in personality and behavior it didn't go well. She denied anything was different, denied she'd been snapping at her husband in a mean fashion. In fact she followed that up with a pretty 'out there' statement. She said, and I quote, "I do not sin!"

That sort of blew me away because even if you don't believe in the construct of sin or heaven and hell the fact is that everyone screws up, everyone doesn't behave 100% perfectly 100% of the time. People are human and humans tend to flub things up. I know I do, I find myself some days, like the day of the oral exam, making mistakes left and right. I'm very imperfect, I know it and I freely admit it. Knowing this is half the battle sometimes. 

What happened this week is that she posted one of those pro-gun memes on Facebook, I mistook it as something from a friend of hers that she'd commented on, totally missing that it was on her wall. I pulled up government website statistics over what she was alleging and started posting a legitimate rebuttal. She erased everything I'd posted and sent me a message on Facebook about how I kept posting all this 'Ungodly' stuff on Facebook that was distressing her. I didn't reply because I've learned it's best to give someone that's super angry, like she is, some space and talk to them later once everyone has had some time to calm down.

This has been one of the most useful things I picked up in therapy, that I don't have to fight with people just because they want to fight. Step back, take a deep breath and talk to them later when everyone is calm.

Usually when it's a friend on Facebook that says things I think are pretty horrible, like the friend that keeps putting up posts supporting brainless brain surgeon Ben Carson, or another friend that is an anti-vaxxer, I just skim past those posts and do not comment. But if it's a friend of a friend spewing this stuff I will sometimes do what I did then, pull up legitimate info disputing whatever it is and post it in the comments.

I think this friend of mine thinks that my moderation/administration of NLQ is somehow a criticism of her and her religious views, when frankly it has nothing to do with her at all and I'm not trying to put her or her beliefs down.

But I am so so over her attempts to tell me what I'm doing is 'sin'. Exposing dangerous theology has to happen and only those who've lived it truly understand the danger of it. Just this evening Jim gave a speech on the cult church we left as in how to spot a cult from a church. We're going to keep doing it.

One good thing that has come out of all of this is that I now make every effort to speak to Jim in a kinder tone after a week listening to and witnessing the way she was talking to her husband recently. I was convicted to never snap at him again around other folks, not because it hurts his feelings, Jim has stated he can't really tell when I'm angry with him. But I'm stopping it because of the atmosphere of tension it creates in those forced to listen to and watch it. I was reminded too much of my parents and the horrible tension between the two of them that ruined much of my childhood. I never want to inflict that type of tension on others just because I cannot control my mouth.

The other thing that happened this week is I was hit by a car in the same darn twenty square foot area I've been hit by drivers backing up twice in the last years. I'm okay, a little sore, a little bruised. Got cussed out for my troubles. I think I'm going to have to stay away from Target or start parking behind the store.

I am hoping this week is better and that I have the courage, kindness and compassion to have the type of conversation with my friend that needs to happen. I pray she is able to receive it without exploding.


Brian said...

Just to let someone else be; to let them express themselves without offering or forcing, without trying to fix-it, or make it go away because it is difficult or uncomfortable. Sometimes I share my heart with my best friend and it can be full of self-pity or anger, feelings so labile and pouring out. He listens to me. He does not try to control me or take away my pain. He listens to me and is with me. I am not sure how to express this but that kind of friendship. the presence of another who cares, a presence without judgement or correction, is something of true friendship, for me.
I think you accomplish a great deal by just attending a friend and listening carefully. This to me is witnessing. It is human caring. When I was in church, social boundaries were messed with.... People interfered with one another's autonomy and used God as an excuse. The word 'sin' is a torture tool. It was like an extension of childhood, where parents spank to correct rather than love and be with their children, trusting their innocence and vision to grow and mature. I now believe all evangelical, literalist type churches tend toward emotional abuse. I can no longer be 'churched' and feel so very thankful!

Karen said...

My mother went through a period of time after her own mother died, when my father could do nothing right. She was only too happy to lay out his shortcomings to everyone, at even the slightest opportunity. I remember one family dinner when I was writhing with discomfort by the end, at this evisceration of my father. He took it stoically. She got over it after about two years.

Since then I NEVER idly whine about my husband. Period. He has his faults. So do I. I may discuss a specific issue with a close friend, with a focus on "how do I deal with this issue?" but I will never insult him in public. Because, when the crap hits the fan, he has my back. I will have his back, too.

A long time ago, I made a friend who was my boss at the time. I worked in an industry where such relationships were fluid; at the time I worked for him, but later on he worked for me; somebody has to bite the bullet and figure out how to get the group effort done and keep the monkeys off everyone else's back. Such is the nature of engineering in Silicon Valley. My friend (it's been about 27 years now!) impressed me in the beginning because he never, ever, talked badly about his wife; that was often a lunch table thing with other male colleagues. He was another inspiration to treat my husband well.

That doesn't mean our spouses are angels; I've thrown potholders in frustration at mine on occasion. And I would NEVER counsel someone to stay in a failed relationship. But life happens. I plan on facing mine with my husband at my side.