Loathing by proxy
Disclaimer: If you’re reading this post and think it’s about you, it probably is. It might be the you who knows me personally, or in probability it might not be. But it definitely is about you if you’re loathing by proxy. Whether we know each other or not. No scores will be settled during this post.
As marriages go, mine is a happy one. I married the guy who I fell in “puppy love” with as a kid, liked enough to marry and the one man I love more and more each day. When I say liked enough, what I really mean is that it was always love but over a decade in I realise that like was the spark that got us to the point of saying “I do”. The reality made our little seed grow and blossom into the kind of love one will only experience once in a lifetime. But… Before you go thinking this is a post about me declaring my undying love for the man who pushes my buttons and makes me climb the walls sometimes, let me assure you it’s not. It’s about one of the lessons I’ve learnt from him during our journey together. The man who will be named Super-M from this point.
Everyone loves Super-M. He’s easy going and a people’s person. Because of his somewhat reserved nature, not exactly the kind of person people flock towards (thank goodness). But the gentle soul who is ready to crack a joke and will go out of his way to make anyone feel comfortable and welcome. He is all for world peace and is definitely a lover not a fighter. He is also the kind of person who will not be deterred by someone’s (mine to be exact) feelings towards others and will treat everyone with the same amount of respect. No matter how peeved I may be at someone, he will still be his normal pleasant self when he sees them. My feelings are not considered when it comes to his relationships with others. And this right here people, this is why I had to bring Super-M to the party. It’s one of the qualities I like most about him. Besides his cooking off course.
At first it irritated me beyond measure that he would be nice to people whom I couldn’t tolerate.
I mean whose side was he on anyways? We’d argue (more accurately, I’d lash out and he’d be calm about it) and I’d stew until I’d eventually get over myself. But get over it I had to, because he wouldn’t budge. So much so, that I began to realise that I was a selfish cow for expecting my husband to loathe by proxy. If it hasn’t been done to you personally then why do you bear grudges. Makes sense right? Or one would hope.
My two daughters have been shunned by their peers on various occasions. Being little girls, it obviously shattered their hearts and their self esteems. Making my heart break and wondering how in heavens name do I restore this. The baby manual didn’t teach me this. And no, I can’t spend too much time reading self help books to help me raise my kids because who is going to raise them while I read? I remember when I was a little girl and my friends didn’t want to talk to me for reasons unknown to me and most likely them too. Heck, I can count the amount of people that loathe me today for some or other crime I committed which I know nothing of. I can possibly think of one or two but when I really think about it, those who do, don’t know me which makes me believe it’s by proxy.
It might be that I said something wrong or evil eyed *Jane’s dad who happens to be *John’s brother and *Peter’s cousin and *Sarah’s neighbour who is married to… And no cares that *Jane’s dad was a boar because they know him and they don’t know me. Nevermind the fact that I may have been staring into space and that space happened to be his face. Or, it may just be that I support Liverpool. But who cares. Proxy is proxy and it has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with you as a person.
Forewarned is not always forearmed.
I see this kind of behaviour regularly. Most disturbingly, it’s not even the high school kids I see almost everyday. It’s the kids trapped in adult bodies. Those who didn’t get the memo of judging (and I use the term lightly) someone by your own interaction with them. The amount of times I’ve been warned against people because of their personalities and behaviour. It’s exhausting. Aren’t we meant to experience people by ourselves. “Judge” them by your own observations and interaction. Besides, you don’t necessarily take to people the same way as others. While your colleague may be a fiend with everyone else he/she may be a total puppy when it comes to you. And vice versa. But sometimes people choose to go after hearsay.
Quite frankly, there are too many adults roaming the earth loathing people for no reason at all. Your friend or families fight is not yours. If someone hasn’t ill treated you, then just don’t be petty. Don’t. Sure, you’re allowed to feel their pain and comfort them, but you are not to get involved. It’s not your beef. Imagine if we were to settle scores with everyone the way gangsters do with revenge killings. What will be left of this world? And what if you kill someone and it’s a mistaken identity? Would you rather lose someone’s respect because of your bad behaviour towards them all because you chose to feel too much by carrying someone else’s emotional baggage. Which makes you a bit of an emotional trash can. Guess you never thought of it that way, did you? But hey… Who am I to tell you to change your ways?
I simply don’t enjoy it when I am loathed by proxy. No one wants to be rejected. I’d like to think I am bigger than that, and pity small mindedness. Sorry, but I find that kind of behaviour just plain stupid. Not angry stupid (because how dare they?) but roll-my-eyes juvenile stupid. Here I am trying to mend my little girls hearts every once in a while, because kids can be cruel. I can’t still be worrying about who dislikes me for whatever reason. It does however help me teach my girls how to overcome and not seek validation from people. There is always a bright side to all the madness.
Do you know the story about the woman who complained about her husband and vilified him to everyone? She got everyone riled up and peeved at her husband. Not to mention the sympathy votes she got at her husband’s expense. Well that very couple has sorted out their differences and are happy and the rest of the world are now the villains. Well meaning friends and family.
How about the story of the man who you can’t tolerate because he allegedly stole your aunt’s mother’s niece’s (twice removed) item no has any recollection of what it was but they call him a thief anyway. And it turns out that the originator of the story made a mistake but you never got the memo and already you’re telling your kids of his thievery. And the poor man is shunned by ignorant people until one day you see a Facebook post detailing how he picked up a random stranger’s wallet and went out of his way to return it with all the money and cards. You’ll wonder about the story and somehow learn the truth of his “offence” and feel a mighty fool. I hope you feel it.
If you don’t know that story either then maybe just look around you and see how once sworn enemies live in harmony while the crowd is still at each other’s throats.
We all need someone at one or other point in our lives.
Life has this funny way of bringing us to our knees and letting us eat some humble pie sometimes. Have you ever found that your help comes from people you least expect it? Or that the very people you don’t like are the ones that can and often does help you when you’re in a bind? Ha. Ha. Gee thanks Life! Seriously though. If there is one thing that mom’s (and dad’s) often drill into their kids heads, it’s that you should always treat people with kindness because you don’t know if and when you may need them. A fact I didn’t want to accept at first but life kinda makes you.
We don’t have to like everyone we meet in life. I don’t like Super-M or our kids sometimes. Some of my colleagues grate my nerves. My one neighbour irks me because I can’t handle the sound of him blowing his nose. It’s pretty loud. Or maybe motherhood has my hearing on supersonic mode. It is what it is. I don’t live in harmony with the whole world. Not exactly. Some people I merely tolerate. For reasons obviously. But for the life of me, make up your own mind about someone and don’t allow whatever loyalty you feel you owe to a friend or family member to be the determining factor.
PS: This post does not come from a place of resentment or indifference. My relationships are ones I’m comfortable with. Even the strained ones. The lessons have been taken and as always, enlightenment is the name of the game ❤