Thursday, August 9, 2012

Don't want them different

The older I get, and the more I hang out with the healthier folks, the more I learn to take people for who they are.  Like for instance my dad.  He isn't the kind of grandpa who attends any of the kids sporting events, school events, or even stops over.  He always says "no" if I invite him for dinner, which by the way, I hardly ever do.  When we see him, we go to his house.  He does invite us over.  He just won't come to us.

If I remember back when I was a kid, I don't think he came to much of my stuff either.  He always worked, and still works.  He always talks about how hard he works, and has worked. He loves to work and make iron railings. We got a lot of good stuff and trips because of his work, but that work, was a choice.  He likes working, so it isn't really a sacrifice for him.  The sacrifice might have been coming to a sporting event or two.  

My point is this.  That is his choice.  That is who he is.  And I cannot take who he is personally. It makes no sense to do so.  It doesn't matter if other people have parents who do things with their kids, or show up at their games.  Mine does not.  It isn't because he doesn't love them, because he does.  He just isn't that kind of guy.  Which is totally cool with me.

I think I can decide what people can change about themselves, and what would make them happier. Which in turn, could make me happier.  They can stop worrying about name-brands, stop trying to keep up with the Jones', be happy with their size (haha), stop controlling their spouse, stop being controlled, stop being codependent, stop worrying what people think, want to see my kids play sports, be fair, vote for who I say, blah, blah, blah, on and on.  I think I know what people are capable of and what they should change.  But that is crap, because I really have no clue what anyone is capable of. And I don't need to know, as long as I accept them, which sets me free.  

I have spent a lot of time wishing other people were different.  I wished that they would be the way I wanted them to be, or would act a certain way. Give me the kind of relationship, I believe I deserve.  Letting go of that wish, or need, or belief has really set me free.  I can do this with just about everyone.  I still struggle with Bob and maybe a few others.  Some days I am really good at it.  Some days I suck at it and am angry. I know it's because I am trying to hold on to some idea of how I think he or they should be.

Accepting people for exactly what they are capable of is probably the greatest thing I have learned in recovery. And not trying to decide what exactly they are capable of, and just meet them where they are.  The days where I get this right, I am the happiest.  It makes me feel the strongest, because I can't get hurt by what people are incapable of doing.

What a relief.


You spend time wishing people would do what they can't.

You are certain this ramble will stop people from ever reading this blog again.


  1. It'll take more than a bit of rambling to get me to stop reading. ;)

    I've really been struggling with this, lately. Because I've got some people close to me who are struggling with addictions, and knowing that there's only so much I can do to try to help them is frustrating and painful. Still, I'm hopeful. And in the meantime, I'm going to make more of an effort to embrace the qualities I love in them, instead of dwelling on the ones I don't.

    1. That reply I gave below was meant for you. It is super hard and it is also a process. Takes practice for me. I really am not as good at is as I want to be. But at least I am aware. Sounds like you are too!!

      I love your blog too. You have the coolest family. All of them!!!

  2. Betsey, this is a great post! My dad is exactly like yours. Growing up i was very active in sports, drill team, etc and Dad never came to my events. I took it personally and was very hurt for years. I saw it as non supportive and also not proud of me. It took years of growing up for me to accept that it's him- not me. Thats just the way he is and nothing is going to change that. I've lived in 3 different places and he never came by. Dad is totally Ok with me coming to him and so i do. I sleep better now that i've accepted that he truly loves me, he just isnt one of "those" Dads. I enjoy your blog and you cant run us off that easy!

    1. Thanks!! Yeah, it was huge when I got this with my dad. It was really a relief. Now I can just look at him as funny. He is very set in his ways, and there is no changing him. Many have tried and failed!!!

  3. It is totally painful, when it's more serious stuff like drugs, mental illness, or any illness. Especially when it looks like they can be doing more. But the days (like I said, here I go again) that I can do this, I feel peace. Not every day either. I forget!!

  4. Well-written! I've been reading your posts and they all have one thing in common - heartwarming.

    Respect for individuality is important. We all are different. I'm in the age where I've realized that I cannot make people adjust to my standards. When someone tells me that she gave it her best, I accept it even if her best for me is average. It's very subjective.

    Expect less is a good mantra. Less heartaches.

    I couldn't reply to your comment on my blog post. There's something wrong with Disqus. Anyways, I think that you're a GENIUS! ;)

    1. Wow, a genius! That blew up my ego for a bit. Thank you! I love your weighting as well. Two month in and I'm so happy in here meeting others!! Taking people for what they are and dealing with what they arent is the most easiest way, but feels hard. It's nuts.

    2. I love your WRITING. Not your weighing.