Monday, December 27, 2010

Relationships


Loneliness is the first thing which God's eye named, not good. ~John Milton

Last night my husband and I watched the movie "The Blind Side," which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. It is about a family taking in a gentle giant of a high-schooler without home or family. I had already been thinking about relationships with friends and families quite a bit of late. I am not good with some types of relationships....

Perhaps, I should say that it is casual relationships that I have to work at the hardest. I very much like people, but in general I find them draining much of the time. I do not do well with shallow conversations that always include talking about the weather unless the weather is doing something quite extraordinary or caused plans to be altered. Although I like to hear about what others are doing, I am not one to enjoy a this-is-what-I-did-today list all the time. It is difficult for me to feel comfort with anyone until I know how the person feels and the purposes for the things being done. That is when I feel connected.

Unfortunately, not everyone is wired the same way as I am. Some people feel far more comfortable just talking about the stuff they are doing or the weather or what their neighbors are doing. Even though I find such relationships unfulfilling, I remind myself that their needs are being fulfilled.

I had such with my mother for the last years of her life and it was difficult to maintain a surface relationship like that for me, but I was glad that it made her happy. We only talked about what she wanted to talk about; we had problems if I brought up any subjects of my own free will. She would only answer questions she wanted to answer; she expected me to answer all of hers, though. She expected me to be interested in her, but she would only allow me to share my life in answer to her questions. Basically, she controlled the conversations and there were times that I only said about five sentences during an hour phone conversation—she would then praise those as the best conversations we ever had to other family members! I worked hard at putting my desires aside to make her comfortable and happy with this. To me, it seemed to be an illusion, but that was exactly what she wanted: the illusion that we had a close relationship without her having to work at having a real one.

My problem is when I have these types of relationships overwhelming the ones that I need, because I end up burning out good friends, basically dumping on them because I have been holding back with others. I am usually not one to have many friends...in part, I guess I am rather particular and rather peculiar in my particulars, for lack of a better term. I like friends who challenge me in some way, who I look up to and respect, those who give me something without knowing they gave me anything just because they are who they are.

I was never the popular girl and often sat with the loneliest looking person I could find...I still do that. They are the ones who usually tell you how they feel. I find it incredibly sad that I can connect with a stranger more in a few minutes than I could with my own mother in years.

Which brings me back to the Princess, I want a good relationship with her. Not just for now, but a good one when she is grown up. I want to be included in her life, family to her husband, and involved with her children. I want us to have special days when we sit together having tea and I listen to her feelings and I know the purposes behind her choices. I do not want our relationship to be an illusion we try to maintain. I know that she will make choices that would differ from mine. I know her husband will be a greater influence on her life then. I know our relationship will change, but I want to be available to her and I am hoping she will be one of the best friends I ever had.

In my last post, I mentioned that I might make a new year's resolution and this is my purpose behind that decision. This is how I feel about it. Are you feeling just a little connection here?

~ My Lord, relationships are so complicated and yet could be so simple. Help me to keep mine simple in fulfilling my needs and yet make others feel comfortable. Thank you for good friends, who forgive me when I dump on them. ~

4 comments:

  1. Sweetie, we are friends because we share a soul.I am better at small talk than I used to be but though I find people fascinating they drain my soul & I struggle for equilibrium. You read my blog. You know I have broad & eclectic tastes so who do I share with? Yeah. Marching to a different drummer & taking the road less travelled can be a very lonely journey.

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  2. RE your mum. It is very common in the elderly, especially if they have declined in health, to become totally self focused,often directing conversations on themselves and their woes.
    With the elderly in my life, I try to remember all the years they patiently trained and listened and suffered long with us and give them the time in return.
    Your own relationship with your daughter will change and evolve over the years. She will move from being your princess to being a woman on equal footing, with her own views and opinions.
    All of our relationships are a two way street!

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  3. Oh yes, I definitely see the connection♥ And I think viewing your relationship with your daughter as you do- as a living sort of thing that will spread out over the years, growing and changing- is probably your best insurance for helping your relationship to become all you hope when she is an adult... well, that and lots of prayer. (howz that for a run on sentence?!)


    I love the way you turn a phrase... "To me, it seemed to be an illusion, but that was exactly what she wanted: the illusion that we had a close relationship without her having to work at having a real one."

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  4. Ganeida: I think you and I share a certain sensitivity regarding the spiritual condition of people also. It always seems to take something out of me and it does get lonely. It is our similarities give us the ability to relate with each other, but it is our differences that makes us really meld a friendship.

    Ruby: That is a very good point and I have worked with people with serious illnesses for a few years, so I understand how you would perceive what little information I wrote from that perspective. I did not write the history of the relationship with my mother in this post, but my childhood was one of abuse from my father and neglect from my mother. The lifelong communication difficulties my mother and I had with each other had nothing to do with her age...actually, it somewhat improved with age, until my pregnancy, which is a story that baffles me even as I tell it to this day. Just One Year Ago

    My point is two fold, really. One is that, although I wanted one, I really did not even know how to have a mutual two-way relationship until I healed from my past with my husband's help and God's guidance. My mother, though, never did heal from it. It made her more comfortable to continue to have a one-way relationship with me, as it always had been. She needed to control it or else we would not have one at all...and at times she did not speak to me for long periods. She even missed the first years of my daughter's life and saw her only once at seven years old, which she finally expressed regret over--as close to an apology as she would ever give me. However, she treated my sisters and brother completely different; they all were closer and I am glad they had that kind of relationship with her.

    The other point is that I--my husband, also-- have the same type of relationship with a few other people right now and I find it just as difficult allow them to control it the way that makes them the most comfortable without regards to my desires. Even though I have had lots of practice because of my mother, it saddens me that a surface relationship is all we will ever have.

    Diane: I hope it works out well. I am determined to make a few changes in myself to help ensure that. I feel that the Lord is guiding me into that. I have always tried to keep in mind how I wish I had been raised and the relationship I wish I had with my mother along the way.

    And, thank you for the compliment!

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.