I’m an Asshole. How I’m Trying Not to Be.
You know the movie with Bruce Willis and the little boy who sees dead people?
Cole Sear: I see dead people.
Malcolm Crowe: In your dreams?
[Cole shakes his head no]
Malcolm Crowe: While you’re awake?
Malcolm Crowe: Dead people like, in graves? In coffins?
Cole Sear: Walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dead.
Malcolm Crowe: How often do you see them?
Cole Sear: All the time. They’re everywhere.
Well that’s me. I see assholes. They are literally everywhere. Walking around like regular people. They go to church and they think that makes them better than other assholes. I would shake my head in frustration. Tears would sting my eyes every time an insensitive comment would be thrown my way. I would see the way they would judge me and sometimes even stand there while they did it to my face. It hurt. It made me angry. It frustrated me beyond words. And slowly over time I allowed it to change me. I became one of them.
Only I didn’t know it.
Last week after a particularly bad day I found myself snapping at my kids. Every little thing irritated me. My husband was being insensitive and my kids weren’t listening. When finally my husband said the only thing that could break through my current state.
“You are being an asshole!” “You are letting these people affect you to the point that you are becoming someone you are not and I don’t like this person.”
If I could have thrown something at him I think I would have. I couldn’t believe he could say such things to me. He knows what I have endured over my lifetime and how hard the past week was on me and how hard I was trying to hold it all together. But what hurt even more was that he was right.
I was angry. I was frustrated. I was disappointed. And I was taking it out on the people around me. The sweet innocent little people who looked up to me for love and support and I was literally screaming over spilled apple sauce.
What I had tried to explain to my husband was that it is exhausting to continually be the bigger person. To bite my tongue and not lash out when cruel things are said. To show compassion to people who continually show me none. So at what point do you just say you don’t need these people in your life and just move on. Continuing to subject yourself to abuse on a regular basis… isn’t that the very definition of insanity? Repeating the same action over and over again expecting a different result. Then being truly disappointed when you just get more of the same. Pretty stupid. Huh? I was done being a door mat. Used and then discarded after I had served my purpose. There is something to be said about that too. But I’m sure there is a better way to go about affecting that change than to become one of them.
So how do you fix asshole? I literally googled “How not to be an asshole” and was astounded by the results. Apparently I’m not the only asshole in search of self help. There are millions of books to be read and hundreds of articles written.
For now I think I’m just going to recognize the fact that I have become an asshole and try really hard not to be one anymore. I’m taking a step back from the people who hurt me and the situations that trigger my inner asshole and focusing on making positive changes in my own life. I can’t change how other people behave, how they feel, or what they think of me. But I have full control over my own behavior and my own actions. I may not be able to control the things other people say and do but I can control my reaction to it. And although exhausting, I will struggle to be the bigger person and let it go. Because the very last thing I want is for my kids to grow up remembering me as their mother, THE ASSHOLE or worse, raising them to be little assholes too.