Well I literally JUST came to realize that I am full of crap! For years, I have used the whole, “Once you’re an adult, you can’t blame your behavior on how you were raised anymore. Once you know better, you can’t say your actions are the result of how you grew up!” BALONEY!
Please don’t mistake me! I’m not saying that people that beat their spouses or murder people should be able to say that it was a result of how they were raised and be excused. ( I don’t think! I just came to realize that I am one of those people I once, so passionately, spoke against.) But I am saying that when you are a child, you are being molded by every person around you; the way they speak, behave, respond, look, etc. Your family’s way of life, becomes your way of life. And life-long habits are extremely hard to break!
Maybe your family was soft-spoken and reflected before they responded to situations. Maybe your family was loud and liked to fight. (My family and the people I grew up around were not like the first family I described.)
So, my mother was single when I was born, eventhough she was married to my biological father until she passed away last year (a man that I never met until year before last… just by the way will be another story for another day). My mother suffered from severe mental illnesses and I was tossed around a lot as a kid. But regardless of what adults (or children) I was around, I was around hard-tails. You know, the people who always went on the defense if they felt offended in any way; or worse… they were the ones who were offensive first. Like they had to prove something before someone disrespected them? Yeah, those people. The kids were rough, the adults were rough and I felt like I had to fit in, of course. So once I got over being afraid of EVERYTHING, I began acting accordingly. If someone hurt my feelings, I tried to hurt theirs. If I felt disrespected, I was disrespectful right back! If someone made me angry (which wasn’t hard to do), I tried to make them angry! What I really just realized today, at 41 years old, is that I was seeking revenge and not even realizing it! Because I was just living the way I was raised to to live. I was raised to prove myself. And until recently, I made excuses. But the way I was raised was never my excuse… but come to find out, that is the exact reason! We were (and still are) praised for being bad-asses! Until now, I blamed other people! If so-and-so wouldn’t have done such-and-such, I woudn’t have a reason to do or say whetever it was (however I may have approached the situation/person or whatever I did to respond to a situation/person).
But that cycle stops with me! I pray to God that my children have learned enough to never be like me! They were raised seeing me react certain ways to certain situations and I hope they never think it’s okay to be hateful to someone just because they feel disrespected or hurt! And the last year, my little one has seen and heard A LOT… because I have been through so much hurt, disrespect and anger in the last year of our lives. And up until a week or so ago, I was still reacting in a way my grandmother would have. I reacted in way my mother would have when her meds weren’t working or she wasn’t taking them. I reacted in a way that my uncle would have reacted. An, “I DEMAND RESPECT ( or I’ll show my tail )” attitude. A, “things better go my way (or someone is gonna get a piec eof my mind)” mindset.
Here’s the thing! I know that the way I’ve behaved over the years is a product of the way my family is/was and the way I was treated as a child and/or young adult. I was spoiled and I was not disciplined nearly enough (if ever at all). And, I have reflected on the person I am as an adult and the person I want to be. I have asked myself why do I even care if someone is disrespectful to me. If it’s my child, it’s my responsibility to gently correct the behavior and move on. If it’s my husband, it is my job to talk to him and try to resolve whatever is going on. If it is none of the above, it is my job to reflect on whether the issue(s) need to be addressed and what steps to take to resolve said issues or if there is nothing more to say or do and move on. Regardless of who or what the situation, I am working so hard to unlearn all the behaviors and responses I learned and expressed before now.
I don’t know that it’s my desire to finally grow-up, my closeness to Christ and my call to set a better example for everyone I meet, that I am just tired of being an a$$hole most of the time, or a combination of all of those things plus more that I’m still unaware of. But I do know that I am better for letting God fight for me! And my relationships with everyone I pass each day, whether in person, through text/email or on social media is better off because of my choice. I have made the choice to love my neighbors; ALL OF THEM!