It’s really not that hard to be kind to people. It’s also quite easy to be petty and spiteful. The difficulty lies in being kind to those who are petty, spiteful and try to bully you.
It’s also incredibly tempting to let yourself get caught up in trying to be the one to get the last word and make the other regret they ever dared dream they could bully you into doing what they want.
This is what I struggled with this week.
I should probably back-track a little bit to explain:
1. Last week I need to send my ex-husband a check for my share of a loan we still hold together.
2. I also needed to give my son lunch money for the week and catch up his balance from the week he was at his dad’s when there hadn’t been enough money there to cover the week.
We made the decision to put enough money in his lunch account to cover him for the rest of the month and also cover the previous negative balance. At the same time, we deducted his dad’s portion of that balance from the loan check. Follow me? Basically the check ended up being about $25 less than it normally would have been.I then emailed my ex to let him know the loan check was in the mail and explained the check amount.
What happened next can be summed up in just one word: bullying. It didn’t come from my ex, but it did come from his wife. I received several emails demanding that I write them a check for the $25. My offers to just pay for all the school lunches from now to eliminate the issue of two households trying to balance who paid what when, were unappreciated and rejected.
It was very tempting to continue the email battle and I did tell my ex that I would not be responding to anything coming from his new other half and that he and I should be the ones handling these issues. He didn’t exactly like that since he probably would prefer to let her fight these battles for him. And he would probably say that I’m being passive aggressive right now in writing this post.
By the end of the week we were pretty much at an impasse. I said I would not be writing a check but would be happy to pay for lunches. He said no, thank you we’ll continue to pay for his lunches when he’s with us. We wished each other a good weekend and left it at that.
So now what? Did anyone accomplish anything? Did I learn anything from this?
I guess what I learned or will take away from this experience is this: I will feel better about myself and my actions if I always choose to take the high road. In this case it was a waste of time and energy to compose and send messages to explain my actions hoping that they would see the error of their ways and the reasonableness behind mine. We’re just not going to agree. Ever. So what I need to do is keep in sight the ultimate goal here: the well-being of our child. He is the one that benefits, or gets hurt, by whatever we do.
So if I need to do something that may feel like an act of undeserved kindness, I just need to remember the ultimate recipient of that kindness: our son.