Handling Impossible People
Listen to the podcast: http://www.spreaker.com/user/bathsheba/handling-impossible-people
Imagine. You’re standing at the top of a cliff with your best friend on your right and your worst enemy on the left. A conversation is pending; one that is long overdue between the individual that stands on the left side of you. Years have elapsed since you last talked with this person. You had given yourself distance between the two of you, because you were once friends, until betrayal entered the picture. This person slept with the only person you ever loved. You had trusted them with all of your secrets; everything about your relationship, your children, and interests. Unfortunately, the sharing of information led that individual into now being the one to take care of your kids. S/he has been in a relationship with your significant other for about four years now, and there you stand, at the top of a cliff, seeing each other for the first time in years.
I know you’re thinking, well if this person has reared my children, how could I not have seen them in years?
You’ve avoided it. You only see your kids when they are with you. You talk to the ex (the other biological parent) and avoid the ex-friend. You have so much anger that you thought it best not to encounter the person. Today is the first and last time you’d see them.
Angrily, you think about approaching the individual. Your best friend whispers in your ear to warn you not to say anything, but you decline the warning and move in haste. You tap your enemy and words are exchanged. In the heat of the moment, s/he says the one thing that unlocks all of your insecurities, anger, and resentment:
“I am a better spouse and parent anyway.”
You lose it and push your enemy with all of your might. S/he goes flying off the edge of the cliff.
You look over the edge of the cliff and reality hits you. You’ve made a major mistake. Never had you thought in a thousand years, that you were capable of committing such a crime.
The police arrive on the scene. You try to think of what to say. Should you lie or tell the truth?
Your best friend speaks up. “Officer, I am so sorry. I did not mean for this to happen. We got into a heated discussion and I lost it, the rest is history. I realize I’ll have to pay the penalty for this crime.”
You can’t believe it. You’re in shock and while you don’t want your best friend to go to jail, you’re relieved that s/he is willing to take the consequences and decide that you will do any and everything possible to prove his/her innocence without exposing your guilt.
It’s to no avail. After several failed attempts, your best friend is tried for your crime and sentenced to death. The story goes, s/he premeditated the murder of your enemy, as a means of defending you for all the wrong that had been done unto you in the last four years.
You know it’s not true. But you allow your best friend to go to jail for a crime you committed, and ……
This friend dies for it.
Now take yourself out of the equation. Substitute you for your worst enemy; the person you find it hardest to forgive.
Have your emotions changed now that it is someone else that has committed the crime? Do you empathize with the individual who has moved in haste and anger?
Of course your feelings have changed. We’re talking about your worst enemy; the person who has hurt you most. How could anyone possibly empathize with someone who stole from you, betrayed you, ruined your reputation or worst, took advantage of you?
I know. Some people are damn near impossible to deal with. You have those individuals that just should not be forgiven no matter what. No one should feel sorry for them and their actions; they deserve whatever comes their way.
Do you truly feel that way about them?
It’s amazing how we reserve mercy and grace for ourselves and deny the right of it to others. The best friend would take the rap for you and your enemy. The best friend in this story represents Jesus. In the story—if we are honest with ourselves—we are relieved that someone comes to the rescue to cover our mistake. Deep down inside we know we should pay the penalty for what we’ve done but we also feel a sigh of relief for not having to.
We don’t have the same frame of mind when it comes to other people. They get on our nerves, make us angry to the point of four-letter-words, ignored emails (or emails that we probably should have waited on sending), middle fingers in traffic, the I’mma-get-you-back law of reciprocity, indian giving etc. Those who have wronged us make us so angry that we become bitter. We want them to hurt the same way.
I used to feel that way about people who wrong me. Like I wanted them to feel all the pain that they had inflicted upon me—if not more—until my father died.
