The past couple of weeks have been really busy. Busier than usual it seems.
We also seem to have run into some pretty conflictual situations, and that sometimes expends a lot of energy.
In dealing with these situations, a few thoughts have lingered in my mind:
We had one situation with Rob’s ex. Not that I want to dwell on the negative, but I think dealing with ex’s is particulary challenging for blended families – if not the most challenging thing. So I think it’s worthy of a mention. Rob tries to talk to his kids on nights when they are not with us. One night in particular Rob said good night to Sam, and Sam, being the little guy that he is, didn’t hang up his end of the phone properly.
I bet you can tell where this story is heading.
Yup. Just as Rob was about to hang up, he heard his ex light into Sam about something, and then proceed to totally unjustly, unfairly and unkindly slander Rob. “You’re Dad does this”, “You’re Dad doesn’t do that” blah blah blah. It went on and on. To a six year old. Then dragging the other kids into it too.
Needless to say, Rob called her back later on, and had it out. What was amazing was how much she projected about her own life and her own insecurities. Most of what she “accused” Rob of, Rob was very easily able to show her that it was actually her that did those things. To which she could only respond with the equivalent of a childish “I know you are but what am I” answer. Amazingly, Rob asked her when her hostility was going to end, and she said “Maybe in 20 years”. Funny considering she could be defined as the “leaver” as I talked about here.
At any rate, this sparked some conflict, which led to some conversations with the kids. Unfortunately. Or fortunately. Depends on how you look at it.
Although in divorce it is said to keep the kids out of the things, the one thing I have learned is that you must also let the kids know some of facts – and if necessary, defend yourselves from false accusations. If you don’t, kids will create their own scenarios, or sometimes even be poisoned by the other side. I know I have heard many a expert say kids should be told nothing. But kids, as they get older, figure things out. And what they don’t figure out, they make up. And that can sometimes be worse.
The second situation involved a situation with Zach at school. I got a call from the principal’s office about an issue Zach had with another child at school. Later on that night, I got a call from that child’s mother. Again, it was amazing how much of the story that mother gave me was simply projection of her own insecurities and her own issues. The call was quite disturbing and I went back to the vice principal the next day, to have it quickly confirmed that he too noted that the issue in fact lay more with the mother than it did with any of the children involved.
It got me thinking about how easy it is to project ourselves and our own insecurities onto other people. How easy it is for those situations to turn into larger than life scenarios, if we let them. How easy it is for us to assume that our kids will feel a certain way about something because we do. How easy it is to alleviate ourselves of our own anger, insecurities and frustrations by projecting them onto someone else.
There is that saying “when you point a finger at someone, be careful because two fingers are pointing back at you” – or something like that. That is something that I clearly saw in these two situations this past week, but what it reminded me of is to be careful of the things I may be projecting on others – especially those closest to me. Am I irritated with my kids for something they did – or is it really about something that I am feeling? Am I mad at my husband because of something that he forgot, or was it something that I should have taken responsibility for anyways? Am I feeling overly sensitive about something that someone else says – simply because it is true and I don’t really want to accept it?
These are all tough questions to ask. It’s amazing how easy it is to objectivley see things in other people’s lives, and be completely blinded by things in our own lives.
The important thing I guess is to ask the questions of ourselves – to try to be self aware, and then of course, be forgiving of ourselves (and others too). Well, maybe in 20 years:)