To Be an A$$hole or Not Be an A$$hole
That’s the real question, isn’t it?
There is an age-old saying:
“You catch more flies with honey, than you do vinegar”
I am unsure of where I heard that. I most likely overheard it from my Grandmother or mom, when I was a kid. It still holds true.
Let’s take a moment to consider the meaning of the lesson. What it means, is that when you are sweet and kind, you will be productive in your goal. If you are sour and bitter, and an asshole, you will be counterproductive. Right?
With that said, this lesson has helped me tremendously over the past few weeks. I was damaged, and angry. I was enraged, heartbroken, and beyond disgraced by my ex. I retaliated in a way that is very unfamiliar to me.
I became an asshole to him.
I sent him mean, hurtful texts and emails. I emptied the entire contents of my life out of our home, while he was away on a trip, that went beyond hurting me. I left little “gifts” around the house, in order to stab him with my own steely blades. Once I was finished, I unleashed again, through nasty messages and even posted some hurtful memes on Facebook, knowing he would read them.
But, SOMETHING weird happened.
I was MISERABLE. None of my retaliation or vengeful messages made me feel better about myself. In fact, I felt like a raging lunatic, and I was uncomfortable within my own skin. I felt a deep burning in the pit of my stomach, that seemed to fuel the rage inside of me. I slept lousily, and stopped eating healthy. I seethed throughout the day, without even understanding why. I was even more unhappy with myself than I was with my target. This came as a complete and utter shock to me.
I never felt any justice.
I didn’t feel happier to see him hurt.
I honestly began to dislike myself.
I hated the way others perceived me.
I hated the uncomfortable feelings that being mean caused inside of me-physical, emotional, socially, and even spiritually.
I was the “crazy bitch” who was posting on Social Media and who appeared “bitter”. That’s all anyone saw. They didn’t see the real story and the pain I felt. They just saw me as an Asshole.
So, I stepped back.
I knew he was lying to me, about various things. I also knew that he was trying to win me back, even after I treated him so rudely. The hurt he caused me became secondary after a while, once we began to talk about the final “closure” of our relationship.
I could see that he is lonely and that he is most likely hurt, in some capacity. My empathy took over and I started to realize that I am not the person who was acting out of rage. My heart doesn’t allow me to be a jerk. My heart is meant for loving others, and to be loved. My soul is not capable of being cruel, even while others are cruel to me. I simply don’t operate that way.
It took me a few days to figure out why I felt like such a crap bag. It actually drove me half insane, as I thought that lashing out and being mean was the only answer. As it turned out, it wasn’t.
The Final Straw
The last day of being “assholian” was through a text argument over the “L” word. LAWYERS.
As it turned out, that word sent my ex in a spiral of the same rage I had felt for weeks prior. We had discussed the financial split, and I was unsure of whether I agreed to fair terms, or not. So, I made the “mistake” of saying I would consult a lawyer.
He, apparently, wanted none of that. He said things like, “Lawyers take the women’s side” and “I am not shelling out money for lawyers if we don’t need to”. He also started accusing me of a few things, and I threw everything back in his face. It was an emotional process that made the burning of rage flare up inside my gut, once more.
Over the course of a few hours of back an forth text messages, fueled by hurt, anger, and bitterness, I raised a white flag. I messaged him and told him I was emotionally charged and spent, and that I can no longer “do this”. I gave in, agreed on the predetermined deal we had made and told him I couldn’t fight anymore. He actually wore me down to the point of tears. They weren’t tears of sadness, or sorrow, however. They were tears of pure hatred.
I Am Honey-Not Vinegar.
I will never be vinegar. I am unable to be a hurtful human being, even when others can hurt me.
This may be my strength, yet it is also my weakness. And that’s okay.
I cannot live with being an asshole, even as I feel the effects of others being so. I have felt pain at the hands of others, on various levels, yet I still maintain relationships with them. I keep them at arm’s length, or beyond, but I make sure that I know where they are “at” in their lives, in order to maintain my own safety net. Awareness and anticipation seem to be the key to my own levels of security. If I KNOW what they are thinking, or where they are at all times, I can ensure I am enough steps ahead, to protect myself from harm.
I am aware of what people can be capable of and I keep a safe distance, and I stay KIND. The only exception is if there are threats of harmful danger to my daughter, or to my own emotional status. If my mental health becomes endangered, I delete assholes from my life.
Once I had realized the new epiphany, that I am incapable of maintaining my own sanity, while being a jerk, I put a stop to it. I reached out and asked my ex to “talk”. I stopped by the house, and we sat down. I sipped coffee and he had a cigar, and we just spoke to each other. We discussed what was happening in our lives, and I knew he lied to me about what he had been up to, and who he was with. But, I cannot control what comes from his mouth. I can only control my response.
Even when our discussion became heated and accusatory, I stopped for a deep breath and backed off. Fueling a fire of rage, especially in person, is not safe. I had decided when I chose to talk to him, that I was ‘the honey” to his vinegar. I felt that I could finally let my guard down, and be myself, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Even before and after he lied to me, he was asking me to move back home. But, because I dropped my anger and rage, I was able to see him more clearly.I was able to FINALLY see that I was not the vinegar in our relationship. I was the one who tried to be the honey, in hopes of keeping our life sweet. I tried to stick with him, even when he repelled my heart.
It made me sad. Not for me, but for him. I realized that he carried a lot of resentment for women. He held a lot of inner anger and sadness that he didn’t know how to express. Empathy took over, and sympathy, for a man who is lost in his own vat of enraged brine. He is left to stew in it on his own, and I have to feel compassion for him. However, my empathy and compassion are not enough to go back into a relationship of manipulation and control. He has left a trail of carnage of his exes and even his own mother, and there is nothing I can do or say to change who he is.
But, I can stay true to who I AM. I am honey. I am NOT an asshole.
In the end, he will live his life, and lie to me. I will know he is lying to me and accept that he will never change. I have zero control over what he says or does. My happiness comes from knowing I don’t need to feel concern over his actions any longer.
I don’t have to be an asshole to make my point known. Instead of saying a sarcastic “no” to him, when he asks me to come back, I can be polite and say. “I will have to respectfully decline”. It is the same message, but on my terms, as a sweet pot of honey. When he accuses me of hurting him, I politely, in a sweet tone, tell him that he has no idea what hurt feels like, and I remove myself from the situation, telling him I have other people to visit. Again, it’s the same message, but in HONEY terms.
In order to make strides, win an argument, make a point, or communicate effectively, being an asshole isn’t the way to do it. That doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be assertive. It just means that you don’t need to be spiteful, or cruel to another human being.
If you are happy as vinegar, by all means, be pungent and bitter. If you feel better living your life as the honey, stay true to your heart and be sweet. It doesn’t mean you have to take the shit of the flies who stop by.