Context is Everything

I have been through the emotional wringer in the past few weeks.

I misread everything about the new-agey group I belong to. It turns out that the women in this group think it is a normal part of conversation to interrupt each other, that it is a sign of enthusiasm. And they thought I was using the group inappropriately for therapeutic purposes. Basically, the rules had changed and I had been oblivious.Therefore, in this context, I was wrong on oh so many levels.

I was at work one day and saw some random guy and it hit me–I don’t have these problems with men. Maybe it’s from having three brothers and no sisters. I called out what I consider to be toxic behavior (criticizing me for stating that I expect to be able to speak without interruption as a matter of common courtesy). Men are more direct. The irony is that the reason they like me at work is precisely because I am so respectful to others. My concept of courtesy and respect match society’s more than this group’s.

I can apologize for my presentation, how I said what I said. I cannot apologize for what I said in good conscience. I waited too long to say something. I was oblivious to my environment. I was on automatic pilot. I was wrongly assuming the old rules applied.

I am finding a more psychoanalytic therapist and trying to deal with my issues. I was subconsciously projecting a lot of crap onto the group. The only way not to do so is to become more aware of where my behavior is coming from.

To me, awareness is everything. You can do all the right things for all the wrong reasons or all the wrong things for all the right reasons. I think we come to earth to increase awareness.

I have more days behind me than ahead of me. I have to carefully decide on the groups I belong to. The definition of respect comes from the consensus of the group. I totally misread the group. An uber-liberal female-only group does not operate on the same rules as the rest of society. It’s all about not hurting people’s feelings because we are all doing the best we know how. I understand that…BUT a lack of agreed-upon rules ends up creating a situation where some people’s feelings matter more than others’. The rules are not evenly applied and therefore null and void. Only some people’s feelings are respected. Instead of being an old boys’ network, it is an old girls’ network, which is not superior in any way. I will probably stay with this group because I do love the people and now know the rules. But I now understand why the group shrank down to five people and includes zero men. Most people will not say why they are leaving; they just silently leave. I’ve seen it in companies and churches. Why argue? Good luck with that. I did not pay attention to the shrinking size of the group nor the shift in rules. I was on automatic pilot.

That’s what I am working on: being aware of where my stuff is coming from and making conscious, deliberate decisions. I have emotional issues, such as crippling shame and the like, but my mind is sharp and I don’t want to be tossed about by subconscious issues or find myself sunk in a situational morass of my inability to have or enforce boundaries. Life is too short.

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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