I couldn’t have found a better meme if I had made it myself! It seems as though this has become a reoccurring theme — or plight, rather — for a lot of people around me recently. I really, REALLY buckled down about a year and a half ago and had a big internal conversation with myself about *how* I wanted to be treated, and *what* I was going to do about those who did not treat me that way. What I came up with was this:

I decided that absolutely no one is entitled to having you in their lives — not peers, not friends, not friends of family, and, yes, not even family. I decided that if someone does not make my environment, and my time on this planet, more fulfilling, more rewarding, or more treasured, than I felt as though I had the right to reevaluate if I wanted them to be a part of it at all. Absolutely no one was exempt (except for my daughter, of course; but how could I EVER not want her around?!). I decided, after 37 years on earth, that I did not have to put up with any nonsense whatsoever, if I did not so choose, and I felt as though I should never choose nonsense, again.

I may not have tossed all of the people out, like an old shoe, but I did put a looooot of emotional distance in-between us. Whether they even noticed or not, it was what I needed to do for more semblance in my own life.

Others who were truly, truly toxic, I wiped clear off my map; without apology. You see, people need to be responsible for the energy that they bring into YOUR space, and if they are too self-centered to be mindful of that, well, it’s a direct insult. It’s an insult because they’re behavior blatantly says, “I don’t care about how you feel. I am more important than you are.” And you know what? That is fine! I am never insulted by this behavior. It is a character evaluation that makes me understand that though they may have the right to be upset, what they have in vitriol, they lack in dignity. However, they can most definitely find somewhere else to go where they are welcome.

Another thing I changed was that I quit glossing over people’s rudeness or arrogance — pacifying them, if you will. If someone left me a voicemail, e-mail, text, or post that was snarky, gruff, or passive-aggressive, I COMPLETELY and UTTERLY ignored it. If they then turned around and left a voicemail, e-mail, text, or post that was respectful, mature, and practiced common courtesy, than I responded appropriately. In other words, I began to treat everyone in or around my life the way that I treat my daughter: I do not reward bad behavior -and- I respond, gleefully, to good behavior. It stinks that we have to treat teens/adults like very small children sometimes, but they do say that everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten… Well, suffice it to say that some people need some remedial refreshers courses from time to time.

Nevertheless, when people disrespect me in person, I can’t use this technique, obviously. I, like everyone, have a line that can’t be crossed. Everyone does, and everyone SHOULD. Contrariwise, when people are *trying* to rock me unsteady, I just look them square in the eye. Such displays are more embarrassing for them than for me, as is typical with this kind of discretion. I let them have their “moment” of unleash, and then I answer rationally. If this upsets them more and they begin to disrespect me and my space (i.e. being volatile, raising their voice, putting words in my mouth, coming unhinged), I speak a little louder with a very authoritative voice and lay it out simply and succinctly, “I will not sit here for this. Pull it together, treat me with respect, or I will get up and leave. Do not to try to stop me.” ( If that doesn’t work, well… Rut row! )

After that, that person will have limited to no contact with me again. There is no room for abusiveness in our lives when we can rent space out to those who are so full of love, warmth, and genuineness. You know the mantra: Love is patient, love is kind… This is not just about romantic love, this is about human to human, soul to soul love.

So, to all of you who are struggling with those tough decisions — ‘Do I have to put up with his erratic behavior because he’s my father?’, ‘Should I try to fix this one-sided riff with them just because we’re related?’, ‘Do I even comment back on these backhanded compliments or do I just quit speaking to them?’, ‘Do I leave this marriage because when they’re not happy, no one is allowed to be, and I’m tired of living this way?’, etc., etc. — remember this:

If a person thinks it is their right to disregard your feelings, comfortability, wishes, and boundaries, they have convinced themselves that your feelings are less important, a part of them owns you by the relationship you’ve given them, and they either want to beat you into submission, tear you down, or rub your fur the wrong way until you have no other choice than to act like them. None of these things are okay. You deserve better. You deserve more. If you address it with them and it persists, don’t resist letting them go. I call it “Cleaning Out My Friend Closet”. Those who make me feel cold, don’t cover my back, fall off of me unless I hold onto them, or are abrasive against me, they get made into dust rags. ::smirk::

All joking aside… IF someone in your life is not treating you the way that YOU would always treat THEM, than you’re doing them a favor by showing them the error of their ways. Nine times out of ten, nothing can do this, though, and they’ll blame the whole free world for why the relationship is over, but YOU will shed a very weighty layer and feel 100lbs lighter.

Good luck, Gallant Girls! Life’s too short to just sit there and take it. Get up and get rid of it!

Heather Angelika


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