In a recent post I spoke about something that I have termed as “BEARS”. This being…
- B – Bullying - (bludgeoning, browbeating, harassing,)
- E – Expectations (assumptions, suppositions, presumptions, persuasions)
- A – Accusations (blame giving, charging, incrimination)
- R – Rationale (thinking, logic, belief or actions)
- S – Suggestions (approaches, suspicions, condemnations)
This post has already inspired quite a few responses either on here, on Skype, Facebook or via Emails and for this I am very grateful.
In one such response, actually in more than one, comments such as “I would allow people to walk all over me in desperation to have a friendship or relationship.” have been shared and I really wanted to respond to this as it is something that I have and still do experience all too often myself.
Perhaps I should qualify that a little in order to be accurate…
In the past I have certainly experienced situations where I would allow people to “walk all over me” out of desperation or at least a very deep need to have a friendship or relationship.
Actually, and I am sorry to admit this, as a Christian I think I had taken the message of “laying our lives down for one another” to mean that I should allow people to walk all over me. But of course that is not what the message means and not what we should do.
You see there is a very real question to be asked here and one that doesn’t readily come to mind when we think about allowing people to walk all over us. And it is not the question of what their actions or behavior – their “walking all over us” is doing to us but rather what it is doing to them. Even more directly I think we have to ask ourselves what our actions of permitting these people to do this is doing to them?
It seems a strange way of looking at things doesn’t it? But ask yourself this. Is it right to “walk all over” someone?
Of course the answer is No it is not.
So if it is not right to “Walk all over someone” the answer to the question, “Is it alright to allow someone to walk all over you?” Also has to be No! AND THUS the answer to the question, “Is it alright to empower or enable or encourage someone to walk all over you?” also has to be NO!
Are we as Christians meant to be laying our lives down? Yes, I fully belief we are. Are we often faced with situations where our love places us in a position where we can be hurt? Yes of course. Loving means opening yourself up and opening yourself up means allowing yourself to be vulnerable and being vulnerable means you are in a position where you can be hurt.
But loving also means being honest and truthful and hoping for the best for and from someone. Encouraging bad behavior and empowering and encouraging them to mistreat you has no place in real love. And let me be perfectly candid here. This doesn’t only apply to the things we or others do it also applies to our words and our attitudes.
I said above that “allowing people to walk all over me in my desperation to have a friendship or relationship.” was something that I have and still do experience all too often myself. I also said that I needed to qualify that slightly.
The sad painful fact of the matter is that I still do experience people who want to walk all over me BUT the fact of the matter is that I am no longer have such a desire or need or desperation for friendships or relationship in order to allow that to happen to me.
The same writer whose comments on allowing people to walk all over them went on to comment about how they would “allow people to be rude to them and never confront it” and “how they kept everything bottled up.”
The problem is that keeping it bottled up is unhealthy and if you suffer from mental-health related issues it can be so very damaging. At some point you have to protect your mental health and to so NO to this kind of behavior and these kind of actions.
Keeping things bottled up is never, I feel, a good practice and yet I also know first hand how confronting it can all too often either prove to be totally unproductive or even worse just lead to arguments. So we are left in a position where we are faced with a dilemma – do we confront it and face arguments or do we say nothing and keep it bottled up and face continued hurts?
I think this is a question that we all need to ask for ourselves and indeed an answer we all need to find for ourselves. It has always been and still is my fervent hope that when confronting these bad behaviors an amicable, fair and loving solution can be reached and that actually the persons or people doing these things will realize what they are doing is very wrong and how much it is hurting you and will change their ways.
But whilst it has and still is my fervent hope I have to admit that sadly it has not been my experience and that actually all you get are either arguments or platitudes and minor temporary changes and then the self-same behavior starts all over again.
I accept that I may well come across as being old and jaded here and indeed that may well be the case. But I have to say there is not one single relationship that I have that is worth all that pain and hardship to me. Nor is there one where I am willing to tolerate, enable, empower, or encourage such behavior just so that I can keep the relationship.
Whether people are abusing you, mistreating you, neglecting you, toying with you, or simply picking you up and dropping you as and when it pleases or suits them, it is not behavior that should either be empowered, or enabled, or encouraged. And it is not behavior that we should allow or accept in ourselves.
Do i accept that suffering from poor mental-health can corrupt the way we see things and increase the harm that can be done by this kind of behavior? Yes of course I do but here’s the deal, and I have said this time and time before and will no doubt say it time and time again AND there really is no way round this. Someone suffering from poor mental-health does not remove another person’s responsibility to behave properly it simply INCREASES it.
Like a lot of folk I know who suffer from poor mental-health I am by no means stupid. I recognize when I am being toyed with, attacked, picked up and dropped when the mood suits, mistreated, neglected and indeed lied to in order for someone to hide their bad behavior or to cover their guilt. To imagine that just because someone suffers from mental-health they don’t recognize or realize these things is both naive and offensive. Actually we are often more aware of them as a result of our mental-health and the way we have been treated in the past.
Are we called to love one another and indeed to lay our lives down for one another? Yes I truly believe we are but part of that loving and part of that putting someone else first is being willing to stand by the truth and encourage right and proper behavior regardless of the cost to ourselves.
So I think my best advice has to be – Be loving, be true and be real but Don’t be either a doormat, a whipping post or a play thing!