Respect Yourself

There comes a time in a person’s life when you have to say enough is enough. We can talk about forgiveness and apologies and keeping an open mind all day, but when another person shows absolutely zero respect for you, you’ve got to show love for yourself, and walk away.

bring-to-the-table

(The above quote was taken from this website.)

After the meeting the other night, at which a new attractive young woman showed up, the first thing the guys set in on was, “WOW. What a knockout!” By the guys, I mean Spencer. He went on about how hot she was and the first thing Jay says is, “What I want to know is how you get a rack like that.”

That’s when I snapped.

“Well that’s a shitty thing to say,” was all I could say, because I was so flabbergasted. In what universe did it seem okay to talk like that around me? But I figure I’m going to stay quiet because otherwise I’ll just look jealous, while Spencer goes on about how smart she was, she seems to have her shit together, she’s on her way to Syracuse, she’s visiting friends in Rockville, blah blah yada yada. But Jay’s comment was seared into my brain, and Spencer really could’ve shut the hell up then and there but nope, he kept going. So then I really snapped.

“Why don’t we keep talking about Bob?” That was her name, unfortunately for her. Not really, because this is an anonymous blog, but very close. I went on: “Let’s talk about how big her tits were, how pretty she was…” and then Jay interrupted me: “Oh, she was pretty? I didn’t see her face. I was zoned in on her tits.”

WOW.

I totally lost it then.

I didn’t learn until later when I talked to Spencer about it that he thought I was joking at first. I think the guys were surprised by my reaction. I don’t think they expected nice little people-pleaser me to spew forth venom like that. But let me tell you, I let them have it.

I showed my anger, and anger, my friends, is a valid emotion. These guys were being disrespectful. Jay was. Jim actually never said anything at all about Bob or women’s body parts. James didn’t either. James made a few jokes, feeding off them, which actually were quite funny, and I laughed. What he said was something like, “Oh I didn’t notice how pretty she was. I was thinking about her IQ.” Spencer didn’t need to go on and on about her, but he mostly just talked about her as though he’d fallen in love with her, as he does with every pretty woman he sees, because he’s a romantic and he dresses up lust as love as most of us in AA do, especially in early sobriety.

The one who really messed up (I’ll use polite language) was Jay. This is the guy I was seeing. For some reason he thought it was okay to talk about women like that. In front of me. And in front of the guys, with me there. First of all, that he even feels that way, that all he could see was her boobs, she’s just body parts to him, that right there tells me all I need to know about who he is.

It gets worse.

At the time, I felt as though I had lost control of my temper, and I wanted to appear rational and not jealous. At one point Spencer said, “Well you were the most beautiful girl in the room,” so obviously it was too late for me to not appear jealous. I pointed out that it didn’t matter. But really. Would I want them talking about my boobs that way? Or my ass? Is that how they see me?

So I calmed down, but I didn’t try to hide my feelings or pretend everything was great.

Jay had taken me to the diner from the meeting, which meant he’d have to take me back to my car, which meant we’d have time alone in the car, ample opportunity for him to apologize. The other guys apologized. They felt really bad. Jim told me he’d wanted to high-five me like ten different times when I was letting them have it. And the remorseful look on Spencer’s face almost made me feel sad. And none of them even referred to body parts or not noticing her face. But do you think Jay made any apology at the diner, or in the car? Or the next day via phone call or text?

There is a brain in this head, and a heart in this body. If all I am is a piece of ass to Jay, then he can move right along.

In the car, and even at the diner, after I’d lost it, I thought about God. I thought about what a person with integrity would do, and how to have an open heart. I thought about how it really didn’t matter in the big picture, because I wasn’t in love with Jay (thank God for that), and I didn’t need to hang out with him. He’s allowed his opinions, and I can say how I feel and be on my way. Now that I think of it, at the time I wanted more to show that I’m the bigger person and show forgiveness, which really was dismissing the problem, so it was more about how I appeared to be than how I felt, and it was less to do with forgiveness and more to do with me wanting to look like Mother Teresa. Well guess what? I am not Mother Teresa, and I don’t give a damn if he or they think I’m jealous, hysterical, or whatever the hell they want to think. But at the time, I thought, This doesn’t really matter. But my feelings do matter. What doesn’t matter is how he is, because I can’t change him. But I also I don’t have to spend my time with him.

And Jay said nothing in the car. No apology, no explanation, no nothing. I thought to myself, Oh for the love of God, and finally made small talk. Thank you for the ride. I hope your sinus infection goes away soon. And he wasn’t angry. No, not stony Jay. Nor did he seem afraid. He just made some lousy excuse about feeling out of it, feeling spacey and tired, as if that’s why he was quiet in the car. What a lack of courage. My therapist said he probably didn’t think he had done anything wrong, just as Trump thinks he does nothing wrong. Or that it’s possible he’s confrontation-avoidant, which is no good either.

When we got to my car, I just politely said goodbye, no kiss, and thought, I am so done with you. He had ample opportunity to apologize in the car, to explain he was just joking and being a stupid old guy, that he didn’t really feel that way about her, that he didn’t realize I was so pissed. My dumb ass would’ve probably forgiven him.

when-someone-disrespects-you

The thing is, I’d also just learned that Saturday night when we were all at the diner, when someone asked him if we were seeing each other, he shook his head and waved his arms as if to say he didn’t know how to answer that question. Are you kidding me? This is a secret? I am NOT someone’s secret. I have done absolutely nothing wrong, I have nothing to be ashamed of, and if you want to date me, you damn sure better be proud to say you’re with me.

Jay revealed his true colors, and I thank God I found it early. When I reflect on times we’ve spent together and how he’d showed no emotion, I remember thinking, Wow, this guy is a LOT like my dad. I think I have something to learn from him. I think I thought I’d discover that there’s a heart in there, and that it would take a long time to learn something from him. Nope. That didn’t take long at all.

I’m not saying my dad or even Jay has no heart. But I am saying that there are some people that just can’t be reached, for whatever reason that I may never know, and I don’t need to know. Because I don’t have to hang out with closed-off robots. I feel sorry for them, but I do not have to be their friend. I can still love my dad because he’s my dad, but he’s never going to be the dad I wanted. He’s just the way he is.

I am so grateful that school starts again soon, that I have a new woman to sponsor in AA, to have women’s meetings, to have friends who are good people. I’m so grateful for Codependents Anonymous, to be growing into my true self, the best version of myself. I’m grateful to be visiting North Carolina soon where I’ll get to see my best friend and my sister. I am grateful that I can choose how I want to spend my time, and who I want to spend it with, and that I have options. No one deserves to be treated with disrespect. We get to choose who we spend our time with.

respect-yourself

Peace and love,

TCH

 

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