I do. And being related further complicates matters.
This is someone who is sweet and accommodating to everyone. But not to me.
Conversations and interactions are a struggle because I have to censor everything I say. I can’t offer suggestions, be my silly self, or offer up my meandering thoughts. I have to be less than who I am.
I. Stopped. Engaging.
I stopped calling.
I just stopped.
It’s not foolproof; old habits die hard and there will, of course, be instances where being together is unavoidable. But … interesting things happened when I took a relationship sabbatical…I learned this: we teach others how to treat us, including family. If I would not accept dismissive and acidic comments from others (a co-worker, an in-law, a neighbor), why did I tolerate it from her? Was it “keeping the peace,” or “doing what I know?”
When I said nothing, did nothing, and swallowed my words, I gave up my power. My inaction enabled the behavior to continue.
Stepping back was taking action while avoiding a scene (and there would have been, trust me). It was covert. It was calculated and yes, it was effective, because here’s my surprising realization: I don’t miss the relationship. I miss the idea of what our relationship was.
I feel lighter.
I am happier.
I am now completely – 100% – myself.
Getting older. Accepting ourselves. Raising the bar for how others treat us. Drawing a line in the sand and having the courage to stand behind it. Powerful.