“So much of our communication can reflect our need to control.” – Melody Beattie
I sat across from a friend of mine, explaining I had written a letter but I hadn’t mailed it to its recipient, yet. I am a much better writer than speaker – and well, I had things to say.
“I made bullet points,” I said. “Tried to be as direct as possible.”
“What did it say?” my friend asked.
“Well most of it pointed to the fact that I loved them, no matter what.”
“But they didn’t ask you to love them,” my friend countered.
“Well, no. I did that on my own.”
There it was. I had decided that this person really needed me, needed what I had to offer, and I hadn’t even asked if they wanted it. I just gave it – and with giving – came out with some unrealistic expectations of what I meant to this person because of it. How many times had I played the old broken record… “well, I did this for you, the least you could do is…”
I don’t consider myself to be manipulative. I have long been attracted to wounded beings – those whom I believe I can fix. It’s not conscious; it just kind of happens. Perhaps because I am trying to fix myself by helping them. It’s taken me a long time (and even now, still, I lapse) to get that life doesn’t – shouldn’t – work that way.
When I choose to speak out loud, especially to those whom I am trying to protect, I may not say things as directly as I would if it were someone whom I had no vested interest in. I try to be understanding and kind, I automatically sympathize, I know what to say and how to say it. Other times, it’s non-verbal. A nod of the head, a shrug. I just want them to walk away happy. I want the situation calm.
Which would be fine, if I weren’t subconsciously expecting some sort of reciprocation somewhere along the way. What, I wonder, would the harm be if I stopped trying so hard to care about them, and just let things be? It’s like my friend said, quite directly: Who asked me to do so?
That isn’t to say I should automatically be a bitch, or cruel. There’s still a way to be tactful, yet direct.
And maybe, when the expectations are dropped – when things are free to be what they’ll be – I’ll get what I’ve been expecting.