Two Sides To Every Story

Half full or half empty? That depends on your point of view.

I wrote the post below last spring, about the time Sadie was preparing to move out of our house again. This time, to live with her birth mother and little brother. About three weeks before she was planning to leave, she started acting strange. Usually this is a sign she is unsure if the next big life change she is planning to make, is the right thing. But instead of being able to talk it out, she clams up. I wrote this because I was hurt, mad, worried and frustrated with the situation, but I also knew there was little I could do. Instead of confronting her, which hardly ever works, I wrote my feelings out, and in doing so, was able to let it go and move on.
My not sharing how I felt with Sadie at the time, worked a lot better than talking it out like I wanted to do. She needed to live it, to learn it. That's a really hard thing for a problem solver and a communicator like me to do. But it proved to be a valuable lesson for us both to have learned. Her short period of moving out to live with her mother, brought her and Jeffrey back to live with us, so it was not a mistake at all, but a life lesson we both needed to experience.

I'm sharing this now, just in case it might help remind someone reading that there are always two sides to a story. The person you are in conflict with, has feelings, too. Sometimes trying to see the situation from their point of view can give you some helpful insight into how to move forward. Even if that insight shows you that what you need to do may be the hardest thing ever, to remain silent.

The following was originally written on June 10, 2011 but never posted.

I get it. I'm not dumb, this is like a break up. Make me the bad guy, so it is easier for you to leave.

I'm the older, wiser and stronger one. So, I suppose I can take it.

But it doesn't make it hurt any less.

You don't belong to me. You choose to love me (or right now, maybe you choose not to love me).

Not "officially" belonging to me, makes you react differently towards me in times of trouble. When you are in a mood or upset, your first instinct is to run. Maybe not in a physical sense, but in an emotional one. You clam up. You distance yourself. You pull away.

Here's how it feels from my end when this happens.

Hey, I need a ride. Hey, I need my laundry done. Hey, I need help with this.

But hey, when it is my turn, and I ask what is wrong when you are obviously acting different, and have been acting different for a couple of weeks now, you say nothing.

Nothing. As in you clam up. You ride in the car next to me and you are silent. Making me feel as if I have done something wrong. That somehow I have failed you, disappointed you, or done what others have done to you in the past.

How is it so easy for you to shut me out?

You won't say how you feel. Okay I get that. But lately you don't even answer my questions with truthful answers.You know how I feel about the truth. Good, bad or otherwise, it is always better than a half truth, which is really just a lie in disguise.

You save your thoughts for someone else you also "choose" to love. Someone who always says what you want to hear. I can't do that. And it's because I love you.

When you are upset, and acting like a person I don't recognize, I dig to find out what is wrong. To "help" you sort things out and get to the root of your problem, even if in the end my only option is just to offer support and love, and a safety net. Not to actually solve your problem.

Your reaction when I dig, is not one of relief, or gratitude, it is to clam up. To shut me out.

I'm not your mother, I've got that part figured out by now. But sometimes I feel like I am not really a friend either, because real friends care about each other.

They don't run or clam up when the going gets tough. They sit and talk it out. Until they are on the same page, even if that same page is to stand on different sides of an issue.

Here is what I want to say to you right now, but won't, because I know from experience that it will just make you more mad. Instead, I will write out my feelings, so that I can release them, and move on.

I am who I am. Faults. Strengths. Rights. Wrongs. And you are who you are as well.

Go ahead and leave now. That is what you want. You want me to "push" you away because you know this is not going to be an easy transition for you. So let me be the scapegoat again, I survived it last summer, I can survive it again.

Give your real mom another break and another chance. Because this time she might be telling the truth. She might actually put your needs first for once. She might act like the mom and not the child, and take care of you rather than take from you.