Back in August I shared an incident which had occurred between my neighbor and myself. Prior to that, I had written, Positively negative: Why we need positive people to put up with us negative folk.
Earlier this week, my neighbor “attacked” again. She requested my presence, in the evening, when I was with my family, after I’d had a very long day and was experiencing a lot of pain and fatigue and had taken some OTC P.M. medication, which was starting to kick in. I informed her that I was unavailable and I opted to let her know about the pain issues as my reasons for declining. I did this for two reasons: 1st – I believe that giving people an explanation for declining their requests provides information they can use in mitigating any misguided sense of rejection and in formulating future requests, 2nd – since I know she experiences health issues of a similar nature, although more severe, I hoped she would empathize more and realize I wasn’t rejecting her, but taking care of me.
She responded negatively and did what she has done before, sent a slyly worded question designed to belittle and accuse me of faking illness, along with the phrase, “no offense.”
Unlike previous times, my response was swift and concise.
“If you are calling me a hypochondriac, offense is meant and taken. You don’t have any room to accuse me of faking pain or illness. Do not contact me again. You’ve been blocked.”
I’d finally found the feature on my phone which allows me to block calls and messages from specific callers. Yay!
When I woke up the next morning, this message was in my “other” inbox on Facebook:
What is your reason for being upset? I thought that you were able to accept feedback, I wasn’t intentionally attacking you.
This was my response:
There is a pattern you follow with me: You reach out, requesting my presence. Often, you do so at times when I am otherwise occupied and/or when I am experiencing increased pain/fatigue at the end of the day. I have as much going on in my life and things to get done as you do. I have health issues, less severe than the ones you experience, but they are real. Unlike you, I do not have insurance, therefore, I do not have access to treatment and medication to manage the symptoms and minimize the pain.
Whenever I have not responded in a way you want to your requests, you send me messages which imply that I am faking or exaggerating my symptoms. That is not feedback, however much you think it is. It is rude, manipulative, and unacceptable.
You have basically accused me of the things, many things, which people have said about you.
I’ve tried to stay positive and constructive with you. I have defended you when others have said, justifiably negative things about you, I have spent time with you and listened to you and what you are dealing with and coping with in life and have tried to offer what I could. I know it wasn’t enough for you, but it’s all I had to offer because I have a challenging life too.
Her: I understand the pattern you speak of and I am genuinely sorry. I love you.
Me: Thank you for that. I truly care about you. But, I’m dealing with too much conflict and chaos from too many directions to keep myself open to hurtful behavior and comments from one more person in my life.
The conversation went on from there and remained constructive. I gave her some very clear boundaries about when I am available to her and how we can arrange that so that it works for both of us. We’ll see how it goes from here.
The point and the reason for me sharing this is that I have learned and come to understand through my own healing and recovery process and from witnessing the lives of others that crazy, scary, dysfunctional, abusive people can’t be shunned into becoming better human beings. The crazy, scary, dysfunctional, abusive behavior is a mask, armor, and shell which has formed from the deepest and most painful broken places inside of a person.
I have been a crazy, scary, dysfunctional, and abusive person. I was in denial about the fullness, depth, breadth, and length of my crazy and how it impacted others. All I could see was the pain I was in and all I knew was that the origins of that pain had come from other people and the world around me, starting from a very young age. I didn’t know or understand, or have people who knew and understood that some of the crazy, scary, dysfunction was an inherent aspect of my neurophysiological chemistry, which was triggered and exacerbated by life events and relationships with other broken, dysfunctional human beings. How could any of us know that about ourselves or each other without going through a steep learning curve in the midst of everything else we have to learn in life?
I’m still healing and growing and learning to live with the c/s/d aspects of myself. I’m realizing and recognizing that those parts of me need to be accepted, understood, and cared for in order for me to move beyond where I’m at and where I’ve been into who I’m meant to be.
If there had not been people who chose to stay connected to me who stayed in relationship with me, even when I couldn’t stand to be in relationship with myself, even when I isolated and withdrew from them, even when I lashed out at them, or when I lied, used, and manipulated them, people who were able to show me another way of being, of living, of loving, I would not be where I am today. Sometimes they withdrew, for a time, or allowed me to be in my isolation. Some of them got burned out and weary and turned away from me, seemingly for good and often without a word of explanation. However, enough of them continued to welcome me back into their lives and their hearts.
Through all of these people, I’ve learned about God’s love which enables us to love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable.