Earning the right to be heard — controlling interactions


I had a situation last fall with one of my sons where another family got involved.  They handled the whole situation badly — in other words, in their eyes, I was not necessary to its resolution even though I was the parent.  One of the parents hung up on me after we spoke (we were fine while she did all of the talking, but after I started speaking up it all went downhill), neither would then return my calls, and I was treated with general disrespect and rudeness.  This is a Christian family. I have news for you: Christians are just as messed up, if not more messed up, than non-Christians (oh wait, you already knew this).

I received a very, very long letter from one of these people today.  Here’s the thing:  I read the first sentence and stopped.  It was not, “I’m really sorry for being rude and disrespectful to you.” So I folded the letter and put it back in its envelope and stuffed it in my book bag (I was in my mythology classroom waiting for class to begin).  I didn’t give it another thought until I was driving home.  Remember, I do a lot of thinking in the car.  I thought and I thought.  I came to a conclusion:

I do not owe this person a moment of my time.   I do not owe her a hearing.  She still has never asked me for any input on the situation, over and over again contradicted my own knowledge of facts on some continuing issues (this is one reason I am considering a career in the law — like attorney law, not cop), and has not shown any remorse for her behavior after five months.  Why, oh why would she write me a letter?  I haven’t read it, so I don’t know.  She has not earned the right to be heard by me.

Yep, I made a decision.  I might read this letter someday, but right now I do not have the emotional energy to deal with her.  I do not owe her a hearing.  I owe her absolutely nothing and that is what she is getting.

I decide who gets a little bit of my very small, sometimes very fragile emotional reserves.  That is a part of my power, and I am holding onto it while I grow a little more powerful, a little stronger, a little less fragile.

She has not earned the right to be heard by me at all.  Not at all.

P.S. A year ago I would have read the letter right there before class began, let it suck me in, upset me, and dominate me.  I am learning more and more about boundaries.  I feel like this is a big deal for me.

P.S.S. I have decided that Americans are extremely rude (yes, I am an American so I can say this).  Oh, that pride.

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