Need to take a Relationship Sabbatical?

Do you have someone in your life who is lovely to everyone …but you?

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.

After much deliberation and hand-wringing I took my hubbs’ advice:  

 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.

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Gratitude, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Quotes, Random observations, Relationships, Useful Information, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “Need to take a Relationship Sabbatical?

  1. I drew a line also in regards to a family member, then ran like hell the other way. Man what a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders…..reading about not accepting that kind of behaviour from others, but yet tolerated it from family is really true and I thought, no more!

    Have a great weekend!

    • Good for you. It’s unfamiliar territory to be sure, but it provided tremendous release. Who knew? Thanks, Tracie, for stoppin’ on by ..

  2. I say this all the time, and it bears repeating: We Teach People How to Treat Us.
    We lower our standards, enable, take abuse and when we get hurt we think how could they be so mean? We taught them what we are willing to accept. I love this article, good for you for finally standing up for yourself and….letting…..go.

    • Thank you, Coach Beth. I’ve learned something else from this exercise: My role in it. Apparently, showing up for the flogging was part of my repertoire. Not anymore. Jimmy Cracked Corn (she says on kitten heels …Whee!)

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  6. Lindsey (Currie) Dubois

    Such a timely post for me. I have a toxic friendship….I took a long sabbatical once… But I think it’s time to stop engaging again. You are right, we DO teach others how to treat us. I need to start speaking up. I know all too well the poison of swallowing my thoughts…

    Why do I hold on to this relationship? Fear…..and an idea of what I want the relationship to be.

    Great post.

    Thank you for your insight!

    • Sometimes we have to let go the bad ones to make room for some good. Try it, it’s not necessarily easy to do, for old habits die hard .. but you will learn about yourself in the process, I guarantee it!


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  8. Great reminder…I have an uncle who is an ass and the past 4 or 5 years I have stood up to him (not my normal pattern) and a little small voice in my head has occasionally caused me to second guess my response..reading this post is a great reminder, we DO teach others how to relate to us, and I’m going to continue to not put up with his bs.

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