The Leaning Trap and Assorted Babblings

It’s funny how we can all be such a mix of things. I strongly feel you should not kick anyone when they are down. I also feel it is very important to smile at people, for no reason. It is so much easier to be negative or discouraging or critical than it is to be positive, optimistic and supportive. Yet, one negative comment does more damage than one encouraging smile can ever fix.

Yet, for all that I don’t have total patience with people who don’t seem to want to help themselves. I feel bad about this, nice girl syndrome. But, in reality, it’s good to keep yourself from becoming a total doormat for the world. You can not help everyone and you should not try. If you can give someone a boost that is a great thing. But, if someone wants to begin leaning on you, walk away quickly. Do your best to be nice about it but you can not have another fully functional adult leaning on you. It just pushes you down and then… when you need some help you are all alone. That is the worst, most awful, deeply sad feeling. I have been there. I don’t want to experience it again. I guess that helps me be careful and take a hasty retreat rather than sinking to nice girl syndrome and making a doormat out of myself.

I used to be a very good doormat. I was politely limp and quietly sinking into oblivion. I didn’t like it there.

They used to say people in North America could not understand how Europeans had such attitude and joy for life. They said it was because North Americans had never experienced a war. We still have not, not really. A war has not been brought to our very doorstep. We aren’t afraid to walk to school or work or the shopping mall, looking up or around, wondering if someone is about to drop a bomb or start shooting everywhere. Maybe in some very urban areas, but not for most of us.

However, I think going through a divorce is like surviving and battling in a war, right on our doorstep. How much more personal and intimate can a battle be than between two people who have not only been intimate but partners in life?

My divorce changed me. For awhile I was stronger but I think I have lost some of that. I have a bitterness in me that was never there before. I don’t always like it but it does help. It gives me that warning bell when I am falling for someone’s story about how they need to lean on me. I’m less likely to be leanable. That’s a good thing cause I deeply do not want to be responsible for anything. I don’t want to be at fault for anything when something goes wrong. I’m at fault for enough without looking for more. I even feel I’m at fault when no one is actually blaming me and there is not even any way (realistically) that whatever happened is my fault. I’m just used to being blamed, being leaned on in one way or another.

A family is like a line of trees growing in a forest. When one parent is abusive I think it makes all the other trees grow stunted. The trees closest get more of the stuntedness. The little saplings farthest away get a blunted edge. I was the first sapling in the row, it was a sharp edge and it cut deep.

Anyway, I started thinking about this because I was told I should help someone when I did not want to help them. My bitterness radar went off. I know this person would like help and thinks they need it. I don’t believe it is the right thing, or the best thing, for me to do. I don’t want to be leaned on and this person could do the task if they just straightened their spine and walked without leaning.

Yet, I caved. When someone else told me there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t help this person… what’s wrong with me that I’ve become so critical and bitter? I say people should “just get over it” yet I haven’t gotten over much of my own stuff myself. Aren’t I being hypocritical? Maybe I am. But logic doesn’t always apply.

Besides, people who are overly analytical just drive me bonkers. Everything doesn’t have to have a reason. The facts don’t have to all line up nice and tidy. Sometimes you should just let the illogic rule you, let the wind take you and don’t be responsible for any damn thing you don’t have to take on.

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