In the past three days I have had family come in for my mother’s 80th birthday party. I haven’t seen some of them for four years. I kept waiting for the moment when one of the six children and ten grandchildren would say something that would rub someone the wrong way and ignite the fire in someone’s soul to blow up. The moment happened yesterday. It was like we were ten years old and back in our house in West Mayfield, Pennsylvania. Funny how family can bring back the oldest feelings—feelings you thought you had dealt with in therapy for years and years and years.

Interestingly, I wasn’t involved in any of the chaos. I just watched and learned. I put my right foot in, put my right foot out and shook it all about… Did the Hoaky Poaky and danced all around it, ‘cause that’s what it’s all about. I’m not all about that stuff any more. I refuse to be a part of it. I didn’t even feel the need to put my two cents in. I just said, “Well, I’m driving in my car. Whomever wants to come with me is welcome. I’m leaving in 10.” I proceeded to my car and waited patiently.

Let me tell you, this has come from years and years of conditioning. I don’t react to crap anymore. It takes a great deal of pressure to make me give in to anger. I believe deep in my soul that anger is just a way to manifest pushing away your own feelings on to someone else. If you’re angry, figure out why and deal with it inside first. It may be because someone has done something to you. But… and it is a big BUTT—even if it’s because someone did something to you, that person brought up a feeling that is coming up from the past that you haven’t dealt with completely or at all.

I propose this: Someone says something that pisses you off. You go inside and think, what exactly made me mad? You figure it out. Example: Boyfriend showed up late when you were cooking dinner and didn’t call. He gets there and acts like nothing’s wrong.

Scenario:  You had an ex-husband who continually abused you with inconsideration for your time and loving deeds. You never want this to happen to you again. But this is the first time your new BF has treated you this way. Do you bring all of your anger to this situation from your past to the new BF? If you do, you’re not going to have a new BF.

So, you recognize that your anger is at your ex-husband and not at your new BF. But you realize that if you don’t stand up to the situation, you will be putting yourself in a position where you will stifle your feelings complete and take away your power, so you say this: “I realize that you didn’t mean to show up late, but next time, I’d really appreciate a phone call. I’ve spent a lot of time on this dinner and now it’s probably not going to taste very good.”

This gives him a chance to apologize and you a chance to get your power back. Now, if he does this again, you have to realize that you attracted your ex-husband back into your life and you need to stop the relationship. Pretty simple. You don’t need someone in your life creating the same anger that you have just dismissed in your life. You are worth way more than that.

I make laws in my life to not go backward. Sometimes you have to give people a little grace for certain reasons: sickness, jobless, depression, dealing with death… but after a certain amount of time, everyone heals. And if they don’t, then that person needs to go see a counselor. And you are not that person’s counselor. If you try to be, you are sure to exact his/her anger or co-dependency, neither of which you want.

When a person leaves a relationship and you get on the band wagon soon after, you need to watch out for residual messes. I know it’s hard to find people in this world. But take time to let people heal before you get involved with them. It won’t be worth your time, trust me.

I’d rather be with no one than be with the wrong person.

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