My aunt has been on my mind a lot lately since she phoned last week to announce she was planning a visit. As usual she passed her judgement on me and gave her unsolicited advice on what she thought I ought to be doing. This is pretty much standard procedure with my aunt. She was my mom’s favourite sister so her opinion of me maybe mattered more to me than I thought. Upon reflection I realised she is not a cold b*tch trying to hurt me but rather a woman attempting to show she cares about me. This realisation made me feel a bit less defensive because I know she was not shown healthy love growing up and was exposed to a lot of ideas that devalue authenticity and emotion. How then could she express her concern for me and show she cares in any other way than she has been doing all along? I expected too much and didn’t consider the place she is coming from. None of this makes her behaviour acceptable though and I will be absent when she visits unless my counsellor has a good reason for me being in her company to share with me. There is no reason I should have to be subjected to her judgemental attitude and be made to feel unaccepted for the person I am.
It isn’t easy to have compassion for her when I am hurt due to her behaviour but understanding goes a long way. Once I realised she cares about me but doesn’t know how to show that in a healthier manner I felt less hurt. In fact, I am feeling a great deal better than I was an hour or so ago before my realisation. Just as it is easy for my aunt to judge people it is easy for me to feel victimised and not bother to feel compassion. It’s hard to feel compassion for people when they’ve hurt you but very often they are the ones needing it most.
Do you have people in your life similar to my aunt? They care about you but don’t know how to express it in a healthy manner? What is the approach/tact you take with them?
©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®