I’m a stress-avoider. I’ve made that clear many times. Now that the busiest (and most stressful) time of my year is coming up, I’m wondering how far I should go to keep myself in a stress-free zone. Am I denying myself opportunities for growth, or am I just pruning dead branches that are harmful to my well-being? Here is my dilemma:
When people who you know are inexplicably nasty, yet you’re tied to them in some way, is it best to just cut them out of your life completely? I tend to avoid people like that, but sometimes it seems like you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water if you cut off all ties. Even though I know in my heart that I haven’t done anything to deserve their disdain, it still kind of hurts when they attack. If it was a deserved or retaliatory attack I can make sense of that. But when people who you cared about only pop out of the woodwork to dismiss you or belittle you, what do you do with that?
There are different levels to this. First are very close relatives. If my mother wasn’t my mom, we wouldn’t be friends. She automatically sees the negative in most situations while ignoring the positive. She’ll make irritating comments. But I know that’s just the way she is. If I get irritated, there are plenty of people I can complain to and compare stories with and get over it. Mom is also good-hearted and I know she cares about us. She’s there for the good and bad, and she’s rooting for us. People like mom are here to stay.
Then there are people who aren’t really a part of your life that make you scratch your head. An acquaintance of one of my sons made a snarky anonymous comment on my blog once that didn’t make sense. She barely knows me. Although she had a huge crush on my son, she never even tried to interact with us like most of the other girls that my sons bring home. I attributed it to shyness, and I always was pleasant to her and wished her a safe drive home. I’m baffled by her hostility, but I realize it’s her problem and I have no reason to deal with her. It doesn’t matter if I ever see her again.
The gray area for me is people who have ties to people I love. When I think of cutting them completely out of my life, I feel no regret. They were never there to share the good times with us, and in fact, seemed to go out of their way to avoid even acknowledging them. When I think about never having to be irritated by them again, I feel relief. But am I short-changing my loved ones? Am I just being selfish by avoiding confrontation? Should I just maintain essential contact? Do I need these irritations in my life to help me grow and learn to be a better person, or are they just aggravations that serve no purpose that I should just avoid?
I would appreciate opinions and thoughts on these questions, even if you have never commented before. At what point do you distance yourself from someone? How far away do you go? Is it helpful or harmful? Am I just protecting myself, or am I just a coward?
Thanks in advance for your insight!