Wednesday, October 24, 2012
A "Dignified B-Word"
I have this really amazing and stalwart friend who has been through so much with her 'misbehaving' husband that it would blow your mind. Combined three beautiful children and a pretty intense pornography addiction (involving more than viewing pornography) and you've got quite the dynamic in a household.
I remember the very first day I met this friend (whom we shall call Sarah). It was at a Saturday morning session of WORTH Group (a bunch of women, with way too much in common, who get together with a shrink and a few clinicians to try to stay sane, heal and make sense of it all). Anyhow, Sarah was a pillar of strength to me. She was the epitome of brave. She was the most solid person in that room that day and I'll never forget what she said,
"Sometimes in order to stand up for yourself, you just have to be, and forgive my french, "a dignified bitch".
Of course, the heavy hearts and tearful eyes at WORTH Group all burst into genuine laughter. We needed something light-hearted to find humor in.... and for some reason, this was the ticket. When these two words were paired in the same sentence together, it made for a pretty fantastic mood change on such Saturday mornings.
To this day, nearly 3 years later, when I think about Sarah and the way she described her ability to detach and ditch the co-dependency stuff with her husband, whilst still maintaining her pride and honor, I chuckle.... and then I think that it's ingenious. Truly.
This catch phrase doesn't just apply to women dealing with addiction or infidelity ridden in their marriages. I think the term can be applied to all of us- no matter what we're dealing with in our lives.
I am the most NON-CONFRONTATIONAL person out there. Serious. Avoiding conflict at any cost is one of my greatest weaknesses to be sure. I hate, hate, hate conflict... any sort of it.... but the last few years have taught me, among many things, how to stand up for myself- no matter what situation I'm in.
I'm learning to respect myself enough to be able to recognize when enough is ENOUGH. To respect myself enough to, in spite of my fears, be able to decipher if I am being treated the way I should be. To respect myself enough to find the courage to say NO when I need to, even though I am terrified to do so. To respect myself enough to pick myself up and remove myself from any situation where I feel I am being taken advantage of, manipulated, trampled on, treated poorly, bossed around, etc.
But most importantly, I'm learning to TRUST myself enough to know that when I do find myself in the "dignified b-word" mode, it is for GOOD and legitimate reason. Whether it be my creepy-guy-detector is sounding, or my inner self is screaming 'Don't take this. This isn't right. If it feels like crap, it IS crap.', or if I really just need to set and stick to specific boundaries (even if it seems mean or may possibly hurt the feelings of other's), I trust myself when I am there.
Sometimes I think I get so caught up and focused on pleasing everyone else around me, that I forget how to actually stand up for myself in times that I so desperately need to most. And this is why, even though I never want to be an actual "b-word" to anyone, ever... I will always keep this phrase close to my heart because 1) it takes me back to such an unexplainable, yet triumphant time in my life and 2) it reminds me that even when I am faced with unimaginable circumstances and may have act in a way that I normally wouldn't do, I can still do so with grace and class.
It's not a matter of whether or not you should stand up for yourself. What really counts is whether or not you maintained your dignity while doing so.