Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Learn to Love People and Use Things... Not Use People and Love Things

I have a person in my life that doesn't respond to emails or telephone calls, nor does this person initiate emails or telephone calls. And, when I finally receive the email or call I've been waiting for, hoping for, the tone is flat... cold... emotionless... indifferent.

I am being ignored again, a clear and all too common pattern of how this other person copes with just about everything. Even though I know that about this person, immediately, my head goes to: What did I do now? Or what did I NOT do that I should have done? What did I say? What DIDN'T I say that I was expected to say? Did I break a promise? Renege on a commitment? Hurt your feelings? Ostracize you? Didn't I care enough? Call enough? Email enough? Share enough? Share too much? What real or imagined tangible thing did I do??? What? Just tell me, WHAT????

When I am ignored, of course, that's exactly the reaction the other person wants to elicit. But, if I stand back and examine my emotions behind the reactions, being ignored feels dismissive, discouraging, disheartening, insulting, mean-spirited and even back-handed. Even when other things in my life are going really well, I feel like I don't count or don't matter to the other person. And because I deeply care about the other person, I benignly accommodate them by reacting.

So, I have to remind myself that this person is a grown-up, even if they aren't acting like one, and grown-ups... well... act grown-up. They communicate. They tell you why they are upset or angry or sad or hurt, whether they do it in a conversation, email, letter or even a blog. I remind myself that, in fact, it probably has little to do with me, but everything to do with how that person feels about themselves, how little they like themselves and how difficult it is for them to cope with their own feelings.

Unfortunately, I don't have the power to make a person do anything. I don't have the power to show a person what I consider the right way or the right path. I don't have the power to make an unconscious person conscious. I don't have the power to make a person's pain or discomfort disappear. Although, I have to admit, I often wish I did.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

People are so involved in their own worlds that they usually only consider how life benefits them. It's very unfortunate you have a friend like that...is it worth your emotional suffering to keep them as a friend?