December 14, 2011

Amen, Antidote to Anxiety

Today, the last wave of disturbance is rippling on the waters, heading back out to sea. Timbre helped me to honor the ending of my inner storm.

I would say, the Amen has occurred.   Now I am left with quieter reflections from the friend fart of this past Sunday. 

The truth is just more defined today.  

Simply put, it was hard to have someone hone in on an area where I've already held ambivalence for a while. She was using her "love" and "care" to push her way more into my life, our family decisions. All this pushing, had me questioning my judgment.  While I was very aware of my objections, I was not prepared emotionally to push her away.  I need not torture myself with shame, about  that.

The particulars of my story begin to seem less and less important. Amen. Yet, I know in my heart of hearts this could occur all over again. My mom also has a hard time holding her tongue.  Inventorying my own habits, has me admitting that I reflexively defer to people who dare to get in my business, because of my desire to act in beauty and love.  

Yes, I literally felt like I was being bull-dozed by my forward friend.  

The fact that my friend is taller, more big-boned, and active on her environment than I am.    She is also more carefully made up than I.  (I show up au-natural, with uncolored hair and no make-up).  Some folks perceive lack of deliberate elegance as low self-esteem.   Ah, but that is an inside job. She did not do the most harmful questioning, or the self-esteem bash, I did. 

The angry feelings came in to protect me, but I did not give them voice. For fear of ugliness,  I did not give myself permission to set a boundary, until all her words had been said. And said again. And again.  

As I laugh ruefully at the whole escapade,  I  feel one last bit of shame:  I allowed my friend to be a buffoon.  That was NOT my desire when I invited her to the concert!  Had I spoken up it might have helped both of us avoid becoming a farcical story.

While I am powerless over other people, I have the power to determine my own boundaries. I am better at this in my own family of three, where we practice more Northern ways.     Being as we live in the South now, the bar is very high, to set boundaries with class!  Alas, I was not allowed to set boundaries openly in my Family of Origin, at all.  So,  I need a wee bit more practice to get to the point of setting "gentile" boundaries!  

A program friend of mine, told me that really pushy people are often acting out of fearful thoughts.   I was trying too hard to be loving in my behavior, but was like a deer in the headlights. Perhaps part of it was that  I felt powerless to help my friend detach from her own anxiety about our situation

I might be able to work on that, by  exploring my own anxiety. In fact, I believe that is possible. Amen.


  1. I find that when other people try to control me, I resent it. I know that comes from some early stuff of mine--a controlling father. I don't like being pushed around by controllers. So I side step as best I can. I move away. I remind myself that a controller is doing what they are doing because they have something going on in their lives that is not healthy. I don't[ have to stick around though. And at some point, I will speak my truth--hopefully remembering THINK when I do.

  2. I know lots of people like your friend. These are the people that we are say are "well meaning," but obviously they are socially inept. In some cases it's because they are products of their nationality or their region. For me, the Dutch or sometimes the Germans come to mind. These people will never be diplomats. If their personality is otherwise compatible, I let it pass.

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  4. Ah, Rossa, my friends family is from South America, but the lineage is Dutch. Interesting you mention this!

  5. And yes, Syd, when someone tries to control me, I too resent it. THAT is the emotion I struggle with most, and am afraid to put into words. But what would be wrong actually with saying, "I feel resentful when I am treated in a way that does not feel accepting of my uniqueness?"

  6. Have you ever heard of Dutch diplomacy? Me neither.

  7. Amen to that :) ...

    Thank you, Smitty, for your invitation yesterday. I like the idea of corresponding eventually. Thank you for your encouragement, too. It means a lot to me. And it has inspired me to maybe get my Al-Anon blog in order, including creating an email address I can use for it. For now - I have a link to your site on my browser as well as a few others' blogs that I check each day and have come to rely on; and I have added your email address onto my to-do list...

    As for 'amen,' I'm so glad the idea helped :) ! I worked with it today, too.

    In one case today, I was told something by one of my addicts. I asked myself if I could 'amen' it (stake my life on what was said), and the answer was no. I do not believe the addict in this case and chose to quit going back and forth, agonizing over wanting to believe it. That's not to say I that know the truth was told or not. It's to say I don't believe it was told. An ongoing dilemma remains my faith in the person's honesty. And I'm seeing that that's enough for me to set a different course with this person. I can make it sooo complicated but it really isn't if I respect my values.

    In another case today, I suspected - imagined, really - something distressing about one of my addicts. I asked myself if I could 'amen' it (stake my life on my suspicion), and the answer was no. So, I choose not to agonize over it. And let it go. And I won't be making any decisions based on it.

    The trick, the hard part, is to form conclusions out of the chaos in my mind and heart, that I can apply the 'amen' question to.

    Btw, as a courtesy, I should have mentioned yesterday that I came by your site by way of another Al-Anon site, Syd's I'm Just F.I.N.E. site.


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~