For various reasons, some of us have finely honed our skills in the Putting Up With arena and can now be trusted to teach a Master Class.
For some of us it starts in early, early days, as we are taught it is Wrong to have feelings, Wrong to express like or dislike, Wrong to show fear or discomfort in the face of a parent waving a gun around your five-year-old freaked out self.
We learn the art of Putting Up With, because who really cares how we feel? We exist only to be a reflection of them, whether our parent, our partner, or our friend. We only have power to make them look Good or Bad. We have no real weight of our own in this world. We have gravity only as long as they see us reflected back in their mirror.
We accept things as The Norm. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t actually bring flowers, they thought about it, and that’s enough, right? We aren’t that important anyway.
We accept when they bring red roses after you’ve told them red roses are anxiety inducing to you because that’s what always followed a huge fight between your parents–your father buying your mother red roses.
We accept when they decide that even though you specifically asked for a silver ring, they buy you a gold one.
We think, “at least they thought of me.”
Putting Up With.
Time after time we are shown that our wishes, our feelings, our desires don’t actually matter.
Till we accept one tiny glimmer of hope offered maybe once a year in a long and relentless struggle called A Relationship.
Could be family members. Could be romantic partners. Could be that friend you’ve known for years.
We are the People Pleasers. They are the Takers, the Users.
We are the Enablers. The Codependent. They are the bullying children in adult bodies.
Over the weekend I had a front row seat to a performance that was too familiar. I was sitting in a neighbor’s living room chatting when her very drunk son started becoming belligerent and bullying. What is happening? This is not safe! said my body and brain, turning on like a Christmas lighting ceremony on Main Street.
And his mama making excuses for him, for his behavior. Insisting he is harmless, nothing bad will happen.
–after he threatened me. Pushed me. Her friend and neighbor. A stranger to him.
I used to live like that. My childhood. My marriage.
Whether physical or emotional, the pain is real.
The damage is real. To our mental health. To our physical health as our bodies break down from the ongoing stress.
The harm is real. To our children’s growth, as we teach them that this is The Norm for behavior.
As we teach ourselves and them to Just Put Up With.
Thank God for my long-time therapist–she led me out of that dark and poisonous jungle of thinking and acceptance.
My nervous system and emotions are still healing, but 9 years out from my childhood and marriage, I AM HEALING. I recognize insane dysfunction when I see it now. i have a 99% calm body and mind. I enjoy life, laugh freely, wake up in the morning happy for another day instead of dreading it.
I AM NOBODY’S VICTIM. My therapist helped me see that Putting Up With is a choice…a harmful choice that does no one good. That person gets to continue their behavior free and clear with not a consequence in sight. When I am simply Putting Up With someone’s dismissive and uncaring behavior, my body is in a constant state of fight or flight, aroused in all the non-fun ways.
YOU can choose to be nobody’s victim. You were created to be a whole person. Your own person, with your own gravity.
You deserve that silver ring, dammit.