My definition of an impossible situation, for purposes of this post, is one where if I do one thing, I look like an ass, and if I do the other, I compromise my core values, allow myself to be deeply hurt or disappointed, or let people take advantage of me. Either way, as you can see, it's lose/lose. As you read, keep that in mind.
I've had sessions with counselors in which I'm told I have a very good sense of self-awareness, but that I need to be firmer with people. I should tell them when they hurt or disappoint me. For example: I know what it was that hurt me and why, but I can't bring myself to address it with someone else because I'm afraid of hurting them even though they've hurt me already. Oftentimes, I find myself commiserating with characters I see in movies that do stupid stuff, those folks that no one but me seems to understand, and I end up feeling badly for them.
Why is this?
Well, while talking out a situation one time, it was pointed out that I'm a giver with a very high core value of integrity, and while I never believed I expected anything in return, that wasn't quite the case.
I believed that if I gave and was honest, I would get loyalty in return. Now, loyalty isn't friendship. A true friend is there because they genuinely like the person you are and respect you. Loyalty, however, can be earned and independent of friendship. Someone who is loyal doesn't necessarily have to like you.
I hold people to a very high standard of behavior that includes respect of me and my time along with a few other things I have a hard time compromising on.
Let me clarify: I don't do things so people do things in return for me. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying I give, and what I want in return is respect, thoughtfulness, and to not be put in impossible situations.
My son tells a friend they can stay over before asking me. I just took the kid all over town for school shopping, and I have three other kids in the house besides him. I'm just not in the mood to deal with someone else's child. I say no. He stands there and begs me, says he already invited the kid, and begs me some more. For every no, he has a reason it will work out, and he refuses to call the kid and tell them they can't come.
Okay, now I'm in an impossible situation. 1. ) I can either call the kid's parents and tell them the kid can't come, or 2. ) I can give in and be miserable all night. Several things eat at me about both of those options (please know I realize we'll all react differently to these things--these are my opinions and feelings--they may not make sense to you): 1. ) This option makes me look like a terrible parent (an ass) who can't keep their kids under control and it disappoints another child who might have been looking forward to something. It also has the likelihood of ruining the other set of parents plans they may have made with the expectation their child would be gone for the night. 2. ) If I give in to my kid, I reinforce that he can beg and get his way. Worse, I allow him to have control over me. I would be tired and grumpy, and I'd have yet another mouth to feed, another kid to clean up after, and another someone in my house (this alone causes me stress).
There are so many of these examples that I could throw down here, but I'm not going into all that. Today, I'm trying to get you to think about yourself and maybe even your characters' situations. It can be cathartic to write about people who behave in a different manner than you, but be careful to dig deeply and show why the character is the way they are to your reader. If you'd just read the beginning, without understanding why I reacted the way I did, you probably would've said that you'd stick to your no and be done with it. Hell, maybe you'd still say that. But this is showing you what it might be like via the inner turmoil of another.
I hate disappointing people or making them feel badly about something they've done. I also can't stand being selfish. It eats at me. So, when it comes to me standing up for myself, oftentimes, folks have no idea they've hurt me--even when it's deeply--because I move forward and pretend like everything is okay (this is especially true if they can't see me--if they can, they'll see the tears, but I'll insist everything is fine unless pushed, and then I tend to explode because I'm trying really hard to keep it under control--lose/lose) or I end up just ignoring them because I know I'll hurt their feelings if I say something.
My issue is that I expect other people to be as careful with my feelings as I am with theirs. This is what I refer to as loyalty.
I'm working on it.
What are yours? What do you think of the above? Do you have this issue? Do any of your characters? How did you show it?
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!