Generally speaking, how many of you have experienced complicated relationships throughout your lives? Did you get involved with someone who was already with someone or vice versa? Did you run in circles that those you were close to didn’t and there became a ton of conflict? Chances are the answer is going to be a resounding yes.
There are people in my life that I truly love but I don’t want to deal with them right now. The truth is that sometimes we see people for who they truly are and don’t want to admit it to ourselves. That doesn’t mean we don’t love and care for them but when the same people in our lives hurt us and then try to make it seem like we hurt them, if they aren’t willing to communicate then it causes friction, animosity, and inner conflicts that can take a while to heal if ever.
I have one friend who has been suicidal several times in her life. Her life has been filled with heartache and turmoil. She has a loving husband, no kids, several dogs, and has worked in the medical field for at least twenty years. She’s been happy for the most part until the rest of her family causes her grief and anxiety. She’s like many of us. The scales aren’t always difficult to unbalance in her life when the world gets turned upside down. She doesn’t like to be berated by her family. Not many of us do. Yet they put her through an emotional ringer every time she talks to them. The only reason she has kept that door open is because she loves her mom. Her stepfather and half sister have treated her like a doormat that can be wiped with their muddy feet any time they want. The image they present to the outside world is not one they exhibit with her. In fact, it’s the polar opposite. For that family, the relationship is extremely complicated.
Then there is another friend of mine. He was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s taken him a decade to get his life back on track. I’ve always been one to believe someone when a crime was accused of occurring but in this last fifteen years, I have been proven wrong time and time again. I don’t ever want to take away from true victims. It’s getting harder to know when someone is fabricating a sexual assault and when it’s truly occurred. I think one of the most sickening feelings I have ever experienced was when my friend was arrested and fired from his job because a young woman didn’t have the courage to tell him she wasn’t interested and yet head games were played. She told his bosses that he was making her uncomfortable and then flirted with him as if nothing was wrong. As a woman, it makes me cringe at the number of women who say they were assaulted only to get back at a man who didn’t do what they wanted. Now his life is more complicated than ever. He’s literally afraid to pursue any woman. He honestly doesn’t know what to do when trying to date because if he comes on too strong, he’s afraid it’s a turnoff. If he comes on too weak, most women won’t give him the time of day. He has a huge heart and will make someone a good spouse but because of the actions of two other women, he’s almost afraid to try. He’s been going on the online platforms and every time he gets the nerve to start talking to women, they find out he’s disabled and they drop him like a hot potato. Complicated? Yeah. I would definitely say his situation is complicated.
Enter another person in my life. This person I’ve known for over twenty years. He had the potential to do so many great things in his life. Yet he couldn’t get off the drugs. Addiction makes things more complicated for not only the person addicted, but for those people who defend that individual and try to grant them more opportunities. When I see the racial inequality, it makes me sick. We should never be defined by the color of our skin, nor the gender that we are. Society finds it easier to stick all of us with labels and so many people are shattering the notion of who society thinks they should be. Whites are no better than black or Asian, or any other ethnicity. Yet, there is a white privilege that most of us who are white take for granted the freedoms that we have. Other ethnicity groups aren’t always so lucky. Profiling is a very real, and dangerous skill. I’ve been profiled before and even though I wasn’t guilty, because of the way I looked, and the crowd I ran with, I was believed to be a poor influence. Not everyone gets off with a slap on the wrist. Some pay with their lives over things that should never have amounted to this. Complicated? Extremely. Until our society learns that the color of the skin should be respected with every group, irregardless of what group they fall in, we will be forever fighting a battle that I fear will remain complicated. No one likes admitting they are wrong. As a white woman, I find myself trying to make sure that I respect all cultures and races. Sometimes things have come out of my mouth that I didn’t understand at the time were construed as racist because I had grown up hearing them. I’ve made those corrections in my life and urge others to think before they open their mouths and say something that can be taken in the wrong context. Nor should we judge others based off how little or how much they have and yet it’s done every day in just about every realm in society. We are not a product of how much or little we have. We are products of how we treat each other.
Friendships are tested when disagreements occur. Yet, in some cases, there are friends who won’t admit that they are acting hypocritical. Complicated? Sure. Many times people don’t want friendships to come to an end so they step back. The problem is when neither side will communicate. I’ve had that happen. It’s not been a fun feeling. When people claim to be religious and don’t exercise the same practices that they preach, relations get complicated. Feelings have been hurt and there’s a lot of trust that has been extinguished. Steps have to be taken to rebuild if both parties are amenable to it.
What about our professional lives? How many of you have had to work with people who just grate under your skin? I’ve worked with quite a few. They are the same individuals who love to start drama. I worked with several different women over the years that might as well been rats. They looked to see how they could get anyone they deemed as competition out of the way. I’ve always wondered why people have to get off on pulling power plays like that. Yes, most of those folks did move up in the company but they became hated even more than when they were on a level playing field. No one likes to have their issues thrown up in their face. I worked with a few women in healthcare who absolutely despised me. Instead of taking me aside and letting me know what I could do to improve, they plotted to get rid of me at every turn. I did everything I could to do a good job and be a team player and yet I felt like an outcast. Complicated? You betcha. When there’s no one that you can turn to in a professional environment, it really makes for a miserable job. In all my other jobs, I had always gotten good evaluations. Not so with the healthcare offices that were private physician jobs. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that there aren’t cliques in companies. There are. And it’s usually a situation where people don’t feel comfortable talking about anyone for fear gossips will take over. God forbid if you are a whistle blower. If you see this type of behavior going on and dare to report it, you could become a target to expedite your departure from the business.
Then there are other complications that I have had to deal with. Infidelity with spouses is more common than any of us like, but what happens when that spouse gets caught red handed? Do you take them back? What happens when you find out that they were unfaithful with a close friend? Tough call for a complicated set of relationships. A lot really depends on what is important to you. For me, the whole marriage was based on a lie. Plus I never knew which attitude I was going to encounter. It got to a point that I didn’t trust my instincts. After a lot of prayer, contemplation, and realization that I deserved better, I made the decision to move on. It took a lot of time to be at peace with that decision. I can’t prove that he cheated while we were together, but I can say enough women have come forward that I can truthfully say that there’s too many coincidences for it not to have occurred.
So it doesn’t matter who does us wrong or right in our lives. What matters is how we handle the complicated relationships. You can choose to be a person of worth, or you can choose to let others see you as you represent yourself – as someone who needs attention constantly. We are a reflection of what we present to the world and our impressions leave a mark on people. Those perceptions can lead to complicated relationships. Don’t allow the complications to run your life. De-clutter the drama and take a breath. You don’t have to solve everything overnight. You just have to work on you a little at a time.