So much of harmonious living in plural marriage boils down to my willingness to put aside my ego and my need to be “right”. Whenever I engage in an interaction where I allow myself to respond to someone from my ego and my own selfish needs, I get myself into a really negative space. There isn’t any good that’s accomplished with this. In fact, just the opposite. It creates relationships where hurt, stress and conflict are the reigning factors. I suppose it’s this way in any relationship, especially close ones, but the dynamics of plural marriage seem to create an environment where if you’re not on double watch, so to speak, things can get negative in hurry. It continues to be a challenge for me to stay in the positive with people. Watch that negative dialogue that can so easily crop up in my head, and exercise long suffering, understanding, and a willingness to take the hit. Some days I do so much better than other days. And lately, I’ve been asking myself why it still seems to be such a challenge when I know what I know and I’m committed to make of myself a better person. (After all, that’s one of the grand purposes of this way of life.)
It’s interesting, since I’ve learned how I take on other people’s negative energy, how, even now that I’m aware of it, I have a difficulty shielding myself from it. It took me years to realize that I had been “programmed”, through my family environment growing up, to do this. As long as I can remember I’ve been highly intuitive and sensitive to the unseen dynamics relating to people, the energy that surrounds them, and the experiences they are going through. Countless times, I’ve had the experience of being in a crowd of people and, strangers or acquaintances alike, I have a knowledge of what they’re going through, how they feel, and (today I’ve put defining words to it) their “spiritual health”, so to speak. Because of this, as a child growing up, I always wanted to make everything “better” and internalized the things going on around me as somehow because of me. So, therefore, I always felt responsible to “fix” them. Naturally, I couldn’t fix everything, so I internalized that to be my inadequacy and failure. This has left a lasting paradigm about myself that, to this day, I struggle to change. So, when I encounter negative experiences with people, whether it’s in my home, at work, etc.. my automatic response is to take on the responsibility of the interchange which leaves me in that space of feeling completely inadequate, embarrassed about my failure and really upset. Not very rational, I’d say, but a terribly engrained behavior pattern.
Why talk about this? because a huge part of plural marriage is relationship dynamics. (well..a huge part of life is relationship dynamics in one form or another). But with plural marriage, there are more adult relationships to deal with in the close intimate family circle. And so, I not only have to deal with my husband, but his other wives. And for one who is already highly sensitive to the energy people carry, there are days that about wipe me out because I end up taking on negative energy from the environment around me. I do the same at work…I do the same with my parents, siblings…etc. So this is one of the things I get to work on with myself..practice shielding myself from negative energy. It’s really difficult because the exchange usually takes place in the first few seconds of an interaction with someone. I have to really pay attention to this span of time and really discipline my responses. But I’ve learned that if I can get past the first triggers in an interaction, I’m much more able to maintain distance from toxic energy.
Today is the last day before kids go back to school. Summer’s over…for all intent and purposes, that is. The season won’t be over until September. I went through most of my 30’s without a baby. At 39, I ended up (surprisingly) having another (which was a miracle) and then at 42 I had another (another miracle). Well, my first baby is starting kindergarten tomorrow. She’s so excited. I was talking with her yesterday about how she would have to do homework now. Apparently, she doesn’t like homework and doesn’t feel inclined to think she should do it. I tried several different conversational approaches to convince her that doing homework is the best approach when going to school. None of them worked. So, frustrated, I asked her if she wanted to just stay stupid all the years she goes to school. She replied that of course she didn’t. I asked her if she wanted to be smart while she went through school. And, yes, of course, she wanted to be smart. I said, “Then you’ll have to do all your homework.” She promptly responded that she’s already smart and that she already knows how to do homework. …Hmmm.. At that point, what could I say? Nothing. That’s right. So, as she embarks on her years of schooling, I hope this conversation isn’t indicative of what’s in store.