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.