Just this morning I was in the middle of an emotional conversation with a friend I deeply care about.
I had asked him repeatedly to change certain behaviors, related to me, that I felt were detrimental to our relationship.
However, no matter how many times I asked, no matter how many times I tried to explain that his actions were causing me pain, my friend was not able to follow through in regards to my requests.
He was sometimes apologetic for his behavior…
Sometimes full of excuses… but nothing ever changed.
I hated asking again and again: Adults should not have to ask adults requests repeatedly, especially those they love, and I have learned, over the years, that if you ask someone to meet your request more than once and they are unable to do so… you have your answer:
They are either unable or unwilling to provide what is needed in regards to the specific request.
I must then decide: Am I able to accept the relationship on these terms?
If not… I may have to step away from the situation until my friend either understands why this is so important to me and comes back; willing to try and work towards meeting my needs or… I come back to the relationship accepting it on the present terms.
“Dear God, help me to be calm when I feel at odds in a relationship. Help me to look clearly at the situation and be honest about my expectations and my needs.”
Well I learned this week on this one, didn’t expect to have to deal with requests and answers … And I had both. I’ll learn from this as I move forward with others, let alone my ex. But from this week I can start to move away from having to respond on someone else’s terms – and protect my feelings and the progress I’m trying so hard to make.
Well said and SO TRUE!
OMG….D…this is EXACTLY what I’m dealing with right now. Thank you.
They always seem to line up huh? I’m starting to think we all just go off at the same time! 🙂
Aren’t we supposed to accept people for as they are and not try to change them or their behaviours?
I cannot allow someone to be in my life if they continue to break boundaries… I can’t change them… I can only ask for what I need and then decide:
“Am I able to accept the relationship on these terms?
If not… I may have to step away from the situation until my friend either understands why this is so important to me and comes back; willing to try and work towards meeting my needs or… I come back to the relationship accepting it on the present terms.”
It isn’t easy… especially in regards to dysfunctional relationships and addiction.
I see where you are coming from now and I agree. There is a difference between someone’s personality (which they cannot change) and their behaviour (which they can). I read an article some time ago that spelled out when it mattered. That is; things that other people do that annoy us that we would PREFER was different (being late, loud, quiet or whatever); compared to things that other people do that IS always unacceptable (abuse, addiction, infidelity etc). While ultimately we cannot change anyone’s behaviour, we can change our own response and we have every right to let people know how their behaviour impacts us. That is when the wisdom comes in; the wisdom to know the difference. The difference between annoying and unacceptable behaviour; and the difference between a reactive and a measured fair response.
I must admit, I struggle with the wisdom bit.
Oh Elizabeth me too. I struggle with the wisdom all of the time. Over twenty years of spiritual footwork and I STILL struggle. I am attracted to people who mimic my past and then I of course catch myself “doing the same things with them and expecting different results.” Setting boundaries for me when people are showing inappropriate and disrespectful behavior towards me is still difficult but I have enough growth to know… that I must do it. I get out of a bad situation much faster now than I did in the past…. but I still have to really fight to stick to my guns. I have to remember… that if a person values me… they will show me…. and if they don’t…. I need to move on.