I’ve been seeing a lot of comments lately about the aberrant behavior of people. It’s from just a random gathering of conversations and situations, nothing specific. But I have noticed a similar refrain being repeated as a response - They must be mentally ill/unstable/having a breakdown. I hope they get the help they need.
It’s meant as a compassionate thought. It’s also labeling the action as a one off or outlier of the person’s overall behavior.
Maybe this person’s just a horrible human being? Maybe they never learned how to treat people with kindness and respect even when they aren’t getting their way or are angry. Maybe this is the type of person that does’t just go off on a store clerk but also goes home and berates their spouse everyday.
And more than anything what I hear in these comments is silence that this behavior is unacceptable and that the people on the other end of that vitriol in no way deserved to be exposed to it. That THEY are the real victims here.
At this point I often think back to one of the most personally hurtful and destructive points in my life - my divorce. It was nasty.
He was nasty. But he had been for years. Behind closed doors he was severely controlling and verbally abusive. And perhaps because of that very abuse I was determined to never project my anger or hurt on someone who does not deserve it.
And I never did. At no point did I loose my tempter and yell and scream at someone. No matter how much pain and hurt I was in I never chose to lash out at the people that where there for me - because above all I valued them, their love, trust and kindness, their support of me.
I never lost sight of that.
When we were in meditation, at one point the mediator came back to my room and told me that my soon-to-be-ex was angry - very angry. He’d been yelling and his anger was “palatable” she said. She looked obviously shaken by his display.
She looked at me after saying this as if it was supposed to motivate me to cave.
I just looked at her and said, “That’s why I’m doing this, so that I don’t have to be in the same room with him when he’s that angry ever again.”
No amount of pain or anguish in my life makes it okay to abuse a bystander, a loved one or a friend.
When you make the choice to do so you damage your character, and risk destroying the relationship you have with that person or business.
We all make mistakes. We all act in a way that isn’t aligned with the person we’d like to be from time to time. It’s important that we apologize and make amends for those transgressions whenever possible.
Otherwise, people are left to assume we’ve acted well within our comfort zone.
There are people that believe it is okay to lash out in hurt or anger. That their pain validates their actions. And their wrong.
They’re just wrong.
Words and actions live on after the moment of anger has passed. And you can destroy a relationship that took years to build in a single moment by lashing out in anger. The victim of that vitriol is not to blame for rightfully setting a boundary preventing you from ever hurting them that way again.
There are so many stories I can tell about this. Times I was told it was my fault for causing their anger. That if I only had said this, or done that they wouldn’t have lost control.
Times I had learned enough to put my foot down and say this behavior is not acceptable and I won’t put up with it in my life - only to be guilted by a loved one that I should be more forgiving. That I was being stubborn and difficult for saying I would not allow someone to continue to abuse me.
And I’ve hit a point in my life where I don’t care anymore. Judge me all you want. I will set my boundaries on what behavior is acceptable around me. And if you can not conduct yourself in that manner I will no longer allow you in my life.
And it becomes so simple, once you are sure of that boundary. Once you can see it as unacceptable and draw that line in the sand. It’s simple.
It can make some social engagements or scheduling tricky. But having those people out of my life makes my life so simple.
There’s so much less hurt, pain and anguish. The fear of saying the wrong thing when you know saying anything is the wrong thing, and saying nothing is even worse.
The endless circular conversations that solve nothing and only give them more ammunition to attack you with.
After my divorce there were times my life felt down right empty - the lack of convolution and confabulation left my life empty. And that’s something people don’t talk about a lot - that when you remove these toxic people they leave a hole. That they have taken up so much of your time and engr. that there is an emptiness when they are gone. it’s a hard thing to work through. Some people go on to fill that emptiness relapsing and going back or finding another similarly toxic person.
At first I frantically filled it with hobbies and doubling down with work. But eventually, over time it leveled out and now I’m just me.
I’m busy as hell. Between my work, kiddo, kiddo’s school and trying to fit in a social life I don’t have any time to spare. I often get frustrated that I can’t find any down time, or time to focus on myself.
The point is once again my life is full. But it’s full of better things. So many better things.
Inevitably one of those toxic people reappear, or a new one shows up in my life and I have to reaffirm that boundary. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard. It’s not a fix-it and forget it situation. It’s an ongoing lifestyle.