As of late, the impact of how we interact with each and every person has been on my mind a lot. Feeling let down has a way of drawing attention to such things. I am not talking some big butterfly effect thing, just the day to day interactions and choices.
If you wake on the wrong side of the bed and blow up at the first person you see, you might in turn make their day start poorly, leading them to yell at someone, feel down, or even cause their focus to be elsewhere than their own matters. Even non-verbal behavior can wreck havoc in the right situation. For example, if I am slamming pots in the kitchen and seeming angry or rushed, my boys might begin to throw fits and act out, sensing the change in dynamic. The consequences can be minor and unnoticeable or quite large and obvious.
Anytime we enter into relationships with people, chosen or not, we are acting in them and affecting them. Well, of course! We know it, right? But how much do we know it and respect it? We tend to know that if we are kind to the waitress at dinner, we likely will get better service. Or that you might wave to someone to thank them for letting you out because you feel grateful for their understanding and patience, causing warm and fuzzy feelings for them. Or that RSVPing to a friend so they can make better plans will be appreciated. Just like we know that yelling at our parents will not make (most of) us feel better in the long run or flipping off the car rudely passing is not going to solve much.
It comes to mind so much for me because of family – with such an intense and close relationship, moving beyond 2 people and their needs to the larger scope of
3-4-5 or more peoples’ needs. In each and every action, or lack thereof, you affect that many people. It might seem so simple, like one spouse not calling when running late. In turn, that can cause anxiety in the other spouse, which then becomes anger when they realize the disrespect when the delay happened. The child or children in turn feed off this and act out or be in some way inwardly impacted.
Taking an attitude of that each person is their own person and can do as they like in a family dynamic (and even in a marriage with no children) will no longer do when you moved beyond a single person. Perhaps this is the real reason some people feel their world ends with marriage (or children), as is often joked. It is not that they can no longer go out with the girls/guys or stay up watching a movie and just sleep in the next day. It is that every choice they make affects the other and they cannot get around it. When children are added to the mix, it complicates it all the more. Every single decision and action – to snipping when stressed, to not mentioning your work commitments in a timely fashion, to ignoring basic tasks around the home, to pretending to listen, to not noticing a change in your child, all of these and much more can cause mild to intense problems for the family. Some of the effects last a day, some a week, some for so much longer. Especially when they become habits.
To me it seems quite obvious. So obvious, I would like to say I never fall into those traps of a bad mood or forgetfulness or disrespectfulness. It is clearer to see those faults in others and expect changes. But waiting and expecting behavior to change to make your own changes is unlikely. So how much can one give and keep trying to change themselves while waiting on those changes? Each person chooses which things irk them the most and how much they can take? I have no answers, just a lot of questions as our family moves into new roles with new expectations and commitments.
And to humor myself, since I felt a bit of déjà vu, back to Muncie Mama I went. (I know that these are ongoing issues for my family, but I could not shake the sense of writing these feelings down before) Lo and behold, here is what I found!
Not sure the answer out there or what will happen with the start of school and jobs. We’ll see. We’ll see.
(and not to be 'crude' with my post title, but it seemed really fitting after finding my old post)