I have been pondering that. One of the things I learned at one of my recent jobs is that when a concerted effort to analyze things is made, we really do have to be prepared to admit mistakes. But as long as the goal is to make improvements and to approach things with a positive attitude, then admitting mistakes isn't such a big deal. We all make errors in judgment; it's a part of the human condition. But must we allow pride to stand in the way of doing something for the common good? If we are going to avoid similar mistakes, shouldn't we be willing to line up the bone-headed things, see them for what they are, and then set them aside? Is that not only part of forgiving others, but also ourselves?
Millie used to call this acknowledging the elephant in the living room. She used to say that you can never go forward without doing that because you can't make progress by trying to work around it. It just takes up too much energy that could be turned to other, more important things.
Along with that, I think the biggest mistake people make is in assuming they know what another person is thinking - especially when they do not really know that other person and what makes them tick. They waste a lot of time being stressed out over the unknown, rather than just talking through the issue. People don't like having others make assumptions about their thoughts or their motives, and especially not when the assumer is carrying the burden of fear or insecurity.
A simple discussion might seem like just dwelling on the past, but what it does is clear the air, lay aside the wrong assumptions and help build a foundation for a better way of doing things in the future. If we go around assuming the worst in people, eventually that is what we are going to bring out in them. If we have the honest conversation - and the emphasis on the word honest cannot be strong enough - we often find out that what we thought the other person was thinking or feeling bore absolutely no resemblance to the conjured assumption.
Millie was right about that elephant, but she never explained to me how to deal with people who are mired in behaviors of the alcoholic family. I had to learn that from Dr. Perrott!
Codependency is a terrible burden to carry. It colors all of one's relationships. The need to control one's environment trumps common sense a lot of the time, puts on the blinders and tightens the bindings. What I learned from Dr. Perrott is that I cannot change that. The only thing I can change is how I respond to it, and that it is perfectly fine to insist that the other person deal fairly. It is perfectly fine to call them on the potshots, inconsistencies and unwillingness to trust the process.
But most of all, he said that the only way to keep myself out of that quagmire of inhumane conditions was to draw that line in the sand and maintain it. He told me it wouldn't be easy, and boy, was he right. One takes a lot of abuse when one will not be manipulated by a codependent!
Millie's elephant still needs to be confronted and dealt with, but it takes a lot of emotional maturity to be able to do that. I'm still hopeful. I mean, otherwise what's all that rot about putting one's trust in God? Maybe people don't really trust God as much as they like to parrot those platitudes?
Don't know, but it's sure something to think about, isn't it?