I agree with Mun's general principal. However, for the sake of safety, sanity and survival, that POV doesn't always work. The fact is, there are more people in the world who we need to recognize and deal with on a realistic level. If some of them are persons we are related to, work with, go to school with, socially connected with, we need to decide how to recognize and handle such toxic relationships.
LG, you are a smart woman but like many of us that level of intelligence doesn't mean you are emotionally equipped to handle toxic relationships from the very folks who you have been brought up to respect and obey (especially for children).
So here's what I'm wondering. If you are nice to someone consistently over a long period of time when you really don't want to be that nice, does that make you a nice person or a complete hypocrite?
Orchid: Definition of nice will vary.
Question: Is it always nice to pet a friend's dog?
Answer: Depends on the dog and maybe even the friend.
Question: What do you call a person who is nice only because they feel they have to be?
Answer: Some would say that's being civil or polite.
Question: Does that mean you allow the other person to abuse your being civil and polite?
Answer: You have the option not to.
FYI: Pick and choose your battles wisely. I told my then H that when I care for someone, I will do my best to reach out and help as needed. When I don't care for someone, I am civil and polite but not necessarily going to stop everything I'm dong to help them.
Example: Others I have found are difficult to read in the 'good friends' department. Those folks will shy away from truly helping by their silence instead of true friendship. They often use the excuse, ' well I didn't say anything (withholding important information) because I didn't want to hurt your feelings.'
NOTE: If it was a one time minor matter, that could be chucked aside and written off as bad POV, then so be it. However, if it happens on a regular basis and/or involving a serious matter (i.e. not telling me when my father died), then it does no good to ignore bad behavior. Such persons hide their inability to speak truthfully behind phony and weak excuses.
Hard to trust someone like that. Let's not mix that up with folk who feel compelled to hide their true feelings due to abuse they have received or guilt that has been heaped upon them.
For example, I was nice to my mother for years whilst disliking her and being terrified of her in equal measure. I was seldom honest with her about my life and my feelings. Am I a nice person or a hypocrite? Was it better for her to die with the lie that I cared about her? Or should I have been honest? In essentially lying to her for decades, did I unfairly deprive her of information she could have used to become less hateful?
Orchid: You should have been honest but the 1st question should have been why you didn't know how to be respectfully honest and stand up for yourself.
I found letting such persons know that I am trying to respect them but their actions are making it difficult for me to do so, can be helpful. Even if such persons don't get it, the case is being made that sincere attempts to be respectful are being met by their hostility and abuse. Can't undo that once it is said out in the open.
I dealt with my father's issues that way. He went from being my father and friend that I respected to a manipulative liar and cheat who hid behind a persona of a respectable family man. He fooled a lot of folks.
I wasn't fooled and because I loved my parents, I tried to get him help. He refused and plotted against me but that was his choice. I can tell you that I have no regrets on the steps I have taken and currently taking, even if it didn't work in my favor as it should have. My goal isn't what I should have gotten, it is the conscience I have to live with. I thought long and hard before I exposed my father for the abuse he was giving my mother, myself, my family and a few others. To stay silent for me was not an option. I knew not everyone would get it but I am highly disappointed in those folks who choose to stay in denial. Still their slow or non learning curve is not my problem.
You can't control how hateful or not your mom chose to be. You can only control who you are and choose to be. My father died with a lie and his OW wife along with my sister benefited from that lie. That might seem like the odds are stacked against me. From a totally human standpoint, it would look that way but I have a higher relationship with a very powerful, just, kind, loving and wise person who I have been able to unburden my pain and suffering. I don't just receive comfort from this person. I receive the knowledge and wisdom to know how to proceed. It is amazing what I have been able to put together over time.
I'm not a patient person but have learned to be. I reflect much on what my grandmother and mother have told me over the years in addition to my other and current support persons. The truth does come out and the time of regret has been minimized. We can all do better but the world around may not be able to keep up with us.
Sometimes it is impossible to be nice and honest.
Orchid: Yes, it isn't easy and it won't be under current conditions. Knowing this is half the battle. You won't spend a lot of time in the land of shock and despair.
I sincerely believe she had narcissistic personality disorder so personal growth wasn't in the cards for her, but was that my decision to make?
Orchid: You are probably right and if she were alive, do you honestly believe she would admit it? That alone is a huge barrier to break down and if your mom wasn't going to cooperate, then it is on her not you.
Many who have NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) won't admit it. As you know my in-laws carry this as a family illness in varying levels of severity. It is sad. They see it in others but not themselves.
Not all of them but sadly, most of them have NPD. Most don't recognize it and even if they do, they refuse treatment. Yet they live within society with their hidden abusive tactics.
In such cases, MUN's recommended practice may not be as practical unless you temper it with boundaries. That is what I have done.
The hard part is when they fall or die, the need to beat up ourselves with guilt is strong. Sometimes such persons may even try to play the victim or die playing the victim card. That can erroneously point guilt our way. Making our lives absorbed with clearing our name or seeking justice.
Learning to not carry unwarranted guilt is hard. It requires setting strong boundaries and a constant check to make sure we don't go off the rails. It requires maturity.
I was nice to her even when she was hateful ("you've never cared about anyone but yourself") because it was easier than calling her on her vitriol. I was protecting myself, but is that a legitimate reason to lie?
Orchid: You were and are a good person. The then easier way 'to be nice' very firm, is part of the reason why you may feel some guilt.
Your question: I was protecting myself, but is that a legitimate reason to lie?
Answer: No. In hindsight that is easy to see but at the time, did you see it? Were you able to get assistance to see it? How would you help someone now to see it so they don't loose precious years like we have?
I spent a metric ton of emotional capital on doing the right thing by my parents so I never had to feel guilty, and I am not at all sure it was worth it. I'm still so emotionally worn out. Of course, I did just have my right tit cut off and you really wouldn't believe how ugly this thang looks -- it makes the other thang look positively ready for Playboy. I suspect that plays into my fatigue but don't see much I can do about it. I am going to go into the plastic surgeon this week to have them take a look and tell me this is what it is supposed to look like. Beyond that, it seems to me it is what it is and there isn't a whole lot I can do about it.
Orchid: You are reflecting now and may have some regrets. We all do. Knowing now that you can control your regrets going forward is power you have within you.
As for your surgery, that was a challenge you conquered. If I may share, I for one am proud of your scar. We may not be able to fully control diseases developing within us but conquering them whether permanently or even temporary is worth it. I would wear those scars with honor vs shame.
John shot himself 25 months ago and since then it has been one thing after another, each trauma quick on the heels of the last. Maybe I'm expecting too much of myself. I'm not depressed, but I am tired and I wish my husband would cut me a little slack. I don't think he has a clue what a beating this has been.
Orchid: I'm sorry about your nephew's decision that has hurt you and your family so much. Like yourself the trauma and drama in our lives seem to be non-ending.
Realize that all this suffering is our current reality and that some are either not capable or empathy illiterate. For those who are not aware their actions of non-care is hurtful, let them know in as loving a way as possible. If they still don't get it, walk away. That is what I have done.
Some maybe slow learners.
LG, you are working through this and not all can work at the pace or space that you current are finding yourself. Out here we say that is their 'kuleana' (Hawaiian for responsibility - referring t to a reciprocal relationship between the person who is responsible, and the thing which they are responsible for).
I have more to post but this one is long enough.
Hope this helps,