Do not mistake my silence for acquiescence, agreement or approval.
Do not mistake my silence for lack of depth or reasoning skills.
Do not mistake my silence for lack of contemplation on the subject.
Do not mistake my silence for lack of courage to speak up either.
It is because I have given it so much thought, that I do not speak. It is because I have the wherewithal to trust myself that I do not speak.
Has it ever occurred to you that I thought very seriously about confronting you and for quite some time but from having known you for so long, I realize you not only will not take it seriously, you will use it against me passive-aggressively for months and perhaps years to come?
You will attempt to make me feel guilty about speaking up and hurting your feelings—no matter how kindly and conscientiously I say it. I have learned this.
Perhaps you have me trained?
Yet you say you welcome feedback/conflict. I do not agree. You take it badly and immaturely, using it against the other person making them feel guilty for daring to think and say out loud that you are not perfect.
When you ask my opinion, and I decline to contribute, have you thought that there are many reasons why a person may not want to talk? And many, or most, of them have nothing to do with you? And that no one is obligated to share their reasons for silence with you?
You relish being the misunderstood martyr—the quirky genius. You seem to think the immature, quirky behavior is cute and distinguishes you as unique.
I see it as dysfunctional. And it is anything but unique. It is quite boring in fact. Go sell it somewhere else—I’m all full up here.
Life is short. I don’t have time to babysit your dysfunctions.
My assessment results come back and they say I am an avoider because I do not confront others around me when the median would.
“We tell our vulnerable, shameful stories to those who have earned the right to hear them.” ~ Brene Brown
That is because with history as my guide I see when it will not do any good. I can see it will cause more issues than it resolves. And you have lost the right, if you ever earned it, to hear my stories.
I do not believe in asking someone to change for me. It has never worked and I think it is arrogant. I also know that when I look at how difficult it is to change myself I know it is impossible to change anyone else.
That leaves me in a place of ignoring you—or of leaving. I have to decide for myself if and which of these violates my self-integrity or not. I must weigh the good with the bad and make a decision about how that impacts me.
Is it that I don’t trust you to change? That I think I know you so well that I can predict your behavior? Maybe. Perhaps I am enabling you. Maybe I am being arrogant in assuming I know you that well, thinking I can predict your behavior.
Perhaps I see the futility.
I have seen that you have seldom (if ever) changed your behavior or your way of thinking when anyone else has brought you anything but praise. At best, you tend to ignore anything you don’t want to hear—even as you ask for honest feedback.
Perhaps I am old and have known a lot of people. Maybe I have trust issues.
Maybe I am simply a coward, walking around in my justifying skin.
Maybe I just pay attention.
You are welcome to continue what I define as your dysfunction, in your world. I have no need to bash against the dysfunctions (that serve as armor) you have built around your heart in self-protection in any attempt to reach you in there.
I’m done with getting beat up in that process.
I seek always to come from a place of love and respect. And that necessarily must include myself first. I am the only one responsible for taking care of me. If I don’t do it, it will not be done.
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Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
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