There comes a moment with a person you’ve struggled with that you know you are simply done. Maybe you reach done because the internal storm can only keep it’s energy for so long. Maybe the done moment occurs because you get bored and interested in other things. Or, maybe you become done with the difficult person because you realize that you’ll never connect in the way you’d really like to connect and you’re wasting your breath.
However, with certain people we come close to erasing ourselves before we quit trying. It’s as if the self gets caught up in the clutching and the trying and we can’t let go even if we wanted. While it’s our human spirit to keep trying and keep hoping that things will be different, it can be wearing and exhausting.
The other day a conversation with my dad started the same way it always starts, with the same dance unfolding . . . he made a comment in a certain tone, I shrugged my shoulders with a certain eye roll, then he huffed back with some snotty remark, but this time rather than protest again or try to reason with him I simply got up from the table with my cup of tea and moved to a chair in the living room. He knew he’d lost me and he declared since we’re done here I might as well leave. He left and I sat, relieved, and watched the rain fall onto already over-saturated earth. I was done.
It occurred to me that stepmother relationships with stepkids follow this pattern. And whether my relationship with my dad prepared me for this time in my stepkids lives or if it was the other way around and the stepkids have helped hone my skills for interacting with my dad, I may never know. For sure, it’s mighty familiar and mighty tiresome.
The other day with my dad, I woke up to the alternatives to suffering silently or not silently, as did Sleeping Beauty after the apple fell out of her mouth. She woke up and looked around and said oh no what the heck happened. I felt that way with my dad the other day, as if I’d been awakened after a long sleep and realized I’d been standing in line waiting for something to happen that was never going to happen.
That was space.
That was even more space.
We need space to let our old habits come to a close and for the new done-not-pursuing-you feeling to take hold.
For the record, my dad and my stepkids are important people in my life and I’m not done in the sense of no more contact. I just mean done with the emotional dance that keeps a person trapped in the not-good-enough and over-trying relationship. I’m done making it such hard work.
And, most important, I think we can only perceive the done moment when we slack off of the trying and persisting. We have to ease up a little and see and feel the internal storm clearly so we can sense and know if we are truly done.