This is an edited version of the original post. I still believe in everything I wrote but I also confess that I used a sledgehammer to drive my point home.
This isn’t a story of forgiveness or of my inability to forgive. If a husband beats his wife repeatedly, no one demeans the abused wife for getting out of the situation and protecting herself. No one in his or her right mind, I mean. Family bond or previous relationship do not negate a person’s right to insist that he or she be left alone, to feel safe, or to simply take a “time out” away from anyone or everyone.Those who choose to attempt to force anyone to talk to them are very similar to those charged with stalking. Only the people involved know to what extent any allegations of disrespect, hostility, or rudeness were actually at play. It’s easy to rush to judgement.
I had people who’ve crossed the line. Whether you would say that I over-reacted or not, it is irrelevant. The proverbial line is wherever I decide to draw it, independent of family, friends, pastor, or neighbor. Once someone says “enough,” no one gets to argue the point. It belies a very central flaw in that person’s way of thinking. It isn’t respect or love; rather, it is a refusal to see other people as equals and of equal stature. I don’t want people in my life who operate this way. I would expect someone to react negatively, but the only responsible option is to step back and evaluate the situation. If the other person or people think that I am wrong, no amount of screaming, threatening or demeaning me is going to make me wake up and decide I’m being wrong-headed. It makes me think that you are crazy.
Growing up in a violent, impersonal cauldron of hate and anger has forced me to learn the hard way that dealing with this type of aggressive behavior is no longer an option. It’s not because I’m cured or immune from it; rather, because it became overwhelmingly evident that some people are so infected with the need for anger and drama that nothing I could say or do was going to reach their brains and placate them. I can’t change them but I can control whether they are going to be allowed to further infect my life.
I ask that anyone being asked to step back stop and seriously consider how you might react.