Friday, January 16, 2009

Pass It On?

When one relationship ends (against your wishes), do you make the next girlfriend/boyfriend pay for your hostility towards your ex? Do you take this anger or hostility out on an innocent bystander?

I've heard lots of people say how they're going to hurt the next person the same way that they've been hurt. I've never agreed with making the next person pay for the previous one's actions. To me, it's not fair. This next person has done nothing wrong, so why take it out on them? Though I don't believe in taking out hostilities on the next relationship, I have inadvertently taken it out on others. Ones that I love and care for very much.

Years ago, I was babysitting my niece (from my blog entry Take a Temperature) and my nephew, her older brother. He was 5 years old. She was 2 and could walk and say a few words.

My nephew was watching The Power Rangers on television. I felt that he was sitting too close to the TV so I told him to back up just a little bit. He didn't move.

I figured that he didn't hear me, so I stood by the TV and told him again. Still nothing. He never looked up to acknowledge me. He just sat there staring at the screen.

I told him that I wasn't going to say it again. He needed to scoot back from the TV. Still no movement. I felt this anger well up inside me and hit him on his little leg. I knew instantly that I had hit him too hard. His leg turned red and my hand hurt. He started to cry. I felt bad.

I walked him away from the TV to talk to him in the hallway where he wouldn't be distracted by any Power Rangers. I explained to him that I didn't like hitting him, but that he needed to pay attention to me when I was talking to him.

During this hallway discussion, my niece walked towards us with some toilet paper in her hand. She walked up to her brother, stood on her tiptoes in front of him, and reached up to wipe the tears from his face. While wiping his face, she told him, "Doan cwy. Doan cwy." (Don't cry). Awwww, man, did I feel like the worst auntie ever! I already felt bad for hitting him because I don't like to hit children. I was sick.

After some time, I realized that I was mad at someone else. Yes, I was annoyed that my nephew didn't listen to me. But I was really mad about a relationship. I'd been given the It's Just Not Working speech. I felt unheard in that relationship, and in turn, I felt unheard by my nephew. And I took out my relationship anger and frustration on my innocent bystander nephew.

We all get mad and need to vent. I do my very best to keep angry feelings about one person from spilling onto another. It just causes hurt all around. There's no need to pass the pain along. What do you think? Have you passed along pain? What was the reason? Did you know that you'd done that? What did you do?


Katie said...

Robin, I think there are two ways of looking at this. There are those who intentionally give it to the next person (ie cheating, being mean on purpose, whatever) and those that do it unintentionally. I think sometimes we learn to expect the same results in certain situations, even though the people may be different, and so therefore we treat them the same. They didn't deserve it, but we're so conditioned we unintentionally "give it to them" even though things aren't really their fault. It's hard to break that habit sometimes, and sometimes it takes a very loving and caring individual to help us realize the pattern behavior we can't always see.

VADRMGRL said...

I love your comment, Katie. Passing it on can definitely be a hard habit to break.