Different Spin by Daphne Iking
LEARNING TO DRAW THE LINE
WOULD it not be good if we were able to just live at peace with everyone.
Easier said than done, right? Especially when that one person is pushing their agenda (and your buttons), and becomes upset if you don’t embrace it or share the same sentiments about it.
I find this downright annoying and it gets worse when this person is someone dear and close to you, because then — tolerance and a heavy dose of patience is required to remain sane and civil with that person.
I’ve been in situations where I’ve been hurt. Not just in words, but physically and emotionally too.
And it hurts most when it is by someone you trust, someone you care deeply for, someone you think should be looking out for you and not cause you heartache.
Someone referred to them as “grinders” — someone who grinds you until your shine wears off.
They drive you crazy and away from the relationship you share with him or her.
I met Mr X, someone who got along pretty well with me in the beginning, but as our friendship progressed, I realised that his sense of wit was no longer funny, but mean and patronising.
I was going through a dark phase in my life then and welcomed his jokes and ability to make me laugh.
He probably thought I could fill a hole in his life. Unfortunately, it started to create a hole in mine.
If someone says something or does something that hurts you, what would be an ideal response?
Is it to pretend like everything is fine so you can keep the peace? Or is it in confronting the person to prove how wrong they are?
I think either way isn’t the best answer.
If ever I catch myself pretending, I know I am processing my hurt the wrong way.
Take my experience with Mr X. I slowly moved away from my friendship with him as being around him only made me unhappy.
And when things became abusive, I knew it was time to move on. It was obvious that this relationship was capsizing and unhealthy.
For the both of us.
Many moons later, he apologised. I forgave him, but it was very hard to forget the pain.
Is it true forgiveness if one says, “I can forgive you, but I will never forget”?
Many tell me that it’s not a sincere apology — but how does one erase the memories? How does one forgive wholeheartedly?
Those spiritually inclined tell me that the Godly way in approaching this situation is with integrity — responding in a way that’s honest.
That sounded too complicated for me. So I have decided on this approach instead.
When a relationship brings me down, absorbs my life, or creates chaos, it would be good to have a reality check of the whole scenario.
First, I ask myelf. Have I listened with compassion and responded in love?
It’s important to evaluate your own behaviour to see if you are the contributing factor to the toxic relationship.
It takes real guts to do this as we are only human and want to remain blameless in any situation but owning up is key. And a brave start.
Second, set your own limits as people can only get in your space if you leave the door open. Decide what is healthy for you and draw a line there.
I was previously in a relationship where distance was going to be a problem for us.
But I ignored this nagging feeling as we both had our careers, so we tolerated with the situation. But tolerance can be patronising.
I feel it’s fake as we put on this ‘facade’ to endure something we don’t quite agree with or is like a stranger to us, and we tolerate, because it keep things civil.
We split up after a year.
How can tolerance be a sincere attitude when you have to do something because it is expected from you, right? Am I making any sense here?
I think one needs to genuinely learn to accept and not just tolerate a person’s idiosyncrasies. Acceptance seems like a stronger mindset and value.
It’s not about putting up with something that is different to you, but about accepting the differences and moving beyond them.
Finally, know when to walk away.
If your key is to live at peace, there will be times when it is not possible and we may need to part ways for a reason. Like an instance with a certain quarter of the family. Some blamed me, so I felt it was my duty to try and patch things up between all those involved, but God seemed to have other plans.
So after a year, I have decided to stop trying. I believe that God can redeem anything and often brings people back together after a time of separation.
Or sometimes HE doesn’t. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise so I don’t have to deal with their idiosyncrasies and to keep a front for them.
And likewise for them.
If things can’t be patched up, no matter how hard you have tried, sometimes it's best to just walk away.
(It's easier for everyone, especially for the heart)
Daphne gave Mr X another chance but is careful this time around. Everyone deserves a second chance, no? Daphne would like to wish all Muslim readers a blessed Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir dan Batin.