Backstabbed & Betrayed

IMG_3710A few days ago my Facebook account got hacked. This is not the first stupid problem I’ve been losing sleep over this week. I keep wondering if I’m trying too hard to please others. Amy Morin certainly thinks I have that tendency, and she’s shown me ways to correct that weakness of character. I’m going to be better about screening my Facebook friends. And so it goes with writing friends. I am in a few wonderful writing groups, but one local organization has been in turmoil lately. Along with many other good people, I have been dragged into it.

Sometimes, no matter how I try to be helpful, no matter how good my intention, people still direct their disapproval and even anger toward me. In my head, that’s okay. Can’t please everyone, right? Not everyone is going to love me or see my good intentions no matter how much time and effort I expend on their behalf. But wow in my heart it hurts, particularly when  someone I once trusted backstabs and betrays me.

This is where I have to weigh it out. There are over a hundred people in this organization, and as far as I know only three or four are deliberately maligning me and my friends. I still have a role to play there. If I just quit, I will be betraying one of my key values, which is behaving ethically in all situations. Many good people are counting on me to finish out my commitments. It goes against my values to simply walk away because it’s the easy thing to do.

Amy Morin says people pleasers feel responsible for how other people feel. Check. People pleasers self-worth often depends on how others perceive them. Check. People pleasers thrive on praise and reassurances from others. Check. We would rather do things we dislike than risk conflict. Check.

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As I transition out of “people pleaser” mode, I have learned to refer to my list of core values and assess from there.  Sometimes that means being willing to tolerate uncomfortable emotions. Morin says being very clear on your values helps figure out if you are in people pleaser mode or if you are staying true to yourself. Do you know your values and their priority in your life? If not, make a list. Here’s mine.

Physical and mental health

Always behaving ethically

Strong marriage

Feeling connected to family and friends

Sense of purpose (writing)

Looking at my list with my core values in mind, I can clearly see my connection to friends and family through FB. I’ve formed strong connections and friendships in my writing groups, too. These connections also foster the sense of purpose writing gives my  life. It’s worth it to me to hang in there, despite the discomfort, at least for now. And there are things I can do starting now to stand up for my values with the few troublesome folks in my writing community. There are ways I can say NO to them without saying NO to the organization.

Morin says self-confidence increases once you begin making all decisions with your core values in mind. She also includes other perks like having more time to devote to the things that really matter to you, cultivating healthier relationships, and increasing will power. In my case this translates into having time to work on physical and mental health by doing things like walking, yoga, dancing and developing positive habits of mind, not to mention more time for writing. It means the friendships I make going forward will be stronger and less likely to come back and bite me, and, I hope it also means I will be sleeping soundly instead of spending the wee hours ruminating on a silly social media issue or a truly awful and unfair real life situation.

Rocky Reunion

IMG_36867 weeks and 5 days. That’s how long we’d been apart. I don’t know what I was expecting when Al arrived, except to feel relief and happiness. That’s how I felt, but all too fleetingly. He came in at night, and we had our first argument a few hours later. It had to do with me wanting to stay in Florida longer next year. He said something rude and I snapped back and we went to bed without saying sorry. First night!

It happened again the next night and the night after that I picked a silly fight over nothing. I vented for about five or six pages in my journal and started to notice I was going over all the ways he’d let me down over the years. I stopped and went to bed, third night in a row with no kiss goodnight. We always kiss goodnight. What the hell was happening with us?

The next morning I remembered a book I’d been reading by Amy Morin…one of the things mentally strong people do not do is dwell on the past. There’s a check list with every chapter and I’d come out as needing to work on that. (Out of the 13 Things, I need to work on 6 of them!) So I reread the chapter and noticed that dwelling on the past means there are unsolved issues that need to be cleared up.

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I realized that I was angry with Al not because of the past but because next year we were supposed to be here for four or five months together. He was supposed to retire at the end of 2017. When he told me he’d decided to work a few more years, I immediately buried the hurt and rejection I felt because I wanted to be supportive of him in his career as he had always been of me with both writing and teaching. I didn’t even realize I’d bottled it up.

Instead I waited until he got here and picked on him about stupid shit. Finally that 4th morning, I told him how hurt and upset I was about him not being with me next winter. He started to remind me that we always supported the others’ work decisions. I said “I know and agree, but that’s in my head. In my heart, it hurts.”

Al did not say “that’s it, I’m retiring tomorrow.” He’s still got his plan, which is fuzzy and depends on when his auto plant actually closes down. I hate having the future be so unclear, but I do know I can’t abide another Michigan winter. It has been more lovely here than I ever could have imagined. I did just fine on my own, something I would never have suspected. I’m dreading going back to Michigan in a few days. That’s probably not very mentally strong of me, because mentally strong people do not fear change, but at least I am admitting the problem. And I’m working on it.