I was so angry with him. He had done a number of things that definitely contributed to my abandonment issues and insecurities, but when I looked at him in the casket I thought,” After all of these years, I still do hope that he changed his life. That no matter what, he did, I was sad that he died the way he did: a heart attack. It pained me more to see him motionless, without a word or laugh to share again. All things that he’d done weren’t terribly bad. In fact, he is the reason that I have a love for words and writing.
He used to challenge me with words like gregarious, pulchritudinous, heinous, and insidious when I was only ten-years-old. But the one time he made a MAJOR mistake, which caused my life to head over the hills, and hanging by a thread—I forgot all of the positives he had done. I never took the time to understand what made him behave the way he did. Just like the individual in the above scenario, we clearly understand why s/he ended up pushing the other off the cliff.
Well sometimes, life gives you lemons and you don’t always know how to make lemonade. Sometimes the sour and bitter taste makes you forget the possibility of adding sugar to make a negative situation into a positive one, that you wind up regurgitating everything that affected you. Someone once said, “Every abuser was once abused.” Let us be careful not to become the very things we despise.
Yes, some people you may feel are impossible but….
I’ll just say it another way.
I actually wrestled with whether or not I should admit this on the air, because like I said before, people will use your information against you. But what the heck, I’m not that Bathsheba anymore. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Behold all things are new and the old has passed away. Well, I may look the same but inwardly God has transformed me and continues to change the way in which I think and behave.
So, I’m new. Enough said. I can talk about the old.
I’ve observed lots of altercations with people, specifically while working in the field of education. One thing that I’ve noticed is that in every single altercation between students, there has never been a single party that openly admits the altercation was caused or initiated by them. The onus is always on the other person. “She started it!”
Think to yourself. Whenever an unpleasant experience happens between you and another party or parties, you –well, I’ll say, I—view it as happening “to” me.
There are a few problems with this way of thinking. “To,” indicates you are removed from the negativity that is occurring and that you have played no part in the conflict; that you are blameless and…..
This is a difficult subject so for the sake of this podcast, I will go ahead and use myself as an example.
I have been an impossible person to deal with.
Remember how I said that I really didn’t think I was imperfect? That I have abandonment issues? That I was this textbook Christian with false humility?
Yea. Could you imagine living with someone like that? Someone who always thinks they’re right? Someone who is so rigid and believes him/herself righteous so you can’t say anything against them because they write it off as you’re not aligned with God, and that’s why you are just so far off from the truth?
Could you imagine that? Now think of all of your shortcomings. Think of the package you present in relationships with people.
Could you imagine living with you?
When I took that perspective I thought, “Wow, God! I don’t even like who I am. If I had to hang with that Bathsheba today, I’d take a rain check.
The old Bathsheba was definitely contributed to some unhealthy relationship dynamics in the past. Yea. I admitted it.
I don’t know about you but, I’m tired of lying to myself and I’m tired of others perpetuating my denial with “soft” lies of sympathy.
“Oh. Really?!!! I can’t believe that happened to you. You’re such a good person.”
The heck if I am. I’m not always good. I do and say crazy stuff all the time. It just depends on whether or not I’ve read my word for the day. If I haven’t…..well, let’s just hope that I have.
Some of this stuff I brought on myself. Not saying that all problems are your fault. Instead, I’m saying you have to be accountable for your contributions and the mistakes you’ve made. (Jesus wants you to identify those mistakes and repent. The scenario in the beginning was not to get you off the hook, it was to help you understand that the same way you make mistakes, others do as well. ) No one is ever worth someone treating them like the dirt beneath their feet, regardless of any poor decisions made.
I’m talking specifically about relationships with people. This is not about crimes found on the special victims unit of Law and Order. Those are different cases where individuals are truly victims. I’m speaking specifically to those who know I’m speaking to them. LOL
You know if you start trouble. You know when you’re saying too much or when you shut down.
You know you can be impossible to deal with at times.
So again, I’ll ask the question: Can you imagine living with you?
If your answer is no, then, maybe the same way in which you expect others to show you mercy, is the same way you should serve it to others.
Until next time.